What Is the Best Free Alternative to AutoCAD?

AutoCAD is the program that engineers, architects, and project professionals often use to create 2D drawings. To use the AutoCAD application, a subscription fee of approximately $1,700 is required each year. What is the best free alternative that AutoCAD users can easily get used to?

Friday, December 25, 2020 - 01:16

AutoCAD is the program that engineers, architects, and project professionals often use to create 2D drawings. To use the AutoCAD application, a subscription fee of approximately $1,700 is required each year. Due to the high subscription fees of AutoCAD, many free alternatives have been developed. What is the best free alternative that AutoCAD users can easily get used to?

As with other Autodesk software, AutoCAD’s permanent (lifetime) license sales ended January 31, 2016. Those who purchased permanent licenses before this date continue to have their licenses and benefit from usage rights.

AutoCAD is now available on only three-month, annual or multi-year (2 and 3-year) subscription agreements. Autodesk defines this subscription model as “simplified customer experience” and “lower cost of entry,” but AutoCAD users do not seem to agree. Because in the past, it was possible to have the program for life by paying the fees listed as the current annual subscription fee.

In the new subscription model, you have to pay a fee every year to use the program. The annual subscription fee of the basic AutoCAD package used for 2D drafting, drawings and documents, 3D modeling and visualization is listed as $1,690 including VAT.

Widely used free alternatives to AutoCAD; FreeCAD, LibreCAD, SketchUp, OpenSCAD, BRL-CAD, SolveSpace, QCAD, Open CASCADE, pCon.planner, Shapr3D and progeCAD Smart.

Although there are many free alternatives to AutoCAD, LibreCAD stands out as an open source free CAD program that can work in Windows, MAC and Linux environments. LibreCAD supports DXF and DWG files, which are AutoCAD formats. You can open, edit and save these files in DXF format.

LibreCAD, a light and fast program, is ideal for preparing 2D drawings and if you know how to use AutoCAD, you can easily get used to it.

You can download the latest version of LibreCAD from SourceForge servers via the link below. The installation file has a size of approximately 28 MB.

https://sourceforge.net/projects/librecad/files/latest/download

If you cannot work outside of the usual look of the AutoCAD interface, it may be necessary to turn to paid alternatives. The user interface, menu layouts and buttons of GStarCAD and ZWCAD programs are almost the same as AutoCAD. Both programs are compatible with all versions of AutoCAD. The permanent license fee of GStarCAD program is $549. The lifetime license of ZWCAD has a sales price of $1,099.

You can send us your opinions about LibreCAD and other alternative suggestions via the comments section.

Emre Yılmaz
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Emre Yılmaz, the founder of Lighting Portal, graduated from Atılım University Department of Electrical and Electronics Engineering in 2013, and since then has been involved in the management and product development activities of state-supported projects in the lighting industry. He completed his master's degree at Gazi University Industrial Design Engineering Department and continues his education in the doctorate program of the same department.

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