If you are looking for a free to download Computer Aided Design (CAD) program then you could have a look at LibreCAD, an application that will allow you to create relatively complex CAD projects free of charge. Available in both Mac and PC versions this lightweight application provides a range of tools to create 2D drawings. Users are likely to be people with an interested in industrial design.
On initial launch the display window shows the main work area with tools like Draw, Dimension, Layer, and Block visible. These tools and others can be opened from the easily accessible menu bar. The application has a flexible interface that will allow you to customize the work area and lay the desktop out in a style which suits the user. All of the main elements can be dragged and dropped where the user sees fit, or hidden and displayed as required.
In terms of operation, creating new projects is relatively straightforward. Basic elements like arcs, circles, and lines can be neatly dropped into place. These elements can be grouped into a single item as the model is constructed. There is a useful zoom operation which allows you to alter the distance and perspective of the project.
The software also comes with a helpful set of tabs that allow you to access the colour and size of the work area. There are built in grids and guides which can be used to assist with drawings and measurements. These do not come with a ‘snap-to’ feature which would be helpful in making precise adjustments.
The software comes equipped with an ‘Explode text into letters’ feature, which allows you to add word effects on your productions. It is also possible to freeze blocks and layers within projects as they are being developed. As with any free open source software there are some positive features to reflect on, and also a few points for improvement.
Any free CAD software is going to be compared with Google Sketchup. Although this is a neat little application it doesn’t have anything like the functionality, ease-of-use, adaptability or export capacity of sketchup. It is quite a practical piece of kit and can be used to manage complicated computer aided design projects.