Calgary, Alberta, Canada dzyanis@engineer.com

Fluid Power Pro

FREE Fluidpower schematic design software

For my work I use AutoCAD LT or ePlan Fluid to draw hydraulic, pneumatic, lube and P&ID schematics. Companies where I worked and where I have the work now, provide with these software, because the price of them is unbelievably high for regular individual.

One day, after reading of this article I decided try to find something absolutely FREE for Fluid Power schematic design.

All software what I found, I divided on three category:

  1. FREE Generic 2D CAD software
  2. FREE specialized FluidPower design software for PC
  3. FREE specialized online FluidPower design software

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FREE Generic 2D CAD software (Most popular only)

The most of companies use 2D CAD software for their mechanical design and combine regular drawings design with the schematic design. For that, fluid power designers created own symbols libraries or use free and ready to use libraries from different suppliers (an example).

1. AutoDesk AutoCAD, version for students

The link: http://www.autodesk.com/education/free-software/autocad

“Free Autodesk software is for personal use for education purposes and is subject to the terms and conditions of the end-user license agreement that accompanies download of the software.”

AutoCAD 2017 Screenshot

AutoCAD 2017 screenshot

Benefits:

  • This is the AutoCAD – the best software in the word for 2D design. You can use it not only for schematic design but for any drawings you need.
  • Free licence for 3 years. After 3 years you can renew your license or get new one for new version of AutoCAD.
  • No any limits in compare with commercial version

Disadvantages:

  • Legally you can use it for education propose only
  • You need to create personal symbol library or try to find free download of it somewhere in internet.
  • Version for Windows only.

2. DraftSight 2016

The link: http://www.3ds.com/products-services/draftsight-cad-software/free-download/

Free FOR STUDENTS, HOBBYISTS AND OTHER INDIVIDUALS

DraftSight 2016

DraftSight 2016 screenshot

Benefits:

  • Very powerful, the same functions like AutoCAD has
  • Read and write support for DWG/DXF files
  • No any limits in compare with commercial version, just free registration required
  • Versions for Windows, MAC add Linux.
  • More features…

Disadvantages:

  • You need to create personal symbol library or try to find free download of it somewhere in internet.

3. QCAD

The link: http://www.ribbonsoft.com/en/qcad-downloads-trial

QCAD is a free, open source application for computer aided drafting (CAD) in two dimensions (2D). With QCAD you can create technical drawings such as plans for buildings, interiors, mechanical parts or schematics and diagrams. QCAD works on Windows, Mac OS X and Linux. The source code of QCAD is released under the GPL version 3 (GPLv3), a popular Open Source license.

QCAD

QCAD screenshot

Benefits:

  • Almost the same functions like AutoCAD has
  • Read and write support for DWG/DXF files
  • Versions for Windows, MAC add Linux.
  • More features…

Disadvantages:

  • You need to create personal symbol library or try to find free download of it somewhere in internet.
  • Specific drafting manipulations required, different from AutoCAD.

These are the most popular software only (which can work with DWG format). And, there are a lot of other free 2D CAD software what you can use for schematic design. I don’t want to repeat others, you can google and find a lot of them.

But most interested for us are specialized products. Let see what we have for today.

FREE specialized FluidPower design software for PC

1. Bosch Rexroth Scheme Editor

The link: https://www.boschrexroth.com/en/xc/product…editor/dc-scheme-editor

The Scheme Editor software is available to you free of charge and allows you to intuitively create pneumatic circuit diagrams. This software helps you create standardized pneumatic circuit diagrams, from simple designs to complex projects. CAD skills are not required.

Scheme Editor

Scheme Editor screenshot

Benefits:

  • drag&drop easy creation of pneumatic connections
  • Symbol Modelling Tool (SMT) enables creation/modification of user-defined symbols
  • user-defined symbols library
  • user-defined templates
  • more features…

This is a very interesting product because it very flexible: if you do not have specific symbol in the library – you can create it, if you need an own template – you can design it. Working with this software I found next issues:

  • You have to be very careful with line connections: the lines can change their placement in strange directions if you move the symbol!
  • There is a pneumatic symbols library only.

Using Symbol Modelling Tool I’m creating my own hydraulic library (symbol-by-symbol each time by request of my task), so you need to spend time for that. I wrote the E-mail to the technical support about a hydraulic library and got the response: “We will release a hydraulic library in this year together with a new Scheme Editor version”. So, I hope it will happen! And when it happen, the Schematic Editor will be the best fluid power design utility!

