There is a lot of CAD programs available on the market and you might be a bit lost. In order to make the best choice possible, you will have to ask yourself the good questions. You can find programs for every level of experience. Are you a beginner, intermediate or advanced user?
Some software can really be difficult to use, with a lot of different features and complex interface. Even when it comes to free CAD software, you can find really complex and technical programs.
The Best 3D CAD software tools
Your level of expertise will be the first criteria you will need to take into account while choosing your 3D program! In this blog post we are going to make a selection of 3D software classified by the level of experience needed to use it: for beginners or for experienced users!
If there is software for all levels of experience, there is also software for all different industries. From the medical sector to architecture and fashion, you can now find dedicated software for all sectors.
Indeed, each of these sectors has specified programs. Most of the time, software targeting a specific sector aren’t free. However, you will be able to find a free 3D modeling software with all the specific features you need for your 3D project.
Indeed a lot of other parameters can be taken into account: Do you need parametric or direct modeling software?
Best Industrial CAD Software
Best CAD Software for professionals or skilled users
A parametric modeler allows users to modify easily a design and navigate through the model history.
Would you prefer to use cloud-based software? Cloud storage could be a perfect choice if you need to improve your data management, and it is avoiding to deal with complex CAD packages.
You will have a lot of criteria to consider while choosing your CAD programs.
We are going to give you a hand with your choice, we made a selection of the best free CAD programs actually available on the market. 3D modeling software could be useful for your company for diverse applications.
It can be used by engineers or designers, and even by amateurs.
The Best Free CAD Software
It is becoming a convenient and essential tool to work on designs, prototypes, or to produce 3D printed parts. You can use it to 3D model your parts in order to 3D print them, or just for the visualization of your projects.
Do you need toimprove your design processor want toelaborate industrial designs? These kinds of programs are particularly convenient if you are looking for a new prototyping process.
Indeed, prototyping is becoming quite simple while using 3D modeling software and additive manufacturing. You can do many iterations at a lower cost, and you just have to modify your CAD model if you need to change something.
3D modeling software could also be a good solution to get a better visualization of your project or to improve your product design.
Advantages of CAD Software
From technical drawings to advanced 3D models for mechanical engineering, everything is possible if you choose the right CAD tool.
We know that there is necessarily a software on the market that will fit your needs, and it may be an open-source software! Product engineers are designing, developing, and taking products to market at a dizzying rate today, and that’s due in part to the advancements in software tools over the past few years.
3D CAD modeling tools especially have been beneficial to increasing the speed with which product engineers can generate models for tooling, prototyping, patenting, marketing, and manufacturing. Of course, product engineers can be more productive only when they have the right type of 3D CAD modeling software tools, and that’s why we’ve rounded up 50 of the top tools available today.Our picks are based on product engineer reviews, product engineering blogs and forums, and other publications from experts in the field.
We also chose 3D CAD modeling software tools that have the most useful features.
BlocksCAD – Best CAD Software for Educators
Some of our picks are best suited for visualization and quick ideation and rendering, while others are useful for freeform surface modeling.
Our top 3D CAD modeling software tools also range in price and capability because our goal is to help you find exactly those tools that will fit your budget and your product engineering needs so you can work more efficiently and stay one step ahead of the competition.
Please note, we have listed our top 50 3D CAD modeling software tools here, in no particular order.1.
Check all the specific features you need
[email protected] helps product engineers develop the best products for life. A browser-based 3D CAD modeling tool that is appropriate for nearly any skill level, Tinkercad suits product engineering students and seasoned professionals.
Many product engineers also turn to Tinkercad when they need a 3D printing solution.Key Features:. 3D design and modeling tool for all. Part of the 123D family of free apps. Complete designs and models in mere minutes.
Click-to-3D print. [email protected] 3D CAD software is available in three editions to ensure product engineers have the functionality needed to hasten the design process and be as productive as possible.
All three editions have 3D design capabilities, but SOLIDWORKS Professional and SOLIDWORKS Premium are built for collaboration with powerful design and modeling features.Key Features:.
