Request a Personalized Demo

Learn how to accurately convert your designs with Scan2CAD

  • Join thousands of happy customers worldwide

14 Top Free CAD Packages to Download

14 Top Free CAD Packages to Download

Anyone who has worked with CAD will know just how integral the software is to various industries—ranging from architecture, to engineering and even gaming. CAD gives us the ability to create designs for a range of purposes, from electrical drawings to house plans. This high demand, however, has meant that professional CAD software has become very expensive—particularly for those who just enjoy CAD as a hobby, and therefore don’t want to commit to an expensive package (for instance, this is how much AutoCAD costs).

With that in mind, Scan2CAD has created a list of the top 14 CAD freeware packages, so you can enjoy CAD without having to spend a single penny. We’ve included operating systems, supported file types and even a list of extra packages that didn’t quite make the list. Read on… 

We’ve separated this list into two sections:

Free 2D Drafting Software

We begin our list with some of the most popular and free options for 2D drafting. If you’re new to CAD, you probably want to start here. 

1. DraftSight

Screenshot of DraftSight

Image Source: Razorleaf

 is a professional 2D design and drafting program that lets you create, edit and view any kind of 2D drawing. It’s a rather simple and minimal program, so it’s easy to make the transition from another type of CAD application to DraftSight. The only requirement to use the program is to activate it via an email address. This CAD freeware program does have an AutoCAD feel to it—in fact, it even uses AutoCAD’s native file format DWG. It comes with a range of drafting tools to help you create professional plans, with a number of vector entities available including lines and polylines, dimensions, layering capabilities and text.

Video: What is Draftsight?

Operating System: Windows, Mac, Ubuntu, Fedora
Interested? Download now!

Update: As pointed out in our comments. DraftSight will not be offered for free in future releases.


Screenshot of QCAD

Image Source: Wikimedia

 is a free, open-source application for CAD in 2D. It can be used to create technical drawings such as buildings, mechanical parts or diagrams. The software was designed with modularity, extensibility and portability in mind, and it comes with an intuitive user interface. QCAD is simple to use, so you don’t necessarily need any CAD experience to start with QCAD immediately—which is a great advantage. It also comes with a variety of useful features including layers, blocks, 35 CAD fonts and a library with over 4800 CAD parts. 

Video: An Introduction to QCAD

Operating System: Windows, Mac, Linux
Interested? Download now

3. LibreCAD

Screenshot of LibreCAD

Image Source: Wikimedia

is a free open-source 2D CAD modeling platform. It comes with a GPLv2 public license, so you can use it, customize it, hack it and copy it with free user and developer support. It’s a community-driven project, so it’s constantly being improved with new ideas. The program comes with high-quality features like snap-to-grid capabilities, which means that you can create straight lines and align objects as you go. It also comes with layers, text and measurements.

Video: LibreCAD for Beginners

Operating System: Windows, Mac, Linux
File Formats: DXF, DWG, JPG, PDF, PNG, SVG
Interested? Download now!

4. Draft IT

Screenshot of DraftIt

Image Source: Softpedia

Draft IT
 is a 2D system, which is primarily most useful for people who are just starting out with CAD. It has no 3D and/or modeling capabilities, so you shouldn’t be expecting anything too complex. It’s essentially a system that is useful for creating plans and diagrams. That being said, some of its features are disabled in the free version, e.g. layering and polylines. To be able to do more, you would have to upgrade to the Plus or Pro version. So, if you’re looking to do serious, detailed work you might want to consider other software.

Video: Draft IT - An introduction

Operating System: Windows
File Formats: DWG, DXF
Interested? Download now!

Free 3D Modeling Software

The world of free CAD software is no-longer limited to 2D drafting applications. As we’ll discover below, there is a wealth of exciting 3D Modelling options available and many of these new solutions are focussing on making a previously complex solution much simpler and easier to use.

5. SketchUp Make

Screenshot of SketchUp Make

Image Source: SketchUp Community

SketchUp Make
 is a 3D modeling program that covers a range of applications such as architecture, interior design, civil engineering and even video game design. It comes with an open-source library of models and a 3D warehouse which is the world’s biggest library of free 3D models. The software is incredibly easy to use, and the SketchUp website provides extra help with tutorials and videos. You can even customize your SketchUp with extensions, or by upgrading to SketchUp Pro. If you’re interested in creating more advanced projects, you will have to upgrade to the Pro version, which gives you access to features like simulated film cameras and solid modeling tools.

