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CAD and 3D Modeling Software

Autodesk AutoCAD

AutoCAD is the most popular CAD and drafting software. According to JPR CAD market report from 2014 it had a first place with 29% of the CAD market. First version of AutoCAD was introduced during Comdex in 1982. Currently available 2020 release is a 34th major version of the software. AutoCAD is available in many countries and localized to multiple languages.

AutoCAD is available for Windows operating system, with certain versions also available on Mac OS. Autodesk 360 is available as a web based HTML5 application as well as native mobile applications which expands AutoCAD supported platforms to iOS and Android.

AutoCAD full feature version is available for $200/month, $1,610/year or $4,345 for 3 years license.

AutoCAD mobile subscription is available for $5/month or $50/year.

There are also specialized AutoCAD products collections for different industries including AutoCAD Architecture, Engineering and Construction collection or AutoCAD Product Design and Manufacturing collection.

Autodesk AutoCAD Inventor is a CAD product specifically suited for mechanical design, visualization and simulation. It is sold as $250/month or $1,985/year subscription.


Solidworks is one of the leading CAM and CAE software for Microsoft Windows. Solidworks is owned by Dassault Systèmes which is also an owner of CATIA CAD, another leading CAD software package. According to JPR CAD market report from 2014 Dassault had 22% of the CAD market.

Solidworks uses solid modeling approach to CAM and also utilizes parametric feature-based approach. Parameters are used to define specific constraints which define shape and geometry. Features are shapes and operations which construct the part.

Solidworks stores data in Microsoft Structured Storage data format and SLDDRW file extension for drawings, SLDPRT file extension for part files and SLDASM file extension for assembly files. Even though this file format is partially compatible and could be read by COM Structured Storage tools certain subparts of Solidworks’ files could be in binary proprietary format.

Solidworks is sold on a per license or subscriptions basis. One Solidworks license is $3,995. Annual subscription, which includes technical support and upgrades for one year, is $1295.

Trimble Sketchup

Trimble Sketchup became a popular tool for 3D modeling due to its simplicity and availability as a web version. It is possible to create a model in Sketchup and then export it to CAD file format for further processing in other CAD packages.

Trimble Sketchup personal version is available for free. Professional versions are sold for $119/year for Sketchup Shop, $299/year for SketchUp Pro and $1,199/year for SketchUp Studio.

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Extension Details
AutoCAD Drawing File Format
  • application/acad
  • application/x-acad
  • application/autocad_dwg
  • image/x-dwg
  • application/dwg
  • application/x-dwg
  • application/x-autocad
  • image/vnd.dwg
  • drawing/dwg
Opens with
  • Autodesk AutoCAD
  • DWG TrueView
  • Autodesk Online Viewer

Japanese Translation