Looking for CAD / Design software for Linux

Can anyone suggest a good fully featured CAD / Design software with 3D modelling capability for Linux? I need something that is good enough to use in a production environment, i.e. a tool to earn money with. I don’t expect to find anything as fully featured as AutoCAD (or Inventor) but something close would be good. It doesn’t need to be FOSS, I’ll consider commercial too.

I found this old thread from 2008 but wondered how much things have moved on from then. I want to try avoid having to install and run a windows system if possible.

All my research points to packages that are a couple versions behind or dumbed down in comparison to their Windows counterparts which is annoying. Why bother making a Linux version if you’re going to dumb it down and keep it behind the Windows version?

I’m hoping that there are some CAD draughtsman or designers here that can suggest something good.

I really like blender. Its open source and runs on Linux:
blender.org - Home
Its really good but because I’m terrible at CAD I could never figure it out

Have read of this thread concerning Bricscad:

Bricscad for linux native CAD at last?

I just found out blender is in the OSS repo so it is as easy as (as su -):

zypper in blender

On 2011-01-16, ah7013 <ah7013@no-mx.forums.opensuse.org> wrote:
> I really like blender. Its open source and runs on Linux:
> ‘blender.org - Home’ (http://www.blender.org/)
> Its really good but because I’m terrible at CAD I could never figure it
> out

Blender for CAD ?

We are talking about Computer Aided Design, right? Schematics, technical
drawings, … ?
I had never even considered it for such an application.

I was convinced it was aimed at Computer Aided Disney. Your know,
animations, rendering of objects, 3D motion, …

I really must look into it one day, been telling myself that for several
years now. :slight_smile:

When in doubt, use brute force.
– Ken Thompson

You are right it is for animations. I had always thought of it as CAD software but some googling proved me wrong.

On 16/01/11 19:06, deano ferrari wrote:
> Have read of this thread concerning Bricscad:
> ‘Bricscad for linux native CAD at last?’ (http://tinyurl.com/4mpd5bg)
Sorry for the delay in replying but I’ve not been able to reply due to
the forum problems. I’ve now setup nntp so hopefully this works ok.

I found Bricscad and it looks good but the Linux version doesn’t have
3d. Apparently it’s coming but no time given.

I also found Varicad which looks very good but I can’t find much about
it in terms of reviews or real world use on the internet which I find
strange as it looks very competent.
If you look through their tutorial it seems quite advanced and capable.
From simple stuff
to full assemblies

Has anyone here had any experience with Varicad?

To the op.
This is the main problem for me that I can’t delete windows on my computer.
The possible way you can do is use wine and install sketchup it is working nicely now on wine. You can have sketchup draw in 2d/3d.
If you do extensive rendering, you can export your sketchup drawing to blender for refinement. In blender it will be tricky but if you learn it, it will be very rewarding in the end.
You will need nvidia graphic card to make those two work properly. For tips & tricks and howtos, just use google and you will find tons of informations on how to make sketchup and blender work.

If you found a better solution also for your cad needs in linux, please post it here.

Trying to learn sketchup and blender will take me too much time and it still isn’t a proper CAD system. Have you looked at Varicad? Check out the links I pasted to the tutorials. What are your thoughts?

I followed your link and notice it is for mechanical drawing. Maybe if you’re in the mechanical field of work that is what you need.
If you are in the architectural field maybe this is what you need.Gräbert - CAD ANYWHERE.

Varicad is very good Mechanical Drafting software. I have been a fan for 10 years or so. Windows and Linux versions are available. It has some very good design tools for creating springs, shafts and other mechanical parts. Both 2d and 3d Fastener Library is included. It is created for serious drafting - not so much hobby drawing. License cost is reasonable, and there is a learning curve. It works well on Opensuse, Mandriva and Windows.

Thanks. That’s exactly the type of feedback I’m after. I’d be using it for serious drafting not hobby drawing. Basically require it for general mechanical drafting work like, piping, steel structures and frames, machined parts, etc.

One thing that strikes me with VariCAD is the relative lack of information on the net about it. I’d have thought if it’s good (which it looks) and the price is good (which is good) that it would have a much larger buzz, especially in the Linux world as it’s a fully featured 3D design CAD system. The only thing I don’t see it does is the ability to enhance it via extensions or Lisp routines and it’s deviation from the “AutoDesk standard” way of doing things. Maybe that’s what holding it back from being as popular as Bricscad (which appears to be more of an AutoCAD clone) as a Linux alternative to Autocad or Inventor.

Re publicity
I don’t really have an explanation for this. The Cad world is so big - but our thinking is very narrow sometimes.

Re Lisp etc.
True it does not have that feature. But it is a very strong, solid modeler. It will take a while for Bricscad to develope this on the Linux Desktop. For now at least Bricscad is a very good 2d Autocad Clone. The Varicad solid modeling engine has been used and updated over the last 10 years. I like both. We now have some very strong Cad offerings becoming available.

DraftSight for LINUX Screenshot | Ricky Jordan’s Blog

Draftsight for linux is not there yet. Dassault systems say the 2D version will be free (but not open). I also heard from someone that Autodesk purchased Dassault, if so Draftsight for linux may not happen.

Ares commander is a full-feature Autocad clone, including acis modeling (3D solids). My problem with it is that is unbearably slow in oS 112/11.3 Gnome or KDE, I suppose because of qt libraries.

Bricscad Classic for linux is a 2D Autocad clone, based on gtk libs, very fast in my systems. Bricsys say they are working on the ACIS version, but no dates are mentioned yet.

Another solution is to use any of the above windows versions in a VM. It is much faster than the same apps under wine from the tests I made. YMMV.

Unfortunately there is no substitute in the Linux world for any of the AutoDesk or CADDIE or Microstation or even TurboCAD products. There isnt even a free method of reading let alone editing DWG files, the defacto format. There are some success stories of installing an old version of Autocad into WINE but I would not bother with that. It’ll merely create false hope. There are some attempts at it but they do not come close to the proprietary products which have been under constant development for decades. Sorry for the bad news but this is the current position re: CAD on linux as a whole. You will need to use your M$Win or OS X to successfully run CAD.

The latest incarnation of Bricscad on Linux has a very useful - export to svg - feature. In addition to its export to pdf, the software is becoming a powerful tool in the Linux domain. Currently running on Mandriva and Opensuse. All power to them.