Free design tool for PC or iPad?

I’ve been welding some racks for the front of bikes but had a break after Rose was born.
I am thinking of incorporating some other materials other than flat bar and tubing.

Does anyone know of a tool I could download that was either free or cheap that I could use before cutting and welding steel etc?


What do you want to do with the program?


Miter profiles?

Personally I would be doing up full size drawings on paper and using that as your template.

Materials? Or shapes?

There’s not much out there for racks that’s better than Cr-Mo tubing in ~10x0.8mm. Great combination of weight/strength/stiffness. Thin rod or smaller tubes are flexy, larger are overkill unless you’re building something for serious load carrying, carbon steel is weaker, aluminium will fatigue and fail, titanium is expensive, hard to work and requires larger tubes to be as stiff and heavier wall to be as strong.

I want to use it for measurements and overall look.

I want to incorporate some wood into my racks and want to see before I cut and weld.

Each rack will be individually made so I don’t want a template.

I’ll measure, heat up, bend and so on until it works.


Previous built racks can be found on my instagram feed- hanzelz

Materials are already good just want to try other things…wood straps instead of flat plate…just experimenting

If you want to make a business/money have a standard range rather than custom racks and draw them up full size

If you are doing it for fun/gratification, then make up some angle and size templates for commonly used angles and lengths or use Blakeys suggestion

^ yep I’m doing that. I have jigs set up so all bends and cuts are in the correct spot each time.

I just want to use a computer tool to waste more time.

Sketchup is pretty intuitive and it’s free. I’ve never tried using it for things that aren’t walls and windows and roofs though.

If you want tospend a small amount of time learning, get Rhino. It’s pretty much designed for what you want to do by the sound of it. And before you know it you’ll be in this thread :wink:

Autodesk 123D

Has a desktop and iPad based version if I remember correctly. Simplified UI, much like Sketchup.

Rhino is a surface modeller.

For rack work etc you would want something else like Autodesk Inventor or Solidworks. But that’s only if you want to get technical.

I should add that neither are free, and are massive overkill for what OP wants.

Massive overkill, just use a free educational/trial version of AutoCAD. It’s a bike rack FFS.

Rhino is a surface modeler, solid modeler or wireframe modeler. Or you can use it as an Autocad like 2d drafter. It’s pretty versitile and way less complicated to pick up and use than any autodesk product.

I agree it’s probably overkill for what Aaron wants though. Just get a pen and paper.

I haven’t used Rhino in about 4 years, back then it was just a surface modeller, that’s when I became an Autodesk fanboi! Learn something new every day!

^ Autodesk will most likely buy it out soon anyway like everything else

I think I’m going to opt for a texta and napkin.

Thanks for all the information

Try Draftsight, is an auto cad clone. apparently it can be a bit unstable, but what do expect for free…

Free CAD software * for your DWG files: DraftSight - Dassault Systèmes

nurbs n’ that

I would use sketch up.

If you have any questions about how to do things, send me a PM.

Sketch up. Solidworks (weldments segment of the program would speed up production as well) or Rhino. Both the later aren’t programs you can learn ‘overnight’.