Long before the advent and widespread use of computers all design work was done by hand.  Whether you are looking at new buildings or designing machinery it was all done by hand.  The 1960’s and beyond brought the advent of what is the modern design process.  The main cog in the wheel of design, as far as tools are concerned, is the CAD or Computer Aided Design software.  CAD software allows the designer to create and replicate design items and pattern with precision so that each iteration of a design is the same.  CAD (sometimes called CADD –  Computer Aided Design and Drafting) comes in both 2D and 3D varieties.  The 2D versions run much cheaper than the 3D versions but are obviously much more limited depending on what the designer is trying to accomplish.

Paid or Free?

There are many options for both paid and free options.  Over the years there have been several consumer and business solutions to the problem of design.  One of the newest iterations is the cloud based CAD systems.  These cloud systems allow multiple designers to collaborate in real time and make all files available to the entire team.  Like all other cloud solutions this one allows the design team to know that their data is safe from being corrupted with the loss of one machine or one hard drive.  Each option, free or paid, brings different advantages.  Most of the time when it comes to software you get what you pay for and CAD software isn’t much different.  One of the more popular choices over the year has been AutoCAD which has since been replaced by CloudSCAD, providing a cloud based solution to design mechanical pieces and buildings in full collaboration with other members of the design team.  The paid solutions will be quite expensive and if you are doing it on the side the costs can be prohibitive.  Payment plans are available for if your credit history is clean.  If your credit history has problems or your score is low you can reach out to a credit repair company to help increase your score and possibly help you qualify to finance the paid software you are looking for.