Effectiveness: 5/5–30 languages support, multiple format support and more advanced features
Price: 5/5 — Free starting price
Ease of Use: 4/5 — Easy to use, easy to install, customizable GUI
Support: 3/5 — Good yet a bit unexciting and slow support from the forum
LibreCAD is by far one of the most versatile 2d CAD rendering software you can ever get your hands on. What started as a project to build CAM capabilities is now one of the biggest CAD software out there in the market. LibreCAD is open-source and completely free to use. It has a huge array of support for OS, including Windows, macOS, and all Linux distributions.
This is, by far, one of the best software especially intended for all the creators within the industrial designs. It comes with a professional UI, along with right precision drawing tools that can be used for designs of every size. LibreCAD comes with multilingual support for easy interaction with the software.
One of the biggest advantages of LibreCAD over its competitors is that it is community-driven. In other words, the user can make use of the support that comes from experienced developers, along with an active community worldwide. So, if you are looking for the right CAD software, LibreCAD is just the one to go for.
Why Trust Me?
Today I am going to help you get a better grasp on LibreCAD. Before starting the facts on why I recommend LibreCAD, it is very important to establish my credibility. Being a Mechanical Engineer, I have been using CAD software my entire life. But, every time I tried any software, there were limitations and compromises.
While some come with limited features, others had costs that were skyrocketing. Then I came across LibreCAD, five years ago. Truth to be told, it completely blew me away. Using it for a while now, I believe that I can provide you with a proper walkthrough. For starters, LibreCAD is completely free to use. It follows all the rules and regulations of open-source software. Irrespective of the device you are currently working on, it can work flawlessly.
In the past few years, LibreCAD has improved its compatibility with the majority of the Linux distributions as well. So, if you are someone who wants to render high-quality 2D CAD designs seamlessly, I recommend them using LibreCAD.
Although in this article, we are going to discussing more the software in depth for better understanding.
What Makes LibreCAD Such a Compelling 2D CAD Program?
One of the biggest USP of LibreCAD is its costlessness. It can easily provide you with an all-in-one solution for graphics. Along with that, it also comes with an intuitive UI. Some of the biggest USP of LibreCAD includes:
It’s Free: In the domain of computer programs, free is not always a bad idea. It comes with all the valuable features that you can expect from CAD software. But, under the hood, LibreCAD comes with a GPLv2 licensing. So not only is it completely free, but you can also opt for a public copy along with customization without any copyright breach.
One-Stop Graphics Solution: LibreCAD offers a comprehensive solution to all the graphics enthusiasts and industry professionals who are looking forward to getting their job done. You can easily design and create complex models, create various layers along with editing your previous models.
Ease of Use: LibreCAD offers the users with a window which consists of the main working area. The design is very similar to all the industry-standard software so that you won’t have a hard time while making the transition. With the presence of Qt4 libraries, you won’t have any problem navigating through the GUI of LibreCAD.
Why Does it Feel Like the Line Width Feature is Broken in LibreCAD?
One of the most commonly raised questions in LibreCAD is the issue with the line width feature being broken. On the contrary, all you need to is zoom in, for you to see the width. In case, have also opened the Draft mode, you can’t see the Line Width of your render.
How to Change the Configurations Back to Default?
In case you want to revert to the default configuration, all you need to do is head over to the options tab. Under the application preference section, you will be able to change the configurations back to default. That being said, you can either set just the Layout to default or either application.
LibreCAD: A Detailed Review
Whenever you are working around with computer-aided design software, the first and foremost aspect to look for is the added flexibility. The software must be feature-rich while providing the users with the versatility with ultimate customization. In this section, I am going to discuss some of the most important features that are easily available in LbreCAD.
1) Varied Import Options
LibreCAD offers a variety of ways in which you can import a file. It gives users the independence to work around the file formats that are recognized by the industry. Some of the most common ways to import includes:
DWG to DXF File Format
You can easily import the DXF file to LibreCAD. But if you are using the DWG file format, it can have a hard time supporting it. One of the easiest ways around is to use any dwg to dxf file converter. You can get your hands on such a converter completely for free over the internet.
Two of the most commonly used image format, including BMP or png, can be easily imported in LibreCAD. Like any other CAD software, the DPI of the image is never manipulated in LibreCAD. Instead, if you want to modify the relative size, one of the best ways around is to use the “Modify” menu and choose the “Scale” option. For LibreCAD, it imports one unit per pixel.
Objects Drawn on the Graph Paper
What if I say to you that you can achieve the 1 cm scale on the graph to that of LibreCAD? Using the Free Snap-On feature, one can easily calculate the distance with great accuracy. After going through the right modification, you can easily bring scale up or down the image.
