I have used OpenSCAD to design a couple of basic things. However, I'm incredibly frustrated by the current state of CAD software: it's all browser based, or requires an internet connection. Or has a learning curve like a cliff.

Are there any offline, nonsubscription, no-account-needed CAD softwares meant for 3D printing enthusiasts that don't have a degree in CAD?

I've seen plenty of tutorials that make it all look easy, and the softwares I have tried just don't do anything.

OpenSCAD is good for blocky well defined shapes and things, but right now I want to make a simple design to hold up a dowel. I've tried Blender and can't figure out how to give a dimension. Same for Sketchup Make 2017. I can't find a useful button in FreeCAD. I've tried Fusion 360 a while ago, but I hear that it recently took a major turn for the worse.

I want to design some stuff without giving away my digital soul in the process.


1 Answer 1


I'm a fan of OpenSCAD but recognize the limitations within the program. Part of the feature bundle of OpenSCAD is the parametric aspect. If you want to aim in that direction and can handle a GUI type of CAD program, consider to check out SolveSpace. All images courtesy of linked site.

sample SolveSpace image 1

sample SolveSpace image 2

Additionally, there is a Tutorial link on the site with a series of lessons to assist the transition to the program. The image below is the introductory tutorial part creation.

It's heavily keyboard biased, but for each key shortcut, there's an icon/GUI button option. As with many CAD programs, using the keyboard can be faster than searching for a sometimes-indistinct icon for a specific operation.

tutorial image

It's just an opinion, but Fusion 360 hasn't necessarily taken a turn for the worse, especially at the free hobbyist level. Change can be difficult, especially for us more mature computer uses (IBM 5150, anyone?) and F360 has managed to relocate/hide a number of features. It's a matter of finding them, but that adds to the learning curve.

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    $\begingroup$ My understanding the licensing had change in F360, not the GUI. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 22, 2021 at 2:48
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    $\begingroup$ I am currently using F360 under an academic license and I have not had any problems with it. Granted, I am teaching myself via YouTube vids and banging my head against the wall. I started using F360 just before the change and the program itself has not changed significantly. $\endgroup$
    – agarza
    Commented Nov 22, 2021 at 2:52

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