Engineering CAD Software
Published August 19th, 2016 by

How to Choose From Paid and Free Engineering CAD Tools

There are two important considerations that industries must weigh before investing in technologically based tools: it must be able to drive the overall product development costs down; and it should significantly reduce the design cycle. Computer aided tools, or CAD, fits those requirements, and have become part of most industrial operations and its designers’ tools. Especially in an enterprise scale manufacturing setting, CAD tools are sophisticated systems which effectively integrate with computer aided manufacturing processes, in order to generate larger product quantities that doesn’t compromise quality.

How to Choose From Paid and Free Engineering CAD Tools

Computer aided design is the use of computer technology that helps designers to become more productive in creating high quality designs, and technical drawings and diagrams. A CAD software program contains all the tools used in traditional drafting methods and fit them all in one working platform, electronically. A CAD software is a complete package that can function within the overall design cycle, which makes it a dynamic tool to use. A technical drawing is intended to convey information about the materials and its dimensions, the processes involved in the assembly or structuring, and other features needed to be included in its documentation.

Modern industrial businesses deploy CAD in designing their own tools and machineries used to manufacture the parts and components of their products. 3D modelling is one of the popular applications of CAD tools, which can render a strong visual representation of a part or component. Rendering drawings and designs in a three dimensional perspective ensure that no detail will be overlooked prior to actual production. This also omits the need for a prototype, which can be costly, especially when several revisions are called for.

The advantages of CAD tools in the overall design cycle in modern industrial settings attract more users to explore and learn more about its significance. But it was observed that due to the attached hefty cost of obtaining a CAD software, the significant majority of the businesses that deploys it goes to large scale companies at 40%, compared to only 15% of small businesses. Due to this market trend, CAD tool vendors are starting to explore more ways in optimizing the pricing platforms of existing CAD tools, or are coming up with more affordable versions, which can tap the small business market.

CAD Advantages in the Industry

The advantages of using computer aided design tools doesn’t just leave a business empty handed, but can also fill the brim in full with its full benefits for itself,the same with what it does with its design workforce.

CAD designers or operators can first and foremost, can take a breather from rendering design with much focus, detail and effort using the traditional technical drawing methods. In the past, draftsmen (equivalent to designers or CAD operators today) did the drawings manually by hand using the basic drawing tools like an adequately sized, and specialized drawing table; a blueprint paper, and sets of drawing aids like a T-square, French curves, compass, triangles, drawing pencils, and a set of technical pens with varying ballpoint diameters. Executing designs back then need a lot of time and focus, and sometimes, a lot revisions before arriving to a final design. Such can be a wasteful practice in terms of resources and time. Since draftsmen deal with paper, it also requires a huge storage area to contain all works, which ideally needs to be properly archived and sorted as well for efficient access later on.

When CAD systems were developed, designers saw how it turned those inefficient methods above the other way around, by embedding all the processes and tools used into a one powerful computer application platform. Rendering designs and drawings electronically makes designers gain more control with how they create and manipulate design details.

The convenience in using it can also make it easier to apply modifications and changes when it is required. This is another facet of CAD tools being both cost and time efficient solutions, wherein it is not necessary to start everything from scratch when making revisions. A CAD software can also enable designer teams to work collaboratively in order to incorporate more positive insights and ideas into a design or technical drawing.

On the manufacturer, or on the business side, CAD tools introduce wondrous benefits as well. Using the CAD system and integrating it with a computer aided manufacturing can impose greater efficiency in executing, streamlining and automating the assembly stages. CAD/CAM integration makes your machineries to become expert systems which can produce parts and components at a faster rate without sacrificing its output quality.

Challenges in CAD

CAD is undoubtedly a powerful tool which hosts a lot of benefits that are mutual to the manufacturer and the designer. Anything technological may not be a big question for large scale businesses except for its impact on efficiency and productivity overall. But with small businesses, the number one priority is the cost. Most small businesses put getting specialized technological tools on the lower end of their list, but would not hesitate in getting general purpose productivity tools which are more cost efficient of course.

An engineering CAD software comes with an expensive license to buy in order to use corporately. It also needs powerful computer hardware and software specifications in order to make a CAD software work seamlessly on it. Another thing is the training fee to maximize its use, and may also entail another separate fee. Small businesses cannot afford such high capital costs. This explains why not all businesses or designers use it. It is not that it’s unappealing, but its just that some were limited to gain access to it.

Another aspect to consider is the inconsistency and unpredictability of revenue income for small businesses, which mostly work on by project basis. Purchasing an expensive CAD software upfront, alongside its maintenance fees, may have its ROI very long to achieve.

To Purchase, or Not to Purchase?

This is when free CAD software entrants gained a significant number of users. Some may be doubtful about its worth and functionality, but yes, most free CAD tools are as good as the paid ones. In this robust and competitive CAD industry, most existing vendors can drive costs down, and features up.

For some CAD software providers, the revamp doesn’t include making their product free because it is basically expensive to develop. But rather, has come up with adjustments over its pricing by including different subscription model options. There are vendors that offer annual or monthly subscription, or a pay-as-needed model. The significance of these pricing adjustments is that it can encourage more businesses, especially the small scaled ones, to try using CAD tools for themselves. Small businesses thrive better when working with operational costs rather than dealing with bigger capital costs. The ultimate goal is to open the doors of CAD tools to small businesses that deal with low and limited budgets, and to those that operate on a pay-per-project basis.

These efforts in making a computer aided design software to reach a more dynamic market will greatly help in optimizing and extending its applications further. Considering the significant margin of untapped potential in the CAD market will push it to innovate on its pricing and affordability options. Students, which are also consumer of CAD tools, will also significantly benefit from it.

Modern CAD Trends

The technology of computer aided design is accelerating faster, especially that newer platforms are being developed, such as mobile. The growing popularity and usage of mobile devices, particularly tablets and smartphones, have increased the demand for desktop applications to migrate to the mobile platform as well, in order to drive more productivity alongside mobility. In the mobile market, free applications serve as portfolios for application developers, or as a primer to what they offer. The mobile applications market has sustained its growth for many years, and taking advantage of this channel can also create mores opportunities for CAD tools to penetrate more markets.

Another interesting innovation in driving the costs down for CAD software is by migrating it to the cloud, wherein the used to be client-server architecture is converted into a web-hosted structure. This can significantly save businesses from purchasing expensive licensing structure, and instead, operate the software as a leased tool. This idea is actually a Software-as-a-Service subscription model, which also removes the burden of maintaining and operating in larger scale settings from the business.


The computer technology has already driven beneficial and innovative solutions to businesses, and continue doing so today. For the industries operating within the disciplines of engineering, modernizing its processes and systems also calls for computer based solutions which not only automates, but also innovates their approaches in thinking and creating new consumer products. Computer aided design is a simple migration of the traditional drafting methods into a computer application,but opened the door for rendering more creative and functional designs for products, building, homes or infrastructure. CAD systems are also utilized in the manufacturing industry like consumer electronics, textile and plastic products. More sophisticated industries like automotive, aerospace and shipbuilding also reap outstandingly from using the best engineering CAD software.

Try your hands with the latest and most innovative computer aided design solutions by first seeing’s reviews of engineering CAD software before completing your inquiry list.

Keith Moore

Keith Moore has worked with several leading Android development agencies to build customized mobile apps enabling businesses to extend the use of their services to smart phones and mobile devices.

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