Several free CAD programmes are available online that can be downloaded for various mechanical engineering, product design, or other purposes. This article will list the best free 3D CAD programmes and platforms for you to use.

CAD software helps with different types of work, such as visualization, simulation, or 3D printing. People usually think that they need to spend a fortune to use these programs. Well, it may be true at some point, but not in all cases. There are many free CAD software programmes available for use.

The free CAD programs available for free can be either downloaded or used online. So, you can use them at your convenience. Apart from listing out the top free 3D CAD programs of 2022, we will also share some of their features, along with a few insights on how to choose the right one.

What is CAD?

CAD stands for Computer-Aided Design, which helps enhance the process of creating, optimizing, analyzing, or modifying a 3D design. CAD software is one of the best ways to bring your design ideas to life.

Designers, engineers, architects, and even animators use it to improve the quality of their designs. By employing CAD software, you can create and visualize different properties like distance, width, material, height, etc., to create a complete imaginary model.

3D CAD Software Programs Online (Web Based)

  • 3D Slash

    3D Slash

    3D Slash is a 3D modeling software for beginners. It's available for free (standard version) and can be accessed via a web browser or as downloaded software on a desktop, tablet, or mobile device. Has a similar modeling method as Minecraft. Also enables designs to be shared on social platforms or as 3D prints.

    Pricing plans

    • FREE:
      Access to web version, online storage, 8 standard full colors, 3D slash app with no export option, and export queue.
    • PREMIUM: Starts from $2/M or $24/Y
      Access to web version, online storage, high resolution work, all full colors, 3D slash app, seamless export.
    • SCHOOLS: Starts from $12/M
      Has every benefit from the premium plan. Additional inclusions are team management support, and education discount.
    • PROFESSIONALS: Starts from $20/M
      Includes every feature from the “schools” plan, except education discount.

    OS compatibility: Windows, Mac, Linux

  • BlocksCAD

    BlocksCAD

    BlocksCAD is a cloud-based and user-friendly 3D design software best suited for STEM learning. Helps students learn the basics of creating simple 3D CAD objects. Gives access to a library of designs created by others. Allows reviewing, rendering, and printing 3D designs.

    Price: $750 for 1-year educator license

    OS compatibility: Windows

  • SculptGL

    SculptGL

    SculptGL is a free web-based online CAD tool for basic 3D sculpting. Supports multiple import and export file formats. Allows easy undo and redo options. Best for sculpting, symmetries, painting 3D models, background edits, etc. Not recommended for fine detailing, hollowing, etc.

    Price: Free

    OS compatibility: Browser-based

  • Smoothie 3D

    Smoothie 3D

    Smoothie 3D is an online, browser-driven modeling software that’s ideal for converting 2D images into 3D models instantly. Can import in STL and OBJ formats and export in VRML2, STL, or OBJ formats. Allows sharing with 3D printing service providers like Shapeways, 3DHubs, etc.

    Price: Free on browser; $2.99 (one-time purchase) on iPad.

    OS compatibility: Windows, Mac

  • Clara.io

    Clara.io

    Clara.io is a free 3D CAD tool that’s used for basic-level 3D modeling. There are polygon modeling features to bevel, loop, cut, extrude, slice, etc., and UV mapping for texture maps. Supports cloud rendering, easy sharing, multi-user editing, scripting, and various plugins.

    Pricing plans:

    • BASIC: Free
      Cloud storage up to 2 GB, unlimited public shots, monthly rendering time up to 1 hour, and support through public forums, all for personal use only.
    • STANDARD: $10/M or $100/Y
      Cloud storage up to 10 GB, unlimited public and 50 private shots, 10 hours of monthly rendering time, and 30-day risk-free trial for personal use only.
    • SCHOOLS: $100/M or $1000/Y
      50 GB cloud storage, unlimited public and 200 private shots, 200 hours of monthly rendering time, and 30-day risk-free trial for personal use only.
    • ENTERPRISE: Custom prices
      Provides advanced and full-fledged services only for commercial purposes.

