Cad software to use

I’m totally new to this what cad program do you recommend for a newbie to start. I’m sure I can upgrade to a more advanced program later
Please help

I’m a newbie too. I am currently trying out Inkscape (free 2D program) and Sketchup (free 3D version) while waiting for my Maslow to ship. They both have numerous youtube tutorials but there is still going to be a BIIGGG learning curve to be able to crank out anything with any type of speed. There is also a free version of Fusion360 which I have not downloaded yet. I have been playing with MakerCam (free online cam program to set machining operations ie: drilling, pockets. profile cuts). I think Fusion360 may have Cam properties also but am not sure. Just remember youtube is your friend, don’t get overly frustrated, (I think there is always a going to be some level of frustration with anything new) Everyone here is incredibly helpful with any questions you may have (remember that the only dumb question is the one you never ask). Good luck and you are going to make fantastic things.

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Inkscape and Sketchup are good starter tools. Besides YouTube tutorials, Inkscape has built-in tutorial that is rather novel. The tutorial is an Inkscape document. As you scroll down through it, you see the different features of the program illustrated, and you can manipulate them as you read.

Sketchup is pretty powerful for a program that wasn’t really intended to be for CAD. In some ways, sketchup is like CAD, in that 3D figures are formed by drawing a 2D figure and then sweeping it linearly (extrusion), rotating it, or moving it along a path to sweep out a 3D figure. One of the things I found amazing when working with Sketchup was how it seemed to know what I wanted to do using snaps and other tricks.

There are definitely things that “real” CAD can do that these programs can’t, but many users will never need to do those things.

I’m confused, elswhere on this forum I have read fusion 360 is free for hobbyists. I checked the site and there are free licenses for student etc. but all I could find otherwise was a fee trial. Am I missing something?

The free licence from Autodesk is a bit convoluted, but download and install the 30 day free trial. Once its installed and running you will see the count down timer in the upper right corner. The link in the forum wiki here should show you how to proceed and request a hobbyist licence making less than $100,000, which you will need to re-apply after a year.

BTW, If you figure out how to make $100k a year with your Maslow, please share. :wink:


Much appreciated.

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I, then, plan to share soon​:wink::smiley::muscle::wrench::soon:praying!


In case anyone else is a newbie to cnc cad, i was on instructables the other day and saw that autodesk has fusion 360 cnc tutorial “classes” available.

Here’s an intro to cnc class:
And here’s a 2d cad and cam class:
Both use fusion 360, so might be helpful to those of us that are new to it.


@Jatt, good find I added the Instructable classes to the Wiki.:man_student: