Author Topic: New, Searching for a new CAD App  (Read 827 times)

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  • Mosquito
  • Posts: 2
New, Searching for a new CAD App
« on: July 18, 2020, 09:44:35 AM »
Hi, new here, I couldn’t find “New to CAD” for my first post as instructed in “First Things First." I’m searching for a simple economical CAD for 3D wire frames with dimensions, hide back faces, rotate. Not much else.

I make a few wire perspectives with dimensions for myself, other carpenters or friends and partial to the old b&w model airplane and carburetor repair assembly diagrams. I get the value of software for engineering and architecture, but my use just doesn’t rise to that level.


  • Swamp Rat
  • Posts: 849
  • 30 + years of using Autocad
Re: New, Searching for a new CAD App
« Reply #1 on: July 21, 2020, 02:03:19 AM »
There are plenty out there Bricscad, Intellicad, zwcad, drafsight to mention a few. They all offer a trial and different pricing the more you pay the more you get.
A man who never made a mistake never made anything


  • Newt
  • Posts: 83
Re: New, Searching for a new CAD App
« Reply #2 on: July 29, 2020, 10:48:35 PM »
Hi mlee. I've done a ton of research into this very question, although my needs are a little different than yours. After weeks and weeks and one free trial after another, it's still not clear which CAD alternative is best.

If you aren't a drafter or have a lack of experience, this can be a very good thing; you won't be accustomed to AutoCAD's way of doing things and will tolerate a different program much better.

Some programs I'll add to the options list are GstarCAD, freeCAD, Sketchup and Rhino3D Version 6.

GstarCAD is a straight-up AutoCAD replacement, and appears to give the "most bang for your buck" as far as AutoCAD replacements go. CAVEAT: I haven't tried this yet. I read somewhere that a user had a concern about privacy, given the software developer is based out of China. Given I am just a freelance drafter, I really doubt it's worth the Chinese government's time to look at the crap I draft ;-) , so I'm in no way worried about this. Eventually I'm going to try this program. The price fluctuates quite a bit so best to look at their website. I can't give this a solid recommendation until I actually try it myself.

FreeCAD is another program I haven't tried. Best do look at what it can (and can't) do via youtube tutorials. It's 3D but I'm not sure about it's documentation capabilities.

Sketchup is pretty awesome. Some people love it others hate it. For someone just getting into CAD/modelling, the typical person would be able to to go from zero to modelling and documenting simple objects (a house, a chair, whatever) quicker compared to if they started from scratch with about any other program. Sketchup's shortfall is the 'Layout' extension; it feels like a different program altogether and is slooooooooooow. Because of this, Sketchup has a low ceiling as far as overall productivity is concerned. But it might work for you. $300/year.

Rhino3d: I am currently learning this program and it's incredible!! It might be the best option for what you're doing save for the price tag ($995 US), and the fact that your work doesn't need software quite that complex. It has good (not great) documentation tools and is very customizable. The CUI is actually the best of any software I've used to date.

Based on what you've described I think that BricsCAD is too heavy for you. I just want to mention BircsCAD that it's the best "AutoCAD replacement" out there. The price has unfortunately creeped up over the years to the point where it's not viable for a lot of users. If Bricsys has a Covid sale I might have to purchase it.


  • Mosquito
  • Posts: 2
Re: New, Searching for a new CAD App
« Reply #3 on: August 02, 2020, 02:05:17 PM »
Thank you both for the recommendations.
Just investigating one is a lot so with all those options you've provided a lot for me to do.
Thanks a million