13 Best CAD Programs for Kids

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13 Best CAD Programs for Kids
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Surprising how many CAD programs there out there right now, right? Most I have never heard of but I trust each one has fervent users that will tell us how well their modeling skills were corresponded by the software, besides how easy (or difficult) would be for a child getting used to.

While on the subject, I believe everyone possesses amazing skills to develop. Some of the skills I’m talking about should be built up since an early age, when your creativity is on top of your brain and have the time to ‘play’ with it with not many responsibilities around. Thinking about the positive results over time, there have been launched different CAD programs for kids, where little thinkers can create, revise and express their ideas in 2D, and why not? Export them as 3D printable models like everyone else involved in 3dprinting, just having in mind all objects need support on overhanging parts to be 3D printed. 13 of these CAD programs are gonna be quickly described and listed in popularity order, although rating qualities are up to other facts, such as age range, availability, and intuitiveness.

Advantages and disadvantages plus a little information come with each CAD here so you can easily recognize which one goes the best for your creativity. I had to turn my attention into community’s thoughts based on their experience then I could give a reliable opinion on each program.

Actually many of these might be familiar to you as you might had already worked with them, and if you go through you will realize not all of them were intended to be used by children in first place but its fast interface familiarization and manageable tools –which is one of the most valuables qualities when a fast done work is needed– put them here:

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18 thoughts on “13 Best CAD Programs for Kids

  1. Regarding the Autodesk programs. 123D is being discontinued this year and merged with Fusion 360, so if you are just starting out, I wouldn’t even begin learning it. As for Fusion 360. I use it and even with a background in drafting and some knowledge in CAD I found the learning curve fairly steep. It would be brutal for a total novice. The good side is that there is a free license for students, educators and hobbiests. If you plan on doing mechanical , as opposed to artistic design, Fusion 360 is the world leader in CAD software and IMHO definitely way to go. The only caveat is that you will need some serious computing power to run it effectively. I run a dual core with 16GB RAM and a 4GB video card, and still get slowdowns occasionally. On my laptop, it locked up and crashed constantly.

    1. I didn’t know 123D is being discontinued. 🙁 that sucks, I just learned it last year. Im still going to use it since it is free, honestly as long as you save regularly (and dont open massive files) it isn’t that bad. But I have has a few really bad crashes and i have had to remake a few files.

      I would suggest that you do NOT save files to the cloud, in my experience the saving to the server take a long time, and it crashed a few times I tried to save to the cloud.

      1. You can change to Blender. It is as capable as Maya, but without the price tag.
        Yes, it is usable for 3d to, so I can’t understand why it isn’t mentioned here…

        On that subject, there are other 2D and 3D OSS that ues for making 3D printing models.I

        1. I tried blender and maya once (im a student so I can use maya at college) and It was too complex to start off on. I Lost intrest really quick. 123D was really easy to learn. Im starting to learn Fusion 360, and I dont like it as much because it is harder. Hopefully as I learn more it will be as easy as 123D.

    2. Thanks for taking the time to write these things 🙂 community will appreciate it even more. I tried to do this list as useful and trustworthy as I could, but there’s always something more to learn. Those parts of the post are fixed now. Let me know if there’s anything else I must incorporate.

  2. However Fusion 360 is FREE until you earn over $100000, But agree not suitable for child use but any older 123D Design. Very powerful user should look at it.

    1. After I posted my comment I looked into it and saw it is “free” to hobbyists. I dont know if I want to put in the time to learn it just yet.
      I did find that there is a way to open up 123D files in Fusion 360 (it is really weird but should work).

  3. Thanks for including Makers Empire in this list.

    Just want to clarify that the $2,499 price is actually in AUD, not USD.

    Also, our 3D printing learning program has been designed specifically for K-8 Schools. It includes:
    1) school licence of our easy to use 3D software;
    2) 50+ 3D printing lesson plans (100+ hours) aligned to the American and Australian curriculums;
    3) teachers’ dashboard to manage students’ work;
    4) professional development and training; and
    5) data analytics.

    Book a demo at

    1. many thanks for clarifying the info. Changes are already up.

      1. Thanks Diana – much appreciated!

        Btw the free, individual licence gives users the same design options — i.e. six design modules — as the school licence. The key difference is that the school licence comes with a teachers’ dashboard, lesson plans, training and analytics to ensure teachers integrate 3D printing into their everyday teaching practice effectively.

  4. I didn’t know they had free AutoCad programs much less for kids.

  5. I gone through all kids apps software’s , My observation is Apps for Kids is much Kids friendly in comparison to all others because its not having command bars like other professional CAD packages kids can easily come to know use of tabs on apps for kids , Look at different workbenchs like shape it,Mech it,Style it,Capture it & Print it…Nice user interface. Its like playing game of creativity & imagination…Simply Great

    1. Wow that’s such a clear and good conclusion about the topic 😀 thanks for sharing it with us.

  6. It is great to get children started with design early as it is easier for them to grasp things that we find difficult due to the blocks that have been created in our minds, plus their creative potential will expand. The great thing about Fusion 360 is that it can be used for 3D printing, CNC, and more which expands the creative potential in ways we’ve yet to experience.

  7. Love this resource! Great guide for Elementary STEM teachers.

  8. JG

    As a parent who loves designing with my 10 and 14 year old sons, we have tried them all but have landed wtih, the UI just works for them and they can access it from school as well.

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