Computer Aided Design, or CAD stands for any software that allows architects, designers, profilers and artists to recreate perfect scaled models, designs and graphs or diagrams in 2D and 3D with the use of a computer. Today, CAD software is used for more than just drawing electronic circuit boards. They can help create 3D animations, sketch the airflow across wing tips, draw to scale a building design showing weak spots and implementing good design strategies and much more. The possibilities with CAD solutions are endless and in the right hands they are a powerful tool to design, innovate and inspire.
Very few actually realize that Blender 3D, a completely free alternative to Maya and the likes has been around for a really long time. This open source 3D CAD software is probably the most advanced free solution with a strong following and plenty of features and specs. It can be hard to use at times and isn’t the best at modifiers such as bend, twist etc. or undo stacks but it does plenty of tasks flawlessly. Oh! Not to mention full compatibility with Python script to modify and alter Blender functionality helps customize this CAD software.
2. Google Sketchup
Looking to create a quick mock-up? Google Sketchup isn’t your packed to the brim CAD software but is is astonishingly accurate in its virtual renderings considering that it’s a free download. Don’t expect mind numbing realism or animation but when processing power is a problem, SketchUp is the only 3D and 2D modeling software that will work fine. It may lack sophistication but it is definitely not short of ergonomics.
3. Sweet Home 3D
Unlike other free CAD software, Sweet Home 3D is exclusively designed for floor planning or interior designing. This free for all program can quickly and efficiently draw an image for each room, showing you real time 3D models of any 2D plan you craft. It lets you view the model from any view point and even improve or fine tune dimensions finishing off with a photorealistic image using customized lights and create a movie.
In a world of complicated CAD software, FreeCAD is an advanced motion simulating software that is excellent for anyone new to 3D world, motion simulators and in need to master more complicated CAD programs. It lets users create complicated assemblies and manipulate them plus the parts in 3D format with full analysis and manipulation of designs. It leads to realistic 3D designs.
5. Misfit Model 3D
OpenGL based CAD software that is predominantly used for 3D modeling, Misfit Model 3D is based on triangle models. It provides command line batch operation, skeletal animations, multi-level undos, simple texturing and lots more. If you want to make simple and effective 3D models but aren’t well versed in the world of 3D designing, Misfit Model 3D is a one stop solution. It lets users create perfect cubez, spheres and other figures.