By continuing to use this site, you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more
Forum sponsored by:
Forum sponsored by Forum House Ad Zone

Affordable CAD software?.

Would like to use CAD but software seems expensive.

All Topics | Latest Posts

Search for:  in Thread Title in  
Bob Mc12/12/2015 19:48:06
229 forum posts
48 photos

Please let me know if this has already been discussed, however I can't find any reference in the Threads for this topic.

I would like to make a start producing drawings using some sort of CAD, however I was blown away when I saw the price of Autocad..!!

is there anything that would be suitable for model engineers and which could be used for uploading to ME magazine for example, surely there must be something reasonably priced....well less than £50 in my case or its out of my league.

Have looked on Ebay and although there are copies of what is claimed to be Autocad, it appears that they are either free trials or somewhat legally 'iffy'; in the first case I don't want drawings disappearing from my files after a certain time, and in the second case I don't want to end up in clink..!!

TSH12/12/2015 19:58:59
45 forum posts
11 photos

Hi Bob,

If you are content to use a 2D package you might like to look at Solid Edge 2D which is free so long as you register with Siemens. See **LINK**

There's a bit of a learning curve but there are plenty of tutorial videos and other resources online.

Good luck.


John Hinkley12/12/2015 20:01:30
1306 forum posts
424 photos

I use QCAD from It's free, open source software, unless you want to upgrade to the professional package (around £20). Suits me fine. Try it - after all it won't cost you anything. You'll doubtless get everybody suggesting their own favourite flavour of program, so I thought I'd get in first!


Or, more accurately, second!  Trevor beat me to it.

Edited By John Hinkley on 12/12/2015 20:02:18

Edited By John Hinkley on 12/12/2015 20:03:27

Bazyle12/12/2015 20:45:56
6297 forum posts
222 photos

Draftsight is free and popular.

The way to search the forum is to go to the home page of the whole site not the forum and a little way down you will see a box called 'google search' which works much better than the forum search. enter "drawing" and see what comes up.

JasonB12/12/2015 20:52:20
22584 forum posts
2637 photos
1 articles

Have a look at the threads within the "CAD- Technical drawing and design" topic here

SillyOldDuffer12/12/2015 21:12:28
8492 forum posts
1896 photos

For 2D drawings my vote is for QCad too. Although the free version is sufficient for most purposes I paid for the Pro version because it has extras that simplify some common drawing functions. QCad is relatively straightforward to use.

A disadvantage of full featured packages like Autocad is the learning curve. They include functionality you may not ever need.

I use FreeCAD to experiment with parametric modelling. It's a development project and a bit prone to crashing. Nonetheless I've found it very useful for learning about 3D design and, in the real world, for visualising complex objects. There are some good tutorials on the web.



Edited By SillyOldDuffer on 12/12/2015 21:12:58

John Baron12/12/2015 21:26:44
520 forum posts
194 photos

Qcad gets my vote too ! Though Draftsight is good. Both are candidates for replacing expensive Autocad, but like any piece of software it takes time to learn how to use it effectively .

Another JohnS12/12/2015 22:34:56
832 forum posts
56 photos

Another QCAD user here. Does not need an Internet connection to run, which is an issue for me with some other tools.

I did purchase the "professional version" - not much, and I do believe in supporting people who develop software. (I'm in the same boat...) It's not much to purchase.

3D-wise, for the little I do - SCAD, and FreeCAD.

But, really, for the majority of what I seem to do, 2D CAD - QCAD - is the go-to tool. It runs on Linux, OSX, and - most probably - Windows.


John Haine12/12/2015 23:32:02
4631 forum posts
273 photos

Swarf Maker12/12/2015 23:52:27
118 forum posts
5 photos

QCAD is brilliant. It can be used in much the same way as conventional drafting. It does not 'time expire' so you can use any version as long as you wish. It operates on just about any operating system, windows, linux, MAC, and does not 'embed' itself with lots of calls to the operating system. If you purchase a copy you get free updates throughout the following year and you can run different versions alongside each other if you are worried about any of the update versions. If you choose to subscribe for a further year you can do so with a loyalty discount. If you find a problem with it (there is continuous development) then the response is (in my experience) rapid and exemplary.

