Whether you are working for architectural design or CNC manufacturing industries, a reliable tool is critical to save time and obtain maximum effectiveness. CAD Software can realize the creation of your 2D or 3D modeling and CNC machining parts. Here we list the best free CAD software 2020 and best CAD software for beginners and professionals as well as the options in CNC, plus the features, capabilities, benefits, and prices of the software for simpler selection.

What is CAD Software?

CAD (Computer-Aided Design) software is a technical software program for designers and engineers to create, modify and optimize models of physical objects, it can be used to design curves and images in two-dimensional space or curves, surfaces, and solids in three-dimensional space, the CAD output is often in the form of electronic files for print, machining or manufacturing. The basic types of CAD are 2D and 3D CAD software.

CAD Software Uses and Benefits

CAD is extensively used in various fields like industrial and architectural design, CNC machining services parts design for automotive, shipbuilding and aerospace, also used to produce computer animation for special effects in movies, TV programs, advertising, etc. The utilization of CAD software improves the design quality and productivity, optimizes communications through CAD file or documentation and create a database for the manufacturing of required parts.

Best CAD Software 2020 for CNC Machining and 3D Modeling - Top Recommended CAD Software

From the diverse CAD software, it’s not easy to choose the best one meets all requirements, you need to first confirm what is the your priority, cost, difficulty or other factors? Here we’ll present several lists of the best CAD software 2020 for different targets. Select the best tool no matter you want free or paid CAD, for beginners or professionals.

Best Free CAD Software 2020

Here is the list of best CAD software that free to download or use online in 2020.

1) FreeCAD

– It allows creating designs with any size

– You can sketch in 2D then transform that into 3D images

– You can go to the history of model and change the parameters to get a different design.

– FreeCAD can use Python programming language. 

– It can read and write many open file formats

– A fully multi-platform software that supports Windows, Mac, and Linux operating systems.

– It offers basic options and can be a great CNC machining software for beginners.

 

2) TinkerCAD

– Suitable for beginners even with no experience 

– Enables you to develop models from a group of basic shapes

– Comes with a library of millions of files you can use to search for the best shape

– Direct interaction with third party printing services

– Easy to create circuits and 3D designs

– Can run in a web browser, simple interface and ease of operation

 

3) LibreCAD

– Available in over 30 languages and support cross-platform for macOS, Windows, and Linux

– CAM capabilities into the community version of QCAD

– Comes with a dedicated development team and an active community for assistance

– Can render draw() codes

– Fast caching mechanism can help you save data

 

4) OpenSCAD

– Ideal for highly technical users or professionals

– Designers can fully control over all aspects of the modeling process

– Configurable parameters, easy to change

– Can read from DXF files, create 3D models then save in STL and OFF file formats

– Can create 2D outlines and constructive solid geometry 

 

5) QCAD

– Supports Windows, macOS, and Linux platforms

– Open-source application

– You can create 2D drawings, building plans and mechanical parts

– The source code can be used under the GPL v3

– Different schematics and diagrams are available

– Owns a library with more than 4800 CAD parts

– Various tools for construction and modification

– Use ECMAScript (JavaScript) interface

– Layering and blocks can be grouped

 
Best CAD Software for Beginners

1) 3D Builder 

– Free

– Supports formats: 3mf, obj, ply, vrml, STL

– Available on desktop PCs, Xbox One, Windows Hololense, and Windows Mobile

– Users can download 3D models designed by others and make modification

– In mobile app of 3D Builder, you can use the camera to scan objects and convert them into a 3D model

 

2) 3D Slash

– Freemium mode

– Supports formats: 3dslash, obj, STL

– Available on Windows, macOS, Linux, Raspberry Pi or Browser

– Very simple to start, one of the best software for beginners

– Some features are specifically designed for children and students

– A series of tools can be used to import and modify existing 3D designs

 

3) 3D Crafter

– Free

– Available on Windows

– Supports formats: 3ds, dae, fbx, dxf, obj, x, lwo, svg, STL

– Drag-and-drop approach for 3D modeling and animation

– Shape building tools can be used to create complex 3D models

– Allows users to position the shapes from one frame to another for producing animation

 

4) TinkerCAD

– Supports formats: 123dx, 3ds, c4d, mb, obj, svg, STL

– Available in browser

– Free

 

5) FreeCAD

– Available in Windows, macOS and Linux

– Supports formats: step, iges, obj, STL, dxf, svg, dae, ifc, off, nastran, vrml, Fcstd

– Also suitable for Intermediate level users

Best CAD Software for CNC Machining

1) Rhino3D 

– Paid

– Can create surfaces, curves, meshes and solids

– Offers freeform 3D modeling tools

 

2) AutoCAD 

– $185/month, free version for students and faculties

– 2D and 3D drawings are available

– Desktop app running on microcomputers, available on mobile as well

– Widely used in civil, mechanical and architectural fields

– Suitable for professionals

 

3) SolidWorks

– One license is $3,995

– Parametric modeler

– Practical and detailed

– Can be used for advanced 3D modeling and auto-generated 2D drawings

 

4) Fusion 360

– $60/month, free version for students, educators & academic institutions

– Cloud-based software

– CAD-CAM integration, avoid rework and defects

– Perfect for furniture design

– Quick generation

– Can use accurate documentation create 2D drawings directly from 3D creations 

– Powerful modeling tools from basic sketching to fully customized model

– Can collaborate with members through a shared project dashboard

 

5) SketchList3D

– Easy and flexible to use

– Manipulate 3D objects on the screen easily

– Simplify massive and repetitive design tasks

Best CAD Software for Professionals

1) Solidworks   

2) AutoCAD

3) CATIA

4) OpenSCAD

5) Rhino