30 Best CAD Application

computer-aided design

Computer-Aided Design as known as CAD is the use of computer technology to assist in engineering design. Engineers or designers use computers to generate and compute a design and study.

CAD technology is widely used in a variety of industry such as such as manufacturing, architecture, engineering, aerospace, automotive, fashion,…etc. Many CAD applications also are able to do an advanced engineering in numerical simulation such as finite element analysis, motion study, computer fluid dynamics, thermal analysis, …etc.

CAD software is a part of engineering tools. So, here is a shortlist of 30 CAD applications with the basic use and particularity of the software, which are:

  1. Autodesk AutoCAD
  2. TurboCAD
  3. LibreCAD
  4. Open SCAD
  5. Autodesk Inventor
  6. Autodesk Fusion360
  7. Solidworks
  8. Catia
  9. Siemens NX
  10. Siemens Solid Edge
  11. Siemens Parasolid
  12. TopSolid
  13. SpaceClaim
  14. PTC Creo
  15. Onshape
  16. FreeCAD
  17. Salome
  18. Geomagic DesignX
  19. Autodesk Revit
  20. Autodesk BIM 360
  21. ArchiCAD
  22. Tekla
  23. Vectorworks Architect
  24. Allplan
  25. DataCAD
  26. KiCAD
  27. Upverter
  28. CircuitMaker
  29. ProfiCAD
  30. Etap


AutoCAD is part of Autodesk products. In the beginning, AutoCAD is a 2D CAD-based software that allows engineers to create technical drawings, drafts, floorplan, and blueprints. Nowadays, it is still popular with its powerful tools for 2D drafting with the standard extension files dwg files which stand as drawing, mostly used in CAD. Moreover, we can create a 3D model in AutoCAD.

AutoCAD is available as a desktop application on Windows and Mac, and as a mobile application on Android and iOs.

turbocad computer-aided design

Similar to AutoCADTurboCAD, especially TurboCAD Designer is a 2D CAD-Based software. Really powerful with its variety of tools of drafting. It is marketed by IMSI/Design. There are any other TurboCAD product for 3D design.

TurboCAD is available as a desktop application on Windows and Mac.

librecad computer-aided design

Similar to AutoCAD and TurboCAD, LibreCAD is a 2D CAD-Based software. It is a free Open-Source application.

LibreCAD is available as a desktop application on Windows, Linux, and Mac.


OpensCAD is a 3D modelling software totally different from AutoCAD or TurboCAD or LibreCAD. Instead of an interactive graphic interface, you will create a design by programming. One of the key advantages of OpensCAD is the ability of creating a very complex design using parametric design, a method that allows user to play with mathematical expression rather than manually adjusting geometry.

OpensCAD is available as a desktop application on Windows, Linux, and Mac.

Inventor is part of Autodesk products. It is one of the most popular, versatile, and powerful 3D CAD applications for creating mechanical designs, simulation, and prototyping. It can provide a very details technical drawing.

Inventor is available as a desktop application on Windows and Mac with a variety of versions including basic level, ultimate, and professional options.

Like Inventor, fusion360 is part of Autodesk products. It is a 3D CAD, CAM, and CAE software. One of its particularities is the existence of data management capabilities for team. Furthermore, Fusion360 is one of the best software for reverse engineering.

Inventor is a cloud-based application on Windows and Mac available in Free and Paid versions.

Like Inventor and fusion360, Solidworks is a powerful 3D CAD software. It is marketed by the Dassault system. Knowledge of Solidworks is one of the most demanded skills, especially for Junior Designer. One particularity of Solidworks is the wide range of add-ins that covers almost all industries such as Solidworks Electrical, Solidworks Plastic, Solidworks PCB, Solidworks Composer, Solidworks simulation, …etc. There are a lot of Solidworks contributors also who provide Add-ins to simplify work using the application. For example,  Power Surfacing for reverse engineering, SolidSteel for structural design, …etc.

Solidworks is a desktop application on Windows. There are a lot of version you can choose including premium, professional, an standard version. You can test it for free. You can see a guide here


Like Inventorfusion360, and Solidworks, Catia is a powerful 3D CAD software. CATIA stands for Computer-Aided Three Interactive Application by the Dassault system. Catia is commonly used in automotive with its powerful Class A surface tool. Besides, it is a very good application for Reverse Engineering.

Catia is a desktop application on Windows. But you can use Both Solidworks, and Catia in 3D experience with other Dassault system products. It can be accessible on-Cloud once you have internet and a browser.

Like Inventor and SolidworksNX is one of the best versatile 3D CAD. NX, formerly known as Unigraphics NX or Next Generation Design is part of Siemens Product. It is often used in Aerospace and automotive because of its powerful surface tools. NX also has very good features for 3D design and transformation that rarely does it exist in other 3D software.

You can only use NX on windows

Like NX, Solid Edge is a very good 3D CAD Software. It is part of Siemens Product. It has advanced tools for 3D modeling and user friendly. As a Siemens Product, Solid Edge is widely used in mechanical engineering and machine design.

You can install Solid Edge on Windows.


Like NX and Solid Edge , Parasolid is a 3D CAD Application. Nowadays, it is also part of Siemens Products. It is a kernel-based application. Parasolid is integrated by more than 130 software vendors with its extension files x_t and x_b data format. Parasolid can handle complex and large models with high precision.

Parasolid is a windows desktop application.


