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How to transfer an idea to computer

If you´ve read our blog, you know that we’ve written about digital templates for 3D printers. If the last sentence doesn’t make sense, this post is right for you. There’s a middle part between a designer’s idea and a finished product. It’s called manufacturing data, and they exist to ensure that machines like 3D printers create the model accurately. That data is created in software called CAD – computer-aided design and today’s post is about them. 

Following is a list of most known CAD software, and some free alternatives, that you can try yourself at home.

Examples of CAD programs


Solidworks is used in many engineering companies for its ability to create complex parts and assemblies. Data for manufacturing machines can be created as well.

CAD SolidWorks
User interface of CAD software SolidWorks

Fusion 360

The newbie in this list is Fusion 360. It’s cheaper than most industry standards but offers similar functionality with some cut corners. It’s also suitable for startups because it offers one-year free licence when certain criteria are met. This is one of the reasons why we use it in combination with more design-focused software Alias.

User interface of CAD software Fusion 360


Did you use a car today? There´s a high chance that it was designed in Catia. It´s one of the most advanced CAD software out there.

CAD Catia
Part of an aeroplane wing modelled in Catia

CAD that you can try at home


If you want to learn the basics of 3D modelling, or you want to design with kids, tinkerCAD is right for you. It runs in an internet browser, and the user experience is intuitive and easy to use.

User interface of TinkerCAD


Is TinkeCAD too easy for you? FreeCAD is an open-source modeller with all the bells and whistles of more expensive programs, though it’s not so user-friendly user interface can be harder to use.

FreeCAD interface
User interface of FreeCAD software
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