Free CAD tools for the designer savvy: alternatives

May 12, 2007 § 1 Comment

free cad sketchIt’s a pity amateur designers that love to design mechanical or industrial stuff don’t really have a tool to rely upon for their personal use. Or students don’t really have many options when it comes to a fully functional CAD software. They always have to pay for a software that they want to learn so future employers buy new licenses of the software for them to work on and it’s a shame, really.

I am one of those passionate to design stuff myself but haven’t the money to pay some hundred to some thousands of dollars to spend on CAD software. So I must rely on open-source (as long as this is possible) or free software (which is not open-source thus whether a crippled version of a commercial CAD package or a CAD wannabe software that can barely be called CAD).

Anyway since Alibre has released the Alibre Xpress version of it’s Alibre Design flagship product I started to feel better. Moreover, as I was among that million first users that have registered before the software was released, I had the chance to download a middle version between Alibre Design and Alibre Xpress, one that doesn’t lack that many features as the Xpress version.

I have read on the internet that Bentley released a student free licence for their MicroStation PowerDraft but was unable to test it. I downloaded it from www.becareers.org but even if I wasn’t prompted with any licence key for the free version I was requested one after installing the product so not having one I was left with a 15 min trial. So I uninstalled it.

Another option comes from www.cad-schroer.com . Their Medusa CAD package is offered without any modification for personal use. As I have read it was very promising some years back but didn’t catch up. From the flash demo I’ve seen a new approach to parametric modeling, something very interesting and very unusual. But fast. I was reading that none of its competitors were able to create models as fast as it at its time.

There is also BLR-CAD which is open-source but I wasn’t able to get it working on my windows machine. Anyway it could be a great alternative.

I will try to learn these two CAD software packages and together with my Blender3d I will try to design my projects. If you have any experience with any of these 2 CAD packages or know another CAD creator that has a free for personal use licence I would be glad to find out and hear your thoughts.

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