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If you think of mechanical CAD, the first thing that comes in your mind is AUTOCAD. AUTOCAD is developed and distributed by AUTODESK INC. This CAD software is mainly used for creating 2D drawings although it can be used for 3D modeling. In my opinion, 3D modeling is not that user friendly but when it comes to 2D drafting it is the best software available compared to others.

http://www.autodesk.com/products/autodesk-autocad/overview

Autodesk Inventor is developed and distributed by AUTODESK INC. It directly competes with major 3D CAD modeling softwares like Creo, NX, Catia, Solid works etc.

http://www.autodesk.com/products/autodesk-inventor-family/overview

Creo parametric formally known as Pro Engineer is developed and marketed by Parametric Technology Corporation (PTC). It is a CAD/CAM/CAE supported software. Pro Engineer was the first mechanical CAD software to bring parametric feature based 3D modeling. Recently Pro Engineer was replaced by Creo parametric series. Easy user interface and powerful modeling options are advantages here. Creo can be easily configured with Windchill (PLM).

http://www.ptc.com/product/creo/

List of mechanical CAD softwares

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Here is the list of CAD softwares that are focused mainly on mechanical design and parametric modeling. Although majority of the mechanical CAD market share is dominated by Autodesk, PTC, Dassault and Siemens, there are many other small and medium scale CAD packages which are very useful and economical for small industries. It is important that you invest on the right CAD package. So lets see some of the CAD softwares that are available for mechanical stream.

 

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Catia is developed and marketed by French company Dassault Systems and has CAD/CAM/CAE support. It is one of the major CAD software in mechanical domain. It directly competes with Creo, NX and Inventor and is particularly used in industries where rich surface modeling is needed such as Aerospace, Automobiles etc.

http://www.3ds.com/products/catia/

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NX (UG or Unigraphics) is also one of the major mechanical CAD software which is developed and marketed by Siemens. Being CAD/CAM/CAE software, it is rapidly growing because it has an advantage of easy configuration with Teamcenter (PLM) which is developed by the same company. Teamcenter is already an established PLM software in many industries and domains.

http://www.plm.automation.siemens.com/en_us/products/nx/

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Solid Edge is developed and marketed by Siemens. It is the lower end software which only includes CAD. All other major softwares Creo, Catia, NX are CAD/CAM/CAE softwares. It is economical and user friendly compared to NX and used in many small scale industries.

http://www.plm.automation.siemens.com/en_us/products/velocity/solidedge/index.shtml

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Solidworks is a direct competitor of  Solid edge. It is economical and user friendly. It is developed by Dassault Systems. It is a major software and used by many companies.

http://www.solidworks.com/

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Draftsight is 2D drafting and editing software for DWG and DXF files. It is similar like AutoCAD 2D and is completely free.

http://www.3ds.com/products/draftsight/free-cad-software/

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Vectorworks fundamentals is 2D/3D mechanical CAD software which is a part of Vectorworks suite.

http://www.vectorworks.net/fundamentals/

HiCAD is an other 2D/3D CAD software. It is very economical and has many features in its class.

http://www.hicad.isdgroup.eu/

VariCAD is another powerful 2D/3D mechanical CAD software which includes crash tests, calculations etc.

http://www.varicad.com/en/home/

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QCAD is a 2D drafting software and is economical.

http://www.qcad.org/en/

 

Spaceclaim is direct 3D modeler software and has many features including geometry repair, geometry editing and CAE support.

http://www.spaceclaim.com/en/

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Sketcup is developed and marketed by Google INC. It uses pull, move, fill, and combine techniques for modeling and uses basic geometric primitive shapes. Although it is mainly used for layout drawings and it can be used for mechanical design. The basic version is free.

http://www.sketchup.com/

PorgeCAD is AutoCAD like 2D/3D software. It is almost similar to AutoCAD with same menus, commands options etc. Its native format is DWG. It is very economical compared to AutoCAD. Its has inbuilt options for PDF to CAD, Image to CAD conversion options. It’s has a huge library of AutoCAD blocks which includes mechanical, electrical, civil etc..

http://www.progesoft.com/

BRICSCAD is a dwg-based 2D/3D CAD software. It has many modules including Assembly modeling, Kinematic analysis, Design Intent Recognition etc. It has all basic necessary tools and options.

http://www.bricsys.com/en_INTL/bricscad/

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CADDIE Mechanical is another 2D CAD software. Intelligent markers and mechanical symbols, Tolerances and fits, Balloons and Numbers, Pipes and centre lines, Bolts, nuts and PCD, ISO symbol, diagrams, Sheet metal and tool paths and welding symbols are the features mentioned in their product page.

http://www.caddiesoftware.com/caddiesoftware/solutions/mechanical.html

FreeCAD is General Public Licensed (GNU GPL) free 3D CAD software. It has parametric modeling options. It can be used for layout drawings, mechanical and architectural 3D modeling purposes.

http://www.freecadweb.org/

SOLVESPACE is a parametric 2D/3D CAD software. It has all basic functions for a 3D CAD. Supports DXF, EPS, PDF, SVG, HPGL, STEP formats.

http://solvespace.com/index.pl

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Cobalt is a very powerful economical 2D/3D CAD software. It has advanced modeling features and has many modules including surface modeling, Animations and rendering etc.. It has a huge mechanical parts library. It uses parametric modeling.  

http://www.ashlar.com/3d-modeling/3d-modeling-cobalt.html

This article will be updated with more details. All logos and images used here are trademarks of their respective companies/ developers.

NANOCAD is free 2D drafting software and it has UI and options/features similar like AutoCAD.

http://nanocad.com/