fbpx
Arch Visual Studio Logo

14+ Best Free Drafting Software & Programs (2024)

If you are an architect, then you know the importance of drafting software. Not only does it make your job easier, but it also allows you to create better designs.

There are many different drafting software programs available on the market, but not all of them are free.

In this blog post, we will discuss 14 of the best free drafting software programs for architects.

We will also provide a brief overview of each program and how it can benefit you!

What is drafting software and why do I need it?

Drafting software is a computer program that allows users to create 2D and 3D drawings. It is used by architects, engineers, and other professionals who need to create precise drawings.

Drafting software can be used to create both simple and complex drawings, and it offers a variety of features that make the drafting process easier and more efficient.

For example, many drafting programs include tools for creating dimensions and annotations, as well as for quickly changing the scale of a drawing.

In addition, drafting software often includes libraries of standard symbols that can be inserted into a drawing. Using drafting software can help to improve the accuracy and quality of your drawings, and it can also save you time.

The 14 Best Free Drafting Software & Programs For you

Name of SoftwareWhy Choose This Software
FreeCADPowerful open-source CAD with extensive features, perfect for both beginners and professionals. Constantly updated.
OpenSCADOpen-source CAD for parametric 3D object creation, with thorough documentation, available on various platforms.
NanoCADFree and user-friendly drafting software for 2D and 3D design, similar to Autodesk products but without a subscription.
QCADCAD system for 2D drawings, plans, and complex diagrams, supporting various file formats, with a large library of ready-made objects.
LibreCADModern open-source 2D drafting software for technical drawings, engineering plans, and construction diagrams. Supports various file formats.
ArchiCADSpecialized for architects, offering a powerful 3D modeling environment, an intuitive interface, and an extensive library of materials and elements.
AutoCADWidely used CAD system for 2D and 3D design, supporting multiple platforms, formats (DWF, DWG, DXF), and with a user-friendly interface.
Solid EdgeVersatile for solid modeling and 2D/3D drawings, easy to learn, with a training block and seamless transition from other CAD systems.
ZBrushCoreMiniPowerful for 3D modeling and sculpting, available on Windows and macOS, with preloaded materials and plug-ins for advanced features.
Fusion 360Versatile and user-friendly 3D CAD program, supporting a wide range of file types, suitable for both beginners and professionals.
TinkerCADOnline CAD tool for easy 2D and 3D drafting, suitable for beginners and professionals, with an extensive library and SVG drawing integration.
3D BuilderDedicated free 3D modeling and printing software for various Microsoft platforms, allowing modification of cloud-based 3D models.
SolveSpaceOpen parametric CAD system for 2D and 3D modeling, with dynamic manipulation and STL export for 3D printing.
DraftSightVersatile 2D and 3D CAD solution for architects, engineers, and designers, easy to use, and supporting DWG files.
AutoCAD WebOnline version of AutoCAD, offering basic drafting features, compatibility with DWG files, and a simplified interface for convenience.
TinkerCAD (Online)Easy-to-use yet powerful online CAD software with a drag-and-drop interface, suitable for beginners and advanced users.
SelfCADFree online drafting tool for 3D model creation and modification, with an extensive library and step-by-step guides.
Sketchup Free (Online)Intuitive online CAD software for quick 3D model creation, with a large collection of models and 3D Warehouse integration.
VectaryCommunity platform for sharing and customizing 3D models, offering ease of use, collaboration features, and high-quality designs.

Let’s deep dive into it!

1.FreeCAD The Best Free Drafting Software For Professionals & Beginners

free cad - free drafting software

FreeCAD is great open-source CAD software that is perfect for those who are well-versed in the basics of CAD modelling.

The software has an extensive range of features and file formats that it supports, making it a great choice for both beginners and professionals.

The interface is also clear and simple, making it easy to use. One of the great things about FreeCAD is that it is constantly being updated and improved by a team of developers.

This means that you can always be confident that you are using the latest version of the software. Overall, FreeCAD is a great choice for anyone who needs a CAD software solution.

