6 of the Best Free Online CAD Training Resources

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What do online computer-aided design, brain surgery and corporate tax declarations have in common? In each case, you’d better know what you’re doing. In medicine and finance, this takes years of expensive study. But for those of you who want to be better at CAD, there’s good news! Resources are available over the web to help you get up to speed right now and at no charge.

First, a word about the gorilla.

The market leader in computer-aided design software is AutoCAD from Autodesk. Not surprisingly, many free online CAD training resources are oriented towards this product in particular. Resources from other major CAD software vendors and e-learning sites may use a paying or ‘freemium’ model instead. However, for this list we have chosen online CAD training resources that start free and stay free. Ready? Then let’s get started!

1. YouTube CAD section

Video clip king and a gorilla in its own right, YouTube also offers a range of resources and tutorials, starting with “What is CAD?” (an important question for many!). AutoCAD is well-represented and the YouTube links will also help you surf around other perspectives and products. Try it for the basics and an eclectic range of online presentations and animated or real time ‘how-to’ clips.

2. Learningexchange.ptc.com

PTC is one of the bigger CAD software vendors with its Creo Parametric solution (formerly Pro/ENGINEER).

This site is a PTC official resource that also offers a choice of languages to learn about the PTC CAD software. You will need to provide your email address if you want access, but we still count this online resource as free. In summary, it is PTC product-specific (a limitation), but multilingual (a bonus).

3. My.solidworks.com

If the CAD application SolidWorks from Dassault Systèmes is on your shopping list, this free online CAD training resource direct from the vendor’s mouth will be of interest to you. DS is also one of the biggest players in the CAD software market. As for PTC above, have your email address ready. We won’t labor the point.

4. Knowledge.autodesk.com

You can go straight to the source on the knowledge.autodesk.com site for recent videos (2014) and text-based tutorials for AutoCAD. The Getting Started section offers tours of the user interface and new features, as well as the ‘Hitchhiker's Guide to AutoCAD Basics’. The Learn & Explore section then dives into more detail on specific functions and activities.

5. Mycadsite.com

One of the gorilla’s friends! This site provides comprehensive sets of tutorials for AutoCAD beginner, intermediate and advanced levels. It also has quizzes so that you can test your level of understanding. The format is text with screenshots to illustrate different points. If you like to mull over your info rather than dealing with non-stop video flows, then Mycadsite.com could be the free online resource for you.

6. Carnegie Mellon University Community

This site offers bite-sized, blow-by-blow videos to build up competence on AutoCAD (2006 version). Each video has audio commentary to explain what you see happening onscreen. You can access these series of videos immediately to build up a general understanding of CAD. You can also acquire an AutoCAD knowledge base that you can then supplement with more up-to-date add-ons from sources in 3. above.

More?

We surfed, we saw and we selected. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t other great free online CAD training resources out there. You may have had a great experience with another free resource. Indeed, sometimes the quality and the usability of information openly available are what ensure successful use of a CAD application.