5 Favorite Free Tools for Engineers

As an engineer or designer, you’re quite accustomed to software that requires significant resources—both in terms of time and cost—to successfully deploy and integrate into your product development processes. Did you know, however, that there are some very useful tools out there that cost you absolutely nothing?

In addition to not being budget-busting, they are also easy to learn and use, but also provide productivity benefits. So without further delay, let’s take a look at some of these freebies available today that can help engineers be more productive.

  1. eDrawings. This free tool from SOLIDWORKS was the first email-enabled collaboration tool that made it easy to share 3D models and 2D drawings created with most of the widely used CAD systems. The tool enables users to send and collaborate on designs with anyone with a PC or Mac. Recipients don’t need to own or even know how to use CAD. Using eDrawing’s collaboration features, recipients can view 3D models and drawings as well as rotate, hide, or move parts in 3D assemblies. Users can also measure, mark up and create cross sections, not just on flat 2D drawings, but also on 3D parts and assemblies. Download eDrawings for free here.
Productivity is only a free tool away.
Productivity is only a free tool away
  1. DraftSight. Ever worry about how to work with your legacy 2D drawings once you’ve moved your designs to 3D? Worry no longer. You can download free professional 2D CAD software called DraftSight that will provide you with the tools needed to create, update and view native DWG files. The software runs on Windows, Mac and Linux. Download this free 2D CAD software here. If you’re a current user of 2D CAD and interested in giving SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD a try, you can give it a free test-drive by signing up here.
  1. Color Cop. Ever wanted to create a presentation for a client, but needed it to match that company’s branded color specification? Well now that’s easy with another free tool from Color Cop. This multi-purpose color picker enables users to match colors from any digital media to adhere to company or client specifications. The tool identifies and represents colors in various hex color code formats. Users simply drag the eyedropper control to any location on the screen and release. The hex color code for the selected color will automatically be copied to the clipboard for later use. Download Color Cop here.
  1. CustomPartNet.com. Though not standalone software, this web site provides the 411 on nearly every manufacturing process to make it easier to decide which route to take when parts are ready for manufacture. The site’s cost estimator tool gives users a rough estimate about the cost of manufacturing a part based on manufacturing method (injection molding, die casting, sand casting or machining) and the specific features of your part (material, quantity needed, etc.).  The site also offers in-depth feature articles, news, and technical papers. Check it out at www.CustomPartNet.com. For more detailed information, don’t forget to look at Costing in SOLIDWORKS Professional.
  1. CCleaner. This free app is the go-to tool to keep your workstation running at peak performance. The tool enables you to identify and eliminate “clutter” that’s bogging down your machine, such as unnecessary cookies, temporary files and your Internet browser history. It’s easy to do in two simple steps. First CCleaner analyzes your workstation’s hard drive to identify clutter, then users simply “run” the cleaner to get rid of junk that’s slowing down their machine. The tool also offers advanced features that help you remove unused and old registry entries. You can download CCleaner for free here.

If you’re interesting in finding out more information, watch this SolidWorks Tips for Engineers screencast to learn how each tools work and where to find them at zero cost.

Jeremy Regnerus

Jeremy Regnerus

Senior User Advocacy and Community Manager at SOLIDWORKS
CSWE, SOLIDWORKS Geek and connoisseur of all things geeky and nerdy.
Jeremy Regnerus
Jeremy Regnerus

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