The dxf files seem to work correctly with the needs of laser, etc cutting programmes but I don't have CNC to check it with.

For 3D stuff the files import OK into TurboCAD v21 Pro, Onshape and Fusion 360.

Peter Krogh13/12/2015 00:49:17
221 forum posts
20 photos

Swarf Maker,

Do you find that QCAD will import from AutoCAD without too many problems? I've tried to use TurboCAD on my MAC but it won't import AutoCAD very well. Leaves out layers, colors, etc.. I'm almost desperate to find a 2D that will run on my MacBook Air 'cause it's just so convenient to sit here in my easy chair compared to at my desk with a PC!



John McNamara13/12/2015 02:47:45
1336 forum posts
125 photos

Hi Bob MC

Have a look at fusion 360. It is free for Hobby use.
There is plenty of Youtube videos that will get you started.

It can create Gcode for mills and routers (Laser is under development)
Or create files for 3D Printing

Yes you can make 2d paper drawings too.

Link to thread in this site



Swarf Maker13/12/2015 09:46:39
118 forum posts
5 photos

Peter Krogh,

I don't normally require to import files but I have just checked an import of an AutoCAD file from the net. It seems to have imported perfectly OK with all of the layers and attributes as one would expect them to be. Also, I am PC based so I suggest that you give QCAD a try on your MacBook. The latest version (3.12.4) is around $36.

Michael Gilligan13/12/2015 10:15:54
20091 forum posts
1042 photos
Posted by John Alexander Stewart on 12/12/2015 22:34:56:

Another QCAD user here. ...

I did purchase the "professional version" - not much, and I do believe in supporting people who develop software. (I'm in the same boat...) It's not much to purchase.



I have been trying QCAD on the Mac, and am impressed

Agreed ... the 'pro' upgrade appears very reasonably priced

Do you have any opinion regarding the CAM extension question




Edit: added links

Edited By Michael Gilligan on 13/12/2015 10:20:51

Peter Krogh13/12/2015 11:56:26
221 forum posts
20 photos

Swarf Maker, MichaelG, this QCAD information is very good, thank you. I will be investigating this program today!


Ady113/12/2015 11:59:05
5067 forum posts
734 photos

Designspark has been good for me, if you can get it running on your pooter

John Haine13/12/2015 12:05:09
4631 forum posts
273 photos

Just downloaded and installed QCAD, it looks very interesting!

Michael Gilligan13/12/2015 12:12:10
20091 forum posts
1042 photos

In ecumenical spirit ... I recommend the first video in this series:


She uses QCAD for 'pattern-making' ... but not as we know it.

It's one of the best 'introduction' tutorials I have seen for any software.


Neil Wyatt13/12/2015 12:17:53
18992 forum posts
734 photos
80 articles

I use Turbocad. Older versions are very affordable.


Bob Mc13/12/2015 12:39:33
229 forum posts
48 photos

Thanks everyone for the responses...

its great to know that once you are a member of this forum there is a wealth of information from people that understand the situation and have the experience to provide a solution...

Thanks .. will be spending some time looking at your suggestions.


All Topics | Latest Posts

Please login to post a reply.

Magazine Locator

Want the latest issue of Model Engineer or Model Engineers' Workshop? Use our magazine locator links to find your nearest stockist!

Find Model Engineer & Model Engineers' Workshop

Latest Forum Posts
Support Our Partners
Eccentric July 5 2018
Eccentric Engineering
Rapid RC
Subscription Offer

Latest "For Sale" Ads
Latest "Wanted" Ads
Get In Touch!

Do you want to contact the Model Engineer and Model Engineers' Workshop team?

You can contact us by phone, mail or email about the magazines including becoming a contributor, submitting reader's letters or making queries about articles. You can also get in touch about this website, advertising or other general issues.

Click THIS LINK for full contact details.

For subscription issues please see THIS LINK.

Digital Back Issues

Social Media online

'Like' us on Facebook
Follow us on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter
 Twitter Logo

Pin us on Pinterest