Free CAD Software for Mobile Devices

20 Aug, 2014 By: Curt Moreno

Cadalyst Labs Report: Cadalyst Labs investigates free apps for CAD on the go.

TurboViewer v1.5.0 (Android)
Mobile CAD viewer
Overall Grade: B-

Pros: Opens native DWG/DXF files; easily customized views and viewstyles.

Cons: Counter-intuitive controls; 3D rotation somewhat difficult to manage.

Price: Free


TurboViewer from IMSI/Design is a fast, easy-to-use, and very capable mobile CAD viewer. No account creation is necessary to use the application, as it works with locally stored drawing files; this makes it a prime performer in situations where data connections are not available.

The iOS version of this app provides markup functions, but the version of TurboViewer for Android reviewed here does not. (The company states that an update for the Android version, scheduled for release by the end of August 2014, will include editing and markup functions.) The application was quick to respond and easy to configure to change visual styles for both 2D and 3D drawings. All of this combines to make TurboViewer a good choice for the mobile user who needs CAD viewing functionality. TurboViewer's control layout is very spartan, displaying only four buttons once a file is open. Traditional view controls would have been much preferred to TurboViewer's current user interface.


The TurboViewer CAD viewer in 2D display mode.
The TurboViewer CAD viewer in 2D display mode.

TurboViewer in 3D display mode.
TurboViewer in 3D display mode.

TurboViewer enables users to view a variety of filetypes, and it includes native support of DWG/DXF files. Files may be opened from within other applications, such as e-mail. TurboViewer's interface is fully developed and well laid out, making the change to mobile very comfortable for desktop users. There's no online storage included with the free version.

TurboViewer Pro ($19.99) adds viewing tools such as x-ray with transparency range, edge color range, custom perspective view, and materials. It also includes tools for layer management and layout support. Pro users also receive free telephone and e-mail support from IMSI/Design. The Pro version supports DWG/DWF/DGN files, plus more than 20 CAD file formats.

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About the Author: Curt Moreno

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