Anyone looking for a free SketchUp alternative for Linux desktops may want to check out BricsCAD Shape.

“BricsCAD Shape is CAD-accurate, using a powerful direct modelling engine”


It’s free 3D design software geared towards architects and engineers, but claims to be easy enough for regular users to use too — it can be learned in 30 mins or less, apparently!

Better still, a swathe of leading CAD file formats can be opened by BricsCAD Shape including DWG, DXF, DWT and SKP. The app is also able to export to FBX, BMP, STL and DAE.

This broad file support means Linux users can use the app to perform file conversions, e.g., convert DWG to FBX, convert SKP to DWG, and so on — a handy alternative to other tools.

BricsCAD shape is designed for quick 3D mockups, models and buildings rather than overly detailed or fastidious design word. It comes with a well-stocked library of materials, textures and ready-made 3D components that can be easily resized, grown, etc (it also supports creating shapes from scratch, too).

Creations can be exported in the .dwg file format used by leading industry software like DraftSight and AutoCAD, and free applications like FreeCAD, LibreCAD and the Teigha .dwg viewer.

Download BricsCAD Shape

BricsCAD Shape is a free product from CAD software company Bricsys, who offer a range of full-featured (and pricey) CAD software for Windows, macOS and Linux desktops.

It’s similar (but perhaps less capable) than SketchUp and Autodesk FormIt, though neither app is available on Linux (unless you count the respective web apps).

Now, keep in mind that I am not a CAD specialist. I can’t speak to raw “functionality” of this app. But as a free (albeit not open-source) tool, it looks like it’d be useful enough in the right hands provided you can look past the rather expansive terms of use (yes, there’s one of those).

3D hardware acceleration on Linux is said to work on Nvidia and ATI cards paired with the latest proprietary drivers. However, 3D hardware acceleration does not currently work for Intel cards on Linux — but it’s hoped this will change in the future.

Keen to learn more? Head over the project website to access a wealth of tutorial content and documentation:

BricsCAD Shape: Getting Started Guide

You can download BricsCAD Shape for free from the Bricsys website, though do note that you need to sign up for a free account using a valid e-mail address in order to access the download link.

Download BricsCAD Shape

H/T Will

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