Good CAD programs

No, I’m not talking about the feature tree. More sketch constraints and variables.

Yes, you need intent to model something. I’m referring to building intent into the model, so that the model or parts of it behave a particular (intended) way when edited. Using constraints in SW/Creo etc is one way of doing that. There may be similar ways to control geometry in Rhino using the new constraints maybe also with history.

Ah, here is the miscommunication problem.
I assume that all sketches, construction planes, history, etc. will be purged from the finished product - a model, and only a model, all intent captured.
You assume a quick edit, or a snapshot into my workflow, so you can copy, or have it copied and edited overseas.
Nope, That information costs you extra!

Sure - in the finished product. I was talking about during the development process.
Yeah nah, I’m not that interested in your workflow but thanks for the offer.

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This is the key for me - “development”

We do a lot of plastic part design (housings for consumer products, medical devices etc.) and having a model properly constrained allows for fundamental changes (wall thickness, the location of some other component affecting geometry etc.) to propagate through the model without much work. The initial work of constraining the model allows for subsequent changes and iterations to occur with relative ease. It’s exactly the reason I don’t use Rhino as a primary design tool, because I rely heavily on geometric constraints to allow design flexibility and the ability to make changes that my model responds to without breaking.

(I don’t really understand the debate here. If constraints don’t suit your workflow, cool. But to assert they shouldn’t suit anyone’s workflow is absurd)


Can you please use another post to discuss if constraints are good or bad for you?
If someone wants to seek for Good CAD programs this debate will not help.
I would also give my opining on Direct vs Constrains Modeling, but not here.

Feel free to delete my post too.


We’d love to have your input on constraints here:


I used Fusion… for 3 or 4 years… Hundreds of parts designed, tool libraries filled out. Hook fully set. Then WHAM! - (Autodesk) pulled my license, locked up all my parts. No warning! Want to keep using it, buy a full license! (And no, I had not violated any of their terms of use) No appeal! We’ve got you over a barrel and we know it, pay up! So I bought a license… and discovered that half of the features I had been actively using were locked away behind a paywall (particularly the good toolpaths like Steep and Shallow) that was going to cost me thousands to unlock. There are no words to describe my rage. source:


Aren’t the machining extensions something like $100 a month to unlock? Now that Autodesk and Module Works have teamed up, isn’t that $100 a month getting the best 5-axis paths available? So for something like $2500 per year you are getting the equivalent of PowerMill Ultimate ($13,500/year) or WorkNC ($35,000 up front and $7000/year to continue). Doesn’t seem that outrageous to me.

Holy Smokes! You did? I’m with Altamiro A J, I need to know. I’ve been kicking around Blender and, by comparison to Rhino, it is awkward. But I want to use them both, and I’ve gotten comfortable with my Rhino moves.


Of course I didn’t wait; there’s more on this forum, and etc.
But thatks for tipping me off!

Nobody has heard of this, it seems? Perhaps it’s not “good” according to this thread?

Another one:

Looks competent enough (and supposedly has its own geometric kernel)?

Altair Engineering website is buggy. Altair Inspire forum is moribund: Inspire - Altair Community

ZWSOFT forum is ‘Temporarily Out of Service’: Message - CAD/CAM discussion forum -

ZWSOFT Headquarters: Room 01-08, 32/F, No.15, Zhujiang West Road, Tianhe District, Guangzhou 510623, China.


ZWCAD looks like a decent AutoCAD alternative. Just the marketing made me cringe… I wish they’d just cut to the point or actually just show us what the software does. Their forum has been down since… well since I first learnt about them (I’ve extensively studied AutoCAD alternatives). The CAD itself seems like a decent product. But when these companies that specialize in software have websites that are literally broken… it hurts my confidence just a bit.

