10 Great Free AutoCAD Alternatives – 2020 Edition

AutoCAD is the most used computer program for people who need to create 2D and 3D drawings and diagrams, especially in industries such as architecture, interior design, and engineering. Since AutoCAD is the industry standard, it is also quite an expensive program to own. If you are looking to get into AutoCAD and this type of design work, but you are not yet certain if it is for you, there are some free AutoCAD alternatives that you can try.

Also, if you need some 2D and 3D design work done and don’t have the money to spring for AutoCAD, here are some great, completely free AutoCAD alternatives to check out.


This is an application that will allow you to draft two-dimension objects. It’s a great tool for all types of technical drawings. It works on Windows, macOS, and many Linux and Unix Systems, and of course, it is completely free. QCad is very convenient for beginners due to its easy to use interface. It offers over 40 construction and 20 modification tools as well as entity selection tools and 35 CAD fonts.

2. Creo Elements/Direct

One of the more popular choices for 3D work. It allows shifting from 2D to 3D with ease. It is a very fast and flexible alternative to AutoCAD with many options included that AutoCAD is known for having. With Creo Elements you can create and edit your designs in real-time. It is a great product for the ones using the ‘direct modeling’ approach to 3D CAD. The program is available in free and paid versions.

3. NanoCAD

NanoCAD is claimed to be a reliable free drafting software that supports AutoCAD 2013/14 DWG files and all AutoCAD versions starting from version 11. The program also has DirectX support and works great without any additional tweaking. Some of its features are enhanced 3D Orbit, auto-correct options, LineWeight settings dialog, and much more. 

4. PadCAD

This is a free CAD mobile application that serves for small projects to medium size projects. It is convenient even for the ones with less experience. The only sidekick is the fact that you need to pay in order to save or export the file, but it is a one-time payment that doesn’t expire. A similar mobile app that works as a CAD editor and viewer is CAD Pockets that also works on iOS and has both free and paid versions.

5. OpenSCAD

This is a free architecture software for making solid 3D CAD objects. It is more a 3D compiler than an interactive modeler. OpenSCAD gives its users two different modeling techniques: extrusion of 2D outlines and solid geometry. 


A cross-platform and open source solid modeling system that has a bunch of different features to offer, including interactive geometry editing, image and signal-processing tools, and large libraries for making tons of different types of geometric representations. On top of that, it also has a system performance analysis benchmark suite.

7. gCAD3D

This free software offers many features, including an integrated 3D-OpenGL viewer, a program interpreter for geometry and NC commands in 3D, an integrated NC processor, and a programming interface for RemoteControl. gCAD3D is compatible with Windows (32-bit) and Linux (64 and 32-bit) devices. The website is a little sparse and confusing, but the freeware is not.

8. Archimedes

A 3D modeling application that allows you to create complex compound 3D shapes. It is touted for being one of the most functional free AutoCAD alternatives out there when it comes to 3D modeling. The main features are Boolean and MeshGroup. The Boolean feature serves for cutting and intersecting shapes, whereas MeshGroup is a module for grouping elements.

9. PythonCAD

This one is for the Linux users. PythonCAD is a CAD package that was written in the Python programming language, hence the name. One of the best open-source CAD packages for Linux which is also extremely easy to use if you have any kind of prior experience with two and three-dimensional modeling.

10. LibreCAD

It is a free open source CAD software that can be used on Linux, Windows, and macOS devices. It is available in more than 30 languages. LibreCAD has free support and everyone is welcome to contribute its advancement with their development skills. This tool is perfect for designing CAD drawings and it writes DXF files but other file types can be exported as well.

Now that you know the best free alternatives to AutoCAD comes the hardest part – making the right decision. And believe us, it’s not an easy one. Factors such as the learning curve of each program, the compatibility with your operating system, or the particular needs that you have come into play. Make sure you know and study all these factors well for each case and choose wisely.

We hope you have found this post useful. If you know of any other AutoCAD alternative that we have not included in this article, you can leave us a comment below. Thanks for reading and check out our blog if you want to learn more about AutoCAD.