What CAD software do you use?


Hello all,
I see lots of open source build project out in the internet. Well maybe not a lot but for now I found two. The one we are building here. The awesome food computer.
Some of the files are in some sort of format that requires a CAD program to open and view.

Does anyone of you know of a CAD program that would be for free?

PS. The other project that I have in my toDo after this is a plastic thing http://preciousplastic.com/


eDrawings has a free viewer that you can use to read the SLDASM file.


I tryed that and all the security whistles and bells went off when I tried to install it on my mac. I think I’ll give it another try :slight_smile:


eDrawings should work for you. It even has a measure tool that has come in really handy for me.


Similar issue here. No eDrawings on Ubuntu. Two solutions : export from eDrawings to .SLT format and read on any open source CAD like MeshLAB (see screenshot below).

Or export to PNG and/or PDF to display anywhere. Was my solution. Here are my exports of all the Solidworks designs (except bolts, washers, and basic stuff) : https://owncloud.dokeos.com/index.php/s/AybipECMYe1Opj2


CAD design PNG export link does not work above. Use this one : https://hubic.com/home/pub/?ruid=aHR0cHM6Ly9sYjk5MTEuaHViaWMub3ZoLm5ldC92MS9BVVRIXzk3NzM0ZjU5MTcxNDU3MmUxYmVlYzYwYTg1OTBkNDA2L2RlZmF1bHQvLm92aFB1Yi8xNDYxNTk4MzM2XzE0NjI0NjIzMzY/dGVtcF91cmxfc2lnPTMwYzEyZmRhNzJkYzQxZDg1NTU2YTI4ZjFiNTY1MDliN2U1ZTUzMGMmdGVtcF91cmxfZXhwaXJlcz0xNDYyNDYyMzM2#


Is that Mashlab for Ubuntu free?


I am usungs edrawings viewer on a Mac without problems. I am using Sketchup for my own drawings though…


Yes. MeshLAB is free software : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MeshLab Avaliable on both Windows, Linux and Mac : https://sourceforge.net/projects/meshlab/files/meshlab/MeshLab%20v1.3.3/


Great. Thanks. I’ll give it a try :slight_smile:


Mirroring what has been said above, eDrawings is a great software for viewing and measuring Solidworks files. If you need to create new files, Sketchup is pretty powerful and you can export to STL for viewing on other programs. I also think Rhino has a free version for Mac if you sign up for a beta account. Autodesk Inventor also has a free/trial version I think.


I’m using Fusion 360 from the AutoCAD guys. I’ve had to teach myself for this project but actually it’s pretty simple and super powerful. It’s free for a year for startups and hobbyists, which is me, and free indefinitely for students and educational establishments I believe. It can’t open the SolidWorks files but is perfectly happy with the STEP file that’s also included on GitHub.


Oh and I use eDrawings on my iPad - the AR feature is GREAT for examining bits of the design in situ on the workbench. So definitely mirroring that vote.


You should check out Onshape as a CAD tool, completely cloud based and pretty powerful. It is free to use (pay for more than 10 ‘private’ docs) and it can open SolidWorks files.



I can’t seem to open the assembly or part files in eDrawings (either on my Mac version or my Windows version). Are you guys able to open all the CAD files? I tried Onshape but the files were blank…maybe a problem with Chrome so I might try it on IE or Safari.


Hi guy’s just discovered this project / site. But even so i will jump in with my input to this topic. Ideally i run Ubuntu Linux as my main Operating System, but i still have not found an adequate CAD program that i like (or runs on linux), so as of now i use Solidworks for my engineering projects on a windows machine and I am quite happy if Solidworks files are available. Having said that though i do hope STEP files will be routinely provided and open source cross-platform CAD software will continue to improve in the future.

I have tried but did not like fully:
FreeCAD (clunky interface but it can convert STL to mesh to STEP)
OpenSCAD (too mathy / programmers CAD, but useful in some situations)
123D Design (not open source and MAC and Windows only, and slightly numbed down)
Onshape (web based, but awful)
TinkerCAD (web-based but too numbed down)


I understand how Solidworks gives you an all-round better software experience, but shouldn’t an open source project at least have a copy of the plans in an open file type format?


Good point. Solidworks is still the standard for Engineering CAD, and for good reason. As a person who prefers the Linux OS i do find this frustrating. The Blender foundation is working a their own remix of Blender designed for CAD that i am excited about.

But you are right, someone could easily have the same files also available in STEP or IGES files which are not ideal, but are the most cross-CAD compatible formats for all types of CAD software.

EDIT: i thought the Blender Foundation was working on an official CAD fork, but i can’t find it. Maybe this is it, haven’t tried it. http://www.mechanicalblender.org/