Computer-aided design (CAD) is the use of computer technology to design objects, real or virtual. It often refers to the drafting (technical drawing and engineering drawing) of a part or product, including entire buildings. However, CAD software is used in a wide variety of other fields such as electronics and woven fabrics. CAD is prevalent in industry that uses design modelling or prototyping of graphical architectural depictions.
Proprietary CAD applications can cost thousands of dollars. For many independent designers, the cost of CAD software can be a real barrier. Fortunately, there is a good range of open source software that is available to download for no charge.
To provide an insight into the quality of software that is available, we have compiled a list of 5 CAD tools. All of these tools are released under a freely distributable license.