Best (free) software to model construction project?

Hi, everyone! I’m brand new to the Makerspace, and I’m excited to be here. For context, I joined in the hopes of gaining skills to work on a tiny house. That being said, I’m in the planning stages, and while I will go through a builder for the trailer/shell manufacturing, I want to visualize my ideas prior not only to communicate this to the builder but to also properly plan material costs, tools, etc. once I take ownership to finish her up. (I also want to make sure all space is used as efficiently as possible.) My background is digital marketing, so while I have not had direct training in any kind of CAD-type tool, I think I can pick it up decently enough to mock something up. That being said, does anyone know of 3D construction-planning software I can get get free (or at least a free trial) to start mocking up my dream tiny home?


One of the easier tools that actually works pretty well is SecondLife / OS Grid.

I have a model of the hotel FenCon used to use built in it.

It is not super sophisticated, and you won’t get drawings out of it. But for visualization, it works very well.


I used Google Sketchup to model the redesign on my cabin. Worked well for me. I recommend making components and reusing them extensively to tinkertoy it together.

  • Make a 2x4 wall stud component.
  • Place several together and make a wall component.
  • Make variants of those which work with your trailer size.
  • Make door and window components.
  • Make 24” cabinet components.
  • Lather rinse repeat.

Sketchup has a component library where you can find things like commodes, sinks, couches, etc. Leverage that as well.

Using the color tool to drop in textures can aid in visualization.

Work in 2D as long as you can - it’s faster when making changes.


Thank you so much for your help, @HankCowdog!

Awesome – thank you, @tmc4242!