Video: Sketchup Free - An overview

Operating System: Windows, Mac
File Formats: 3DS, OBJ, DAE, DWG, DXF, FBX, KMZ, WRL, XSI
Interested? Download now!

6. OnShape

Screenshot of OnShape Software - F1 Car Model

Image Source: OnShape

OnShape is a force to recon with when it comes to making 3D modelling more accessible to the masses.  If you’re not new to CAD, you’ve probably heard of the leading 3D modelling CAD software, SolidWorks , OnShape was started by SolidWorks CEOs Jon Hirschtick and John McEleney, plus their founding team and they continue to carry the torch of SolidWorks’ innovation and quality. 

OnShape is unique to many other options in that it runs in your web browser. But don’t be fooled into thinking a browser-based solution is limited. The software boasts a list of enterprise-level manufacturing companies as users so if their features are enough for these companies it will likely be enough for most entry-level users.

Although OnShape offers a premium solution, they also offer a free plan with limited features, but be warned; everything you store in OnShape under the free plan is automatically open source.

Video: OnShape Tutorial

Operating System: Windows, Mac, Linux (Runs in most web browsers excluding IE and Edge)
File Formats: STP, IGS, 3DM, STL, OBJ & more.
Interested? Visit OnShape


7. FreeCAD

Screenshot of FreeCAD

Image Source: DIWO

 is a 100% open sourced 3D parametric modeler. It’s predominantly aimed at mechanical engineering and product design users because its features are adapted to mechanical engineering. However, it can be used by anyone interested in creating 3D models—in fact, you don’t even need to have had any CAD experience to use the program comfortably. As with other 3D modelers, it does come with 2D components, but direct 2D drawing is not its focus. It has a variety of features ranging from 3D solids, to support for meshes, to a robot simulation module that allows you to study robot movements. If you’re comfortable with SolidWorks, you’ll find FreeCAD easy to use. 

Operating System: Windows, Mac, Ubuntu
Interested? Download now!

8. Sweet Home 3D

Screenshot of Sweet Home 3D

Image Source: Wikimedia

Sweet Home 3D
 is a free interior design application that gives users the chance to draw floor plans, arrange furniture and look at the final results in 3D. Users can change color schemes, use models from the catalog and even create a movie of the 3D model to be exported to SVG. In addition, any changes made to the 2D plan are simultaneously reflected in a 3D view. These models can then be looked at from an aerial view point, and from a virtual visitor view point.

Operating System: Windows, Mac, Linux
File Types: JPEG, OBJ, PDF, PNG, SVG
Interested? Download now! 

9. TinkerCAD

Screenshot of TinkerCAD

Image Source: 3D Drucken

 is a 3D design and 3D printing application. It’s used to create everything from toys, to prototypes, to home decor and even jewelry. It’s a web-based application, so no downloads are necessary. It’s predominantly used for simple projects—it comes with 3 basic tools to create basic shapes. Its biggest advantage is that it can create 3D models for immediate 3D printing—with its CSG (Constructive Solid Geometry) feature, you can get a 3D model in 10 minutes! Users can design models from scratch, or use ready-made models. The application is limited, however, as it cannot be used for complex projects.

Operating System: Browser-based
File Formats: OBJ, STL
Interested? Check it out here

10. 3D Crafter

Screenshot of 3DCrafter

Image Source: decapod99

3D Crafter
is an intuitive, real-time 3D modeling and animation freeware program. It incorporates a drag-and-drop approach to 3D modeling. It can create complex models from simple 3D primitives or by using its shape building tools. The program can also be used to create animated scenes, which can be viewed in real time and recorded to a video (AVI) file. While it has many capabilities, you might need to upgrade to 3DCrafter Plus or Pro for more advanced features. 

Operating System: Windows
Interested? Download now!

11. Sculptris

Screenshot of Sculptris

Image Source: Efalinefalin

 is a 3D modeling freeware program created by industry expert Pixologic. It’s not a general-purpose drafting program; instead, it was designed for 3D sculpting. It was created with the intention to be accessible for every type of artist—from beginner to expert. The program comes with a professional user interface, alongside two main navigation methods: right-click navigation and free moving navigation. Not only that, but it comes with a number of sculpting tools such as symmetry mode and dynamic tessellation. There’s also a variety of sculpting brushes that draw, grab, smooth and flatten. Needless to say, there’s a lot to take advantage of!

Operating System: Windows, Mac
File Formats: OBJ
Interested? Download now!

