Actual free 3D Cad Programs

Onshape vs Fusion 360??? What free online cad programs do you like? I'm on a Mac....so it's tough finding compatible cad software. I'm retired.....I'm just re-drawing some old drawings and working on small designs.

Free = no 30 trials.

Thanks
Mark

Answer
 
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6 Answers

i like Onshape, also people sharing their work is plus being there.

 
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Hi Mark Scanlon,

If you are up for Free cad software, and provided if you are not doing any commercial activities with the help of design softwares then you can download
Autodesk products
1. INVENTOR
2. Fusion 360

you can register and get license for 3 yrs for free student version

then utilise it for learning purpose
https://www.autodesk.com/education/free-software/featured

Regards,
Dhanasekar V
DHANASEKAR VINAYAGAMOORTHY

 
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Agreed with Shaikh, I would rather use Onshape because I find the UI/UX easier than Fusion.
I have mainly used Solidworks through college/work so I have a somewhat biased opinion towards onshape.

It seems like both would suffice for what you are looking to do, have you used either in the past? If nothing is going to be over complicated or intricate I believe the most important aspect would be how well you enjoy using each program.

 
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The only other useful totally free CAD that is useful is the 2D Draftsight, which is handy for dealing with 2D profiles like when processing DXF files for laser / turret punch programs. 3D options such as the open source Freecad (windows linux and Mac versions ) though showing a bit of promise, are not ready for production use. When I required a CAD package to produce manufacturing drawings and profiles for laser cutting and turret punching and not wanting to go back into the stone age and use 2D CAD none of the free offerings were up to the task, I came across this product : https://www.alibre.com/ . This product was significantly cheaper than Solid Works, Solid Edge, or Inventor but had all the functionality required to be useful for my task. The things missing, surfacing, simulation / analysis, motion, I did not require to perform this task, as I was dealing with equipment made from laser cut parts, rolled and folded, or punched from sheets in a turret punch, this product had all I needed. To keep the software cost to the absolute minimum, I purchased the version with only the basic sheet metal tools at first, upgrading to the full sheet metal after having generated a bit of income from the product. With good tools for equation driven designs setting up efficient systems to produce a range of two types of fans has been as simple as the same task using Solid Works, with the added bonus of Keyshot bundled with it, included in the price.

Most of the work I have been employed to perform, over forty odd years in this industry, has been designing and building of machines and equipment made from a variety of off the shelf steel sections, pressed plates and sheets and machined parts an area this product is most suitable for, most of the companies I have worked for in the past could have purchased this product at about 1/6 th the price of Inventor or Solid Works. If your work involved large amounts of molding the lack of surfacing would be a nuisance.

With the time and effort required to develop a useful 3D CAD, someone producing a good useful free version is not that likely. though I see how Freecad is going from time to time. For productive work in the present free, is not an option, the best we can hope for is value for money, for student use Inventor or one of the web based offerings at least give the opportunity to get some CAD practice in, but I can't see there being a free, useful 3D CAD, that you can use commercially, being available.

 
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A Mac is not a limitation if you run a virtual machine (Windows or Linux) for the program you plan to use. Unless you are doing something very CPU or RAM based like analysis or rendering, I doubt you'd notice any performance issue.

 
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