    OS compatibility: Any browser with its modern version

  • SelfCAD

    SelfCAD

    SelfCAD is a freemium online platform that helps beginners and professionals from sketching to printing 3D models. Assists with in-built tutorials and slicing tools for designing complex 3D objects at ease. Can be accessed online, offline, or both.

    Pricing plans:

    • FREE:
      Includes in-app STL slicer, various tools for drawing and sketching, tutorials, and direct file import and export.
    • SelfCAD PRO: $14.99/M or $139.99/Y | 10 days free-trial
      Tools for mesh modeling, sculpting, deformation, and 3D sketching come in addition to the free plan. Also supports image-to-3D conversion.
    • SelfCAD PERPETUAL LICENSE: $599/M | 10 days free-trial
      This is a lifetime access to the “pro” plan. All the features, from tutorials to 3D sketching, are included. Offers custom packages for business accounts.

    OS compatibility: Windows, Mac, Linux

  • Vectary

    Vectary

    Vectary has an innovative CAD tool interface and is supported for online use only. Facilitates collaboration and easy mesh adaptation with selections and sliders of parametric modeling. Best for amateurs and professionals.

    Pricing plans:

    • STARTER:
      Offers studio design mode for sharing and embedding HDR 3D files for up to 10 projects. Can import over 60 file types and export both 2D and 3D files with free branding.
    • PRO: $19/M or $15/M for a year
      As an upgrade to the basic plan, this offers animations, augmented reality, interactions, version history, unlimited projects, and allows exporting without watermarks.
    • BUSINESS: Custom
      Offers the pro plan with advanced onboarding support, infrastructure, collaborative facilities, and workspace-friendly features.

    OS compatibility: Windows, Mac

  • ImplicitCAD

    ImplicitCAD

    ImplicitCAD uses the Haskell programming language and pre-existing commands for 3D designing, avoiding the need to learn basic CAD tools. This open-source tool produces print ready 3D designsCan be operated on a web browser after installing it.

    Price: Free

    OS compatibility: Windows, Mac

  • LeoShape 3D

    Leopoly

    LeoShape 3D, created by Leopoly, is a free cloud-oriented online software that offers expert 3D tools for manufacturing solutions. Supported by AI, this tool offers direct modeling, advanced 3D scans, customized design, CAD, and 3D sculpting.

    Price: Free

    OS compatibility: Browser-based

  • JSCAD

    OpenJSCAD

    This 3D modeling platform combines JavaScript and OpenSCAD. You can create accurate 3D product models to print them. You need to define model features through script files’ parameters.

    Price: Free

    OS compatibility: Windows, Mac, Linux

Downloadable Free CAD Software Programs

  • 3dc.io

    3dc.io

    3DC.io is both web-based and installable software for 3D modeling and 3D printable designs. It’s the easiest tool that allows sharing files on multiple platforms and multi-device viewing. Has a built-in-collaboration feature and works best on mobile devices.

    Price: Free with in-app purchases

    OS compatibility: Windows, Mac, Android

  • TinkerCAD

    TinkerCAD

    TinkerCAD is a user-friendly web and mobile application that includes different pre-built designs for 3D customization. Allows easy navigation to the Fusion 360 software. Has a dedicated user community to share ideas and solutions. Best for students and beginners in 3D design.

    Price: Free

    OS compatibility: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS

  • SketchUp

    SketchUp

    SketchUp helps create layout functionalities and also uses different styles for surface rendering. The exchange repository is included in the free online software. Can download about 2.2 million models from 3D Warehouse on the online platform. Also available as a mobile application.

    PERSONAL USE:

    • SketchUp Free: Web-based 3D modeler and mobile viewer with 10 GB of cloud space.
    • 30-Day Free Trial: PC, iPad, and browser 3D modeler, with pre-built models.
    • COMMERCIAL USE:

      Try free trial for 30 days before buying any of the following plans.
    • SketchUp Go: $119/Y
      Gives AR mobile viewer, unlimited cloud space, and pre-built models for iPad and web editing.
    • SketchUp Pro: $299/Y
      Supports 2D designs, XR viewing, and plugins for desktop usage.
    • SketchUp Studio: $699/Y
      Helps create, import, and export real-time visuals and 360-degree shots on the web, iPad, or Windows desktop.

