Is There a Cheap Version of SolidWorks?

When it comes to 3D modeling software, SolidWorks is often considered the top choice for professionals and businesses. Its powerful features and wide range of capabilities make it a go-to tool for designing and engineering complex parts and assemblies.

However, with its reputation as an industry leader, it’s no surprise that SolidWorks comes with a hefty price tag. But is there a cheap version of SolidWorks available Let’s explore some options.

The Cost of SolidWorks

Before we delve into affordable alternatives, let’s understand the cost of SolidWorks. The software is primarily sold through annual subscription plans, which can range from several hundred to several thousand dollars per year, depending on the edition and level of functionality required. While this may be well within reach for large corporations or established design firms, it can be quite expensive for individual users or small businesses with limited budgets.

Free Alternatives

If you’re looking for a low-cost or even free alternative to SolidWorks, there are a few options worth considering:

1. Fusion 360

  • Fusion 360 by Autodesk is a popular choice among hobbyists and startups. It offers many similar features to SolidWorks, including parametric modeling and assembly design.
  • The best part Fusion 360 offers a free tier for personal use and startups earning less than $100k in revenue annually.

2. Onshape

  • Onshape, now part of PTC, is another cloud-based CAD software that rivals SolidWorks in terms of functionality.
  • The advantage Onshape offers a free plan with limited features, making it a cost-effective solution for those on a tight budget.

3. FreeCAD

  • FreeCAD is an open-source parametric 3D modeling software that is completely free to use. While it may not have the same level of polish as SolidWorks, it’s a viable option for those looking to learn and practice 3D modeling.

Student and Educational Licenses

If you are a student or educator, there’s good news for you. SolidWorks offers discounted licenses specifically designed for educational purposes. These licenses often come at significantly reduced prices or even free of charge, allowing students and teachers to access the full functionality of SolidWorks without breaking the bank.


While SolidWorks remains the gold standard in the world of 3D CAD software, there are affordable alternatives available that can meet the needs of individuals and small businesses. Whether you opt for free options like Fusion 360 or Onshape, or take advantage of educational licenses, there are ways to leverage powerful 3D modeling tools without emptying your wallet. So go ahead and explore these alternatives to find the one that suits your requirements and budget.