Video Summary

Computer-aided design, or CAD, allows you to utilize different programs to create something completely from scratch, rather than printing or building things solely based on pre-existing plans and templates. In this video, we’ll explore the difference between paid, free, and open source CAD programs, and we can look at some of my top choices.

Valuable Points in the Video

There are three main types of CAD programs: paid, free, and open source. All three have their own benefits but for the purpose of my audience which includes many hobbyists, I like to focus on free and open source programs. If you are a professional or want to sell your products, you might benefit from a paid program. It’s important to be aware of licensing requirements for these to ensure you’re following them.

There are a number of ways you can produce and manipulate physical objects with CAD programs. Direct object manipulation allows you to drag different shapes onto your screen, stacking them to create your object. Modeling allows you to draw a shape or object, and manipulate the lines that make it up directly.

Tinkercad, which uses direct object manipulation, is the first CAD program I’d recommend anybody start using. It operates by placing shapes or building blocks together, similar to how you might stack legos. It’s a great program to start with because it’s completely free and will help you learn the idea of creating a part by taking basic object shapes and combining them together and either adding shapes together or cutting one shape out of another.

The program I use the most is FreeCAD. As mentioned before, it’s completely open sourced and has a vast community working in the program. With extensive tools and capabilities, it’s broad enough to handle many of the needs of hobbyists and non-professionals.

FreeCAD is a parametric modeling program.  Parametric modelers track your manipulation of an object and support changes to earlier steps.

In this video, I’ll dive deeper into the pros and cons of popular CAD programs. In addition, we’ll learn more about different processes and scripting languages you can use to create your objects.