What Is the Best Free Alternative to SolidWorks?

SolidWorks is computer-aided solid modeling software commonly used by designers, draftsmen, mechanical engineers, and construction planners. The cheapest one is the Standard package and approximately $4,000 is required to purchase this package. What is the best free alternative that SolidWorks users can easily get used to?

Monday, January 11, 2021 - 07:24

SolidWorks is computer-aided solid modeling software commonly used by designers, draftsmen, mechanical engineers, and construction planners. SolidWorks software can be used for both 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional designs. SolidWorks has 3 different packages, Standard, Professional and Premium. The cheapest one is the Standard package and approximately $4,000 is required to purchase this package. What is the best free alternative that SolidWorks users can easily get used to?

SolidWorks is one of the rare programs whose perpetual license is ongoing. Once a SolidWorks license is purchased, it can be used for life. To benefit from the updates, a maintenance agreement is required and an annual maintenance fee (approximately $1,300) is required. Technical support is also included in this agreement.

While lifetime licensing may seem logical, purchasing costs are still high for many users. On the other hand, if the maintenance agreement is not made, the program cannot receive updates and cannot open the files created by the next versions.

SolidWorks software sales are carried out by the distributor companies. It is not possible to see license prices on the website of these companies. It is possible to find license prices on third-party websites. For example, $3,995 for SolidWorks Standard, $5,490 for SolidWorks Professional and $7,995 for SolidWorks Premium.

Commonly used free alternatives to SolidWorks; FreeCAD, SketchUp, Onshape, BRL-CAD, Shapr3D, pCon.planner, QCAD, Designspark Mechanical, Open CASCADE.

Although there are many free alternatives to SolidWorks, FreeCAD stands out as free 3-dimensional modeling software with open source code that can work in Windows, MAC and Linux environments. FreeCAD software is free for both personal and commercial use.

A lightweight and extremely fast program, FreeCAD is ideal for making 3D drawings of any size, and if you know how to use SolidWorks, you can get used to it in a short time.

Besides its own file format, FreeCAD can also import and export formats such as DXF, DWG, SVG, STEP, STL, OBJ, and 3DS. The STEP file is seen as the best choice for a clean import.

You can download the current version of FreeCAD from the official website of the FreeCAD team via the link below. The installation file has a size of approximately 485 MB for the Windows platform.

https://www.freecadweb.org/downloads.php

You can send us your experience about FreeCAD 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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