    Know the cost plans for individuals, schools, universities, or educators on their official site.

    OS compatibility: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS

  • eMachineShop

    eMachineShop

    eMachineShop is a free CAD tool that ensures easy 2D or 3D designing and instant 3D printing ordering for 3D parts. Sheet metal bending, chamfering, and other features are available. Suitable for beginners and professionals.

    Price: Free designing | Custom prices for 3D printing.

    OS compatibility: Windows, Mac

  • Sculptris

    Sculptris, released by Pixologic, is a free 3D software with an enriched sculpting toolset. Linked to Zbrush, it enables painting UV textures and creating complex designs through the modern clay concept.

    Price: Free trial for 14 days | $29.91/M or $359/Y

    OS compatibility: Windows, Mac

  • Edges

    Edges

    Edges is a free online application with many innovative features to design resource-efficient buildings for both commercial and personal uses. Allows guest users as well, but requires a Google account to export the final file.

    Price: Free

    OS compatibility: Browser-based

  • DraftSight

    DraftSight

    Draftsight allows the creation, editing, and viewing of projects in native DWG mode. This free CAD editor supports text, polylines, lines, dimensions, etc., to create plans with a professional appearance. Has a minimalist user interface.

    Pricing plans:

    • FREE: 30-day trial
      Offers studio design mode for sharing and embedding HDR 3D files for up to 10 projects. Can import over 60 file types and export both 2D and 3D files with free branding.
    • PROFESSIONAL: $157.46/Y
      Can use the complete editing, designing, and automation tools set to create and edit 2D files. Includes automated processes through API programs. Store files on the cloud.
    • PREMIUM: $559.28/Y
      Draft 2D designs and models, create prototypes, manufacture, make laser cuts, and print 3D designs with professional productivity tools.

    OS compatibility: Windows, Mac

  • FreeCAD

    FreeCAD

    FreeCAD is a free, flexible, and open-source parametric 3D modeling tool that’s primarily for mechanical engineers, architects, and production designers. Helps create meshes, 2D drafts, 3D solids, etc. Features like the right-hand coordinate system make it powerful.

    Price: Free

    OS compatibility: Windows, Mac, Linux

  • KiCAD

    KiCAD

    KiCAD is an open-source Printed Circuit Board (PCB) designing tool that’s best used for designing electronic hardware. Has a 3D viewer, PCB editor, footprint selector, schematic editor, and Gerber file viewer.

    Price: Free

    OS compatibility: Windows, Mac, Linux

  • QCAD

    QCAD

    QCAD open-source software supports only 2D CAD design. Can draw technical parts, mechanical components, diagrams, buildings, etc., using this modular, extensible, and portable software. Also includes a library of 4800+ CAD parts, different CAD fonts, blocks, and layers.

    Pricing plans:

    • FREE TRIAL VERSION
    • PROFESSIONAL (Download): Free trial for every 15 minutes | $39/Y
      Comes with updates for one whole year and allows only single users.
    • PROFESSIONAL (Download & DVD): $60/Y
      It’s a single-user license that comes with updates for a year as a download and a DVD.
    • PROFESSIONAL (Download & USB Drive): $60/Y
      It’s a single-user license that comes with updates for a year as a download and a flash drive with a minimum of 8 GB.
    • QCAD/CAM (Download): $107/Y
      Comes with updates for one whole year and allows only single users.
    • QCAD/CAM (Download & DVD): $122/Y
      It’s a single-user license that comes with updates for a year as a download and a DVD.

    OS compatibility: Windows, Mac

  • LibreCAD

    LibreCAD

    LibreCAD is one of the best free drawing and 2D CAD software that provides features like layer usage, inside drawing measurements, snap to grid, etc., to ensure hassle-free creation, editing, and printing of architectural plans. Can use this in 30+ languages.

    Price: Free

    OS compatibility: Windows, Mac, Linux

  • 3DCrafter

    3DCrafter

    3DCrafter helps create 3D model animation in real-time with features like drag and drop, sculpting, painting, etc. Has shape-building tools and 3D primitives for designing complex models. Offers a timeline feature for animation.