Want a great marketing idea? If the software actually works, pay someone to build/model something with your program in a reasonable amount of time and stream/post it to YouTube. No techno music and fancy video editing needed. Can’t? Because nobody actually knows how to use the software? Or it crashes every 8 minutes? To me that seems like the only reason for the music and the fancy video effects and transitions.

I’ve had some success using GstarCAD (another AutoCAD clone based out of China). The new version has a lot of improvements including a LISP debugger… so I’m absolutely going to try it at some point. I used the 2020 version. It was really good but had a few flaws that forced me back to AutoCAD. Some have been fixed in the newest version others I’m not sure. It does crash quite often but not so much that it’s not useable on a daily basis. And… it has basically the same Dynamic Block functionality as AutoCAD LT (no constraints, but the action parameters, which I used 99% of the time anyways).

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According to my own testing, BricsCAD seems the best AutoCAD clone to me. Highly compatible (even scripts and RUI files), stable and fast. Licensing is reasonable. Not sure about their BIM product. But i have to say i didnt test Gstar.

Not to many years ago BricsCAD was a standout for sure. The company went in the wrong direction. When I tried the program I every chance in the world to perform and started out with a positive attitude. I was also willing to look the other way on several of the smaller bugs. I found that almost 50% of the time I would try to use the program for something, I would either be on their forum or in contact with tech support. In one example I couldn’t even do a simple 3D sweep. Things like this rendered much of the program completely useless for me. This was their '21 version I believe.

Contrary to what people claim there was very little tech support (it used to be great, a common theme…). This may be due to their “maintenance” subscription where you have to pay a yearly fee for “priority” support. I think that’s bogus because most the issues were flaws with the program rather than me needing help figuring out a feature.

Their marketing is… well… For one they appear to be doing a lot of guerilla marketing. I found more inaccurate statements about BricsCAD than any other program I’ve ever used. My discovery was that most the people saying great things about the program, in one way or another, weren’t actually end users. I do know people that used older versions successfully, but they only did very basic stuff (and there’s better cheaper options if you only have basic needs).

I wasted about $2,000 on the “pro” version, not to mention the lost time. I hate to share such a negative experience because I know so many nice/helpful people are fans of the program (their experiences are probably based on older versions)… but I absolutely cannot recommend it.


I should have added that i was only talking about the Lite version for 2D drafting. This seemed fine, straight forward acad with good pricing on a permanent license. I never did anything 3D with BrisCAD

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I basically downgraded myself to the “Lite”. I was pretty dejected about the whole thing. The Lite version was functional but felt clunky. For example, there was some sort of residual grid snap. There were various other pesky little bugs that didn’t make it un-useable per say, but did make me push it off to the side. Believe me I wanted it to work. Their Lite version supports AutoLISP (which I absolutely love to program with) and they even have a built-in LISP debugger (GstarCAD just added one but I haven’t tried it yet). I bet they’ve actually fixed some of the issues I was having since the last version I used, but (and this is another thing that erks me), they can’t even be bothered to publish a list of known/fixed bugs… so who knows.

Other things got to me as well, like error messages on start-up, and the fact that the program changed my “default program” settings even though I specified not to. I also experienced slightly more crashes compared to AutoCAD. But slightly less compared to GstarCAD.

The reason I had to switch from GstarCAD to BricsCAD was the former’s handling of PDF and image attachments (and the draw order). I’m not sure if this was fixed in later versions of GstarCAD. BricsCAD handled PDF’s great… sort of… as long as you don’t need to print them. There were graphical glitches… basically a dithering affect filling up white space areas on non-vector PDF’s. So printing (without the result looking terrible) was not an option. I had to come crawling back to Autodesk unfortunately. There were other reasons too but I’m reliving too much of the trauma.

I wish that they’d (or anyone for that matter) would just focus on making a good solid CAD program. That’s why BricsCAD was so great in the past. I suspect that the FOMO on the “BIM” craze prompted them to invest too much of their resources into their BIM module and neglect their core program.

I love AutoLISP and I hate all non-Lisp languages.

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