Ade Malsasa Akbar contact
Senior author, Open Source enthusiast.
Friday, July 23, 2021 at 21:29

This is a compilation of resources of Computer Aided Design (CAD) for free libre open source software users and community. Trying to leave AutoCAD, or SketchUp, or wanting something new? This article is for you. As for the software, you will find here 3D choices like FreeCAD and BlenderBIM, as well as 2D choices like LibreCAD and QCAD, among others. All software names mentioned below are cross platform, that is, available for GNU/Linux, Windows and MacOS. Now let's see them!

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Open Source Architecture Community, this is the home of all CAD communities around Free Software. We will figure out universal terms like AEC*, BIM**, and IFC*** on it discussed a lot. See, for example, AEC Free Software List and FreeCAD, House and Building as a good start. 

*) Architecture, Engineering, and Construction
**) Building Information Modeling
***) Industry Foundation Classes

2. OSArch Wiki

This is the wiki website of Open Source Architecture community. This is the ultimate resource to explore and practice CAD. See for example AECO Examples, What is FreeCAD, or What is BlenderBIM as a good starting point.


3. Ubuntu Engineering List

Ubuntu's wiki page of AEC software. This collects FreeCAD, LibreCAD, and QCAD along with many others (however, some of them are proprietary). 

4. FreeCAD Forum

This is the forum of all FreeCAD users where people's projects from machinery to architectural designs and the results showcased. There are a lot of examples we can learn from and practice from here. See for example, Call for Screenshots or Pistons Machine Animation.


This is the starting point of FreeCAD learners where the getting started, tutorial and documentation resources are all provided. See for example Getting Started or Migrating from Fusion 360 as a good start. This Wiki has Glossary page too.

It's a channel by a professional architect from Makassar, Indonesia, with many real world design videos of his own construction works. See for example his project which finished with Blender, FreeCAD and GIMP.

7. Yorik's Blog

Yorik is a central FreeCAD developer, a professional architect and an active forum admin who love sharing about FreeCAD architecture drawings so much. See for example his real world buildings, his FreeCAD news, or a house built at 2016 in Brazil. For any professional switching to FreeCAD, I suggest you to learn from Yorik.

8. LeoCAD

Love LEGO? Here's LeoCAD, a computer aided design libre software for LEGO. It can be viewed as the easiest to learn CAD software! See Documentation to learn about using it on Ubuntu. Visit LDraw to download thousands of models like houses, cars, trucks, etc.


9. Cubiclenate Blog

This is an openSUSE user's blog who very often share about LeoCAD both in form of reviews and tutorials. See for example, LeoCAD Intro or his creation A Spaceship LEGO.

10. Blender

The champion 3D modeler and animator, now can be used for CAD too and is able to cooperate with FreeCAD and other software. See for example BlenderGuru's Architecture, or Saqib Hussein's Videos, or Succes Education's Complete Tutorial of Making a House. Picture below is Saqib's house design taken from his video should self-explaining how great it is.

11. BlenderBIM

An addon which turns Blender 3D into CAD -- which is in turn comparable to Autodesk Revit. See Blender section above to see how looks like at a glance. This is the one often being sweet praised among several communities altogether like OSArch and FreeCAD forums. See for example, Features List or BlenderBIM vs Revit to get started. We will get surprised with more great resources like IFC Open Shell (a program library to read and write IFC formatted files, which BlenderBIM is a part of) and BuildingSMART International (the worldwide body pushing the built asset economy through creation & adoption of open standards like OpenBIM). Lastly, it is buildingSMART Technology Award Winner 2020.

12. Sweet Home 3D Forum

Sweet is an interior, furniture-oriented CAD and renderer program. Its user base is huge and they produce real houses with it. Sweet is rich and robust with interior and material models built-in, like table and chairs, that allows the user to design a home quickly. See for example Best Houses Gallery or an Indonesian real house build.

These are both 2D CAD free software. 

With QCAD Community Edition you can "create technical drawings such as plans for buildings, interiors, mechanical parts or schematics and diagrams". See the forum and documentation as a good start. Want videos? See qcad channel who made the tutorial series for beginners.

LibreCAD is originally a modified version of QCAD, and later developed independently as a 2D computer aided design and manufacturing (CAD/CAM) with additional features and ability to work with a CNC router machine. See the forum, documentation, and online manual as a good start. Want videos? There is an Indonesian friend Firman Kaimun who made LibreCAD Tutorial videos channel in English featuring how to make floor plan for house among many others. 

14. Open Source Ecology

A community which produce real world machines with FreeCAD and they share the designs freely for everyone. We can download their files and edit them with FreeCAD, for example, as practices and exercises. See for example their official statement and explanation of FreeCAD.

15. CGTrader

Want to sell and earn money off of your designs? Sell them at CGTrader. They currently accept BLEND, OBJ, DWG and DXF formats which can be created with Blender and FreeCAD. Picture below is an example of building design sold as Blender 3D format.



That's all in this list. Of course, it is not all, as there are still too many others unmentioned here. However, this article is based on my own Mastodon short post as per July 2021 List of Free Software CAD Resources. I hope this can be the good starting point for you to explore more about FLOSS CAD. See you next time!

This article is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.