What options are available for Mac to design 2D and 3D CAD drawings? Preferably open-source or freeware but not a requirement of the question.

SolidWorks seems to be the most popular for Windows users and the majority of CAD software is exclusively for Windows.

SolidWorks, I believe claims that their software can be configured to work on OSX but even in the documentation where I read that, it mentioned that it was not an easy process so I didn't even attempt it or look into it further.

I found one software, FreeCAD, but I was very disappointed in the quality of the program.

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5 Answers 5


A more basic option available is Solvespace. It's almost a simplified version of Fusion 360 with respect to the capabilities of the program. It won't generate CAM output, to the best of my knowledge, but it will create 2D and 3D models as well as a few other capabilities.

Solvespace image example

I'm a big user of YouTube tutorials for learning new software and this program has an exceptional author for this purpose. Eric Buijs is the name of the YouTube creator. I've found his methodology to teaching to be easily followed. Even with a few errors on my part, the learning process has been enjoyable.

Eric uses a Mac to do his tutorials. The program also works well on Windows and apparently on Ubuntu, although I've not tried that.


BricsCAD - https://www.bricsys.com/en-us/

Very inexpensive (at least teh educational licenses I was looking at, and it included free use for the students at home) but has all the features you want.

Windows, Linux, and Mac supported.


BRL-Cad is a free and open source software package with a large used group. Used by some groups in the U.S. Government.


Onshape is a 3D solid modeling application that runs in the browser and thus is cross platform. It works amazingly well. It is not open source, but has a free option for non-commercial applications. There are excellent learning resources provided including videos and webinars. Unfortunately last I checked, the free access version doesn't allow you to secure your files.

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A more robust option is Fusion 360 by Autodesk. It is licensed on a monthly basis but is very reasonably priced considering its capabilities. For small businesses with less than $100,000 yearly income it is free. It includes both solid modeling and surface modeling along with 2D drafting capabilities. As with Onshape, it includes a lot of learning resources and runs just fine on my MacBook Air.

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For modelling, simulation & animation it is very hard to match Blender 3D which is:

  • Free, gratis & Open Source
  • Cross Platform

It allows:

  • Modelling
  • Sculpting
  • Animation & Rigging
  • Grease Pencil
  • Rendering
  • Simulation
  • Video Editing
  • Scripting
  • VFX
  • Import & Export of AutoCAD DXF files and numerous others.

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