Some of our favorite free engineering apps
Open and free sharing seems to be getting into the engineering field more and more, which is still quite late compared to other practices like programming, gaming and photo editing. When will the next free, sugary app for mechanical designers come out? We wouldn’t mind spending hours on it and level-up (if it was a freebie) – a treat to our minds and pockets.
Our selection doesn’t pretend to hold such an app, unless you’re into the ultimate fetishism – solving differential equations as a hobby or time killer. But, it’s easy to get your definitely hands on amazing and free applications that can actually help you with your job. We hope for more free sharing in the future, and long for the angry CADs app where we’ll waste our productivity and bathroom breaks.
Engineering Handbook Lite: A lovely application for crunching formulas and converters of different measures into one free useful package.
iEngineer: This is a great interactive database of bolt and screw information.
Inventor Publisher Mobile: Easy-to-use technical documentation software for creating 2D printed and 3D interactive product documentation. It reduces technical documentation and service costs, accelerates time to market, and improves your customers’ experience with your products before they purchase. This is more of a trial version than a free app but for what it’s worth, you can at least make up your mind about the app long before deciding if you really need it.
Autodesk ForceEffect Motion: By far, the best free App I got my hands on to simulate moving mechanical systems and enjoy my time experimenting on one of my design concepts.
iCAD free: View, slice, and and share CAD and 3D models. It works for all major CAD and 3D animation packages and is ideal for engineers, designers, manufacturing, quality control, 3D animators, sales, and management.
GrabCAD: What? You don’t think your favorite website can come in with a free app that allows you to browse up through the whole CAD database available on laptop and PC?Well you think wrong. It’s here and it’s pretty good, easy to manipulate, and basically offers what you might get from a desktop PC.
NEi Stratus: Finally, a free FEA app that is based on the concrete solving of NASTRAN. It allows engineers to use their iPhone and iPad to experience Mobile NASTRAN FEA technology for free. Use it wisely, it doesn’t do everything.
FieldNotes Lite: If you happen to be working in the field, or just walking from one department to another to ensure your future prototypes’ production, FieldNotes comes in handy. It can take pictures, attach notes, and include locations.
Royal Solver Lite: Royal Solver is a tool for solving a wide range of equations relating to simple engineering problems.
Free Graphing Calculator: Not especially groundbreaking, but a very good, flexible graphing calculator.
I48: More comprehensive, complex and thorough, this is an emulator for the HP48GX calculator. Therefore, going through an integral or performing matrix calculations is child’s play for this bad boy.
Free42: Another heavy calculator, the free app version of the HP-42S calculator and the HP-82240 printer. It doesn’t require an HP-42S ROM image and doesn’t use any HP code.
SMath Studio: Tiny, powerful, free mathematical program with WYSIWYG editor and complete units of measurements support. It provides numerous computing features and rich user interface translated into 38 different languages. Application also contains integrated mathematical reference book.
GNU Octave: Basically a free MatLab, perhaps not as pretty but comes in handy on your mobile small screens.
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About the author: (Khadija Ouajjani)
Mechanical design engineer working for the aeronautics industry, obsessed with improving CAD to improve analysis, doesn’t accept numbers without a precision scale, bookworm and aspiring writer, obsessed with garlic and Mandelbrot, loves tea with mint and coffee with cinnamon. When not writing for GrabCAD, she’s probably drawing fancy propellers and coloring cube trees in a coffeeshop.
All posts by Khadija Ouajjani