Nov 082018

Bob McKay, South Wales Remap, would like advice on CAD packages please.  Free if possible!

There are obviously many CAD packages on the market at many different prices but I suspect there is a “basic” package free or for a modest outlay which would suit the amateur.

The magazine Model Engineering Workshop ( are enabling a 6 month free trial of the “Alibre 3D CAD” package but as their package is expensive when the trial is finished, the introduction may be rather frustrating.   (Details of the offer are in the November issue of the magazine). On the other hand, it an opportunity for members to play with CAD at no cost.




  10 Responses to “Advice needed on free or low priced CAD package”

  1. DesignSpark from RS is free and I was recommended a free version of AutoCAD that I cannot now find.

  2. Try They have free accounts providing you are willing to make your work “public” (which is quite “REMAPy” anyway), and you need install nothing on your device apart from a web browser so it will work well with basic/old computers.

    • Thanks Andrew. I see they have a good demo option, I’ll have a look. Many thanks. Bob

  3. I too use Sketchup for some things….but once you get into parametric design (like Fusion360) there is no going back. (Pun intended!)


  4. The best CAD system available today is Autodesk Fusion 360. It is simply brilliant for design,, generating drawings, 3d printing and CNC automation. It has the ability to simulate motion, as well as stress and thermal analysis. It is simple to learn and there is a wealth of online tutorials on Youtube etc.

    The best part is if you make less than $100k per year using it then it is ENTIRELY FREE!!! No catch. The full version for £0!!!

    I used to use Alibre (the one in Model Engineers Workshop) but I think Fusion 360 is easier and better. (and Free-er)


  5. I use Google Sketchup for almost everything these days. It generates accurate 3d diagrams, is free and relatively easy to use. It has starter videos to get you going. I would be happy to send sample drawings to anyone interested. You would not use if for designing a gearbox but for metal and woodwork assemblies it is superb.

    • Many thanks Mark. I’ll have a practice run with Sketchup but I think Fusion might be my eventual destination.

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