Is There a Free SolidWorks for Hobbyists?

Is There a Free SolidWorks for Hobbyists?

If you are a hobbyist or someone who enjoys tinkering with 3D design software, you may have come across SolidWorks. SolidWorks is a powerful computer-aided design (CAD) software used by professionals in the engineering and manufacturing industries.

However, the price tag associated with this software can be quite steep, making it inaccessible for many hobbyists. But is there a free version of SolidWorks available for hobbyists? Let’s explore.

The Standard SolidWorks License

Before we delve into the availability of a free version, let’s take a look at the standard licensing options offered by SolidWorks. The standard license of SolidWorks is typically priced at several thousand dollars per year. This license provides access to all the features and capabilities of the software, allowing professionals to create complex 3D models, perform simulations, and generate detailed engineering drawings.

SolidWorks for Students

If you are currently enrolled as a student in an accredited educational institution, you may be eligible to obtain a free license of SolidWorks through the SolidWorks Student Edition program. This program allows students to use the full version of SolidWorks for educational purposes, including personal projects and coursework.

Important Note: The student edition license is strictly for educational use and cannot be used for commercial purposes.

SolidWorks for Startups

In addition to the student edition, SolidWorks also offers special programs for startups and entrepreneurs. These programs provide discounted or even free licenses of SolidWorks to help foster innovation among small businesses and startups. To qualify for these programs, your startup must meet certain criteria such as being less than three years old or having revenue below a certain threshold.

SolidWorks Community Libraries

Another option for hobbyists looking for free resources is to tap into the SolidWorks community. SolidWorks enthusiasts have created extensive libraries of models, templates, and macros that can be downloaded and used in your own projects. These community libraries are a valuable resource for hobbyists who want to explore the capabilities of SolidWorks without investing in a full license.

Open-Source Alternatives

If obtaining a free license of SolidWorks proves challenging, there are also open-source alternatives available. One popular open-source CAD software is FreeCAD, which offers similar functionality to SolidWorks. FreeCAD allows hobbyists to create 3D models, perform simulations, and generate engineering documentation.


In conclusion, while there isn’t a completely free version of SolidWorks available for hobbyists, options such as the student edition or startup programs offer access to the software at a significantly reduced cost. Additionally, tapping into the SolidWorks community libraries or exploring open-source alternatives can provide valuable resources for hobbyists looking to dabble in 3D design without breaking the bank.