Connections and exporting
Sharing and modifying designs is the great joy of creating.
When starting out with CAD you need tutorials and documentation, but the best way to learn is to study other people’s work. For this reason visiting sharing sites to download and modify designs is your best second step (do remember to check licensing conditions for the designs you download). For this reason it’s very important that you can import designs easily to your CAD program.
LibreCAD exports to very few formats – DXF, PDF, and Image – giving it a low score in this test. It does have ESRI shape file support and can also find ASCII points from a regular image.
FreeCAD has an impressive set of tools for exporting and importing, this, combined with the use of a plug-in structure, makes it a winner in this particular test. Watch out, however: the import of DXF is not completely simple, as it requires using the sketcher to make it a 3D piece in a file.
OpenSCAD uses CSG – or Constructive Solid Geometry – files. There are a vast number of designs available for download, many released under the creative commons licence allowing remixes. Importing PNG or DXF is done inside your script.
SolveSpace imports only DXF but exports to many other formats, making it great to use when you’re making your own creations.
QCAD lacks badly in its number of formats for import and export, supporting only SVG and BMP, PNG and JPG formats. It does have a great library of parts available, however.