This post was last Updated on by Himanshu Tyagi to reflect the accuracy and up-to-date information on the page.
Bringing your designs in mind to life using 3D technology is an overwhelming experience, especially when they turn out exactly the way you’ve been anticipating them to. Whether you do it as a profession or as a hobby, it is of utmost importance that you use CAD 3D software that you can familiarize yourself with quickly and develop expertise to make the best out of it.
However, there is a tonne of CAD 3D software out there, and it can get pretty hard to find the right one for yourself, especially when all of these software compete neck to neck and are brilliant in their ways.
If you’re a designer surrounded by hundreds of options and cannot decide which will bring the best out of you, you’re in the right place. This article will cover the 10 best free CAD 3D software you can install on your computer and go on with your creativity. So without any further ado, let’s begin.
What Are CAD and 3D CAD Software?
CAD stands for computer-aided design, and that name pretty much explains what it’s all about. Engineers, architects, design enthusiasts, etc., put much of their time into exploring and working on these computer-aided designs using CAD 3D software readily available on the internet.
Some of this CAD 3D software is either free or paid, and some come in both versions, where the free version has limited functionality and features or limited usage. Despite having limited features, free CAD 3D software is being used globally, vouching for its reliability.
10 Best CAD 3D Software
In this section, we’ll list 10 handpicked CAD 3D software that we found incredibly reliable, efficient, and user-friendly. Some of them might have a paid version with the full functionality, and we’ll mention the same in that case.
Here are our picks for the 10 best free CAD 3D software:
SketchUp Free is the first pick for our list of the best free CAD 3D software, and there’s a reason for that. It is free to use, and it has paid versions for more functionality as well.
- Ease of use due to a clean user interface is a perk of the free version.
- 3D Warehouse, a feature where you can import 3D design models to your design, makes this software one of the best.
- You can import your location to your workspace, making it easier for architects to understand the map they’re working with.
- With the walk tool, you can check out your model from the eye level. This is greatly useful for users who need their models to be precise in terms of practicality.
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2. Fusion 360
You can rely on Fusion 360 as an all-rounder application that will see your design requirements precisely as you want any CAD 3D software.
- Easy to use and user-friendly user interface.
- Customizable menu.
- It comes with native computer-aided machining to avoid the import-export hassle.
- Various design methods include modeling, parametric modeling, and subdivision modeling.
- Fusion 360 uses cloud functionality that makes things simpler, faster, and better.
- The free license provided access to the essential features.
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As the name suggests, FreeCAD is a reliable software you can install on your computer to bring a new zeal to your 3D designs. It is a complete package that covers most of your 3D design needs.
- Entirely free to use.
- Open source and powerful parametric modeler.
- Customizable user interface
- With layers built in python, FreeCAD proved itself exceedingly viable in customization.
- Support for CAM and OpenSCAD workbench (paid and need Fusion 360 and OpenSCAD installed).
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Although it is a web-based software, that doesn’t stop it from being one of the most powerful 3D rendering software. Aimed at working professionals, Onshape brings enterprise-grade features to the table, and that’s talking about the free version. The price for the paid version is something you may not be a fan of.
- Diverse and powerful toolset.
- In-app learning courses.
- Open source projects that are accessible to everyone.
- Easy and transparent collaboration creates an environment ideal for growth for all users.
- Feature for design branching and merging.
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Similar to Onshape, Vectary is yet another browser-based CAD 3D software used by numerous users for commercial purposes. What makes Vectary a brilliant choice is the fact that it is entirely free to use while being a powerful and capable tool.
- Parametric modeling emphasizes digital art.
- Unique features that make it different from advanced 3D rendering software.
- Real-time rendering makes the overall experience impressively fast.
- A library full of free assets is available for importing models, materials, and lighting effects.
- An integrated system for photorealistic rendering.
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Available for Windows, macOS, and Linux, Blender is one of the most popular 3D rendering software to date.
- Free commercial use
- Packed with various features, including 3D modeling, UV unwrapping, texturing, raster graphics editing, rigging and skinning, fluid and smoke simulation, particle simulation, soft body simulation, sculpting, animating, match moving, camera tracking, rendering, video editing, and compositing.
- Top quality foundations and tonne of plugins
Developed by Jonathan Westhues, SolveSpace is a 2D and 3D CAD program. It is an entirely free-to-use parametric 3D CAD tool you can try.
- Bezier Curves and NURBS .surfaces provide great functionality
- Powerful drafting tools.
- Constraint solver for mechanism designs.
- Live dimensioned drawing.
OpenSCAD is yet another capable CAD 3D software compatible with Windows, macOS, and Linux that is also totally free to use.
- It is centered around solid geometry and 2D outline extrusion.
- Great tool for coders.
- Can create 3D models defined by configurable parameters.
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Available only for Windows, Solid Edge Community Edition is the free version of Solid Edge 2022. Although not beginner-friendly, this free version still boasts a friendly user interface with a powerful toolset.
- Synchronous technology relates to the method of 3D modeling used in the software, resulting in a better workflow.
- The simulation feature comprises a set of tools that let you test the designed model against motion, temperature, stress, and vibrations, which is excellent for designing functional components.
- Supportive features for 3D printing and allows direct printing from the software.
NanoCAD free is an older version of the NanoCAD software with no expiration date. With a neat and clean interface, NanoCAD may look inspired by AutoCAD.
- Support for parametric modeling makes it easier to revisit old designs.
- Rich and powerful set of features.
- Extended functionality via plugins.
- Native DWG format
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Creating a 3D piece of the model is quite an experience. When one has the right set of tools to do it, it gets even more fun, regardless of whether it’s for a hobbyist, a professional architect, an engineer, or a 3D modeling enthusiast.