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View Full Version : Who's using Alibre Design ?



rwf71
02-02-2008, 11:47 PM
Hello all, I did a search but couldn't find the thread. A little over a week ago someone was asking about cad programs for us HSM types ( I think it was on this forum ?). Any way It was mentoined that Alibre had a free version that was decent & a link was given. I have no cad experience but would like to make better drawings than the "napkin sketches" I'm used to working from.
So I go to the Alibre site an check it out. They will give you their Pro version for a 30 day free trial then it reverts back to Alibre Design Express ( the free revsion) after the free trial. Well I go through the process of downloading the programe. It took over 8 hrs. on my slow dial-up connection.:eek: Then I wade my way through the process of installing it on my computer. I should add I'm far from a computer expert & Thanks to the incomplete & imcomprensible excuses for instructions that seem to come with most computers & software I usually end up pissed & wanting to choke the geeks that design this crap.:mad:
I had the normal hectic work week & didn't look at it much till today. Well I'm pissed as usual. I can't even draw a line with the damn thing. I've been through the tutorial many times, followed the instructions step by step, & stuff they say will happen don't & stuff they don't even mention does, WTF!!!
Like I said I'm not a computer expert but I am not stupid either. I can read & understand english just fine if it's written by someone who can do the same.:cool: Is it just me or does anyone else have the same kind of experiences?
I have felt for years that the idiots who design & write the directions for this s**t should hire me to read the directions & try out the prouduct before they turn it loose on the public so I could slap'em up side the head & say This don't make any sense a**hole let's try makin some sense.
OK , sorry for the vent but damn,I'm I the only one who feels this way?
Rick

Rookie machinist
02-03-2008, 12:16 AM
I bought the upgraded version of alibre shortly after downloading the free trial version. For me it was the best program I could afford the user interface is easy to use compared to other programs I have tried and seems to be user friendly. CAD take some time to learn and understand every CAD program has it's quirks, I know there are others here that use alibre and like it.

rwf71
02-03-2008, 12:34 AM
Hello Rookie, thanks for the reply. When I watch the quick start vids the workspace is blue and has a grid of sorts that shows the planes. But when I open a new workspace it's just a tan screen. Then the tutorial says to enter 2D sketch mode then select the line tool & click near but not on the (escapes me right now, I think they say apex or something like that. I presume they mean where the lines cross but I don't see any lines in my workspace). Any how with the line tool selected your suposed to click once to start a line, more the mouse horz. & click again to end the line. Well the curser looks like it's suposed to when the line tool is selected but when I click & release it doesn't start a line & nothing appears when I move the mouse horz. & click again to end the line. Nothing appears in the workspace except cursor icon indicating it's in the line tool mode. Could you please tell me, When YOU open a new workspace does your screen have the grid lines or is it just blank tan like I'm seeing?
Thanks , Rick

BobWarfield
02-03-2008, 02:08 AM
I have both Alibre and Rhino3D. I prefer Rhino quite a lot. Alibre has a lot of promise, but I find I'm just a lot more productive with Rhino.

YMMV.

Best,

BW

Allan Waterfall
02-03-2008, 05:05 AM
I recently downloaded the 2D version of Solid Edge,it's free and has no time limitations as far as I can see.

I only want to do 2D drawings so it's fine for me,there are no instructions as such but I found it fairly intuitive to use and many times easier than Turbocad that I once tried to get into a while ago.Solid Edge just seems easy to use to me after I tried the Alibre package a while ago.

I'd uninstalled the Alibre some time back and when I went to the Alibre site to download it again,every new password they sent wouldn't work for me and I never did get to download it again.They did me a favour really because I found the Solid Edge freeware that works just fine.

Allan

Evan
02-03-2008, 07:08 AM
I recently undertook learning how to use half a dozen different CAD programs so I could compare and settle on just one for most of my work. I ditched Alibre when it self destructed on it's own update.

