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FreeCAD vs Inventor

Last Updated : 19 Oct, 2022
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Market is full of 3D and CAD designing software which reduces human effort and brings in more productivity. With rapid development in the civil engineering sector, it become a need to have smart applications which can easily tell accurate measurements along with properties like stress, strain, stiffness, Young’s Modulus etc. So many civil engineers along with the development and research teams dedicated their time to building such applications. Two of the most commonly used software in this field are Inventor and FreeCAD. So let’s take a look at their specifications in a detailed manner.

FreeCAD is a 3D designing software written in python which provides personalised gear to ease CAD and BIM projects. It has advanced tools which can easily design real-life objects along with texture and material properties. It first came on the market in 2002 and due to its platform-independent nature, it became widely popular. It can be used on any operating system like Windows, MacOS, Linux, Unix etc. Along with civil works it is also used in gaming industries for modelling game characters.

Advantages of FreeCAD

  • It uses python which provides lots of libraries hence developers can easily customize it according to their preferences.
  • It supports multiple file formats like SVG, IFC, IV, OBJ, STEP, DAE etc.
  • It is absolutely free.
  • Large number of learning resources are available to help beginners.

Disadvantages of FreeCAD

  • It has an advanced interface which might be confusing for beginners.
  • Performance is highly dependent on processors so it is not a good choice for low-specification computers.

Inventor is a multi-purpose software used for computer-aided designing, simulations, corroboration, visualization etc. Launched in 1999 it soon become popular due to its COM technology which allows users to develop plugins in many languages like Python, C#, C++, VB.NET etc. Jacob Sain was its original author, later it was developed by the Autodesk community. 

Advantages of Inventor

  • It has prebuilt templates to build sheet metal parts.
  • In electric designs, circuits can be easily created along with wire properties.
  • Interface is easy and straightforward.
  • It has a tracing tool which helps in converting the handmade drawing to digital designs easily.
  • It also provides collaboration tools to work simultaneously.

Disadvantages of Inventor

  • It is available for Windows Operating systems only.
  • It mainly supports two file types IDW and DWG.

Following is a table of differences between FreeCAD and Inventor:




Definition           It can be understood as a CAD and BIM modeller which is used to build parametric models and 3d designs.  It can be understood as a computer software which is used for drafting, rendering, simulation, 3D modelling etc. in different industries.
Developer(s)                 It was built by Jurgen Riegel, Werner Mayer and Yorik van Havre. Autodesk developed the Inventor.
Animation It is not suitable for animation. It allows making 3Dhave animations.
     Integrations               It supports integration with BoltsEtAl and MeshCM only. It allows integration with CADbro, AWS Secrets Manager, Causeway Flow, EMWorks, 3D_Analyzer etc.
Price It does not charge any fee from its users. Its charges $2085 per year from its users.
Version Control It does not have a version control feature. It offers version control feature.
Rating On the basis of various reviews on different forums it has a rating of 4.3 on a scale of 5. It has a rating of 4.5 out of 5 so it is more popular.
Others It does not have content and component library and hence everything needs to be designed from scratch. It has a content and component library which allows users to use pre-built components.


Both the software are a good choice for BIM and CAD work but due to its free and open source nature FreeCAD is the best choice for beginners, it has only one problem of its confusing interface on the other hand Inventor is costly but offers a clean and easy interface which is a perfect choice for advance designers. 

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