- SOLIDWORKS Standard – Powerful 3D design for rapidly creating parts, assemblies, and 2D drawings.
- SOLIDWORKS Professional – File management tools, advanced photorealistic rendering, automated cost estimation, eDrawings Professional collaboration capabilities, automated design and drawing checking, and more.
SOLIDWORKS Premium – Comprehensive 3D design solution with powerful simulation and design validation in addition to ECAD/MCAD collaboration, reverse engineering, and advanced wire and pipe routing functionality.
TinkerCAD – Best CAD software for beginners and kids
Cost: Contact for a quote3. [email protected] offers some of the most popular 3D design, engineering, and entertainment software and services available today.
Their AutoCAD software is a powerful 3D CAD tool that enables product engineers to design every detail and work with TrustedDWG technology, collaborate across desktop, cloud, and mobile, and access the AutoCAD mobile app for working on the go.Key Features:.
- Innovative 3D design for creating and communicating almost any design with 3D modeling and visualization tools.
- Customize AutoCAD to increase productivity and enforce CAD standards.
- Share and use data from PDF and DGN files, Navisworks, Bing Maps, and the AutoCAD mobile app.
- PDF import enhancements, external file references, object selection, text to Mtext enhancements, and more.
- Cost: FREE trial available for 30 days.
AutoCAD Subscription$185/month$1,470/1 year$2,795/2 years$3,970/3 years. FreeCADAn open source software tool, FreeCAD is specifically designed for mechanical engineering and product design.
FreeCAD is a parametric 3D CAD modeler appropriate for designing real-life objects of any size and includes tools similar to SOLIDWORKS.
FreeCAD — One of the best free CAD software
FreeCAD is open-source and multi-platform and reads and writes several open file formats including STEP, IGES, STL, SVG, DXF, LBJ, IFC, DAE, and others.Key Features:.
Parametric modeling for easily modifying designs by going back into model history and changing parameters. Highly customizable, scriptable, and extensible. Appropriate for experienced CAD users who identify with the tools and workflow that are similar to other commercial CAD and BIM modeling software.
TurboCAD 2016 DeluxeTurboCAD 2016 Deluxe is a complete, powerful 2D/3D CAD software tool with tools for drawing, modifying, dimensioning, and annotating.
Product engineers appreciate the materials, lighting, and photorealistic rendering offered by TurboCAD 2016 Deluxe and the fact that they easily can share their work with AutoCAD and SketchUP or print in 3D.Key Features:.
Fusion 360 — great engineering CAD software
Easy to learn and use. Complete 2D drafting and 3D modeling in one software tool. Customizable UI, time-saving wizards, XREF support, and more.
Mechanical tools tailored to engineers such as 2D/3D Boolean operations, revolve, extrude, sweeps, and chain polyline. Improved mirror copy tool for 3D objects.
Slot tools, improved conceptual selector, new highlighting of 3D objects and parts of 3D objects, and much more.
Cost: Electronic download – $129.996.
Rhino 6 — one of the best CAD software, and often used as a jewelry CAD software
Creo Parametric 3D Modeling [email protected] brings technology solutions and leadership to the Internet of Things, and their 3D CAD tool is ideal for innovative product development. Creo Parametric 3D is a product engineering software tool that improves quality and speeds time-to-market because it enables users to efficiently build 3D virtual prototypes of products and automates the product development process.Key Features:.
Unique blend of parametric and direct modeling with product design apps that are interoperable.
- Seamless integration of technology for greater productivity and innovation.
- Easily capture design intent and build models that change as you change the parameters of their features.
- Freely create and interact with 3D CAD geometry to quickly see the results of your engineering decisions.
- Intuitive, flexible editing environment that is suited to beginners through experts.
Cost: FREE trial available; Contact for a quote7. [email protected] leading provider of innovative design collaboration solutions, IronCAD delivers productivity and design freedom with their software tools.
- Their product engineering software solution aids in designing more quickly and easily because of its intuitive solution that empowers engineers to increase productivity and collaborate throughout the enterprise.Key Features:.
- Intuitive platform that mirrors interaction with the physical world.