Cad programs share a common theme. They are hard to learn if you have no experience with vector drawing software. The common paint programs operate much the same as a pencil and paper. That's pretty easy to figure out but like a pencil and paper once you make a mark that's all you have, a mark.

CAD is a different story. Instead of storing an image full of marks it stores a written list of instructions on how to make the marks. A simple line is stored as a series of characteristics which include the starting point, end point, pen width and color, number of units length and some other information that will vary depending on the program. A circle need to be described by it's center and radius and so on.

Because of this the average CAD program is highly menu driven. As well there will be a window that issues prompts for the next bit of information needed when creating any shape including just a line. Basic shapes are called primitives and each must be specified according to it's characteristics. Because of this CAD software also makes heavy use of the keyboard. While you can draw the shape by using the mouse exact information about the shape is often required to be input via the keyboard, especially dimensional information.

It is important to pay attention to the cues given by the prompt system. It tells you what the expected next step will be. Most programs give a very terse prompt that can be singularly uninformative as to what you should do next. This is where you learn to use the help files. Some software will have settings for how verbose the prompts will be.

There is no particular standard how this is all implemented although the general user interface of AutoCad is somewhat of a De facto standard as it had an early command of the market.

I think the choice of CAD program for the novice CAD user should be based on which program has the best included help system and the clearest and most informative prompt system. I won't make any recommendation since my choices are heavily biased by my past programming experience.

Perhaps the other respondents might give some thought to those considerations and advise accordingly.

John Stevenson
02-03-2008, 07:44 AM
Good post Evan and I admire your choice of not pushing a program forward as many do. It's a simple fact that everybody has different ways to look at a program and I'm sure that choosing a CAD program is like religion, you will never move some people and it's best not to :D

One small point in your post in that you call all basic shapes as primitives, whilst that may be so most programs / help files etc refer to them as Entities, might just clear a few points up when learning.

There are many free or very cheap programs out there that will do 95% of what the dearer ones can and still be well in front of what most people want.
The learning curve is steep for any program, some more so than others and you do have to put time in to do this.
If you expect to D/L a program and start drawing from day 1 forget it.

Ideally you need to look round, select at least three programs, D/L them or the demo's and do the tutorials to see which one relates best to your way of working.
Then spend a little time each week using it.
Doing this will pay off as speed builds up. CAD is immensely accurate, allows quick changes to entities [see that word again ] and allows far more features than is available on paper.

Things like layers where different parts of a drawing can be shown or hidden at will. Imagine you have say a vise with 6 parts, base, moving jaw , screw, fixed jaw etc and you manually draw each part on a sheet of tracing paper.
Now lay the sheets over each other and you get a complete vise.
This is how layers work but if when they are all switched on you spot that a part doesn't fit it's easy to alter just that part without a full redraw.

The move nowadays is to start straight off in a modeling program, also known as 3D, Alibre has been mentioned. Most of these are costly and the learning curve is a lot steeper. Others are Autocad Inventor, Solid edge, Solid works but these are all about 5K to license.

On the 2D side in no order there are Allycad, Deltacad, Turbocad, Solid Edge 2D, A9Cad and others. Most of these are free or low cost.

The first move is to look at their websites to see if a any appeal, then give them a try.

.

Evan
02-03-2008, 08:12 AM
One small point in your post in that you call all basic shapes as primitives, whilst that may be so most programs / help files etc refer to them as Entities, might just clear a few points up when learning.

That's the programming experience talking. Entities it is (they are).

nheng
02-03-2008, 09:44 AM
Like many of you, I've been on a quest for the best cad program but I need to be able to afford it for home use. I've used Autocad from about day 1 and several years ago, moved to Solid Edge. Although I have a home key for it, I want something I can call my own ... forever ;) ;)

Running Solid Edge for the first time, my first thought was ... where the heck is everything? I knew what I wanted to do but hadn't a clue as to how the functions were accessed. After running thru their tutorial, things started to fall into place rapidly and I had dropped several 2D fab drawings out after a few days, including .dwg Autocad versions for one shop that needed them.