2) Customized LibreCAD Interface
Customization is not only constrained to reorganizing your menus or the entire toolbar. Unlike every other CAD program, LibreCAD offers its users with the complete flexibility to customize the entire interface just the way they want. LibreCAD offers flexibility with user-defined pop-up menus and whatnot. One can customize their LibreCAD interface in the following ways:
You can easily use the menu Creator to modify, create, or even delete custom pop-ups. One can easily open the pop-up menu with the added mouse assignments. To open the Menu Creator, all you need to do is head over to “Options.” Under the “Widgets” tab, you will find Menu Creator.
Just like the menu, toolbars can also be customized according to the user’s preferences. The user can create, modify, or delete custom toolbars. To customize the toolbar, all you need to do is look for “Toolbar Creator” within the “Widgets” tab.
3) A Plethora of Drawing Tools
LibreCAD offers a variety of choices when it comes to drawing tools. With the help of the drawing tools, the users can create, modify, and make changes within the render using lines, ellipses, circles, etc. One can select the command for drawing tools, from the menu, toolbar, or even using the command line. A single right-click over anywhere from the drawing window will provide you the access to the pop-up menu. In this way, you can also look into the history of commands you have used before.
Bear in mind; some drawing tools require additional parameters. To enable such, all you need to do is head over “Toolbar” and enable the “Tool Options.”
Reasons Behind the Review and Ratings
LibreCAD offers some of the best 2D CAD renders for all of your industrial design needs. Whether you are using Windows, Mac, or even any popular Linux distro, you can get complete support from LibreCAD. Their rolling update features makes it very easy to work around with the overall rendering procedure. The Qt2 supported libraries makes it very to port using the rendering engine.
Even the idea of being able to design a product without paying a dime for private software is intimidating. It is completely free to use, regardless of the solution you need from LibreCAD. So, if you are someone who is well versed in using CAD applications, LibreCAD provides the greatest value you can ever find.
Ease of Use: 4/5
Since it is open-source, a lot of minds are behind the creation of LibreCAD. While on one side, you are constantly updated with the latest industry-standard, it still comes with a learning curve. One of the biggest concerns about some users is the missing of proprietary icons and symbols. If you are someone who is just starting with LibreCAD, it might take you a while to get accustomed to overall UI.
Just like every other open-source software, it is completely community-driven. So, if you ever get stuck within the program, your only way around is to seek help within the community. While this can get tedious at times, but the overall forum is generous enough to provide you with the desired solution. Heading over to their official website, you can also find some of the most common FAQs that might come handy at times.
Alternatives to LibreCAD
FreeCAD: As the name suggests, FreeCAD is completely open-source and comes under the LGPL license. FreeCAD can be effectively used to create 3D CAD models. The sole idea behind FreeCAD is to provide a computer-aided design solution for mechanical engineers and product designers. But at the same time, it is also applicable for various engineering renders.</ p>
Autodesk AutoCAD: AutoCAD is, by far, one of the most popular industries leading CAD software. It is used professionally throughout electrical, mechanical, and architectural designs. Currently, at the moment, one can only use AutoCAD based on subscriptions. With AutoCAD, you can get cloud-based storage for easier access to all of your files across all devices.
DraftSight: If you want to better software to read and write DWG files, DraftSight is the one to go for. It offers one of the industry-leading open 2D CAD solutions for all the users. One of the biggest advantages of using DraftCarft is its smaller footprint. You can easily get started with DraftSight within a matter of minutes. Neither less to say, it supports multiple operating systems.
SOLIDWORKS: SOLIDWORKS offers an easy solution for 3D CAD software well suited for analytics, design, and management of product data. It enables users to provide one of the best ways to boost productivity while harnessing the power of intelligent collaboration. The only downside is that it is only working on Windows devices.
If you are someone who has just started in the field of product designing, LibreCAD is just the right software you need. Although it comes with its own sets of limitations, it is still a valuable alternative to some of the industry standards. The cross-platform functionality is something that can be hardy at times. Irrespective of the operating system you are using, you can easily get started with LibreCAD.
Opening the window panel, you will be welcomed with the conventional layout containing all the important tools you need. Using the menu bar will give you access to the entire category of block, dimension, and draw. In other words, everything you have possibly desired.
So, without wasting any further time, if you want to get started with designing, LibreCAD is your way out. Just bear in mind, the entirety of the product runs on donation. So, if you are considerable enough, your contribution will surely benefit the developers. With a bit of a learning curve, you will be up and running in no time.