What is the best 3D CAD software for home use that wont break the bank?

I use solidworks and progeCAD at work. I would like to know if there is something closer to solidworks that is affordable and a one time buy instead of a monthly fee.

3 Answers

Fusion 360 has a Free version for Hobbyists. They just went through removing some higher end features from the program (5 axis milling is commonly pointed at), but the base version still has good functionally.

SolidWorks has a educational license for $99 a year that you can use for non commercial work. Hobbyist is listed under the acceptable users. Scratch that price, currently it's on "Back to school sale" for $89 (per year).

As for a one-time-buy, not really. they are all going to subscription based with no backwards capability (you need 2020 to open 2020 files and you'll need 2021 to open 2021 files). I'm sure you can find a Broke version of SolidWorks 2016 for free somewhere, but you won't be able to open anything newer then 2016 on it.

Other than that, there are other free software packages available. I personally don't think they are as user friendly. You just need to google search a few and see if they'd work for you.

The only professional opensource parasolid software I know.

This one is the best Alibre Design https://www.alibre.com/ Comes in 3 different versions. Alibre Expert is the top option and my copy of this product cost me around NZ$ $3K, the most basic version Alibre Atom is only a few hundred dollars. All versions come with perpetual license.