What are the best Computer Aided Drawing tools?

asked by Gregory Perkins
122 contributors
13 solutions
  1. 17

    #1ArcSite

    ArcSite

    ArcSite is a mobile CAD app for architecture, engineering, and construction professionals. It's intuitive and easy to use, plus, as it's designed for a mobile device you'll be able to have all your projects at hand on the field without having to print out your plans.

    Apps

    iOS

    Free- with in-app purchases

    Richard Robertson
    Written on October 9, 2017
    "Luckily I have an iPhone and I can use this incredible app Arcsite. I am a home builder and I have a constant need to create , present and preview my plans with my customers and foremen. This computer aided drawing tool is a must have for any builder. It has made my job so much easier and increased my business with more satisfied customers. "
  2. 14

    #2Lightwave 3D

    Lightwave 3D
    LightWave 3D is a professional 3D animation software tool that combines rendering with intuitive modeling and animation tools. It's been one of the most popular tools for studios and artists so far.
    Software

    Mac, Windows

    $995- Free trial available

    Ralph Munoz
    Written on October 2, 2017
    "Lightwave 3d is a powerful high level tool. Definitely not something for beginning artists, but definitely a very powerful tool that those with the skills can make some mean art. A great computer aided drawing tool that even comes with a free full feature trial."
  3. 14

    #3Blender

    Blender
    Blender is a free and open source video editing and 3D creation suite software. It features tools for photorealistic rendering, fast modeling, realistic materials, animation toolset, fast UV unwrapping, full compositor, simulations, game creation, camera and object tracking and more.
    Software

    Mac, Windows

    Free

    Alfredo Castellanos
    Written on October 1, 2017
    "Blender is simple, fast and effective. Though it doesn't have all the features of the high end software the super professionals would need it has the stuff that 99% of users would need. It truly is a 1 stop shop for video editing and 3D creation. The best part though is that it's free. Why pay hundreds of dollars for something else that may have 1 or two things you would actually use when you can just settle for this, it really is a great option. "
  1. 13

    #4Sculptris

    Sculptris
    Sculptris is a free and easy-to-use 3D modeling application where anyone can pick it up and play without any technical knowledge or digital experience. The skills acquired using this software can also be easily applied to ZBrush.
    Software

    Windows, Mac

    Free

    Judy Schneider
    Written on October 11, 2017
    "Sculpting is one of my hobbies I use to create game content, and while I am biased because I heavily prefer another program (ZBrush), this program itself is created by the same company as my preferred program. I would heavily recommend ZBrush, but I'm sure the quality of this product is wonderful and people have reason to prefer it."
  2. 11

    #5OpenSCAD

    OpenSCAD
    OpenSCAD is a free programmatic 3D modeling software. It is a script-only based modeller that uses its own description language; parts can be previewed but cannot be interactively selected or modified by mouse in the 3D view.
    Software

    Windows, Mac

    Free

    Danielle Gonzalez
    Written on September 30, 2017
    "Amazing 3D CAD Modeler! Extremely powerful and multipurpose. Covers every platform and has great support. So versatile and developer friendly."
  3. 10

    #6Wings 3D

    Wings 3D
    Wings 3D is an advanced subdivision modeler that is both powerful and easy to use. This software is free for personal and commercial use. 
    Software

    Windows, Mac

    Free

    Margaret Simpson
    Written on October 2, 2017
    "Wings 3D is one of my favorite alternatives to traditional modeling tools. It can provide great reference when I am drawing, and it gives me a better understanding of the 3D perspective in a crisp clean image. Although I enjoy uses traditional modeling tools such as figurines, using Wings 3D allows for me to have reference without having to carry my models around. "
  4. 8

    #7Fusion 360

    Fusion 360
    Fusion 360 is a cloud-based 3D CAD, CAM, and CAE platform for product development. It combines industrial and mechanical design, simulation, collaboration, and machining in a single package.
    Software

    Windows, Mac, iOS, Android

    Free

    Jerry Daniels
    Written on October 3, 2017
    "Fusion 360 is one of the best CAD tools I have every used. I love having it synced directly to the cloud. I don't have to worry about saving and transferring my work back and forth from computer to computer anymore. The best part is it works with both Mac and PC so I can go straight from the work computer using windows to my Mac at home with no issues. "
  5. 7

    #83DS MAX

    3DS MAX
    3DS MAX is a modeling and rendering software which helps you create massive worlds in games, stunning scenes for design visualization and engaging virtual reality (VR) experiences
    Software

    Windows

    $1470- Free trial available.