2. SMCDraw

The link: https://www.smc.eu/portal…software/pneumatic_system_drawing_software.jsp

After the easy introduction of your system requirements the software will provide you with: Total air consumption and required air flow; Full stroke time, max. velocity, start up time; Total air consumption and required air flow; Cushion calculations; Dynamic characteristics simulation; Condensation calculation; Shock absorber selection for impact warning and in general it will help you optimize the size and consumption of your pneumatic components.

SMCDraw Screenshot

SMCDraw screenshot

Benefits:

  • Some simple calculation can be made after system design (full stroke time, max velocity, flow, Dynamic characteristics simulation, etc.)
  • Helps to select pneumatic components from SMC assortment only
  • Has the symbol design tool, but very uncomfortable to work with

Disadvantages:

  • This software to design pneumatic schematics only.
  • Limited by SMC assortment symbols library. You need to create personal symbol library.
  • Not intuitive and not comfortable design work.
  • Not easy to connect symbols even with snap to grid.

What I really like in this software – the idea of some component and system calculations. I think, the SMC team is selected the correct way, but the product is still too fresh for use. Hopefully, it will be more intuitive and more comfortable for work in future versions. And, unfortunately, this software is for design of pneumatic schematics only.

3. HydraForce i-Design

The link: http://www.hydraforce.com/i-design.html

i-Design comes pre-loaded with everything you need to design a hydraulic schematic, featuring over 1000 configurable hydraulic components, including cartridge valves, pumps, motors and cylinders.

HydraForce i-Design screenshot

HydraForce i-Design screenshot

Benefits:

  • Based on Automation Studio engine. Symbols and connections are work perfectly.
  • Very intuitive and comfortable design work.
  • In addition to the schematic you get full package for manifold design.

Disadvantages:

  • First of all, this software is an utility to design hydraulic manifolds using HydraForce components only.
  • Very limited library: you can use HydraForce components only and you can’t add/create new symbols. For that you have to use Automation Studio software.
  • The HydraForce template title you can use only.

Theoretically, using this software you can try to design generic schematic because some generic symbols like cylinders, pumps, motors, pressure gauges and others also present in the library. But to make the design easily you have use HydraForce hydraulic components mostly.

4. Comatrol Easyvalve

The link: http://www.comatrol.com/easyvalve

EasyValve’s intuitive user interface allows you to proficiently create your hydraulic circuit schematic by simply dragging and dropping from Comatrol’s complete digital library of cartridge valves, Cetop valves and accessories.

EasyValve 3.0 Screenshot

EasyValve 3.0 screenshot

Benefits:

  • Based on Automation Studio engine. Symbols and connections are work perfectly.
  • Very intuitive and comfortable design work.

Disadvantages:

  • Same like HydraForce i-Design this software has very limited symbols library: you can use Comatrol components only and you can’t add/create new symbols. For that you have to use Automation Studio software.
  • The simple template title you can use only.

Same like HydraForce i-Design you can try to design generic schematic because some generic symbols like cylinders, pumps, motors, pressure gauges and others also present in the library. But to make the design easily you have use Comatrol’s hydraulic components mostly. Unlike HydraForce i-Design, this utility can not help you with manifold design.

FREE specialized online FluidPower design software

What is really good with online design:

  • no any software could be installed
  • does not matter what operation system you use
  • files are automatically saved at the server but you can export and download them in any format.

1. SUN QuickDesign SmartConnect

The link: http://www.sunhydraulics.com/abo…chematic-tool

Define your specs as you build your schematic. Submit to QuickDesign™. Get your custom integrated package design. Request a quote. All in a matter of minutes. In one handy, free online software tool. Seriously.

SUN QuickDesign screenshot

SUN QuickDesign screenshot

Benefits:

  • Drag&drop easy creation of hydraulic connections
  • Work field looks like AutoCAD
  • Very intuitive and comfortable design work
  • Easy to design manifolds

Disadvantages:

  • Very limited symbols library: you can use SUN Hydraulics components only and you can’t add/create new symbols.
  • The SUN template title you can use only.

I have already wrote the article about this online application. SUN created really nice online application. Very intuitive and comfortable work, minimum buttons, no any complicated menus. But again, you can try to design generic schematic because some generic symbols like cylinders, pumps, motors, pressure gauges and others also present in the library. But first of all this application developed for SUN Hydraulic components using only.

Resume

If be honest, from all of free soft what I found, AutoCAD and DraftSight are still most preferred to use for schematic design. Hopefully, in the future, with a new version of Bosch Rexroth Scheme Editor (with integrated hydraulic symbols library) the situation can be changed. If I find something else, I will add all new applications reviews to this article. If you know something else what can help with FREE design of Fluid Power schematics – please let me know in comments below.

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