nanoCAD 5.0: Free and Fully Functional CAD Software
Andrew Wheeler posted on November 28, 2017 | 2284 views

nanoCAD is free CAD software that can be used for any purpose, but to use it for anything other than education and evaluation purposes, you must register and activate the software, or you’ll only have access to the demo version. This means that a “demo version” watermark will appear on your work.

Built by Nanosoft, nanoCAD is free, fully functional CAD software (comparable to AutoCAD) that is very popular in Russia. If you are anything less than an advanced CAD user, then this alternative could be a perfect fit for your organization or company. You can download the latest version, nanoCAD 5.0, for free.

If you register and activate the software, you will receive a one-year renewable license, and you will be able to use the software for any purpose, whether it be commercial or nonprofit. It is 100 percent free. When you register, you will need to give Nanosoft your name and your email address, and it will then forward you a link to download nanoCAD. (Just a note: I used a Gmail address to register, and the link to download nanoCAD appeared in the spam folder of my inbox.)

The system requirements for nanoCAD are minimal:

Operating system

Windows Vista (SP1 or later), 7, 8, 10

Processors

Intel Pentium 4/AMD Athlon or higher

RAM

From 512 MB to 2 GB (recommended for big projects)

Hard drive space requirements

300 MB for program installation, 1-3GB recommended)

Graphics

Video adapter with OpenGL or DirectX-compatible hardware


After installing nanoCAD, users can import drawing (DWG) files or create new projects. After you have completed the installation process, you can export and share with others, without any watermarks.

Top Three New Features of nanoCAD 5.0

  1. nanoCAD added support for DirectX graphics. OpenGL was supported in the past, but DirectX is now the standard for graphics performance for Microsoft Windows. DirectX is more widely known for gaming, but its graphics performance works well on inexpensive computers and lower-end graphics cards. Support for DirectX also eliminates the need to find the right drivers sometimes, which happens with OpenGL.
  2. In nanoCAD 5.0, you can choose which graphic library, OpenGL or DirectX, is the best option for your video card. This is accessed by opening the Options dialog box and choosing Graphic settings. (Image courtesy of Nanosoft.)
    In nanoCAD 5.0, you can choose which graphic library, OpenGL or DirectX, is the best option for your video card. This is accessed by opening the Options dialog box and choosing Graphic settings. (Image courtesy of Nanosoft.)
  3. Support for AutoCAD 2013/2014 version DWG files. Since Autodesk constantly updates and changes the structure of DWG files, nanoCAD must follow suit and alter the internal structure of the DWG files written by its AutoCAD applications. Interestingly, nanoCAD can now read and write AutoCAD-compatible DWG files that are compatible from Release 11, which launched 23 years ago, to DWG filesthat are compatible with AutoCAD 2013.
  4. Better object selection.
  5.  

    The Quick Selection (QS) command received an upgrade, and has been expanded witha few key capabilities. Users can now create selection conditions for graphic primitives like arcs, polylines, splines and lines. The QS command in nanoCAD 5.0 can for the first time also enable users to create selection conditions for complex objects like tables, notes, dimensions and blocks. (Image courtesy of Nanosoft.)
    The Quick Selection (QS) command received an upgrade, and has been expanded witha few key capabilities. Users can now create selection conditions for graphic primitives like arcs, polylines, splines and lines. The QS command in nanoCAD 5.0 can for the first time also enable users to create selection conditions for complex objects like tables, notes, dimensions and blocks. (Image courtesy of Nanosoft.)
  6. Users can now insert a block with .dxf file extension for more flexibility.
  7. Drawing eXchange Format (DXF) file extension for a graphic image format was invented by Autodesk in 1982 to address interoperability bottlenecks that occurred between AutoCAD and other programs.(Image courtesy of Nanosoft.)
    Drawing eXchange Format (DXF) file extension for a graphic image format was invented by Autodesk in 1982 to address interoperability bottlenecks that occurred between AutoCAD and other programs. (Image courtesy of Nanosoft.)

Why Is nanoCAD Free?

nanoCAD is free because it allows companies and organizations the freedom to give as many copies to as many employees as they want without concern for cost and the number of licenses that typically come with CAD software. Nanosoft also sells and develops advanced CAD applications for different industries—all build from the nanoCAD platform.

If you visit the Nanosoft site, you will see that nanoCAD Plus and four other products are not available for free. There are two versions: Workstation and Network.

When customers purchase one of the software products, such as nanoCAD Plus with a Workstation Subscription, they can’t transfer the license to any other computers. When customers purchase nanoCAD Plus with a Network Subscription, the software is available for any computer on the local network, which requires the company or organization to install a License Server, which is supplied by nanoCAD.

ENGINEERING.com had a chance to speak with Dimitry Popov, deputy director of Nanosoft.

“We are approaching the 10th anniversary of our company in April of 2018, and we have 2 million downloads of our products globally. We’ve sold 80,000 subscriptions, which means we’ve created a very good free alternative to AutoCAD. There are a number of differences between nanoCAD 5.0 (free) and nanoCAD Plus. Perhaps the biggest is that nanoCAD Plus has the latest DWG file format, whereas the free version does not.

“Obviously, most of the downloads and registrations are for the free version (nanoCAD 5.0), and we love that. We wanted to fight the elevated level of piracy in Russia, so we came up with this alternative business model. We’ve done quite a bit to combat the piracy of CAD programs. Basically, we are saying to people, ‘Look, there’s no need to pirate software, and piracy cannot be stopped anyway, so download the free version and register.’ After they register, we use email campaigns, as one example, to offer them packages of different vertically integrated software that are based on the nanoCAD platform.”

Vertically Integrated nanoCAD Products

Product

Cost of Workstation/Network Subscription Annually

Overview

nanoCAD Plus

$180/$220

Professional-grade CAD tool with native DWG compatibility

nanoCAD Pro

$290/$330

Feature-based modeling tool for 3D solid modeling with 2D constraints

nanoCAD Mechanica

$300/$300

2D drafting and design application with a library of tools and parts for automating mechanical drawings; based on parametric design engine

nanoCAD Construction

$260/$260

nanoCAD Plus coupling with distinctive design tools and a library of standard parts and design tools to create AEC drawings

nanoCAD Construction Site

$600/$600

Construction site design tool for planning and organizing stages of construction

 

nanoCAD Plus 8 Overview and Top Three New Features

If you are interested in trying nanoCAD Plus 8, you can download it here.

1.    Dynamic input feature: When users create new drawing objects or edit existing ones, this feature gives them a command line interface to input information about the radius of a circle or length of a line, for example.

2.    Tool palettes feature: Users can customize and manage their most frequently used or favorite sets of scripts, hatches and blocks.

3.    Sheet sets: Users can now access and control documentation by creating and customizing sheet sets. They can have a Main Set with general data, different floor plans, schematics and assembly drawings as well as their bill of materials (BOM) from the same place.

Bottom Line

Piracy of CAD software is inevitable. Nanosoft’s business model of giving away a robust, fully functional CAD software in exchange for a simple registration process allows the company to vertically integrate more advanced applications on its platform and work with developers (who sign up for free as well) to customize its software applications for industry-specific purposes.

With 2 million downloads and registrations as well as a 10th anniversary coming up in April 2018, nanoCAD just needs a bit more exposure in the U.S. to take a significant slice of the CAD market.


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