FluidPower.Pro

FREE Fluid Power 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 this software because the price of them is unbelievably high for the regular individual.

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

All software what I found, I divided into three categories:

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

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FREE Generic 2D CAD software (Most popular only)

Most companies use 2D CAD software for their mechanical design and combine regular drawings design with the schematic design. For that, fluid power designers create own symbols libraries or use free and ready to use libraries from different suppliers (as 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 world for 2D design. You can use it not only for schematic design but for any drawings you need.
  • Free license for 3 years. After 3 years you can renew your license or get a new one for the new version of AutoCAD.
  • No any limits in compare with the commercial version

Disadvantages:

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

2. Dassault Systemes DraftSight

The link: https://www.3ds.com/products-services/draftsight-cad-software/

Free FOR STUDENTS, HOBBYISTS AND OTHER INDIVIDUALS

DraftSight 2016

DraftSight 2018 screenshot

Benefits:

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

Disadvantages:

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

Updates

Jan 30, 2019. Bad news: the last version of DraftSight 2019 for Windows is offered in paid versions only. The latest FREE version is DraftSight 2018. All free versions of DraftSight (2018 or earlier) will cease to run after 12/31/2019 Read more…
But free versions still available for MAC OS and Linux OS.

3. LibreCAD

The link: https://librecad.org/

LibreCAD is a free Open Source CAD application for Windows, Apple and Linux. Support and documentation is free from our large, dedicated community of users, contributors and developers.

LibreCAD

LibreCAD screenshot

Benefits:

  • LibreCAD was developed as a fork of QCad Community Edition but has more efficient core and better quality of UI
  • Most of the interface and handle concepts are analogous to AutoCAD
  • Read and write support for DWG/DXF files
  • Versions for Windows, MAC add Linux.
  • More features…

Disadvantages:

  • You need to create a personal symbol library or try to find a free download of it somewhere on the internet.
  • Some specific drafting manipulations still required, different from AutoCAD.

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FREE specialized Fluid Power design software for PC

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

But specialized products are more interesting for us. Let see what we have for today.

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 the 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 on 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 happens, the Schematic Editor will be the best fluid power design utility!

Updates
Oct 10, 2016. The new version of the Bosch Rexroth Scheme Editor 6.2. has been released. And now it contains the Hydraulic library! Read more…
Jan 27, 2017. The new version of the Bosch Rexroth Scheme Editor 6.3. has been released. The major change is an extended Rexroth Hydraulic Library. Read more…

2. SMCDraw

The link: https://www.smcworld.com/select/pcds/en-jp/index.html

A pneumatic circuit diagram can be easily created by using the database for pneumatic equipment drawing symbols.

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 it.

Disadvantages:

  • This software to design pneumatic schematics only.
  • Limited by SMC assortment symbols library. You need to create a 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 components/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 the 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 the Automation Studio engine. Symbols and connections work perfectly.
  • Very intuitive and comfortable design work.
  • In addition to the schematic, you get the full package for manifold design.

Disadvantages:

  • First of all, this software is the 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 the Automation Studio software.
  • The HydraForce template title you can use only.

Theoretically, using this software you can try to design a 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 to use HydraForce hydraulic components mostly.

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FREE specialized online Fluid Power design software

What is really good with online design:

  • no any software needs to be installed
  • doesn’t matter what operating 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.

2. Danfoss EasyManifold

Added Sep. 25, 2019

The link: https://comatrol.com/easymanifold3d/

EasyManifold’s intuitive user interface allows you to create your hydraulic schematic circuit by dragging and dropping from Danfoss ICS’s complete digital library and the software will generate the full 3D!

Danfoss EasyManifold

Danfoss EasyManifold

Starting November 16th, 2018, Comatrol is a commercial brand name belonging to Danfoss and Comatrol’s “Easyvalve” is not available anymore. Instead, you can use the Danfoss EasyManifold online tool. The tool is free for use, but you need to contact a local Danfoss distributor to make an account and get access. I do not have access yet and can not comment a lot. But after watching the video how to use it at their website, it seems to me the online tool engine is 1:1 what the SUN Hydraulics has. Therefore, I suspect the same Benefits and Disadvantages will be applied for Danfoss product. As soon I get access to the tool I will make a full review of it.

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.

Updates

Aug 31, 2019. Since Comotrol is part of Danfoss, Comatrol Easyvalve is not available anymore, so info about this software was removed.
Sep 25, 2019. URLs were updated in this post.
Dec 29, 2019. Info about QCAD was replaced with LibreCAD.

9 Comments

  1. Jenaro Garcia

    I congratulate you, this information is very helpful and saves you time, you have just enough to choose a software. Thank you

    Reply
    1. Dzyanis (Post author)

      You are welcome!

      Reply
  2. Softgudam

    thank you very much admin for your important news to share with us. And more thanks for i get best idea read this article about this topics. many more days i was searched this topics, finally i got it.

    Reply
    1. Dzyanis (Post author)

      No problem! Thanks!

      Reply
  3. Steve Thompson

    Great Resource. Thanks for taking the time to compile and update this list. I am an adjunct instructor at a community college & I’m always looking for low cost software to help introduce students to engineering. I’ve used SMCDraw in several classes and it’s a fairly easy to tool to use, although it’s limited by a quirky interface. The latest version is much improved and easier for students to draw complicated pneumatic circuits.

    Reply
  4. Haral Serafini

    Hello! Congrats, great post! I believe that Bosch Rexroth Scheme Editor already includes the hydraulic library. I just started working with it and there is “hydraulics” menu just besides the “pneumatic” one.

    Reply
    1. Dzyanis (Post author)

      Correct. As I already mentioned in updates on Jan 27, 2017 the Scheme Editor ver. 6.3. has an extended Hydraulic Library.

      Reply
  5. Adam Russell

    Thanks for all of the info!!! We have always been a Eaton/Vickers end user. Does Eaton have their own schematic software?

    Reply
    1. Dzyanis (Post author)

      Yes, they do. Eaton calls it “Circuit Design Software Studio” but again it based on Automation Studio software from Famic Tech. Right now, the symbol library is limited by Eaton products. But because Danfoss, Eaton, and Comatrol is technically the one brand now, I expect some merging of their products and increasing symbol library, but in reality, it can take for a while… Another issue, you can not easily download Circuit Design Software Studio – you have to make a request at Eaton website or call to local distributor to get the software. I filled forms on the Eaton website to get a demo and make a review but didn’t get any feedback from Eaton.

      Reply

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