Computer-Aided Design (CAD) is an operation that essentially transforms the manual drawing process into an automated one. Designers, architects, engineers, and artists mostly use CAD software in documenting, discovering, or implementing new design ideas, as well as visualizing objects or concepts through photorealistic drawings. Since it is much easier, faster, and more cost-effective compared to traditional design techniques, it is highly preferred by many professionals around the world.
Check out some of the most highly recommended CAD software below.
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1. AutoCAD 🔗
As a computer-aided design software, AutoCAD has been the favorite of many professionals. It is mostly used by architects, engineers, and construction experts to create 2D and 3D works. Providing a wide range of options for building designs, 2D and 3D modeling, mesh, and solid objects, AutoCAD also offers customizable API and plugin features with extensive editing and tools that give users plenty of choices.
Compatibility: Windows and macOS
System Requirements: 8GB of RAM, 4GB of GPU and 6GB of free disk space.
Uses: Offers design creation, modification, and optimization tools that replace traditional pencil and paper drawings. Used by engineers, architects, and people who work in the construction industry.
Price: Autodesk Revit offers 30-day free trial and if you decide to continue using it, it costs $1,620/year.
2. Revit 🔗
Created by the makers of AutoCAD, Revit is a sophisticated CAD software for engineers and architects who specialize in Building Information Modeling (BIM). One of the greatest advantages of the software is that it “connects” 2D drawings and 3D models in such a way that any changes made to one element are automatically reflected in the other, saving users both time and energy.
System Requirements: 8GB of RAM, 4GB of GPU and 30GB of free disk space.
Uses: In recent years, Revit has proven to be a popular tool for architects specializing in energy-efficient and sustainable building designs.
Pros: Features tools for architects, engineers, and construction professionals.
Cons: Only available for Windows users.
👉🏽You can run Autodesk Revit on macOS by starting your high-performance Windows computer with vagon.
Price: Autodesk Revit offers 30-day free trial and if you decide to continue using it, it costs $2,425/year.
3. CATIA 🔗
Initially released in 1977, this French-designed 3D CAD software has been around for more than 40 years, and is popular with systems architects, engineers, designers, and construction professionals for product design and modeling. One of the greatest advantages of CATIA is that it enables users to manage multi-part designs much easier than many other solutions available on the market.
👉🏽 You can run CATIA on macOS by starting your high-performance Windows computer with vagon.
CPU: Multi-core processor, 2GB or more GPU and 10GB free disk space.
Uses: CATIA is especially popular in the automotive, aerospace, and maritime industries.
4. SolidWorks 🔗
SolidWorks is another leading 3D CAD tool in the engineering industry. Many respectable companies such as SpaceX use SolidWorks. It has an analytical tool for simulating fluid flow, temperatures, stress, dynamics, and many other behaviors. It allows you to edit your design regardless of the design’s stage.
👉🏽 You can run Solidworks on macOS by starting your high-performance Windows computer with vagon.
CPU: At least dual-core CPU, 2GB of GPU and 2GB of disk storage.
Uses: It can be used in the aerospace, automotive, mechanical industries effectively.
5. Shapr3D 🔗
Shapr3D is one of the most beginner-friendly options you have when it comes to choosing CAD design software. Its multidevice functionality allows you to use the software on Windows PCs and tablets, Macs and iPads along with Apple Pencil, SpaceMouse, and Wacom pen tablets. Thanks to its innovative design, the number of people using Shapr3D grows day by day.
Compatibility: Windows and macOS
CPU: At least Dual-core Intel Core i5 on macOS, Intel Core i5 (6th generation) on Windows
Uses: Best option for creating geometric models on self-intersecting surfaces through complex calculations.
Price: $25/month for a yearly subscription, $38/month for a monthly subscription
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