AutoCAD is undoubtedly the most popular and powerful CAD modeling software. But as a commercial software, it is really, really expensive. FreeCAD is a free, open-source, cross-platform and general-purpose 3D CAx (CAD, CAM, CAE), PLM modeling tool specially designed for home user/hobbyist, experienced CAD user, programmer or educator.
FreeCAD is developed based on OPEN CASCADE (a set of open-source CAD/CAM/CAE geometric model cores from France, as the development platform of EUCLID), uses the 3D scene models compatible with Open Inventor provided by Coin3D, and comes with abundant Python API interfaces for extension. It not only can be used in mechanical engineering and industrial product design, but also targets a wider range of engineering applications such as architecture.
It is likely that, you (especially the students) can not afford such expensive commercial software such as AutoCAD, or want to use genuine CAD software to study or for your own projects. This case, among some free and open-source alternatives of AutoCAD, CATIA, SolidWorks, Solid Edge and other commercial software, FreeCAD is definitely a very good choice.
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