Free/Open CAD Programs That Are Good for Digital Fabrication

One of the difficult things involved with releasing open source designs is finding free CAD programs that are easy to learn and flexible enough to output 3d and 2d files. You need to have both file types for the project model to work. The 3d files are necessary to have because they can be taken by another person to be modifed and iterative. The 2d files are a result of the 3d files, and allow someone to easily digitally fabricate a product.





For 3d files I have been using SketchupMAKE 2015 which is free and is popular with designers around the world. However, the free version doesn’t allow you to export line drawings such as AutoCADs Drawing Exchange File. I was considering buying the full version to get access to the vector exporting abilities, unless there is a plugin that allows me to do this.



The next open source CAD program I looked at was FreeCAD, which is an open source parametric 3d modeler. I haven’t looked too much into this because the parametric factor made me cautious. I’m just worried about the learning curve compared to other programs. Sketchup is super easy to learn how to do.

I’m going to continue to look for programs to endorse and support. If you have any suggestions or feedback please let me know.


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