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Free Software

Disclaimer: This list was put together by students. Unless specified elsewhere, none of the programs listed are associated with ESW in any way, and ESW accepts no liability for their use. Additionally, ESW does not necessarily recommend the software listed over other existing software. This list is merely intended to empower students who would not otherwise have access to professional-level software.

3D Modeling Software                   


Autodesk Fusion 360 (download)

A complete 3D modeling package available to current students. In most ways, it is comparable to SolidWorks. A tutorial from a past ESW workshop can be found here.

Google Sketchup (online)

SketchUp is very different from most other modeling software because you edit lines instead of faces. It can still be very useful for certain applications (especially architecture).

OnShape (online)

A free online modeling program with most of the basic functionality of full paid services.

2D Graphic Editors                          

Inkscape (download)

A vector-based image-editing software. Vectors are images that are saved as relative coordinates, rather than pixels. Both types of images have advantages and disadvantages, depending on what you're using them for. For example, vector images are used in laser cutting, while raster images are used in laser engraving

Paint.NET (download)

A raster-based image editing software (rasters are images comprised of pixels). Paint.NET is a very robust program, and it can easily be used to create graphics and edit photos.

Audio & Video Editors                     

Audacity (download)

A basic audio recording and editing software. It also has a menu for frequency analysis, which can be very useful if you're engineering something with audible vibrations (and on a budget). 

OBS (download)

A basic screen-capturing software, which can be used to record discussions and tutorials. 

VSDC (download)

A basic video-editing software, which can be used to compiled video and audio from other sources.

Project Management                       

When2Meet (online)

A very simple (but effective) tool for finding the best time for everyone to meet.

Trello (online)

A project management system for assigning tasks, setting goals, and tracking progress.

Google Drive (online) 

A cloud-based system used to store and transfer files. ESW-RIT has two main directories on the Drive: ESW-Public and ESW-Private. All project teams are given a shared folder on ESW-Public, and ESW-Private is used by e-board to plan and organize basically every aspect of the club. 

Google Hangouts (online) 

A platform for holding video calls.

Google Forms (online) 

A system for creating and distributing surveys and sign-ups. 

Mentimeter (online)

A platform for creating word diagrams for interactive presentations and activities.

Calculators & Graphing Utilities    


An extensive database of most things mathematical and some things not. It is best known for its Calculus-related capabilities, but it can also be a good resource for everything from material science to chemistry. 

Desmos (online)

A user-friendly online graphing application.

Physics Simulators                          

PartSim SPICE (online)

An extremely detailed simulation for electrical systems. 

Ray Optics (online)

A fairly simple optics simulation. 


Microsoft Office (download)

Excel, Word, Publisher, PowerPoint, and Access are all available for free to RIT students through ITS.

Canva (online)

Make stylish flyers with minimal effort.

Creddle (online)

A quick and easy way to compose a professional-looking résumé.

Google Patent Search (online)

A quick way to find out whether someone has thought of your idea before, or whether there are any legal problems if you want to sell a new product. 

Scientific Databases                        

MATWEB (online)

A large materials science database, which can be used to find the best material for your application (or vice-versa).

Engineering Toolbox (online)

A fairly large database of charts related to all aspects of engineering.

PubChem (online)

One of the largest public databases for chemistry on the internet. PubChem is especially noteworthy for its sections on patents, vendors, and material safety. 

NREL Solar (online)

Solar irradiance data across the continental United States from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. 

iNaturalist (online)

One of the largest citizen-science-led databases for biology on the internet. iNaturalist has photographic records of over 150,000 species worldwide, and that number is expanding daily. 

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