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Across the manufacturing, architecture, building, construction, media, and entertainment industries, Autodesk gives you the power to make anything.
Deployed on: Desktop
Starting From: $210
What is 3D CAD Software?
CAD stands for "Computer-Aided Design". Unlike common open source or free 3D development environments such as Blender which is actually developed for 3D graphic designer, the term "3D CAD software" describes those software applications that are mostly used by professionals such as mechanical engineers, architects, drafters, marine engineers, naval engineers and such. DIY folks also use CAD software extensively to design their 3D printing parts accurately and fast.
With the help of 3D CAD software you can design components and assemblies on your computer. Most used 3D CAD software on the market such as AutoCAD by AutoDesk and Solidworks costs thousands of dollars per year in license fees. For 3D printing enthusiast and hobbyists or occasional designers of course that's just too expensive.
Fortunately, our list also covers free 3D CAD software that you can use on your MAC computer. With that out of the way, there's nothing stands between you and designing 3D components on your MAC
Autodesk Fusion 360
If you're a 3D CAD design enthusiast, hobbyist, student, or a small business with revenue less than $100,000 a year you can actually get AutoDesk Fusion 360 for free!
This intuitive piece of software allows you to design from small parts to whole assemblies in a breeze. Overall it's not a bad program for hobbyists, but it also contains a complete range of functions that'll take your small design from hobby to a complete professional design.
It also lets you draw directly in the app and calculate the strength of components. For me, Autodesk Fusion 360 is clearly the most comprehensive program with the best features among the alternatives presented.
OpenSCAD is also a free open source CAD software. The extraordinary thing about OpenSCAD is that the 3D representation is generated from a source code. This means that you have to program your components. This is a great option if you have a thing for programming and software, and actually comfortable with coding.
Well, yes it could make your job harder and a bit more difficult if you're a normal CAD designer with no programming abilities, but will let you finish things faster if you can code! Oh, being free and all, it also lacks the functions to create single part drawings and assemblies.
With the help of Sketchup, you can also create 3D CAD models with Mac OS. Sketchup already has a large support community behind it and there are many extensions and plugins that extend its functions. However, only the most basic version of Sketchup is free, for the Sketchup Pro version you will need to pay $119 a year subscription fees. For students and teachers, its price drops to 55 dollars a year.
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