    Pricing plans:

    • 3DCrafter: Free
      Best for creating low-polygon or detailed 3D models for animations.
    • 3DCrafter PRO: $39.95 (lifetime subscription)
      Best for professionals to create high-quality modeling, animation, and photorealistic pictures with various plugins and advanced features.
  • Onshape

    Onshape

    Onshape is a cloud-native software and web app released by SolidWorks for more innovative and qualitative CAD modeling. Suitable on any device, simultaneous access to work teams, advanced simulation features, augmented reality and rendering options, etc., are its major benefits.

    Pricing plans:

    • FREE
      Standard version with data storage on public workspaces for non-commercial projects.
    • STANDARD: $1500/Y per person
      Standard version with data management and advanced CAD tools for commercial projects.
    • PROFESSIONAL: $2500/Y per person
      Same as the standard version, but with release management, simulation, PCB studio, bulk editing, and other features.
    • ENTERPRISE: Custom
      Full-fledged CAD editing software with top design, development, and exporting features.

    OS compatibility: Mac, ChromeOS, Linux, Android, iOS

  • nanoCAD22

    NanoCAD

    nanoCAD22 uses sophisticated tools for superior 2D CAD drafting and 3D modeling. This free software is a power-packed DWG editor and is supported by an open API and responsive technical assistance. Also helps customize software plans and platforms with individual modules.

    Pricing plans:

    • FREE TRIAL
    • PLATFORM: $200/Y (Workstation) | $249/Y (Network) for 1 license
      Advanced workspace for designing and enhancing 2D and 3D objects.
    • PRO: $319/Y (Workstation) | $369/Y (Network) for 1 license
      Includes the nanoCAD22 platform and a complete 3D solid modeling module set.
    • MECHANIA: $419/Y (Workstation) | $469/Y (Network) for 1 license
      Mechanical-based module set, along with the inclusions from the pro plan.
    • CONSTRUCTION: $315/Y (Workstation) | $359/Y (Network) for 1 license.
      Consists of the nanoCAD22 platform with an advanced module set for construction.

    OS compatibility: Windows

  • Blender

    Blender

    Blender helps model, rig, animate, simulate, render, add motion track and VFX, and perform compositing on 3D objects. This open-source software also supports video game creation and editing. Create, edit, and share high-quality 3D models for free with this application.

    Price: Free

    OS compatibility: Windows, Mac, Linux

  • OpenSCAD

    OpenSCAD

    OpenSCAD is purely based on programming scripts that explain a 3D model’s dimensions, interaction, and rendering process. Useful for producing print-ready, solid 3D CAD models of open-source hardware. Every model’s properties and mechanical dimensions are focused more.

    Price: Free

    OS compatibility: Windows, Mac, POSIX

  • SolveSpace

    SolveSpace

    SolveSpace is known to be a parametric 3D CAD software. Best suited for modeling 3D parts for printing, preparing CAM data, designing mechanisms, and using solid or plane geometry. Helps build, analyze, and sketch solid models, especially for product engineering.

    Price: Free

    OS compatibility: Windows, Mac, Linux

  • Meshmixer

    Meshmixer

    Meshmixer 3.5 is the latest version of this 3D CAD tool, released by Autodesk. Helps work with triangle meshes. Suitable to create precise 3D positioning through pivots, designing error-free objects to fit another shape, and running 3D scans.

    Price: Free

    OS compatibility: Windows

  • DesignSpark Mechanical

    DesignSpark Mechanical innovatively allows 3D product engineering. This 3D CAD modeler supports rapid prototyping and instant reverse engineering. Unlike in other software, one can change the designs frequently and unlimitedly.

    Price: Free with in-app purchases

    OS compatibility: Windows

  • MeshLab

    MeshLab

    MeshLab can process and edit, clean, heal, inspect, render, and convert unstructured large meshes in 3D. This open-source CAD modeler also helps process digitized raw 3D models. Can also convert models into printable formats in simple steps.

    Price: Free with in-app purchases

    OS compatibility: Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS

  • K-3D

    K-3D

    K-3D is the best solution for artistic 3D modeling and animation. Offers flexible 3D CAD plugins, and a visualization pipeline for each function. Other major features include various selection flows, advanced reverse and undo options, flexible workflows, and an interactive and easy UI.

