Alibre Express – free parametric solid 3D CAD

Alibre Express is a free but lite version of a Parametric Solid 3D CAD program. Despite being free, it is powerful enough for designing products with a small number of parts.

It is similar in concept to other mechanical and product design parametric CAD programs such as Solidworks and Pro-engineer. Like the expensive counterparts, it can do part modelling, assembly as well as generate associative 2D technical drawing. However, the assembly is only able to have a limited number of parts.

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This program can import IGES and STEP which makes it possible for it to take in NURBS models created in CAID programs such as Alias and Rhino3D. It can also export as IGES, STEP and STL files, which makes it useful for tooling downstream and rapid prototyping.

The free version does not have all the functionality of the paid versions. For example, it cannot do shelling. The free version is really a stepping stone towards the other paid versions. The paid versions unlock the limitation of the free version.

Nevertheless, I find the free version good enough for making products with only several parts in total. To a person who wants to explore the world of Parametric Solid Modeling, Alibre Express is a very good platform to begin with.

You can get the program from its website. Click here for Alibre Homepage.

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