Which CAD program affordable and useful for personal use?

Hi, I am using Solidworks over 2 years, from the work. I need to buy CAD for myself to use at home. I am just wondering if you guys know any good program with an affordable price?

1 Answer

From my experience the best value for money, a lot of CAD for the price for general mechanical design would be Alibre Design.


I purchased this product in 2012. I had been offered a contract to produce some production ready drawings and designs that was worth about $10,000 NZ dollars, I was not working due to having an issue to my health, and doing this project was a good way to start working again. Previous to my illness I had been using Solid Works which was what, from my experience, would be a perfect choice for this project. With a legal licensed copy of Solid Works worth way more than the job was worth, this was not practical. As this opportunity was exactly what I needed at the time, and to do this job well and efficiently I need software somewhat like Solid Works, parametric 3D modeling, good sheet-metal tools, being able to drive designs from equations, along with the finished outputted drawings to be to a high standard as well as being able to produce DXF files for laser cutting and turret punching. All of the things Solid Works does well, but for a much lower cost to purchase. I thought it would be impossible to find this " Mythical Software ". I had nothing else to do, so I started my search by asking google not expecting to find a 3D cad product as useful as Solid Works but for a small price. I found Alibre Design, from the website I download the 30 day demo and gave it a try. Within hours I was checking the price and purchasing this product. I have used this as my main software ever since. As this product was more than paying its way, up until I retired I had no hesitation paying the annual upgrade fee and have found the improvements worth the money. This software cost way less to purchase than the annual maintenance fee for Solid Works.

Have a look at the website, this product also comes with a license for Keyshot. I have even had better service from the local NZ reseller than I have ever experienced from AutoCad or the Solid Works reseller. I have had no issues with any part of this product. Once the hard drive on one of my laptops fell over and I needed to get my license reset, the local agent had this sorted very quickly. For much of the mechanical design and build work I have been involved with this is the best product I have ever used. I much better purchase than Solid Works or Inventor as in a matter of weeks it has generated more than enough income to pay for itself.

The product is much like using Solid Works or inventor with only a few slight differences. Some of these differences I find an advantage in some situations once I became familiar with them.