Pros:

  • Open-Source and Free: FreeCAD is open-source and available for free, making it accessible to a wide range of users.
  • Ideal for CAD Modelling: Perfect for individuals well-versed in the basics of CAD modelling.
  • Extensive Feature Set: Offers an extensive range of features suitable for both beginners and professionals.
  • Support for Various File Formats: Supports a variety of file formats, enhancing compatibility with different design tools.
  • Clear and Simple Interface: User-friendly interface that is clear and simple, ensuring ease of use.

Cons:

  • May Have a Learning Curve: Beginners may find a learning curve due to the extensive feature set.
Bestseller No. 1
Sweet Home 3D [PC Download]
  • Draw walls and rooms on one or more levels
Bestseller No. 2
Home Designer Suite – PC Download
  • Home design software for remodeling, interior design, kitchens and baths, decks and landscaping, and cost estimation

2.OpensCAD

free cad - free drafting software

OpenSCAD is an open-source CAD for the parametric (not visual) creation of solid 3D objects. While it lacks the visual polish of other CAD programs, it more than makes up for it with an extensive level of documentation that can be very helpful for both newbies and future use of the program.

OpenSCAD is great free engineering drawing software that is available on various devices such as Windows, Linux, and macOS. 

You can also work with drafting online directly on the official web resource without the need to download the program. Supports various file formats.

Pros:

  • Open-Source and Free: OpenSCAD is open-source and free, making it accessible to users without cost.
  • Parametric 3D Object Creation: Specifically designed for parametric (not visual) creation of solid 3D objects.
  • Extensive Documentation: Offers extensive documentation, aiding both new users and those exploring advanced features.
  • Cross-Platform Availability: Available on various devices, including Windows, Linux, and macOS.
  • Online Drafting Option: Users can work with drafting online directly on the official web resource without downloading the program.

Cons:

  • Lacks Visual Polish: Lacks the visual polish of some other CAD programs.

3. NanoCAD

nano-cad-logo- free drafting software

NanoCAD is a free and easy-to-use drafting software that offers a wide range of features for both 2D and 3D design.

The software is similar to Autodesk products, but it is available for free and does not require a subscription.

You can expand the functionality of NanoCAD by purchasing plug-ins, but the basic software is already quite powerful. NanoCAD supports the most common formats of drawings and 3D models, so you can easily share your designs with others.

Pros:

  • Free and Easy-to-Use: NanoCAD is free and offers an easy-to-use interface, making it accessible to a broad user base.
  • 2D and 3D Design: Provides features for both 2D and 3D design, catering to various design needs.
  • Similar to Autodesk Products: Resembles Autodesk products in functionality, offering familiarity to users.
  • No Subscription Required: Unlike some alternatives, NanoCAD is free and doesn’t require a subscription.
  • Expandable with Plug-Ins: Users can enhance functionality by purchasing plug-ins.

Cons:

  • Limited Advanced Features in Basic Version: Some advanced features may require the purchase of additional plug-ins.

4. QCAD

qcad-logo

QCAD is a computer-aided design (CAD) system designed to create 2D drawings, plans, diagrams, and complex diagrams.

QCAD supports export to DFX, DWG, DGN, BMP, SVG, and PDF formats. QCAD has a huge library of ready-made objects, a set of various tools, CAD sources, etc.

Open-source CAD software also has about thirty font styles for text blocks. QCAD uses the default DXF format for saving and importing drawings, but the paid professional version also supports DWG. 

QCAD is much more similar to AutoCAD software than any other free CAD software available.

These features make QCAD an essential tool for engineers, architects, designers, and anyone who needs to create 2D drawings, plans, or diagrams.

The software also includes a library of standard elements that can be customized to suit your needs. Overall, NanoCAD is an excellent choice for anyone looking for a powerful and user-friendly drafting program.

Pros:

  • Versatile 2D Design: QCAD is designed for creating 2D drawings, plans, diagrams, and complex schematics.
  • Wide Format Support: Supports export to various formats, including DFX, DWG, DGN, BMP, SVG, and PDF.
  • Extensive Library: Features a huge library of ready-made objects and a set of various tools.
  • Open-Source: QCAD is open-source, making it freely accessible to users.
  • Font Styles for Text Blocks: Offers about thirty font styles for text blocks.

Cons:

  • Professional Version for DWG Support: Full DWG support may require the purchase of the professional version.

