Autodesk, Inc., an American multinational software corporation that makes softwares for various fields such as interior design, architecture, engineering, construction, manufacturing, etc, became best known for AutoCAD but now creates a vast range of softwares for design, engineering, and entertainment as well as a line of software for consumers, including Maya and 3ds Max.
One downfall to Autodesk, especially for those who have a small business, is its price; Therefore, there are other softwares made for those who find AutoCAD prices outrageous and want to have a more affordable start to their business.
Since the market is filled with many CAD alternatives, it can be challenging to differentiate between those that are a much closer comparison to CAD than the ones that are not worth spending your time on. Here are some good alternatives to AutoCAD that:
- Easy to learn
- Read the same kind of files as AutoCAD
ProgeCAD USA has been delivering progeCAD products to North America since the year 2005. Some of its features are:
- Very Affordable! It Costs a fraction of AutoCAD LT (Running for $499)
- No learning curve! There is nothing new to learn if you are already an AutoCAD user
- Export To Goole Earth
- Works With DWG! Fully compatible with AutoCAD without conversion
- PDF and DWF to DWG conversion included
- Convert your old paper draughts into CAD!
- Create architectural layouts in a flash with the parametric plug-in
Provides a large blocks library (11,000 2D symbols) addition to give you an option of managing your own symbols.
DraftSight is good for 2D modeling and runs on windows only. It includes a free version that doesn’t offer much, but the professional version is fairly inexpensive in comparison to AutoCAD and comes with powerful, time-saving functionalities. It is $299/year and includes a DraftSight Professional license plus a 12 month subscription for upgrades and service. After 12 month(s), a yearly fee of $99.00 is due starting with the next billing cycle, but you can cancel your subscription at any time. Some of its features are:
- Command line input
- Traditional toolbars and menus
- Blocks & reference files
- Layers & layer manager
- Freeze, lock or turn off layers per ViewPort
- Read and write support for DWG/DXF files
- Save DWG/DXF files back to previous versions
- Attach image files (.bmp, .gif, .jpg, .jpeg, .png, .tif, & .tiff)
- Attach external reference drawings
- Export to file (.jpg, .pdf, .png, & svg.)
- Save as .jpeg, .pdf, .png, .sld, .svg, .tif, & .stl file formats
- Multi-page PDF creation
Compatible with Windows, Mac & Linux, BricsCAD platform offers features familiar from other .dwg programs, and then adds time-saving tools and 3D direct modeling. BricsCAD V16 Classic is the basic version of this software, $550, focuses primarily on 2-D drawings. Some of its features include:
- Distinctive ribbon for accessing tools much faster
- Speed up your workflow with the Quad™ cursor
- Create technical drawings, plans & layouts, annotate designs quickly
- Powerful and adaptive tools for 3D direct solid modeling
- Free-to-use cloud platform,Chapoo, lets you manage documents, assign tasks, automate processes and communicate with your colleagues.
NanoCAD, a professional grade CAD tool, is an entirely free AutoCAD alternative–and its fully-featured version, nanoCAD Plus, is only $180. It has a familiar interface, powerful drafting and design tools and native DWG compatibility. Some of its features are:
- Multi-purpose free drafting software
- Industry-standard user interface
- Clean and native .dwg support
- Comprehensive command set
- Powerful Table Editor
- Extended plotting
Smartdraw is an easy CAD drawing software. It lets you start with the exact template you need and just by adding your information, SmartDraw does the rest for you. The cost of this software is $12.95/month, billed annually. Some of its features are:
- Easy to change templates for office, living room, kitchens, restaurants, and more
- Templates for HVAD drawings, electrical plans, elevations, etc.
- Create and edit diagrams online on any platform or device
- Share your diagrams online without worrying about device or compatibility issues.
- Save diagrams to your online Cloud account or to any compatible third party services including Dropbox, Google Drive, and OneDrive.