12. OpenSCAD

Screenshot of OpenSCAD

Image Source: Peak 5390

 is a 3D modeling CAD freeware platform. Unlike most 3D modeling software, it doesn’t focus on the ‘artistic’ aspects of 3D modeling. Instead, it’s more suitable for creating 3D models of machine parts, and working as a 3D compiler that describes the object and renders a 3D model from a script file. It gives the designer full control over the modeling process to make designs that are designed by configurable parameters. However, while the software is very intuitive, it’s still too limited for complex projects—so you might have to go elsewhere if you want more advanced features.

Operating System: Windows, Mac, Linux, Ubuntu, Fedora
Interested? Download now!

13. Blender

Screenshot of Blender

Image Source: DRT

 is a free and open-source 3D modeling program. It’s more of an artistic 3D modeling program than a general-use drafting program. It comes with a wide set of capabilities ranging from photo-realistic rendering, to fast modeling, to realistic materials. Blender even allows designers to make use of an extensive animation toolset to turn still characters into animations. And if that wasn’t enough, the program also comes with simulation capabilities and video editing. While it is a steep learning curve with Blender, it is worth it.

Operating System: Windows, Mac, Linux
File Formats: 3DS, BVH, DAE, DFX, FBX, LWO, OBJ, PLY, STL, SVG, VRML/97, x, X3D
Interested? Download now! 


14. LeoCAD

Screenshot of LeoCAD

Image Source: LeoCAD

is a CAD freeware program used for creating virtual LEGO models. While you might think that the software is geared towards children, you would be very wrong. This piece of software allows users to create anything from the simplest to the most complex of projects—the above screenshot is a model of the Tower Bridge with over 4,000 pieces! It comes with an intuitive interface, designed to make the process of creation easy and time-efficient. Plus, it comes with over 6,000 different pieces to create 3D models from—so there are no limits to what you can create! Obviously, the LEGO angle is very niche, but it’s perfect for those wanting to create something a little bit different.

Operating System: Windows, Mac, Linux
File Formats: LDR, DAT
Interested? Download now! 

Honorable Mentions

There’s a huge variety of CAD freeware available, so there are many that didn’t make our final list—but that certainly doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t check them out! Take a look at our list below for even more free software applications to take advantage of:

As an added bonus, the following 3 picks are only free for students—but they include some of the most well-known programs on the market:

Don’t forget to try out Scan2CAD’s blog for the latest news—covering everything from CAD Freelancers to Top 3D CAD Models to Try Out to Sites with Free DXF Designs


One monthly email featuring the best guides for CAD professionals.

, , ,

46 Responses to 14 Top Free CAD Packages to Download

  1. Ian Kenneth Stewart Sep 28, 2017 at 6:53 AM #

    Hi Bethany,
    Love your introduction to free CAD solutions software.
    Just a beginner looking for free CAD software to copy ART Patterns
    and then convert the jpeg file to Mach3 for GCode engraving via a cnc router.
    Whats the best free CAD Software option??
    Ian S

    • Luke Kennedy Feb 5, 2018 at 1:40 PM #

      Hi Ian, this raster to vector conversion is exactly what Scan2CAD does. We also support G-Code formats for CNC. You can learn more here

  2. John Schindler Dec 17, 2017 at 10:32 PM #

    I have a little exposure to SolidWorks so FreeCAD was attractive. However, I got an error message while editting preferences to change the units from mm to inches. Set a constraint distance to 23 (inches) and it might be displayed as 1.92 feet, or 7.67 yards.Maybe there is some other place to set the units.

    It froze or became non-responsive three times in 30 minutes. This was the stable, Windows 64 bit version 0.16.6712 on Windows 7.

    I also tried various version 0.17’s, on Linux and Windows. They have the same problems with inches. The Linux version has an Assembly “workbench”, but it is just a placeholder with no functionality. The Windows 0.17 version doesn’t have this.

    At best, it will be a lot of you-tube tutorial watching and without assemblies, I won’t be able to see how things fit together, which to me is the real Aid in CAD.

    • Luke Kennedy Feb 5, 2018 at 1:42 PM #

      Hi John,

      You mentioned you had an error message when editing in ‘FreeCAD’ you may wish to post the question over on our sister site CADAnswers. Someone will likely be able to help you out there.

  3. Steve Claycomb Feb 20, 2018 at 3:46 AM #

    I want to build a shop/garage and want a free 2D program to sketch it out and use that info to create a materials list.

