I need a good CAD program for mechanical engineering.
Are there any good 3D CAD programs available for Ubuntu like Autocad?

10 Answers 10


For 3D use Blender. I think it is the only real alternative. BUT you will have to do a lot of work, because it is focused on animation. Blender is extremely wide, you will have to find what you need, what is not always easy for beginners. For example, there are plugin tools to improve exact 3D modelling, you might customize views etc.

For 2D use DraftSight (not free software). It is a clon of AutoCAD, which means that you don't have to get familiar with new commands, workflow etc. For individuals it is free, Information about your behavior will be send regularly to DraftSight. Go to their Homepage and get the actual .deb file. DraftSight's disadvantage is, that there is no 3D.

  • 2
    A free and open source alternative to DraftSight is LibreCAD. Jan 15 '19 at 4:20
  • DraftSight no longer available for Linux.
    – Minhaj
    Jul 15 at 3:18


If you haven't tried FreeCAD, you're missing out. It's a fully parametric 3-D modelling package that can be extended with Python. The interface is reasonably user-friendly, and feels like a "younger" version of Solidworks.

Installation: Just install freecad package , or newer version using PPA. Also you have an AppImage.



OpenSCAD is a software for creating solid 3D CAD models. It is free software and available for Linux/UNIX, Windows and Mac OS X. Unlike most free software for creating 3D models (such as Blender) it does not focus on the artistic aspects of 3D modelling but instead on the CAD aspects. Thus it might be the application you are looking for when you are planning to create 3D models of machine parts but pretty sure is not what you are looking for when you are more interested in creating computer-animated movies.

To install OpenSCAD, just press Ctrl+Alt+T on your keyboard to open Terminal. When it opens, run the command(s) below:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:openscad/releases
sudo apt update
sudo apt install openscad

For more CAD apps see 8 Best CAD Apps for Linux

  • 1
    Ubuntu 14.04 just sudo apt-get install openscad
    – Ivan Black
    Nov 9 '14 at 9:23
  • It looks really promising, since I am a programmer and it is for programmers. But wow it has some strange bugs! All the text is unreadable due to what looks like unicode bugs Jan 28 '17 at 2:16


Maybe BRL-CAD would suit:

BRL-CAD is a powerful cross-platform Open Source combinatorial Constructive Solid Geometry (CSG) solid modeling system that includes interactive 3D solid geometry editing, high-performance ray-tracing support for rendering and geometric analysis, network-distributed framebuffer support, image and signal-processing tools, path-tracing and photon mapping support for realistic image synthesis, a system performance analysis benchmark suite, an embedded scripting interface, and libraries for robust high-performance geometric representation and analysis.


There is no free 3D solid modelling CAD software worth using.

FreeCAD is the only one coming close, but "close" in a relative sense... It does not do fillets well, boolean operators do not work, you can't even create sketch planes!

So unless you want trivially simple, blocky models for free then you are out of luck.

  • 4
    While FreeCAD suffers from having very few developers, bugs (many due to the third-party geometric modeling kernel) and lack of features, it can create sketches in an plane you need, and it can do a lot more than "trivially simple, blocky models". One just has to visit the official forum's "Users showcase" to confirm this.
    – Norm C.
    May 1 '15 at 2:19

Sometimes you have to pay for real software. Varicad is a very good linux compatible system and the price is very decent indeed. I have tested it against Solidworks and it performs just fine. It does not have built in FEA but there are many such programs for Linux. Try the free trial and see.


Try Nanocad with the Wine emulator. Nanocad is the most similar software to Autocad I have found; I haven't tried it with Ubuntu but you can take a look at Wine's page for more information on how to run the Windows version on Linux.


use SIEMENS PLM NX. Although its not free and there is no ubuntu inbuilt support but u can use it via adding some libraries and applying some modifications to your os as it is supported in redhat and suse linux

  • 1
    Could you please expand on "adding some libraries and applying some modifications"? Otherwise this answer looks like a low-quality post.
    – pomsky
    Mar 19 '18 at 9:16

EQUINOX-3D has advanced freeform and numeric CAD, photorealistic / physically based rendering, animation, and tons of other features.
We use it heavily and exclusively for advanced CAD modeling / 3D printing very complex, organic shapes, like robot parts. Here's the list of the latest features, movies, etc.

All images and movies on the Web site were a 100% created with EQUINOX-3D


You must be looking for something like M4 suite (proprietary software). I don't know how good it is, never used it, but it's the only specialized CAD I found in Linux.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.