Are you wondering about the best CAD software for metal fabrication? This guide will list some of the top options for those looking for precise and efficient design features.
Whether you’re new to CAD software or just shopping around, this article will give you a broader understanding of some of the computer-aided design software on the market.
Below, we’ll look at some of the top design software for metal fabrication. From this list, you should be able to get a good idea of what will work for you.
The Four Top CAD Software for Metal Fabrication
Let’s just jump into it. As you’ll see, we’ll look at several parameters, including price, ease of use, and key features, and pros and cons. For the best representation of each system, take advantage of free trials and demonstrations.
List of top design software for metal fabrication:
- Inventor by Autodesk
- Solid Edge
- Solid Works
Let’s look at these in more detail.
Inventor by Autodesk
Inventor by Autodesk is a common CAD software for metal fabrications. For many folks, this will offer something for the beginner and those that are more advanced. These are popular software that will have a host of resources for learning and advancement.
Best for: Those who want great all-around CAD software that will also allow them to seamlessly integrate into other types of design. Autodesk is one of the biggest computer design software systems.
Price: this will vary based on the features you want and how much you’re willing to pay upfront. However, ultimately, you’ll pay about $ 290.0 per month for this software. However, they do have a free trial as well as a money-back guarantee if you don’t like it.
Key features: 3D modeling and simulation. Also, plenty of built-in tools and rule-based tools allow you to reduce repetitive tasks. The platform allows you to connect easily with other designers and export your designs when it comes time to share.
Pros and cons: Fairly expensive for the beginner who is just looking for hobby-level metal fabrication. However, the level of customer support ensures that you receive all the help you need, should problems arise. Furthermore, with the size of AutoDesk, you can contact a representative and may be able to work out a more reasonable price for your purposes.
Solid Edge is a renowned CAD software for metal fabrication and other design tasks, offering a scaled experience and a host of options, from 2D drafting to 3D assembly design. Solid Edge has features for beginners as well as pros.
Best for: Any level of metal fabrication design. However, it is well suited for beginners who want to grow in their skills and may be looking to build a business. In the price section, you’ll see how this service provides a host of options for all budgets.
Price: Solid Edge provides a full free version of their CAD software. This will have limited features, but it’s a great option for those who are looking to get started. Also, they offer free trials of their more advanced software, allowing you to try it before you buy.
As far as prices, they offer a host of options for all budgets, starting around $75 per month and then moving up incrementally with more features to over $300 per month. Now let’s talk about some key features.
Key features: Solid Edge has many capabilities, allowing you to easily access and share your s designs anywhere you have an internet connection and from any device. They also have all the other tools you would expect from modern CAD software, with animation capabilities, rendering, automated 2D drawings, MBD, BIM, and more.
Pros and cons: For those who are getting started, there is little downside to a free trial. If you’re looking for metal fabrication CAD software that will grow with your skills, then you can’t go wrong by reaching out to the team at Solid Edge.
Tekla CAD Software
This software is designed for engineers and professional teams. Tekla CAD offers a host of high-level design software that allows for fast designs and easy collaborations. If you’re in the market for professional-grade design software, then you should definitely take some time to check out Tekla’s products.
Best for: professionals and those who are doing metal fabrication for buildings and other large-scale projects. This probably isn’t the CAD software for those who are doing smaller work.
Price: As is common in some software marketed solely at professional businesses, Tekla doesn’t list a clear range of prices on its website. To receive a clear range of prices, you’ll have to contact a representative of Tekla. They do offer a 45-day free trial for those who want to give their services a try.
Across the board, if you’ll be making a significant investment into any CAD software, you should take some time to contact them just to see if they have any special offers and to ensure they have good customer support. If they don’t have good support when you’re not yet a customer, they probably won’t when you are.
Key features: Integration and automation that is customizable based on your needs. Simple 2D to 3D setup. Great specifically for architecturally related fabrications.
Pros and cons: For those who are beginners, this might not be the best software for learning CAD for the first time. However, for professional metal fabrication, this will be a solid option. It would certainly be wise to contact them for pricing before any decisions are made. With that said, free trials are always nice.
Solid Works CAD Software
Solid Works may be easy to confuse with Solid Edge but they are different entities. Solid works is another CAD software that will be aimed at professional metal fabrication businesses looking for some of the most advanced software and a team that’s ready to support them when needed.
Best for: professionals and those serious about producing professional metal fabrication designs. Well suited for those who need tools for the most complex builds and for those who use the system enough that they will need constant updates.
Price: for an accurate quote, you’ll need to contact the company. They will offer you the chance to try out the software online to see if you like the interface.
Key features: Simple moves from 2D to 3D, also allowing for simulations. When you have a high level of simulation capability, it can give a business an edge when trying to win work. Potential customers will be impressed when they can interact with a design as if it were real. This can help get projects moving and prevent confusion during collaboration.
Pros and cons: This software is marketed to professionals, while you could certainly buy it as an individual or hobbyist, you might find that something like Solid Edge is more scalable to your needs. That said, Solid Works will provide good CAD software for metal fabrication.
Before we go, let’s talk about a few things to consider before buying CAD software for metal fabrication.
How to Find the Best CAD Software for Metal Fabrication
We’ve talked about some of the top CAD software, but now let’s talk about how you can sift through all the sand to find the gold. While all the software choices above could present a good option, there will be some that work better for you than others.
Here is a good principle to keep in mind.
Know Your Skill Level
If you’re a beginner in metal fabrication, pick one CAD software that you feel is manageable and learn how to use it. Learn the ins and the outs and become really good with a single type of software. This will help you build confidence and will also prevent you from always thinking “there might be something better.”
Sometimes you need to just buckle down and do the work and learn how to use a new system. For those who are more advanced, take your time to shop around. Give a few companies a call and maybe demo a few products. This will give you a good idea of if the software is right for you.
Now, let’s go over a quick conclusion and a wrap-up.
Conclusion: Getting the Best CAD Software for Metal Fabrication
If you’re just getting into CAD for metal fabrication, it can be easy to go cheap. However, this can expose you to less than satisfactory products and be a burden to you in the long run. If you can, try some free trials of the top design software on your list. If you’ll be using it often, you want something that will grow with you and deliver on the features you need.
To get the best experience, contact some of the companies listed in this article. Assess their customer support and see how easy it is to get a demonstration. You might be surprised how many questions a simple phone call can answer.
Finally, try to get a good handle on the type of metal fabrication you’ll be doing and the complexities that it will entail. Knowing what you need will make it easier to know when you’ve found the right product.