  4. Maggy Henry Mar 2, 2018 at 8:49 PM #

    Hi Luke, based on your comments and recommendations I want to use Draftsight. But on their website I couldn’t find the type of scales supported. I work on architectural metric. Will I be able to use centimeters? Thank you

    • Luke Kennedy Mar 3, 2018 at 2:30 PM #

      Hi Maggy,

      Yes, you can change your dimensions to cm in Draftsight.
      I believe you can change it under under Format > Unit System.

  5. John Branch Mar 3, 2018 at 7:06 PM #

    I have been using autosketch for many years and like it. It won’t work on Win 7 & up, tho’. whats the best free substitute I can use on Win10??

    • Luke Kennedy Mar 3, 2018 at 9:19 PM #

      Hi John, I’d recommend trying out Draftsight. Good luck with your projects!

  6. Andy Smith Mar 14, 2018 at 12:11 AM #

    I have been trying to download Draftsight but I keep getting error messages when trying to install.. Something about needing an elevation? i tried both the 64 and 32 bit for windows. I’m on windows 10. Help?

    • Luke Kennedy Mar 14, 2018 at 11:39 AM #

      Hey Andy,

      Sounds like you just need higher privliges for the Windows user.

      Two things to try:

      1. Log out of your current Windows user and log in as Adminstrator.
      2. If the above does not fix, right click the installer and choose ‘Run as administrator’ (I’ve found this surprisingly gives higher privileges than just running as Admin.)

      For other technical questions like these you can ask them on our sister site CAD Answers

  7. kamrozzaman Masud Mar 20, 2018 at 11:20 AM #

    Plz send me gtr cad systemp procedure I learm it at any cost, plz replay me as soon as possible

    • Luke Kennedy Mar 20, 2018 at 11:37 AM #

      Hey, I’m not sure what you’re after but we can’t help with general support questions. I would advise posting your question to CAD Answers.
      Good luck!

  8. Amy Davie Jun 15, 2018 at 6:00 AM #

    Installed Draftsight. needs activation via email address. Given email address but activation email hasn’t arrived (and it’s not in the junk mail!) What now?

    • Luke Kennedy Jun 15, 2018 at 10:43 AM #

      I would advise contacting Draftsight support or posting your question on CAD Answers

  9. Jay Adams Jun 21, 2018 at 5:51 PM #

    May I’m being paranoid but on this date, June 21, 2018, many of the links here are directed to Libya. is just one example. Has this site been hacked?

    • Luke Kennedy Jun 21, 2018 at 6:31 PM #

      You’re not being paranoid, there’s nothing wrong with being security conscious!

      The links are not directed to libya. You are referring to links which allow us to track the most popular links on this page.

      You can learn more about these links on the website.

      Each link goes to the respective website.

  10. Frank RInaldi Jul 23, 2018 at 8:33 PM #

    I’m a DIY furniture builder and am looking for a very simple to use CAD program to draw plans for what I am building. Used to use Turbo Cad when it was very simple program and ran on WIn 95. Any suggestions?

    • luke Jul 23, 2018 at 8:56 PM #

      Why not keep using TurboCAD? It’s still around.

  11. Lungile Kanye Jul 29, 2018 at 1:44 PM #

    Hi lm still a beginner into computer drawing,what program can l use to draw simple machines?

    • luke Jul 30, 2018 at 3:20 PM #

      2D drawings or 3D renderings?

  12. James McMillan Sep 18, 2018 at 10:49 PM #

    looking to draft up some conceptual mechanical / electrical projects, then turn over to engineering for final approvals & stamping.

    however do not like the idea of open concept. I need to keep all files private. would “Free CAD” work in this application & can the files be converted to Full version of Auto CAD. (.DWG)I do not want to pay engineering to re-invent the wheel.

    • luke Sep 19, 2018 at 9:51 AM #

      Hey James,

      The fact of the software being free doesn’t mean that the designs you create in them are automatically shared. In fact the only software that I can think of which does this is OnShape.

  13. christopher muto Jan 18, 2019 at 8:16 PM #

    im into construction business Luke may you please help me with the house plans software

    • luke Jan 20, 2019 at 9:30 PM #

      What help do you need?

  14. Leland Whitlock May 4, 2019 at 12:19 AM #

    You might want to include Solid Edge 2D Drafting which I just discovered. It is made by Siemens and can be found at

    Also of not DraftSight is no longer free though if you have an older version you can use it until the end of 2019 after which it will stop working.

