Linux AutoCAD alternative Free CAD

Linux AutoCAD alternative free CAD

AutoCAD users who want to work in Linux have a great alternative called FreeCAD. This article describes installing the latest version of FreeCAD which is an amazing free CAD solution.

Before I go into details about installing FreeCAD I’d like to mention that this software is also available for Windows users. Everyone knows that CAD software is extremely expensive. A SolidWorks license would cost thousands of dollars and AutoCAD or Inventor are also very expensive.

How to install FreeCAD in Linux

Every Linux distribution comes with a package manager. As you would guess, a package manager can install, upgrade and remove software packages. I use the Arch-based ArcoLinux distribution which gives me access to the AUR (Arch User Repository). The AUR has a lot of cutting edge software and FreeCAD is one of the available packages.

About FreeCAD

FreeCAD, to me, is the best CAD solution for Linux. The more I use it, the more I like using it. I especially love that I can transfer my knowledge of SolidWorks to create shop drawings and 3D models right inside FreeCAD. I’ve created the sketch below in about 10 minutes.

FreeCAD scetch side view

Sheet metal workbench

IFreeCAD comes with a sheet metal workbench which is not as fully featured as you would find in SolidWorks but there are enough tools to get most jobs done. If you are new to CAD then watch a few YouTube videos to get up and running quickly.

Blender export and eevee render

To me, the most amazing benefit of modelling hard surface meshes with FreeCAD is that I can export .stl files and render them with Blender. I just tested this and the results are stunning. I will write more about this feature once I have more renders to show but the first test renders exceeded my expectations to say the least.

freecad to blender export and eevee render
Rendered with Blender 2.8 eevee

Thank you for reading this article. If you have questions then feel free to contact me

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