10 Great Free AutoCAD Alternatives – 2017 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. Being that it is the industry standard, it is also quite an expensive program to buy. 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 out there that you can try which work similarly.

free autocad

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.

1. QCAD

This is an application that will allow you to draft two dimensions objects. It’s a great tool for all types of technical drawings, works for Windows, Mac OS X 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

One of the more popular choices for 3D work. It allows shifting from 2D to 3D. 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.

3. NanoCAD

NanoCAD is claimed to be a reliable free drafting software which supports AutoCAD 2013/14 DWG files and all AutoCAD versions starting from version 11. Some of its features are enhanced 3d orbit, multiple search and 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 users 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 an one-time payment that doesn’t expire. 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 version.

5. OpenSCAD

This is a free architecture software for making solid 3d cad objects. It is more a 3d compiler than an interactive modeller. OpenSCAD gives their users two different modelling techniques: extrusion of 2d outlines and solid geometry. 

6. BRL-CAD

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.

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 can be used with Windows and Linux. 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. Main features are Boolean and MeshGroup. Boolean feature serves for cutting and intersecting shapes, whereas MeshGroup is a module for grouping elements.

9. PythonCAD

One for the Linux users, this 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, and it’s also quite simple to use if you have any kind of prior experience with two and three dimensional modeling.

10. LibreCAD

This one is free and it can be used on Linux, Windows and Mac. It is available in more than 20 languages. This free CAD software has a free support and everyone is welcome to contribute its advancement with his development skills. This tool is perfect for designing cad drawings, it writes DXF files but other types of files can be exported as well.