Computer AIded Design: LibreCAD

Open source software is a wonderful thing. You would have to spend hundreds of dollars to purchase software of similar capabilities for a Windows computer. On Linux, it’s free!

Something we do a lot of here on the farm, is designing things in CAD (computer aided design) software. Used along with our CNC plasma cutter, we can design, cut out and construct everything we could ever use here on the farm. From repair parts for our old tractor, to custom tools, a good CAD program can help you design them all!

Libre C A D

LibreCAD – showing my latest design to cut out of steel

Sadly, my plasma cutter runs on Windows 2000, *(by my choice, the company is up to date!) though I have experimented with running it under WINE a couple of times. I have had the device for a very long time, and can not recommend the company enough. Our plasma table is a PlasmaCAM system.

For just laying in bed and making a quick design, I use LibreCAD, pictured above. Working much like a text editor and paint program all in one, LibreCAD in easy to use, and quite intuitive. After my designs are done, they are saved as a .dxf file, which I can import into my PlasmaCAM software for cutting.

Besides fancy signs for friends, This year, we’ve made exhaust flanges for our old tractor, custom tools for the garden, hinges, connectors for large timbers, and tons of other stuff. LibreCAD is a great tool to get you started, designing your tools too!