BRL-CADby lmemsm updated February 17, 2015
BRL-CAD is a constructive solid geometry (CSG) solid modeling computer-aided design (CAD) system

Software Details

BRL-CAD is a powerful cross-platform open source solid modeling system that includes interactive geometry editing, high-performance ray-tracing for rendering and geometric analysis, image and signal-processing tools, a system performance analysis benchmark suite, libraries for robust geometric representation, with more than 20 years of active development.

BRL-CAD supports a great variety of geometric representations including an extensive set of traditional CSG primitive implicit solids such as boxes, ellipsoids, cones, and tori, as well as explicit solids made from closed collections of Uniform B-Spline Surfaces, Non-Uniform Rational B-Spline (NURBS) surfaces, n-Manifold Geometry (NMG), and purely faceted mesh geometry. All geometric objects may be combined using boolean set-theoretic CSG operations including union, intersection, and difference.

For more than 20 years, BRL-CAD has been the primary tri-service solid modeling CAD system used by the U.S. military to model weapons systems for vulnerability and lethality analyses. The solid modeling system is frequently used in a wide range of military, academic, and industrial applications including in the design and analysis of vehicles, mechanical parts, and architecture. The package has also been used in radiation dose planning, medical visualization, computer graphics education, CSG concepts and modeling education, and system performance benchmark testing among other purposes.

BRL-CAD is a collection of more than 400 tools, utilities, and applications comprising more than a million lines of source code. The package is intentionally designed to be extensively cross-platform and is actively developed on and maintained for many common operating system environments including for BSD, Linux, Solaris, Mac OS X, and Windows among others. BRL-CAD is distributed in binary and source code form as free open source software (FOSS), provided under Open Source Initiative (OSI) approved license terms.


Operating systems: BSD, IRIX, Linux, Mac OSX, Solaris, Windows, others
Dependencies: TCL/TK (for now)


BRL-CAD Review
Average: 1 (1 vote)

I thought an open-source CAD program would be useful for a high-school Engineering course I am doing. One of the things I'd want a student to do is to be able to make simple designs. The pedigree of this program and its association with the US Army Research Laboratory spoke in its favor. I was unable to judge the program, though, since the installation appeared not to go to completion. The disk image (.dmg) appeared as a result of the download. It appeared to lead to a normal installation. The program, though, was nowhere to be found in the computer. After a couple of times being baffled here, I figured this was some kind of bug that needs to be addressed. Hence, just one star. I hope to see this fixed and to get a chance to revise this review.