    Julie Day
    Written on October 10, 2017
    "This program is so much fun because the possibilities are endless. If you want to design a virtual world but don't even know where to start, this program will help you with videos for beginners. There are plenty of tools to be able to draw and create anything you can think of. The only issue is that every year a new version comes out that has very little improvement over the versions before it, and files from the older versions won't be recognized in the newer version. But as long as you stick with one version you can create whole worlds and really open the door to 3D and creativity."
  6. 6

    #9AutoCAD

    AutoCAD
    AutoCAD is a computer-aided design software that allows you to design every detail with 2D and 3D and share drawings across desktop, cloud, and mobile.
    Software

    Windows, Mac, iOS

    Varies by plan

    Alan Obrien
    Written on October 3, 2017
    "There's a reason that AutoCAD is the industry standard CAD software. It is by far the most robust and full featured CAD available; although the learning curve can be fairly steep, especially for users who haven't had at least some experience already with CAD software."
  7. 5

    #10Cinema 4D

    Cinema 4D
    Cinema 4D is considered one of the fastest growing and widely used solutions for content creation. This software is a fully integrated 3D modeling, animation, and rendering package. 
    Software

    Windows, Mac

    $3510.25- Free trial available

    Antonia Valenzuela
    Written on October 31, 2017
    "Let your imagination run wild with Cinema 4D. There are four variations of the product that you can choose from to meet your needs for professional looking creations from your imagination. If you can think it you can create it with this app."
  8. 3

    #113D-Coat

    3D-Coat

    3D-Coat is a commercial digital sculpting program that has all the tools you need to take your 3D idea from a block of digital clay all the way to a production ready, fully textured organic or hard surface model.

    Software

    Windows, Mac

    $49- Varies by plan

    Carl Hansen
    Written on October 2, 2017
    "Design your clay sculpture and watch it come to life! Easy to use program that is accurate and has a solid functionality. Highly recommend for those into 3D sculpting. "
  9. 1

    #12Autodesk Maya

    Autodesk Maya

    Autodesk Maya is a 3D animation, modeling, simulation, and rendering software that provides an integrated, powerful toolset. Use it for animation, environments, motion graphics, virtual reality, and character creation.

    Software

    Windows, Mac

    $190- Varies by plan

    Sharon Zhao
    Written on October 9, 2017
    "When it comes to computer aided drawing, Maya by Autodesk is at the top of their game. Their software simulates a ton of different materials such as cloth, skin, fur, hair, and even fluid. There are tons of features in this software available to the user that can be a little overwhelming to be honest. With continued use, the application can be extremely useful in producing some amazing work."
  10. 0

    #13SolidWorks

    SolidWorks

    SolidWorks is a 3D solid modeling computer-aided design (CAD) and computer-aided engineering tool. It allows you to take product ideas and bring them to life, helping you design and improve every aspect of the product design process.

    Software

    Windows

    $3995- Free trial available.

    Julia Olson
    Written on April 4, 2018
    "While I wouldn't suggest Solidworks for beginners, it's great for experienced 3D designers. I've used this for several architectural models for pre-construction funding purposes and the models never fail to impress potential investors. Compared to conceptual drawings that I used to use, I'm way more confident that I'll get the funding needed when I'm using an actual 3D model."

Summary

Best What are the best Computer Aided Drawing tools
RankSolutionsTypeVotesPrice
1ArcSiteApps 17 Free
2Lightwave 3DSoftware 14 Paid
3BlenderSoftware 14 Free
4SculptrisSoftware 13 Free
5OpenSCADSoftware 11 Free
6Wings 3DSoftware 10 Free
7Fusion 360Software 8 Free
83DS MAXSoftware 7 Paid
9AutoCADSoftware 6 Paid
10Cinema 4DSoftware 5 Paid
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