The world of computer-aided design has begun to see an influx of interested individuals and enthusiasts looking to take advantage of the joys the art of graphic designing brings. Also, the rapid rise of 3D printing and its very close ties to CAD has been one of the very important factors driving this renewed interest in modeling for everyone knows that with a computer-aided design software application, you can easily bring your designs to life.
Although anyone can benefit from learning how to use a computer-aided design software application, we understand that some hobbyists are more interested in viewing files designed with CAD in order to know what they will be getting when using modeled files in animations or on a 3D printer. Therefore, this article will be dedicated to providing you with the top 10 CAD viewer software applications that you can make use of to view CAD files of different format whenever you choose.
Best free DWG viewers CAD software
So here are the top 10. Note that they are not arranged in any particular order; these apps are on the list because they are free and really do the job of viewing multiple CAD files in different formats excellently.
A list of computer aided design cannot be said to be complete without mentioning a product from Autodesk and this is due to their dominance in the CAD community. In terms of CAD viewing, Autodesk offers the Trueview application which provides users with the ability to view files in the famous DWG format. This application also adds an extra dimension to its functionality for it makes it possible for you to also convert old DWG files to newer versions for the latest AutoCAD and other CAD applications. More importantly, it is a free application which you can download on both Windows and Android operating systems.
The DoubleCAD XT is another memorable application you can use to view CAD files of different formats. This application does one thing and does it well which is the viewing of CAD files both 2D and 3D designed from some of the most popular CAD applications out there. Therefore, if you are interested in a free app that allows you to view DWG, SketchUp, PLT, DXF, and PDF files then the DoubleCAD XT is an application to consider downloading for your Windows-powered computer.
Not surprising is the fact that Bentley created a CAD viewer application for its Microstation CAD application for this CAD manufacturing firm tends to leave no stones unturned. The Bentley Viewer was predominantly built for viewing designs coming from the Microstation application but it can also be used to view other file formats not just DGN as well as handle other functions. With the Bentley View, users can view files in DWG, DGN and DXF formats as well as a measure designed plans and create documentation according to these measurements. Lastly, the Bentley View is completely free to download on your laptop.
Although this application is not attached to any popular CAD brand, it is at least free and does what is required of it without any hassles. Therefore, if you are strictly a 3D printing hobbyist looking to view models gotten free from the internet or purchased from an online store, then some consideration should be given to the Free DWG Viewer. And even though DWG stars eminently in its name, this application can be used to view DWG, DXF, DWF, and DCF file formats.
As it is with most CAD applications, where the service they provide is usually attached somewhere in their name and AnyCAD is no different. This CAD viewer is one interesting application built with the ability to view almost every CAD file format currently circulating in the design community. With AnyCAD, users can view file formats such as; IGES, DWG, 3DS, MDL, OBJ, MD2, STL, DXF, FBX, STEP, SketchUp, etc. This versatility can be quite useful in the long run for anyone who regularly sources for free 2D/3D models online as well as serve as a backup for some of the branded CAD viewing applications on this list.
The average 3D printing enthusiast is one that either makes use of a 3D Scanner or searches for free 3D models online which makes it necessary to have a CAD viewer app always handy on your computer. eDrawings is one application you can consider as your go-to app for viewing CAD models for it is capable of opening almost every file format currently available to designers. The application is free and runs on the Windows operating system.
The Irfan viewer is another CAD viewer you should consider downloading for use as your own personal viewing application. This is due to its ability to view the popular file formats most CAD applications work with. Using the Irfan, users can view DWG, DWF, CGM, and SVG file formats. This makes it a free CAD viewing application that accomplishes what it promises. This application was built to run on devices having Windows as its operating system and this is due to the support Windows provide to most CAD applications.
The MyCAD viewer application is quite popular among CAD users due to its focus on viewing the main file formats both AutoCAD and SolidWorks produce when used. Therefore, most people who use these design applications simultaneously can get their clients to download the app in order to easily view the designs they create. As stated earlier, the MyCAD viewer is capable of viewing DWG and SolidWorks files as well as couple others such as; DXF, PDF, DWF. The app is also free like its counterparts and runs on your Windows operating system with little or no problems.
As the name suggests, SolidView is a CAD viewing application built predominantly for the viewing of 3D models designed using SolidWorks and saved in the SolidWorks file format. In terms of viewing files, it is a multipurpose application that should not be limited to SolidWorks alone for it has the ability to view 3D file formats such as 3DS, DWG, DXF among others. The application is completely free and can be downloaded or put to use on a Windows-powered computer.
The popularity of Building Information Modelling is currently on the rise due to the integration of it by the European Council to simplify public works as well as the private construction industry. BIM creates a platform where everyone involved in a project can collaborate right from the design stage to the completion of a project. But for construction workers without a CAD app that supports BIM, downloading the CityCAD viewer application provides an avenue for one to view designed city plans and other architectural models with ease. This viewing application supports files in DWG and URB format and it is completely free when downloaded.
Other Notable Mentions
Although we have come to the end of our list on the top 10 CAD Viewing applications currently available to everyone interested in viewing digitally designed files, here are some notable mentions not included in the list above.
- CADFaster: for automotive-inspired designs, certain 3D modeling software applications were built to handle the intricacies that come with designing vehicle components. Therefore, these file formats which fall mostly in the STEP and HSF category need a different kind of viewing application to view them and this is where CADFaster comes in. this free application is equipped with the ability to view STEP, HSF and DWG files.
- 3D-Tool: the 3d Tool is a freeware that you can download on your computer to view both 2D drawings and 3D models. It is equipped with the ability to view different 3D printing file formats such as STL which makes it a handy tool for 3D printers. Other formats it opens include 3Ds and DWG.
Here we come to the end of the top applications you should consider having on your computer to view both 2D and 3D models as the case might be. These listed software applications are all completely free and are native apps that do not need you to download or use any CAD application simultaneously with them. They all run on Windows as expected, due to the popularity of the Windows operating system as well as its support for most of the CAD applications used in the design community.