 5. LibreCAD

libre cad logo - free cad software

LibreCAD is a free and open-source 2D drafting software that allows users to create various types of technical drawings, such as engineering plans, construction diagrams, and more.

LibreCAD is a modern and advanced app that offers a wide range of features and tools, making it a great alternative to paid packages like AutoCAD. 

While LibreCAD is primarily designed for 2D drawings, it does support the DWG and DWF file formats (among others) and features its file format called DXF.

LibreCAD is available for Windows 10, macOS, and Linux, and there are many plugins available to extend its functionality even further.

Pros:

  • Free and Open-Source: LibreCAD is both free and open-source, providing accessibility to a wide user base.
  • Versatile 2D Drafting: Designed for creating various types of technical drawings, including engineering plans and construction diagrams.
  • Modern and Advanced: Offers modern and advanced features, making it competitive with paid packages like AutoCAD.
  • DWG and DWF Support: Supports the DWG and DWF file formats, enhancing compatibility.
  • DXF File Format: Features its file format called DXF.

Cons:

  • Primarily 2D: While versatile for 2D drafting, it may not be suitable for complex 3D designs.

6. ArchiCAD

archicad - free cad program

ArchiCAD is a great drafting software for anyone looking to create 2D or 3D models, architectural renderings, or technical drawings. The software is designed specifically for architects, and it comes with a powerful 3D modeling environment and modern technology for working with objects.

The interface is intuitive and easy to use, and the software supports both Windows and macOS. ArchiCAD also has a focus on ease of use and ease of learning, making it a great choice for anyone new to drafting software.

Additionally, the software comes with an extensive library of materials and elements, making it one of the most complete drafting packages available.

Pros:

  • Versatile for 2D and 3D Models: ArchiCAD is suitable for creating both 2D and 3D models, architectural renderings, and technical drawings.
  • Designed for Architects: Specifically designed for architects, providing specialized tools and features.
  • Powerful 3D Modeling Environment: Offers a powerful 3D modeling environment for detailed designs.
  • Modern Object Handling: Incorporates modern technology for efficient handling of objects.
  • Intuitive and Easy-to-Use Interface: User-friendly interface designed for ease of use and learning.

Cons:

  • May Have a Learning Curve: Like any comprehensive software, there might be a learning curve for beginners.

7. AutoCAD

Autocad - free drafting s/w program

AutoCAD is a basic CAD system developed and supplied by Autodesk. It is the most widely used architectural drawing software in the world that allows you to design in both 2D and 3D environments.

With AutoCAD software, you can build 3D models, create and design 2D drawings, and much more. The program is generally used for manufacturing and architecture, but it also can be used for almost any type of drawing.

It supports Windows, macOS, and Linux. It works with three formats: DWF, DWG, and DXF. Ready-made layouts can be immediately printed on a 3D printer, exported to social networks, or sent by e-mail.

This architectural CAD software also has a user-friendly and intuitive interface and saves a lot of time. You can use this software to create both 2D and 3D drawings for any purpose. The software is available for free download on the internet.

Pros:

  • Widely Used in the World: AutoCAD is the most widely used architectural drawing software globally.
  • 2D and 3D Design: Allows design in both 2D and 3D environments, providing versatility.
  • Versatile Application: Used for manufacturing and architecture but applicable to almost any type of drawing.
  • Platform Compatibility: Supports Windows, macOS, and Linux, offering flexibility for users.
  • Multiple File Formats: Works with three formats: DWF, DWG, and DXF, ensuring compatibility.

Cons:

Pros:

  • Widely Used in the World: AutoCAD is the most widely used architectural drawing software globally.
  • 2D and 3D Design: Allows design in both 2D and 3D environments, providing versatility.
  • Versatile Application: Used for manufacturing and architecture but applicable to almost any type of drawing.
  • Platform Compatibility: Supports Windows, macOS, and Linux, offering flexibility for users.
  • Multiple File Formats: Works with three formats: DWF, DWG, and DXF, ensuring compatibility.

Cons:

  • Free Download May Have Limitations: The statement that the software is available for free download on the internet may refer to a trial version or limited features in the free version.

8. Solid Edge

solid-edge-logo

You can use solid edge for Solid modeling, and 2D and 3D drawings. As anyone in the product development field knows, having good computer-aided design software is essential. 

A solid Edge is a great option because it improves every aspect of the product development process, from mechanical and electrical design to manufacturing and modeling.

Additionally, this free drafting software is easy to master – there is a training block with exercises built into the program. With Solid Edge, you also won’t have to worry about losing your work if you’re switching from another CAD system. 

Overall, Solid Edge is a great choice for anyone looking for good CAD software.

Pros:

  • Solid Modeling and 2D/3D Drawings: Solid Edge supports solid modeling and allows users to create both 2D and 3D drawings.
  • Essential for Product Development: Considered essential in the product development field, improving various aspects of the process.
  • Comprehensive for Mechanical and Electrical Design: Covers mechanical and electrical design aspects in product development.
  • Ease of Mastery: Described as easy to master, with a training block and exercises built into the program.
  • Holistic Improvement in Product Development: Aims to improve every aspect of the product development process, including manufacturing and modeling.

Cons:

  • May Have a Learning Curve: While described as easy to master, there might still be a learning curve for new users.

9. ZBrushCoreMini

z-brush-core-logo

ZBrushCoreMini is powerful CAD software that you can use for 3D modeling and sculpting.

Available on both Windows and macOS, ZBrushCoreMini is a great choice for anyone looking for a simple, yet effective, tool for creating 3D models.

The software comes with a variety of preloaded materials that you can use to quickly design objects.

And, if you’re looking for more advanced features, there are a variety of plug-ins that you can use to enhance the program’s capabilities.

One of the only drawbacks of ZBrushCoreMini is that it’s primarily focused on sculpting, so if you’re looking for a more comprehensive CAD program, you may want to look elsewhere.

However, if all you need is a good sculpting program, ZBrushCoreMini is an excellent choice.

Pros:

  • Powerful for 3D Modeling and Sculpting: ZBrushCoreMini is a powerful CAD software designed for 3D modeling and sculpting.
  • Cross-Platform Availability: Available on both Windows and macOS, providing flexibility for users.
  • Simple yet Effective: Described as a simple yet effective tool for creating 3D models.
  • Variety of Preloaded Materials: Comes with a variety of preloaded materials for quick design of objects.
  • Plug-In Support for Advanced Features: Offers plug-ins for users looking to enhance the program’s capabilities.

Cons:

  • Not Comprehensive for General CAD: May not be as comprehensive for general CAD purposes, as it is primarily focused on sculpting.

10. Fusion 360

fusion-360-logo

When it comes to finding the best free CAD software, there are a few factors that you need to consider.

First of all, what type of CAD software do you need? If you are looking for a 3D CAD program, then Fusion 360 is an excellent option.

Not only is it free to use, but it is also very versatile and user-friendly. Another important factor to consider is the file types that you need to be able to import and export. 

Fusion 360 can handle a wide range of file types, making it a very versatile CAD program. Finally, you should also consider the level of functionality that you need.

If you are a beginner, then Fusion 360’s simple and user-friendly interface will be perfect for you. However, if you are a more experienced user, then you may find that Fusion 360’s more advanced features are more suited to your needs. 

Overall, Fusion 360 is an excellent free CAD software option for both professionals and beginners alike.

Pros:

  • Versatile and User-Friendly: Fusion 360 is versatile and user-friendly, suitable for both beginners and professionals.
  • Free to Use: Available for free, making it accessible to a broad user base.
  • Handles Various File Types: Can handle a wide range of file types, enhancing its versatility in import and export.
  • 3D CAD Program: Specifically designed as a 3D CAD program, catering to users in need of 3D modeling.
  • Simple Interface for Beginners: Features a simple and user-friendly interface, suitable for beginners.

Cons:

  • May Have a Learning Curve for Advanced Features: While beginner-friendly, advanced features may have a learning curve for some users.

11.TinkerCAD

tinker-cad-logo

TinkerCAD is one of the best drafting apps for 2D and 3D Drafting.

The main advantage of this free CAD drawing software compared to other drafting programs is that it is presented as an online application and does not require installation on a computer.

Tinkercad’s functionality allows you to create 3D models of any shape and complexity.

In addition, the editor’s library contains numerous blanks for creating various shapes (technical details, symbols, geometric shapes), as well as other objects. It has an Online CAD tool.