- Easily reposition components with the patented TriBall visualization tool.
- Complete 3D design program that allows engineers to choose from parametric, direct, or a combination of modalities on demand in a single environment.
- Freely explore design ideas and create models dynamically onscreen without needing to plan and map out concepts in advance.
Use one tool to manage the entire design process from concept to production. 3D models only require one file, regardless of complexity.
Cost: FREE trial available; Contact for a quote8.
Moment of InspirationMoment of Inspiration is a 3D modeling tool for designers, artists, and engineers that features an intuitive user interface that blends a fluid workflow with powerful tools.
Revit — best architectural CAD software
MoI is less complex than other CAD tools yet includes a CAD toolset and advanced boolean functions for rapid creation of mechanical or man-made hard surface models.Key Features:. For Windows and Mac.
Unique polygon mesh export generates exceptionally clean and crisp N-Gon polygon meshes from CAD NURBS models.
New options for extrude, extrude to point, and extrude tapered. New NSided hole filling command. [email protected] product engineers who enjoy the freedom of working on a tablet, Shapr3D is an ideal solution for use on an iPad Pro.
The first professional 3D CAD for iPad Pro, Shapr3D is easy to learn and use yet powerful enough for product engineers to draw shapes and transform them using just their tablet, and Apple Pencil, and the app.Key Features:.
- Draw shapes and transform them; then, use freeform surfacing, sketch on faces, and chamfer edges in seconds.
- Designed specifically for the iPad Pro.
- Sketch as you would on paper but get instant results in 3D.
Compatible with all major CAD software including SOLIDWORKS, AutoCAD, Fusion360, Rhino3D, CATIA, and Inventor.
Precise sketches and models perfectly measured in mm, cm, m, inches, and feet. Supports transformations and features such as union, loft, hollow, offset, revolve, section, subtract, sweep, and freeform.
FREE – Ideal for 3D printing. Pro: $8.25/month paid annually – Ideal for professional users. Fusion [email protected] cloud-powered 3D CAD software tool for product engineers, Fusion 360 is a 3D CAD, CAM, and CAE tool in a league of its own.
Blender — Most powerful free 3D CAD software
Fusion 360 connects the entire product development process in a single cloud-based platform that works on Macs and PCs.Key Features:. Design, test, and fabricate in a single tool. Work anywhere, any time.
Collaborate with anyone. Quickly iterate with sculpting tools to explore form and modeling tools to create finishing features. Test fit and motion, perform simulations, create assemblies, make photorealistic renderings, and animations while you engineer and simulate with Fusion 360.
Collaborate and manage – Create tool paths to machine your components or use the 3D printing workflow to create a prototype. Cost: FREE trial available.
Standard Annual Plan: $300/year – Subscription services, design, documentation, data management and collaboration, accessibility, simulation, and manufacturing features.
- Ultimate Annual Plan: $1,500/year – All standard plan features plus advanced simulation and advanced manufacturing.
- [email protected] is a reliable, affordable 3D CAD software tool for designers and engineers.
- This product engineering tool features familiar .dwg CAD features and saves time with powerful tools and 3D direct modeling features.Key Features:.
- Familiar 2D and 3D interface.
Feature-rich combination of 2D drawing and 3D modeling. Available in three editions: BricsCAD Classic, BricsCAD Pro, and BricsCAD Platinum. BricsCAD Classic: $550 or $750 with priority support and major upgrade.
BricsCAD Pro: $680 or $880 with priority support and major upgrade.
Houdini – Best CAD Software for Simulations
BricsCAD Platinum: $1,020 or $1,220 with priority support and major upgrade. OpenSCADA 3D CAD software tool for creating solid 3D CAD models, OpenSCAD is free and available for Linux/UNIX, Windows, and Mac OS X users.
OpenSCAD focuses on CAD for creating 3D models and gives product engineers control over the modeling process because the tool is similar to a 3D compiler that reads script files and renders 3D models from files rather than being an interactive modeler.Key Features:. Gives engineers full control over the modeling process and allows for easily changing any step in the modeling process or making designs defined by configurable parameters.