    • Luke May 5, 2019 at 11:41 AM #

      Thanks for letting us know about the change in Draftsight pricing, Leland. I have updated the post to let readers know!

  15. The Fashion Archaeologist Aug 31, 2019 at 6:23 PM #

    I’m an independent designer of sewing patterns (historical garments). I currently hand-draft my own master patterns, then have them scanned to PDF. I’d like to be able to include things like page printing/edge alignment marks, page numbers, or other guides as an overlay on the pattern itself, to help users print and assemble the full-size patterns at home on standard letter-sized paper. Would a CAD programme accomplish this, and which one would you recommend? I need a reliable, free programme, can’t afford anything else.

    • Luke Sep 2, 2019 at 7:22 AM #

      TBH, the things you’ve mentioned ‘like page printing/edge alignment marks, page numbers’ wouldn’t require a CAD program. Seems like you could do that with any free graphic design software. Or, indeed any free CAD drafting software. They are not CAD-specific features.

  16. Robert Khamis Sep 14, 2019 at 10:30 AM #

    Many thanks for this great work of listing all these valuable information.

  17. Zarna Nov 6, 2019 at 12:15 PM #

    Hey Luke, This blog is really very much informative. Thank you. I bookmarked it a long time ago and have been reading today to get some knowledge. Thanks

  18. Mark M Jan 8, 2020 at 7:31 PM #

    Hey Luke, I am an x-architect (practiced 22 years) when cad was just rolling into the profession. I used a program called “Datacad” which I loved and was simple for architecture as that is what it was solely designed for. Today I wish to help my son renovate a home and I need a simple 2D drawing program with easy to use 3D modelling. I have autocad architecture free version, but I am finding it to be very complicated. Is there another you can recommend that is less complex? I

    • Luke Jan 8, 2020 at 8:24 PM #

      Sounds like SketchUp is what you’re looking for.

  19. Rex Rich Jan 12, 2020 at 2:13 AM #

    I have a cnc plasma set up i am looking for a simple cad software that is easy to learn. I have tried Qcad and inkscape have found them to be confusing

    • Luke Jan 13, 2020 at 4:01 PM #

      I can’t think of anything that would be less confusing than Inkscape TBH.

      Inkscape isn’t really designed for the CAD market and tends to have a much lower learning curve than a true CAD app.

  20. Roy Mar 3, 2020 at 8:41 AM #

    Good morning Luke

    I need a basic package that can trace around an existing PDF drawing to determine the size of a given building, as you know not all plans show building size and cant always get hold of the Cad drawings.

    • Luke Mar 4, 2020 at 2:02 PM #

      How would the software know the size of the building? For example, is there a unit of measurement in the drawing?

      Are the drawings to-scale and scanned using a known DPI?

      In both these cases, you could easily input the scaling using Scan2CAD.

  21. Curt Mar 9, 2020 at 8:51 PM #

    Your information is great. I often do inspections at bot residential and commercial projects and must provide clear sketches of rafters, joists, foundations, etc. with sizes of members/blocks, etc. Which of these programs would you recommend?

    • Luke Mar 9, 2020 at 9:02 PM #

      So you need to draw these drawings from scratch? Are you experienced in CAD already?

  22. JUSTIN BUNCH Apr 15, 2020 at 4:37 AM #

    Hey i am a fabricator looking for a program to draft and draw blueprints of custom builds. What program could one recommend for both auto beds, fences, tables, vehicles, etc, etc.

  23. John May 11, 2020 at 11:11 PM #

    Hi Luke – I would like to find a suitable (free) CAD package for designing household products (eg. lighting, furniture etc).
    My priorities include:- Good quality rendering, features which allow construction of curved surfaces / organic shapes, compatibility with 3D printing & availability of decent tutorials / forums.
    I have previously experimented with Sketch-up but I understand that conversion of files to STL format can be problematic for printing.
    What would you recommend?

    • Luke May 12, 2020 at 1:09 PM #

      Personally I would say that Sketchup is still your best bet but you could post the question on CAD Answers and get the advice of the community there.

  24. Cesar Jul 6, 2020 at 9:35 PM #

    Just wanted to correct that Fusion 360 is not only free to students. It is also free to hobbyists (non-commercial use):

  25. ALAN MELANSON Sep 22, 2020 at 9:16 PM #

    I need to layout a production line what free CAD programs would work best for this.

Leave a Reply