The output of 3D files for printing allows you to create quite complex objects and the ability to create 2D SVG drawing integration with other Autodesk programs.

Thanks to all these factors, TinkerCAD can be recommended for use both by beginners in the field of 3D modeling and by more experienced professionals.

12. 3D Builder

3d-builder

3D Builder is a dedicated free 3D modeling and printing CAD software that is available for various Microsoft platforms.

With this free drafting tool, users can upload 3D models created by other users from the cloud for modification and 3D printing. 

In addition, templates of finished models can be downloaded from various resources. This free CAD software also allows the user to scan objects and convert them into 3D files using the device’s camera. 

As a result, it simply takes a series of photographs of an object from multiple angles, and the images will be merged to recreate the object as a 3D model.

Consequently, 3D Builder is a powerful and easy-to-use free drafting tool that is perfect for hobbyists and professionals alike.

13. SolveSpace

solvespace-logo

If you’re looking for a free drafting application that offers 2D and 3D modeling, SolveSpace is a great option.

This open parametric CAD system provides all the basic features you need for sketching, constraints, extrusions, and Boolean operations.

Plus, it allows you to export your models in STL format for 3D printing. SolveSpace is also unique in that it allows you to dynamically manipulate a model until it is fully constrained, both in 2D and 3D.

This can be very helpful when studying a model or looking for its best shape.

So if you’re in the market for a free drafting app, be sure to check out SolveSpace.

14. DraftSight

drarftsight-logo

DraftSight is a versatile 2D and 3D CAD solution for architects, engineers, and builders as well as professional CAD users, designers, educators, and hobbyists.

This user-friendly and easy-to-use computer drafting program is perfect for working with DWG files. With DraftSight, numerous functions are available to you. 

You can easily, quickly, and efficiently create, edit, view, and annotate any 2D or 3D DWG file. This all-in-one free technical drawing software provides a fast transition from 2D drawing to 3D modeling. DraftSight even offers a free 30 days trial. 

So if you’re looking for a simple drafting software that is packed with features, then look no further than DraftSight.

Best Online Free Drafting Programs & Software

1.AutoCAD Web – The Best Online Free Drafting Software & Programs

autocad web best online cad or drafting software

Autodesk’s AutoCAD is a great example of quality CAD software that is also available for free online.

The program offers all the basic features and commands needed for drafting, as well as the ability to open and edit DWG files.

With a simplified interface, AutoCAD Web is also great for beginners.

Plus, the online version of the software is available on mobile devices for added convenience.

Whether you’re a seasoned professional or just getting started in the world of CAD, AutoCAD is a great option to consider

[Old Version] CorelCAD 2021 Education Edition | CAD Software| 2D Drafting, 3D Design & 3D Printing [PC/Mac Disc]
  • Academic Eligibility: accredited schools, faculties, full or part-time students, non-profit charitable and religious organizations; not for commercial use. See full list under Product Description

2.TinkerCAD

autocad web best online cad or drafting software

TinkerCAD is a great online CAD software for those who are looking for an easy-to-use yet powerful program.

With its simple drag-and-drop interface, Tinkercad is perfect for beginners who want to create 3D designs without any prior experience.

However, the program is also versatile enough for more experienced users who can take advantage of its advanced features.

One of the best things about TinkerCAD is that it has a large library of video tutorials which makes it easy to learn how to use the program.

In addition, TinkerCAD is also compatible with other CAD software which makes it easy to transfer data between programs.

Overall, TinkerCAD is a great choice for anyone who wants easy-to-use yet powerful online CAD software.

3.SelfCAD

self cad online cad drafting software

SelfCAD is a free online drafting tool that contains many features for the creation and modification of 3D models.

With this software, you can easily create complete elements for 3D printing.

The program has an extensive library of objects and parts that can be imported from other 3D design programs.

SelfCAD also includes step-by-step guides that are very useful in learning the software.

In addition, the program works both in the browser and in the cloud and is supported on Windows 7, 8, and 10, macOS, and Linux.

4. Sketchup Free

sketchup free online drafting program

Sketchup Free is a great way to quickly create 3D models and render them. The software has an intuitive interface that makes it easy to navigate and create models.

