Computer-aided design (CAD) courses can teach you how to use computer software to create 2D and 3D models of products and buildings. If you want to jump-start your career in CAD modeling, there are plenty of free CAD classes online to get you going.
Free Online AutoCAD Classes
Before selecting your CAD course, it's essential to know which CAD software is right for you. With the advent of 3D printing and increased use of 2 and 3-dimensional modeling overall, there are more software options than ever, but AutoCAD is the most well-known choice. It was the first CAD software available and has a firm foothold in the design world. There are several sites offering CAD design classes with this software.
Autodesk is the creator of AutoCAD and has been providing free training resources on their site for years. They sport over 800 AutoCAD tutorials, and you can filter by your industry or specific topics to narrow your search results. These informative videos offer a download feature and free to use without registering on their site.
This site offers almost 70 online videos covering 2D and 3D modeling using 2016 AutoCAD. The CAD training breaks the software down into small videos less than 10 minutes in length, each covering a unique function of the software, and includes quizzes at the end of each section to reinforce what you learned.
A comprehensive dive into AutoCAD is what CADTutor promises with its multitude of tutorials. You have the option to access them on the site or CADTutor's own YouTube channel. Options include CAD courses for beginners up to advanced CAD classes and even options on older versions of AutoCAD. Learn topics as simple as how to select objects, to more advanced tutorials on combining CAD with Photoshop.
Free CAD Training for Other Software Programs
With the advent of numerous AutoCAD competitors, there's also a substantial choice of free online drafting courses available for other CAD software. Some software programs are geared toward more introductory drafting projects. Others are preferred by industry-specific professionals. It's important to do your homework when choosing the right CAD software for you. Once you do, these courses will help you get a leg up.
Another popular CAD software program, SOLIDWORKS, offers sophisticated modeling options with the ability to make very precise curvatures. It's often one of the program choices of professional 3D designers and may be found through the following two providers.
Here's a chance to take a free online tutorial WITH a certificate of completion you can use to show competency in the topic. The eight-module course 'SOLIDWORKS: An introduction to the 3D editor' starts with the basics and concludes with an assessment of what you learned. The course will take 3-4 hours to complete.
Of course, you have the option of accessing free training on the SolidWorks site. Videos, projects, demos, and PDFs are available free including a project to design your own robot.
This software, created by the same makers as AutoCAD, is a cloud-based CAD program that stores all previous versions of your project - making it easy to go back if you've had a change in design. It's considered user-friendly, and continual improvements are making it a new favorite for some designers. Check the following two sites for free training.
You can also find comprehensive CAD design classes for Fusion 360 on this site. You can learn the basics, jump into intermediate videos introducing you to 3D modeling, or take the refresher courses if you already know your stuff but want to brush up on your skills.
For a beginner's CAD class on Fusion 360, try this site. Geared toward sharing how to make projects worldwide, instructables provides a project-based CAD course where you learn the basics of the program while designing a desk lamp. Aimed at both CAD beginners and those wanting to learn this program, you'll gain expert tips while completing your project.
What Careers Might Require You to Learn CAD?
Who should take CAD courses? Initially used primarily by architects, and structural, mechanical, and electrical engineers, CAD training has now become widespread by designers in fields as far-ranging as fashion, automotive, and cartography. For more on who's using CAD, check out this overview.
These free online courses can give you the instruction you need to begin designing CAD models, but if you plan on making this your career, you might want to consider completing a CADD certification program.
Job Prospects for CAD Designers
CAD designers are included with civil designers and architects in terms of U.S. salary stats, and their nationwide employment was almost 100,000 in 2019. The employment growth is expected to decline by 4% between 2019 and 2029, and the median wage in 2019 was $56,830, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.