We can under take a wide range of computer aided design (CAD) projects, from simple 2D shapes to multi-part 3D assemblies. So if you find the prospect of working up your own digital designs a bit daunting, all we need is a verbal description, or a few pencil sketches and we can do this for you.

On the other hand if you do want to develop your own designs here is a list of software we recommend and the type of work they are used for.

These are all completely free with absolutely no restrictions, and can be downloaded and used on Linux, Windows and Mac. We use them because we believe that the tools needed to improve our physical environment should be free for everybody to access and use. The programs described here are alternatives to commercial programs costing hundreds, or even thousands, of pounds. Not only that, they do not lock you into file types that can make it difficult to switch from one kind of software to another.


Screenshot of a lasercutting job in Inkscape
Toy chair drawn in Inscape

Inkscape is a powerful 2D vector graphics program which is mainly used for illustration, but it can also be used to develop designs with specific dimensions for CNC machining or laser cutting and engraving. It is not brilliant for engineering jobs, but for fluid shapes, and text of all kinds it is perfect, and there are many add-ons that make it even more versatile. One in particular that is used regularly is Inkstitch for generating digital embroidery designs. Download Inkscape from here


Cutting file for a cargo bike

LibreCAD is an easy to learn, but feature-packed and mature 2D-CAD application. It can be used to make engineering drawings with dimensions, annotations, and text boxes, or simply to accurately draw shapes for cutting on a CNC router. Down load LibreCAD from here


Screenshot of a 3D model of a raspberry pi smart speaker
3D model of a raspberry pi smart speaker

Freecad is an extremely versatile 3D design program with a variety of ‘workbenches’ and addons that allow a huge range of projects to be undertaken. It can be used to generate 3D models for 3D printing, rendering, assemblies of complex models. It can develop 2D engineering drawings from 3D models, generate CNC tool paths for 3 axis milling, as well as doing structural analysis. Download FreeCAD from here


3D model of a wooden clog with tool paths generated by BlenderCAM

Although Blender is primarily used for 3D animations it can also be used to model all kinds of projects with a high degree of accuracy. It is more suited to organic shapes, like the wooden soles of clogs, rather than traditional engineering, but it has a huge range of addons which gives it loads of usability. The BlenderCAM addon can even generate excellent 2,3 and 4 axis tool paths for CNC milling and routing. Download Blender from here and BlenderCAM from here