The software also has a large collection of 3D models in the 3D Warehouse or uploaded by other users. The free CAD program is available through a browser on Windows as well as on macOS.

With Sketchup Free, you can create simple 3D printable models from scratch within the first few hours of learning.

You can also use Trimble Connect to post 3D models online, making it easy to access 3D designs remotely or collaborate with others.

Overall it is the best free online drafting software. Give it a try today!

5. Vectary

vectary-rendering-logo.png

As someone who loves to tinker with design, I was intrigued by Vectary’s claim to be a “community platform where anyone can share and customize 3D models.”

I decided to give it a try and was immediately impressed by the ease of use and the quality of the designs.

I was able to create a simple model within minutes, and was amazed at the level of detail I was able to achieve.

The ability to share and customize designs is also a great feature, as it allows for a level of collaboration that is simply not possible with traditional CAD programs.

Overall, Vectary is a great tool for anyone interested in 3D design, and I would highly recommend it to anyone looking for an easy-to-use and powerful CAD program.

Benefits of using drafting software

1. Time-saving

One of the primary benefits of using drafting software is that it can save you a great deal of time. If you are working on a complex project, the software can help you quickly create accurate drawings. This can save you hours or even days of work, as you will not need to redraw your plans if something changes.

2. Increased accuracy

Another benefit of using drafting software is that it can help you to create more accurate drawings.

The software can help you to ensure that all of your dimensions are correct and that your drawings are to scale.

This is important for ensuring that your project turns out the way that you want it to.

3. Easier to make changes

If you need to make changes to your plans, it is much easier to do so if you are using drafting software.

You can simply make the changes to the software and then reprint your drawings. This is much simpler than having to redraw your entire plans by hand.

4. Professional appearance

If you are creating plans for a professional project, they must have a professional appearance. Drafting software can help you to create clean and professional-looking drawings that will impress your clients or customers.

5. Cost-effective

Another benefit of using drafting software is that it can be cost-effective. If you are working on a small project, you may be able to get by with a free or low-cost program.

For larger projects, there are many affordable options available that will still provide you with all of the features and functionality that you need.

Overall, there are many benefits to using drafting software. If you are working on any type of project that requires accurate drawings, the software

FAQ’s

Is FreeCAD Totally Free?

Yes, FreeCAD is totally free. It is open-source software released under the GNU General Public License v2.0. FreeCAD runs on Linux, macOS, and Windows.

Is there a free alternative to AutoCAD?

There are a few free alternatives to AutoCAD, but none of them are as powerful or as versatile as AutoCAD. If you’re looking for a free CAD program that can do basic drafting and design work, then try FreeCAD, DraftSight, OpensCAD & LibreCAD.

What is better FreeCAD or LibreCAD?

FreeCAD is better because it offers a wider range of features and tools. LibreCAD is a more basic program that is good for basic CAD tasks, while FreeCAD offers more options for advanced users.

What is the standout feature of FreeCAD that makes it suitable for both beginners and professionals in CAD modeling?

FreeCAD’s standout feature is its status as open-source software with extensive features and constant updates, providing a powerful platform for users at varying skill levels.

How does OpenSCAD differ from other CAD programs, and why might its lack of visual polish be considered an advantage?

OpenSCAD is a parametric CAD focused on solid 3D object creation without visual elements. Its extensive documentation compensates for the lack of visual polish, offering a unique advantage for those who prioritize precision and functionality.

What makes ArchiCAD stand out as a drafting software specifically designed for architects, and how does it support ease of use and learning for newcomers?

ArchiCAD stands out with its focus on architects, offering a powerful 3D modeling environment, an intuitive interface, and extensive libraries. Its emphasis on ease of use and learning makes it an excellent choice for newcomers to drafting software.

Conclusion:

As you can see, there are a variety of great free drafting software programs available. While each has its own unique features and benefits, all of them provide quality results that can save you money.

Be sure to try out each one of our suggestions to find the perfect fit for your needs.

Once you’ve found the right software program for you, be sure to share it with your friends and followers on social media.

Thanks for reading!

Rakesh Chaudhari
Rakesh Chaudhari

Rakesh is an Head of SEO & Content writer at Arch Visual Studio. Fan of Architecture, AR/VR & 3D World. Loves cycling, music, & read digital marketing blogs

Share Now!