    Price: Free

    OS compatibility: Windows, Mac

  • 3D Builder

    3D Builder

    Microsoft 3D Builder can be used on desktops, Xbox One, HoloLens, and mobile devices. Helps convert a photo from a webcam in to a 3D model. Can also download online editable and printable CAD models for free. Comes with built-in modern Windows versions.

    Price: Free

    OS compatibility: Windows

  • MagicaVoxel

    MagicaVoxel is a free CAD program with an intuitive user interface. olor palettes can be custom-defined or loaded. The render settings do work perfectly. Patterns and brushes consisting of voxels are pre-defined. Includes an advanced integrated renderer for top-notch animation.

    Price: Free

    OS compatibility: Windows, Mac

  • Wings 3D

    Wings 3D is built-in with modern modeling tools, AutoUV mapping system, 3D model library, and customizable UI. Suitable for both beginners and professionals as the software has powerful tools and an easy workflow.

    Price: Free

    OS compatibility: Windows, Mac, Linux

  • Art of Illusion

    Art of Illusion is a free 3D CAD modeler and renderer that offers ease of use and industry-grade tools. Can engage in subdivision surface-based modeling, carry out animation with skeletons, and create materials or procedural textures with graphical language.

    Price: Free

    OS compatibility: Windows, Mac, Linux, Unix

  • LeoCAD

    LeoCAD

    LeoCAD has modern CAD tools that help build virtual designs with LEGO bricks. Supports LDR and MPD files for using downloaded 3D models. Models with many parts can be easily built. Users can also contribute new and more advanced features to the software. Feasible for kids too.

    Price: Free

    OS compatibility: Windows, Mac, Linux

  • BRL-CAD

    BRL-CAD

    BRL-CAD is an interactive open-source 3D CAD modeler with geometry model libraries and cross-platform compatibility. Users can interactively edit geometry, analyze system performance, ray trace in high quality for rendering, and perform high-end product engineering tasks.

    Price: Free

    OS compatibility: Windows, Mac, Linux, Solaris, BSD

  • Calculix

    Calculix

    Calculix helps design, measure, and post-process finite element models through interactive 3D techniques. Uses external CAD interfaces and Abaqus-like input format to provide field problems. This is open-source software also includes CCX and CGX.

    Price: Free

    OS compatibility: Windows, Linux, Irix

  • Salome

    Salome

    Salome can be used for numerical and physics-related simulations with pre and post-processing solutions. This free architecture software carries out CAD functions through Sharper with a graphical interface. Ensures easy creation of multi-dimensional mechanical parts.

    Price: Free

    OS compatibility: Windows, Linux, Fedora, Ubuntu, CentOS, Debian

  • Sweet Home 3D

    Sweet Home 3D

    Sweet Home 3D can digitally create or remodel home interiors through user-friendly technology, either online or offline. Allows simultaneous 2D and 3D viewing of objects, virtual furniture placements, color corrections, etc. Also exports in various ready-to-print formats like PDFs, videos, bitmaps, etc.

    Price: Free

    OS compatibility: Windows, Mac, Linux, Solaris

  • Open Cascade Technology

    Open Cascade

    Open Cascade Technology is a feature-rich software in CAM/CAD/CAE that speeds up professional 3D model development. Has powerful development tools and reusable object libraries in C++ for users. Also offers specialized 3D creation and rendering.

    Pricing plans for end-users:
    • CADRays: Free
      Professional 3D rendering application with mesh support and an interactive interface.
    • CAD ASSISTANT: Free
      Supports offline 3D viewing and conversion through an open-source platform.
    • CAD BUILDER: Free
      Best for modeling parametrical 3D objects, and creating multidimensional models. Also supports edits through Python scripts.
    • CAD PROCESSOR: 30 days free trial | Custom price (full version)
      Simplifies assembling, repairing, enhancing, and exporting CAD parts through advanced tools.
    • ASSET REVAMPING: Custom price (full version)
      Helps create realistic 3D models of machinery and pipelines for their easy inspection, and maintenance in a factory or company.
    • DMU REVIEWER: 30 days free trial | Custom price (full version)
      Assists in analyzing the measurement, appeal, navigation, etc., of machinery 3D models to discuss their upgrades with the team.