TopSolid is one of a famous CAD, CAM and CAE product. Personally, it is the first 3D CAD I have used 15 years ago. It is very good for mechanical design and machine design with the advanced tools of motion study.

Top Solid is available as a desktop application on Windows.

Ansys Spaceclaim is a 3D modelling software by ANSYS. It is a 3D CAD software with a direct modeling style. You can design something simple to a complex range, ready for numerical study.

SpaceClaim is only available on Windows.

Similar to Inventor and Solidworks, PTC Creo is a powerful CAD software. It is commonly used in 3D modeling with its 3D features for machine design, furniture, and mechanical parts. Designers and engineers often use Creo for mold design.

PTC Creo is available on Windows.

Onshape is a Cloud-native based application for CAD and PDM. It is part of PTC program. As long as you have internet connection and browser, you will have access to Onshape for free.

Moreover, you can use Onshape with its mobile app for Android and iOS. And it is user-friendly.

freecad cad

FreeCAD is one of the most use parametric modeling software. The main reason why many people use FreeCAD is that it is a free Application. You can use FreeCAD for industrial as well as Architectural design, BIM, and even Basic FEA and CFD.

It is a free open-source application available on windows, linux and Mac.

Like FreeCAD, Salome is free 3D CAD software and free. Salome goes deeper in engineering especially in FEA, structural mechanic, and CFD.

It is a free open-source application available on windows, Linux

Geomagic Design X is one of the special applications for reverse engineering like CATIA and fusion360. It is a very powerful and optimized application for reverse engineering by turning mesh files into used CAD files.

It is a desktop based application available on windows.

Revit is part of Autodesk products. It is Building Information Modeling stands for BIM. And it is part of CAD application for building, Architecture, HVAC, …etc

Revit is available as a desktop application on Windows

Like Revit, BIM360 is part of Autodesk products. It is a BIM application mostly used in building

BIM360 is a cloud-based application.

Like Revit, Archicad is one of the most popular and powerful BIM applications. It is a Graphisoft product that allows users to get the best product rendering powered by Graphisoft.

This application is available on windows.

Like Revit and Archicad, Tekla is one of the most popular BIM applications. It is a 3D CAD application. You can use it to model buildings and structures.

Tekla is available as desktop application on windows.

Vectorworks is one of CAD application that has powerful features. Vectorworks Architect is the ultimate software from sketch to BIM. There are other Vectorworks applications very useful that you can use and try to improve your works quality.

This application is available on windows.

Like Revit, Archicad and Vectorworks Architect, Allplan is one of the most used application for BIM. There are a lot of features including Architecture, Structural engineering and MEP.

This application is available on windows.


Like Revit, Archicad and Vectorworks Architect, you can try also DataCAD for your BIM project. Compared to professional BIM software, dataCAD is cheaper.

This application is available on windows.

For industrial engineer especially those who work and do electronic design, KiCAD is one of the best tools for PCB design. It is similar to Solidworks PCB.

This application is available on windows, Linux and Mac.

Like KiCAD, Upverter is a CAD application to help with electronics design and IoT. It is user-friendly with a lot of existing templates and a modular workspace. Furthermore, the drag-and-drop design method makes the work easy and quick.

This application is available on windows.

Like KiCAD and Upverter, Circuit Maker is a CAD application for PCB design.

This application is available on windows for free.

If you need to draw an electrical circuit for your project, Proficad is one of the best tools for that. Like Solidworks Electric, it is an Electrical CAD software. It is designed for drawing electrical and electronic diagrams, schematics, and circuit.

This application is available on windows.

Like Proficad, Etap is a software tool for electrical design circuits. There is an advanced engineering feature with the application really useful for analysis.

This application is available on windows.

If you want to discover any other application, I have a list of 50 Computer-Aided Design Software.

If you want to know also a CAD application for industrial and mechanical engineering that you can use for free, you can see 5 software from here.

30 Best CAD Application Read More »

Get started with FreeCAD

FreeCAD is one open-source software most use. Many of these posts are very useful, especially in some specific areas. One of the useful posts and help can be found on the FreeCad wiki. So let’s get started in using FreeCAD.

  • Get started with the FreeCAD interface

Basically, you can see all of the menus on the top of the software. In the menu, there is everything. Also, you can see the most common shortcut like a new project, save button,… etc. just under the menu.Interface of FreeCAD

One of the main things to remember when working with FreeCAD is the existence of Workbenches. In workbenches, you will see all tools you will use. In this guide, we will focus only on 3 workbenches including Sketcher, Part, and Part design. The workbench selector is here.Workbench list with freecad

  • Sketch with FreeCAD

When using CAD design, especially 3D CAD, Design should start with Sketch. The sketch will be designed in the 2D plan. To get access to sketch, go to Workbenches/Sketcher.

So how does the Sketcher workbench look likes?Sketcher interface with Freecad

In the Sketcher, you can see all basic geometry shapes including lines, arc, circles, rectangle, polygon, …etc. In addition, there is also the adjuster in the sketch workbench.

One most important of CAD software is the use of dimension and geometry relation. So Always use this command when doing designing.

Sketcher also has a pattern and mirror in each function.

So basically the process of using sketcher workbench are:

  1. First, choose the plane to sketch
  2. Create your 2D sketch
  3. Make sure to create one closed design and full defined
  4. Then exit (close)
  • Part design with FreeCAD

Part design is used to generate the 3D from 2D.

Get started with FreeCAD Read More »

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