Skip to main content

Open Source CAD Applications

There are different Open Source CAD applications, which might be worth to keep an eye on. Some of them are actively being developed, but not fully usable yet.

  • wildcat full CAD system, using MCAD concepts, but in early development (no end-user application yet)

  • CADEMIA 2D generic CAD in Java, an academic research project

  • thancad 2D CAD for engineers, using Python

  • PythonCAD 2D CAD in Python

  • JCad 2D CAD in Java

  • QCad 2D CAD in C++

  • Archimedes 2D AutoCAD-clone

  • FreeCAD 3D MCAD in C++ (feature based parametric modeler)

  • B-processor Building Information Modeling in Java, an academic research project

  • BRL-CAD general Solid Modeling and Raytracing by the US Army

Most of them are cross-platform. Some of them exist in a free (and Open) community edition and commercial add-ons. But it might be an approach to build further on an existing toolset.


  1. I already try searching by 'uncle google'
    nothing as I expected
    But I find progecad free version
    it's free but not for commercial use

  2. Progecad has free versions, but it is not Open Source.

    There are several free CAD programs without sources. Might be an idea for a future post.

  3. Thanks for the list. wildcat hadn't made it onto my radar yet.

    I wasn't quite satisfied with any of the open source options so I am starting my own project. Help or quit complaining is what i say. :-)

    CADDD Project

  4. Good luck with your efforts toward CADDD... I'm not sure if you have a chance to succeed, certainly if this is a one-man effort, but I do hope so.

    I'm currently leaning towards PythonOCC + PyQt as the platform for prototyping and Qt+OCC if I ever get to the development of a full application. Main OS target is OSX and Windows, but with as much compatibility with Linux if possible. But for architects this is currently not the main priority.

  5. I agree that it is a crazy undertaking but I will try.

    I don't think that i can do it solo but I will have to lay a good foundation by myself. I want to focus on simplicity and extendability. Hopefully the end user can help me fill in some of the gaps.

    I was leaning towards the PythonOCC and PyQt combo. I might just go with CGAL. However, I have a list 15 items long on how to accomplish CSG and I will narrow it down and try 3 or 4 of them before I decide.

  6. CSG (Boolean Operations) are in many cases of primordial importance, certainly for Architectural Modeling.

    Choosing a CAD engine/kernel is not trivial.

    While I looked at CGAL for the support of Boolean operations, I saw no evidence of other modeling support (extrusions, lofting, revolving, NURBS etc...).

    At least in Architectural modeling, good support for Boolean operations are often more important than advanced geometry (fillets, blending or even full NURBS support).

    No wonder that AutoCAD had Boolean solid operations for about forever, while lofting, sweeping and other surface editing and generation has only been improved with r2007 and r2010/2011.

    ArchiCAD introduced "Solid Element Operations" rather late into the product (r8 IIRC).

  7. CADuntu is a newcomer, it's based on the community edition of QCad, but ported to qt4 so it's easer to compile on OSX; Windows and Linux.

  8. Anonymous18 May, 2011


    LibreCAD based on QCad replaces Caduntu


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Improve usage of BIM during early design phases

When I was collecting ideas for a book chapter on BIM (that seemed to never have emerged after that), I collected 10 ideas, which I believe still reflect good recommendations to improve the usage of BIM during the early design phases. These ideas are related to BIM software, but you can apply them in any flavor, as long as you can model with Building Elements, Spaces and have control over representation. Introduction This article gives an overview of several recommendations and tips, to better apply BIM applications and BIM methodologies, in the context of the early design phases. Many of these tips are applicable in any BIM application and they are based on experience gathered from teaching, researching and using BIM software. Sometimes they could help software developers to improve the workflow of their particular BIM implementation. Tip 1 : Gradually increase the amount of information In the early design phases, the architect makes assumptions and lays out the main design in

Getting BIM data into Unity (Part 9 - using IfcConvert)

This is part 9 of a series of posts about getting BIM data into Unity. In this post, we’ll discuss the IfcConvert utility from the IfcOpenShell Open Source IFC Library to preprocess an IFC model for integration with Unity. This is (finally?) again a coding post, with some scripts which are shared to build upon. Conversion of IFC into Unity-friendly formats The strategy with this approach is that you preprocess the IFC-file into more manageable formats for Unity integration. Most Web-platforms do some sort of pre-processing anyway, so what you see in your browsers is almost never an IFC-file, but an optimised Mesh-based geometric representation. However, it wouldn’t be BIM-related if we’d limit ourselves to the geometry, so we will parse the model information as well, albeit using another, pre-processed file. IFC to Wavefront OBJ I used a test IFC-model and used the IfcConvert-utility converted it into OBJ en XML formats. The default way to use it is very simple:

Getting BIM data into Unity (Part 8 - Strategies to tackle IFC)

This is part 8 of a series of posts about getting BIM data into Unity. In this post, we’ll discuss IFC as a transfer format towards Unity. As with the previous post, this is not a coding post, although hints and examples are provided. Open BIM and IFC Everybody who ever met me or heard me present on a conference or BIM-lecture will not be surprised to hear that I’m a strong believer in the Industry Foundation Classes (IFC), an open standard, with already two versions published as an ISO standard, being IFC2x2 and IFC4 (but surprisingly not IFC2x3 which is widely used). In the ideal world, this would be the format to use to transfer BIM data into another environment, such as Unity. So what are our options? Looking in the Unity Asset Store Assimp is a library which supports multiple formats, including IFC.   I did a few attempts, but alas without any success. It is possib