View Full Version : Does a generic freeware replacement for AutoCAD exist yet?

Gerald D
Thu 20 October 2016, 01:17
Hi Guys

Greetings from the land of the lazy . . . . it is now really time to hang up the hat and quit my day job in the waste industry. Looking forward to my last daily commute of 60 miles and just pottering about from home. (turned 61 this year). Looking for stuff to keep me occupied, and CAD from home is definitely on the cards. But I won't pay for AutoCAD. (yes, I know it can be copied *free* but want to consider legal options available today). I might run classes for the older guys in my neighborhood who want to convert from pencil to CAD and that must be on a CAD system than can be publically advertised and endorsed. (Our city now requires building plans to be submitted electronically and that has caught the older architects on the wrong foot)

So, are there any generic freeware AutoCAD lookalikes out there today? (I still only work in 2D with very basic commands - which is fine for teaching newbies to CAD)

Thu 20 October 2016, 01:21
This one comes to mind.
Never used it though


Some on here to look at

Thu 20 October 2016, 02:55
Draftsight is free as an Autocad replacement, used it for a while until I got a free licence for Autocad 2016. Also, while not CAD per se Fusion 360 is a great tool to creating stuff in plus it has CAM features as well.

Enjoy your retirement Sir, you have well earned it.

Thu 20 October 2016, 19:01
Yes, Draftsight has been the most recommended AutoCAD clone for several years now.

Gerald D
Fri 21 October 2016, 01:20
Thanks guys

Posting here has brought back lots of memories! :)

Sat 22 October 2016, 01:12
Hello Gerald !! Hope all is well.

I have used and like solid edge 2D.


Mon 24 October 2016, 07:11
Had a look at SolidEdge 2D, very nice, Parametric too! Have downloaded it to give it a go for basic Cad duties, Thx Mike!

Tue 25 October 2016, 16:27
I will add another vote for draftsight. I did CAD design on ACAD starting at version 8 and stopped using it altogether sometime around version 14. The think I really like about draftsight is it's command compatability with ACAD. All the single letter shortcuts I used to use in ACAD work in draftsight. The only real weakness it has is it does not have any proper 3d capability but for 2d drafting I have found it the most productive solution for me.

Gerald D
Thu 27 October 2016, 00:26
I am being stumped by a well-known registration problem for DraftSight 16. See:

Thu 27 October 2016, 06:09
Gerald - Do you have your PC set to allow pop-ups for that site?

Thu 27 October 2016, 06:10
If your setting this up on a laptop, try going to another location. ISP may be blocking something.

Gerald D
Thu 27 October 2016, 14:10
Popups are off, privacy is off, location enabled. At 2 different computers at 2 sites with 2 ISPs.

Fri 28 October 2016, 12:30
Hello Gerald, welcome back plus happy retirement, have a look at Delta Cad @30 USD

Gerald D
Fri 28 October 2016, 14:13
I like that DraftSight, set to Classic mode, gives me the same look and feel as AutoCAD. Having used AutoCAD daily for about 30 years, I use it without thinking. I have successfully taught AutoCAD to many people, but it isn't an affordable system out here where minimum wage is about $4 an hour. I can teach AutoCAD, or an exact equivalent . . . . I don't want to learn another CAD just for the sake of teaching it.

Fri 28 October 2016, 16:45
I have used draftsight for a few years and never had an activation issue but there are a couple of things that come to mind and may be worth trying if you have not already.
1) Turn of the windows firewall if on whilst trying to activate.
2) Make sure the user you are logged in as has full admin rights.

Sat 05 November 2016, 10:17
I started with Autocad however now I do everything in Rhino. Easy to pick up if you already know Autocad and it can export to most of the known popular most expensive systems. I bought it straight from McNeel however it can be gotten for less from distributors like Novedge.

Fri 28 April 2017, 01:13
You should look at http://freecadweb.org/

Sun 30 April 2017, 06:39
You should also look at Fusion 360


Web based and free to most users

Tue 04 June 2019, 06:54
Thanks for the links...!!

Tue 09 July 2019, 14:57
Hi, I just thought I would update this as I used to use Draftsight for 2d CAD but due to a change in their license policy it is no longer going to be free and will no longer activate once the current year expires. I liked it as it was simple to use and command compatible with AutoCad, it felt similar to Acad 12 but with only limited 3d capability.

I am now using nanoCAD (https://nanocad.com/products/nanoCAD/) and I am quite impressed it is lightweight and not cloud based. I use Fusion 360 and sketchup but sometimes I want a simple drawing and dimensioning tool that does not need to talk to a server in another country. It is also command compatible with Autocad so if you are used to one letter shortcuts they still work.

Thu 11 July 2019, 15:20
Hey Fellas's
I highly recommend Draftsight!

I use it daily. Also has a gcode plugin for those interested.

Thu 11 July 2019, 15:48
Yes I liked Draftsight too but as I mentioned the free version has been cancelled and will no longer work after this year. The cheapest version they have is 79 per year if you want the g code plugin it is 159 per year. Fusion 360 is free for a lot of people does 3d and gcode and so there is not much incentive to buy draftsight.

If you want an autocad clone 2d CAD package that works offline though nanocad looks hard to beat right now.