CAD Software for 2D and 3D Computer-Aided Designs

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Himanshi Sharma

Senior editor

Parul Saxena

Chief editor

Last updated: June 7, 2021

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The global CAD market is expected to reach $9 billion by 2022, with a healthy CAGR of 2.4%. This growth seems evident as product engineers and architects are readily using computer-aided design to launch their products with increased speed and efficacy.

The right CAD system, therefore, is critical to the success of product engineers and designers. But with a myriad of computer-aided design tools available, finding the solution that aligns with your requirements could be a hustle. 

3D CAD designs are CPU extensive. Make sure you have a good PC resource to handle it. If you want to have your own powerful custom PC you can take help from PC builders. It will allow you to build a custom personal computer according to your requirements.

CAD software

Good news – we have got you covered. 

Here are the ten best CAD software tools that’ll help you rectify your designing, modeling, prototyping, and manufacturing requisites. 

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Best CAD Softwares

1. ActCAD

ActCAD is a 2D & 3D computer-aided drafting tool best suited for engineers, architects, technical consultants, and interior & exterior designers. The software features an advanced Block Library explicitly designed to help architects and interior designers. ActCAD is available in six versions: Standard, Professional, 2020 BIM, Rail Road Sections, Dials & Scales, and Nesting. 

Looking for CAD Software? Check out SoftwareSuggest’s list of the Best CAD Software solutions.

Key features:

  • 2D drawing and 3D modeling
  • BIM modeling
  • Architectural symbol library
  • Component library and design templates
  • Document management and presentation tools

Pros:

  • Cost-effective CAD solution
  • Quick support and updates

Cons:

  • Complex update installation
  • Frequent lockups on some devices

Pricing: $199 – $599 (permanent license)

2. Tinkercad

Tinkercad is a free and easy-to-use CAD modeling tool ideal for teachers, students, and beginner designers. Its built-in library comprises a wide range of shapes, characters, and numbers, to help you create stunning designs

Key features:

  • Intuitive camera controls
  • Snap functionality
  • Easy moving and scaling of objects
  • Shapes and object modification
  • 2D & 3D import and export

Pros:

  • Easy to use and learn
  • Ideal for children, students, and beginners

Cons:

  • Suited only for beginners
  • Lacks advanced CAD modeling tools

Pricing: Free

3. FreeCAD

FreeCAD is an on-premise 3D modeling CAD system with architectural designs and designing machine tools. This solution is easy to use and enables you to create production-ready drawings. 

Key features:

  • Full GUI application with multi-platform support
  • Module/Plugin framework for late loading for data types/features
  • Constructive solid geometry
  • Topological components, including edges, vertices, and planes
  • Built-in scripting framework and python console

Pros:

  • Free and open-source
  • Seamless adjustment of dimensions

Cons:

  • Some bugs in the basic functionality
  • Steep learning curve

Pricing: Free

4. Draftsight

Draftsight is an advanced, feature-rich 2D & 3D CAD system that allows you to create, edit, and view architectural designs with ease. The software offers flexible functions, making it suitable for both beginners as well as professional designers. 

Key features:

  • Design, drafting, and editing tools
  • Cartesian coordinate system
  • DGN-file support
  • Design library
  • Toolbox for annotations and mechanical symbols

Pros:

  • PDF underlay to share bigger documentation effortlessly
  • Free version offers substantial functionality

Cons:

  • Cumbersome printing procedure
  • Interface not user-friendly

Pricing: $149 per license, per year; $299 per license

Looking for CAD Software? Check out SoftwareSuggest’s list of Best CAD Software solutions.

5. SketchUp

SketchUp is an advanced CAD modeling with programming, diagramming, and development features for architects, engineers, and designers. It allows you to turn 3D models into documents, thereby eliminating 3D modeling issues. 

Key features:

  • 2D and 3D modeling
  • Animations and lighting effects
  • Layer manager
  • Document management and presentation tools
  • Component and architectural symbol library

Pros:

  • Extensive modeling and construction detailing
  • Free version available

Cons:

  • Limited integrations with design software
  • Rendering can be laggy

Pricing: $0 – $1,199 per year

6. Fusion 360

Fusion 360 is an integrated, cloud-based CAM, CAE, and CAD modeling system ideal for architects and design professionals working in a hybrid environment. This tool offers a consolidated platform for your design teams and enables you to combine your product development processes. 

Key features:

  • CAD to CAM import and exchange
  • CNC programming
  • Software integrations
  • Solid/3D modeling tools
  • Job set-up, operations, and tooling & toolpaths

Pros:

  • Free version for students and learners
  • Powerful development tools

Cons:

  • Lack of simulation tools
  • Complex parametric modeling functionality

Pricing: $0 – $495 per year

7. Onshape

Onshape is an innovative, cloud-based SaaS design platform that accelerates design and product development. This best CAD software offers all-in-one functionality that integrates CAD, workflow, release management, admin tools, and API. 

Features: 

  • Data and workflow management
  • Parts, assemblies, and drawings
  • Bill of materials
  • In-depth analytics
  • Support and security

Pros:

  • Operable on a browser
  • Offers real-time edits

Cons:

  • No offline functionality
  • Lacks some advanced tools

Pricing: $1,500 – $1,500 per user, per year

8. Solidworks

Solidworks is one of the best CAD software available for creating and collaborating 2D drafts, 3D designs, animations, CAD modeling, and more. It integrates robust design tools and drawing capabilities to help you stay ahead of your design requirements. 

Key features:

  • Large assembly drawings
  • Quick assembly design and sketching
  • Flexible components
  • 3D Interconnect for expanded interoperability
  • Direct mesh editing

Pros: 

  • Easy and user-friendly
  • Ideal for users with limited computer-aided design knowledge

Cons:

  • Glitchy in some devices
  • Requires high-end hardware

Pricing: Quote-based plan

9. AutoCAD

AutoCAD is the leading computer-aided design software with specialized toolsets and industry-specific functionality. Apart from specialized features and libraries, AutoCAD also offers seamless mobility with multi-device and multi-platform support. 

Key features:

  • 3D modeling and visualization
  • Solid, surface and mesh modeling
  • 3D scanning and point clouds
  • DWG and image references
  • Object selection and isolation

Pros: 

  • Cutting-edge functionality for engineers and architects
  • Regular updates with superior support

Cons:

  • No free version
  • Lack of 3D tools in the purchase price

Pricing: $1610 per year per user

10. Catia

Catia is a CAD modeling solution designed to facilitate product development operations of small and medium-sized businesses. The software addresses all modeling, simulation, and reverse engineering requirements. Catia is available as a cloud-based as well as an on-premise system. 

Key features:

  • Capture manufacturing process intent
  • Integrated multidisciplinary approach
  • Cross-discipline development
  • Social design environment
  • Instinctive 3D experience

Pros: 

  • Plenty of tutorials available for fresh users
  • Superlative parameterization capability

Cons:

  • Toolbars lack user-friendliness
  • 2D generation module not efficient

Pricing: $4500 per year per user

Final thoughts

Each CAD system is unique and offers its set of pros and cons. Retrospecting your requirements, technical capabilities, and budget is the key to selecting the best 2D & 3D design solution for your business. 

So, which CAD software are you using? 

Still not sure about the best CAD tool to pick? Let SoftwareSuggest’s experts help you out.

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A passionate Saas digital marketer working at SoftwareSuggest. She focuses on meeting your requirements by suggesting the best software to take your business to the next level.

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