    OS compatibility: Windows, Mac, Arch Linux, Ubuntu, Fedora, CentOS, Debian, Android, iOS

  • VariCAD

    VariCAD

    VariCAD is the ideal 2D and 3D CAD program for modeling mechanical engineering objects. Offers support for geometric constraints, parameters, shells’ tools, sheet metal unbending, assembly support, crash testing, etc. Also has symbol and mechanical part libraries, and calculation modules.

    Pricing plans:

    • TRIAL VERSION: 30-day free license
      Includes every feature from the software, but for a limited time.
    • ONE YEAR LICENSE: $850 (one-time purchase)
      Supports only a single user to use its various advanced features.
    • ONE YEAR UPGRADE: $270 (one-time purchase)
      Can access all software updates in English within the next one year from the date of purchase.
    • VARICAD ONLINE TRAINING: $60 (one-time purchase)
      It’s a one-hour individual training module in English. Pre-requisites are VariCAD license or trial version, Skype, and TeamViewer.

    OS compatibility: Windows, Linux

  • Varkon

    Varkon helps draft 2D and 3D models, along with parametric visualizations. This free CAD software offers geometric and sculptured surface modeling, standard library with 350+ procedures, object-oriented database, rendering with OpenGL, etc. Supports DXF, STL, IGES, and PLT file formats.

    Price: Free

    OS compatibility: Windows, Linux, BSD

  • Archimedes

    archimedes

    Archimedes is an open-source CAD program that’s the best choice for every architectural design need. Includes many built-in plugins, thin core, and an extensible platform. Also helps reuse and recover data easily.

    Price: Free

    OS compatibility: Windows, Mac, Linux with the Java Virtual Machine

  • Misfit Model 3D

    Misfit Model 3D

    Misfit Model 3D is an efficient OpenGL-based 3D editing software that’s apt for working with triangle-based models. Other advantages include multi-level undo, skeletal animation, scripting, texture mapping, batch processing, and plugins for adding new models.

    Price: Free

    OS compatibility: Windows, Mac, Linux, FreeBSD

  • Related Article :Top 3D Modeling Programs You Must Know in 2023 (Free & Paid)

How to Select the Best CAD Software for Your Needs?

Since there is a long list of free CAD software available online, choosing the right one can be a little confusing. However, we have collected some of the best tips to help you out.

  • Choosing software based on your experience

    Every program requires a certain level of expertise. If you’re a beginner, try to use software that has a simple interface and few features. If you’re an intermediate or professional, you can choose a program with a complicated interface and a variety of advanced features.

  • Go through all the features of the software

    Select the software that offers features suitable for your 3D project. For instance, a person working in the architectural sector will have different requirements than someone working in the fashion industry.

    Select the software that offers features suitable for your 3D project. For instance, a person working in the architectural sector will have different requirements than someone working in the fashion industry.

    So, choose according to your requirements.

  • Considering your budget

    Finance is also an important criterion in the process of choosing the best CAD software. Even though we have discussed some of the best free CAD software here, remember that their usage might be limited to some extent. Hardly any software will allow you to access all the features for free.

    That is why, while choosing the software, make sure to consider both the free and paid features along with its cost.

  • Compatibility of the software with your company’s existing system

    The compatibility factor is often ignored by people. However, you must consider it before finalizing the software. Consider the workstation it needs to run on, the licensing model, whether it allows remote access or not, etc., to avoid finding out later that the program isn’t compatible. This helps save money and time.

Concluding Thoughts

Now that you have a good understanding of various CAD design software, make sure you choose one that allows you to easily meet your business requirements.

For smaller projects, you can rely on these tools and do it yourself. However, to accomplish the goals of your expanded business, it’s best to outsource 3D modeling services.

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A seasoned 3D professional with a creative focused, and a knack for diverse 3D designs, software and the technology. She's associated with ThePro3DStudio for long enough to prove her mettle and make every 3D projects successful. When she’s not busy working for a new project, she shares valuable insights from her own experience.