Free CAD Software for Mobile Devices20 Aug, 2014 By: Curt Moreno
Cadalyst Labs Report: Cadalyst Labs investigates free apps for CAD on the go.
cadTouch v5.0.0 (Android)
Mobile CAD editor
Overall Grade: A-
Pros: Wide range of tools; DWG, block, and raster image support.
Cons: File support limited to DWG/DXF; 3D mode is beta; no camera access from app.
CadTouch is a free mobile CAD editor with plenty to offer the experienced CAD user. It's available for the Android and iOS operating systems; I looked at the Android version. Rather than a typical mobile user interface that places as few controls on the screen as possible, this application opens with control ribbons on three sides that contain all of the tools needed for drawing, editing, and properties information. The expandable menus offer more refined tools, and helpful tool tags identify each one when it is touched.
The cadTouch tool palettes, with flyout menus for drawing tools, are easy to use.
The free version of cadTouch comes with more than 20 blocks in its library.
Viewing drawings is very intuitive, with common multitouch interface mechanisms. Linework is crisp and quickly responds to view manipulation in both 2D and 3D modes. Note that while 3D mode is quick and responsive, it is currently in beta. While linework creation and editing will be easy for experienced CAD users, novices will require a longer learning curve. The application installs with a library of more than 20 blocks.
The free version supports the industry-standard DWG and DXF formats, plus PDF and JPG. Images are easily imported to drawings from the mobile device's gallery, although the app lacks direct access to the device's camera. Sharing files is limited to e-mail attachments or a workstation connection.
Easy-to-use drawing tools include polylines, hatches, and freehand sketching. Layers and linetype control are easily accessed from the Properties bar, as is object property information. Inquiry tools include angle, length, and area. All of the standard editing tools, such as move, copy, offset, and many others, are included and are easy to use. New drawings can be created in the free version of cadTouch, but export is not possible. No account is required for the free version, so no online storage is included with the application.
CadTouch Pro ($19.99) looks and functions the same as the free version; export functions, however, are unlocked. Users can share files via connection to a work-station, with iTunes for instance, or via e-mail. Exported file support includes DWG, DXF, PDF, and PNG.