Autocad open souce alternatives?

Any body here have any experience with an open source Autocad alternative? I've read about Freecad and a few others but wanted to see if i could get any feedback from the Tek community.

I don't, but I'd love to hear about some alternatives as well. I'd like to learn the software before 3D printers get cheap enough to have selection in my price range.

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If Blender had a 2D view, and good measuring tool, i would use it for that sort of stuff, but until then it just wont work.

If you are just looking for alternatives to AutoCad, there are many. How many open source CAD applications is are more difficult question. Blender is probably one of the better ones. There are free or low cost versions of closed source CAD applications like Sketchup.

I have extensively used, Vectorworks for the past five years. It is a fairly easy application to learn with a lot of uses. However, if your main focus is 3D modeling, it might not be the best choice. It is more geared towards specific markets like Architecture, Landscape and Lighting Design. However, the base modeling engine is similar to Solidworks. These applications are far from open source and not cheap. However, if you are a student there are free versions.

There are many great applications, I would love for people to understand that AutoCad is not the only option out there. If anyone has more specific questions about Vectorworks, let me know.

You may want to look at FreeCad


2d view? You mean orthographic view? Just hit 5 on the number pad also there are options for measuring geometry. tools.


Well the main reason im asking is my brother was going to do some projects at home but nothing too serious. I know hes familiar with auto cad but was hoping there was something free he could use at home since most programs cost quite alot. I think he'd be doing more architectural kind of work. And hes using windows currently but wanted me to help him set up linux dual boot for him, so it doesn't have to be strictly linux only, i just knew that there were some open source programs for it that i told him about.

A good open source/free software solution for CAD is seriously lacking. FreeCAD is OK but I found it almost infuriating to use, maybe because for a while my day job was to model stuff in commercial grade software.

There is Blender architect but I never tried it out.

Blender Architect

No, like a view with a 2D outline that is editable. Its a bit difficult to explain, but autoCAD Revit has it.

PTC Creo has a version that is free if you are a student or want to pretend to be a student. It is a fully featured suite of software but at the same time the learning curve is about as steep and tall as a cliff.

CAD is an area that LInux is weak in. BrisCAD is OK

Depends for what purpose and if you want opensource or just free. For small objects, the sugestions the others made in this post might be sufficient but when I worked in a Heating Installation Company the only real alternative to autocad for architectural plans were BricsCAD (paid, cheaper than autocad) and DraftSight (not opensource and slower than BricsCAD, but free).
You can also take a look at


I can attest to that, FreeCAD is just too unintuitive. The biggest problem in my opinion is that it lacks the ability to change the dimensions of an object in the side panel, to call it infuriating is being generous.

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Thanks for the suggestion, will look into those.

Here's an interesting lead....

Blender is SUPER customizeable. There are configs and plugins/addons out there to make blender do what you want.

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I doubt there are any good ones, that industry is on lockdown by AutoDesk. Every single class I have taken in CAD has used at least 2 AutoDesk products, and the end exam was the User test from AutoDesk.