One of my associates who uses Solid Edge all day runs Alibre now at home and likes it. I believe that Rhino is more for "artistic" solid creations but I welcome corrections to this notion.

Whatever program you chose, it is probably a good idea to run thru whatever tutorials or examples are provided. You may find methods of doing things that were "preferred" when the program was developed. It may be possible to do what you want in 10 other ways but that preferred way might be the most efficient.

Alibre evaluation is high on my to-do list. Den

BigBoy1
02-03-2008, 09:45 AM
So I go to the Alibre site an check it out. They will give you their Pro version for a 30 day free trial then it reverts back to Alibre Design Express ( the free revsion) after the free trial. Well I go through the process of downloading the programe. It took over 8 hrs. on my slow dial-up connection.:eek: Then I wade my way through the process of installing it on my computer. I should add I'm far from a computer expert & Thanks to the incomplete & imcomprensible excuses for instructions that seem to come with most computers & software I usually end up pissed & wanting to choke the geeks that design this crap.:mad:
I can't even draw a line with the damn thing. I've been through the tutorial many times, followed the instructions step by step, & stuff they say will happen don't & stuff they don't even mention does, WTF!!!
Like I said I'm not a computer expert but I am not stupid either. I can read & understand english just fine if it's written by someone who can do the same.:cool: Is it just me or does anyone else have the same kind of experiences?
I have felt for years that the idiots who design & write the directions for this s**t should hire me to read the directions & try out the prouduct before they turn it loose on the public so I could slap'em up side the head & say This don't make any sense a**hole let's try makin some sense.
OK , sorry for the vent but damn,I'm I the only one who feels this way?
Rick

Rick,
I too tried the Alibre software and had the same experience: hours to down load, impossible to install (I had to get a CD from the company as the downloaded version would never work), the tutorial written for the complete version with features that are not on the simplified version so making the tutorial worthless, the instructions are written as though you completely understand the workings of the program, etc.

As with most software, the writers of the instructions are the people who know how to use the program and skip many IMPORTANT first steps that must be known but since they know them, they ASSUME everyone knows them too.

One would think that if companies are trying to entice you to buy their expensive software, they would make the "teaser version" of their software the best it could be - Easy to understand and use. I have yet to find a CAD package that does that. I have tried three and the results are the same - Difficult or impossible to use.

I'm still waiting for a CAD package that the typical "road kill on the information super highway" can use.

Bill

rwf71
02-03-2008, 10:05 AM
First off, I'm sorry for the bitchie opening post. After spending 5-6 hrs. with Alibre yesterday & not even being able to get a line in the workspace I was annoyed to say the least. Thank you to all who have taken the time & interest to reply, esp Evan & John. I read the posts on this board daily & value the advice & education it offers, (computers in general are very good at making me mad & this board & the people here are one of the few things that keep me from taking a BFH to the things & giving up alltogether on them). I know I'm not a computer or a cad guy & didn't expect to be designing rockets on the first session. I watched the videos (many times) & attempted to follow the tutorial to the letter but things just didn't work as the tutorial said it would. You had the choice to enter the proper info in the various parameters or click a link that would open the workspace with everything set properly for the follow along tutorial. I tried both ways (many times) with no luck. As Evan said on the bottom of the work space there were instructions as what to do next & what to expect but the thing just didn't do what it said it should be doing? Seeing how I can't get it to work & have never seen it used by anyone else (except the vids in the program) I can't be sure but I don't think the opening workspace looks as it should even before I attempt to do anything. As I said before it took 8hrs. just to download it on a dail-up connection. It said it was complete & seemed to install as they said it should but it has me wondering if maybe I didn't get it all or installed it incorrectly? I guess I'll give it another try but when I can't even manage to get past step one of the tutorial (drawing a line) it makes it damn hard to practice & learn the program.:confused: If I can't get a light bulb to go off soon I'll probally chuck the damn thing & try one of the (hopefully simpler) 2D programs mentioned (Thanks guys). But if not anything else I'm persistent & hate to give up & admit defeat.:cool: I just can't help but think there is a problem with the program as I have it installed. Thanks to everyone & PLEASE accept my apolgy for the tone of the opening post.
Rick

rwf71
02-03-2008, 10:14 AM
Thank You Bill !! I really needed someone to admit they had the same experience I'm having. I'm in 100% agreement with your post & you said it in a much more politically correct method than my opening post. Wish I could express myself that well but I don't seem to have that skill either ( esp when annoyed):eek:

Rick

Rustybolt
02-03-2008, 12:25 PM
Try google sketchup. It's free and not too hard to learn.

loose nut
02-03-2008, 12:26 PM
Rfw71, Don't give up on it to soon, cad takes practice to master. Ive been using it for about 15 years now and I'm still in the learning mode, my first program was a 2D dos program and I had similar problems to you, it just takes time to get a handle on it. As for the LOOK that is different from the tutorial , that can be changed, there will be some sort of options command that allows you to customize the way it looks (colors can be changed grid lines can be turned on or off etc.) and up to a point the programs functionality can be changed. There will be some sort of "constraint" function, it may be called something else, that allows you to set your lines horizontal, vertical, parallel etc. and the placing of "primitives" exactly where you want them. 3d modeling programs start out in a 2D drawing workspace, again this may be called something else, and then this 2D shape is extruded out into a 3D model. The big difference between low end programs like Alibre and higher end programs like Inventor and Solidworks is the extras. The better programs have built in design and drawing functions, you don't have to draw miter gears for your assembly, you just open the design center, double click the gear command, input the information like DP, # of teeth etc. press enter and it draws a 3D gear model for you. Engineer's can use the built in engineering functions and stress analysis. 3D cad modeling is a good thing to learn, it is the future of cad. Google sketchup works but has limitations on the free versions. Does that sound like a commercial?

rollin45
02-03-2008, 02:05 PM
I had a geometry teacher years ago, who said fairly often" this is not a spectator sport". I would say the same is true of learning a CAD program, the only way to become familiar and proficient at this type of software is by hands on.

It can be frustrating getting started as one doesn't even know quite where to start, doubly so I would think if the program isn't installed correctly or is missing something.

I didn't have any trouble with the downloadable version of Alibre, and I liked it well enough to buy a version.

However, as has been mentioned, "different strokes...."

I guess I'm just reiterating the above advice, find something that looks like what you want, and then do lots of hands on with the software.

rollin'

PaulT
02-03-2008, 02:50 PM
RFW, I know what you mean about the long learning curve on Alibre. I've used a lot of different cad packages and wanted to give Alibre a try just to see what it was like, but the amount of setup time it took just to get to the point where I could just draw a simple line based object drove me nuts and I ejected out of the process and uninstalled it.

I think one of the easiest to use 2D packages is the Autosketch package from Autocad. Its generally considered to be much easier to learn and use than the Autocad LT package. It was originally called Drafix until Autocad bought it and renamed it Autosketch. Unfortunately Autocad apparently is letting it die on the vine, its still for sale but its been stuck at rev. 9 for several years now. Normally around $100., but you can find it cheaper on ebay or similar, if you aren't happy with other packages you might want to give it a try. Like any package it has a learning curve but is the easiest one to learn that I've used.

Good luck-

Paul T.

MikeHenry
02-03-2008, 03:02 PM
Rick,

Aside from a few minor problems, Alibre was easy for me to learn. For me, the learning process for something like this is almost always helped by a decent tutorial and/or manual followed by doing a fairly simple project of my own devising. The tutorial/manual helps me get the sense of the program and the project gets me focused on the details of what needs to be done to accomplish something. The project can be something simple, like a simple flywheel or pulley.

There's also a very good Alibre user forum with lots of helpful folks.

Mike

BobC
02-03-2008, 05:45 PM
I still use the free version of Alibre. Rather than saying I use, I should say I learn how or re-learn how to use it depending on how long it's been since the last usage. I do not recall any particular problem with installation and Alibre offers a number of free training exercises and videos.