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mike4
02-03-2014, 02:03 AM
After the mass of defense of methods used by Microsoft , I will ask the knowledge base , what NEW Desk top (no Dells or Apples) , would be the best to use in a business that does not want to spend weeks or months setting up hardware and software to allow them to work as normal , Emails , some word processing for billing , quotes etc .
And the ability to run CAD , go onto the net and download manuals / parts lists , supplier catalogues .
Must have DVD burning capability for backup .

Michael

macona
02-03-2014, 03:12 AM
You just shot yourself in the foot when you typed cad. There are a few open source cad packages but no one in the industry uses them. Everything for cad us under windows for the most part.

Why not dell? Decent machines for the price.

Otherwise just go down to a local pc shop and get an i7 based machine, it will run for years.

RichR
02-03-2014, 03:24 AM
Hi Michael
Since I only run "vintage" hardware I won't make specific hardware recommendations, but I will offer a few comments.
Probably the biggest problems you'll encounter are video and wireless network drivers. Quite often the manufacturers will not offer
Linux drivers for their devices or even the information required to write a driver so individuals wind up having to reverse engineer
them. Some of the Linux drivers offered by manufacturers are closed sourced so you have to wait until they decide if a bug is worth
fixing. I mention this because you are talking about new hardware and sometimes it takes some time for the drivers to catch up.
I would recommend you select a couple of Linux distros and download their live CD ISOs and burn some disks. Take them to where
you want to by your machine and request that they boot the disks on the hardware that interests you. While I don't think it will meet
your needs, I'm running Tinycore Linux. It runs just fine for me on a 686 Pentium, 800Mhz, 512Mbytes of RAM.

mike4
02-03-2014, 03:54 AM
I have decided to dump as much Microsoft products as is possible , as many may have noticed I dont like the "you must agree to our terms or you cant run this software"
If I buy a tool for an application there is no way that I am willing to allow the maker to dictate how or where I use that tool , same applies to software.
Eyeyrone can go on as long as they like about IP and all of the associated legal stuff.
I am tired of having someone in another country control how I use software that I have purchased a licence to use as until recently there was no other way to get anything which worked, and if I buy something that I can tailor to my needs then no licence no constant upgrade and I may even be able to remove the GUI which take up a lot of memory just to look nice.

Text with a list of files is far quicker to search through and much of the daily stuff can be set up so that access only requires one word to access email , internet , and whatever the actual processes can be hidden , exactly like the GUI but with no GUI.
I have fitted a lot of folders on a screen and could access what ever I wanted by use of the mouse or arrow keys , made sure that the ability to switch between the two was easy , didnt require a lot of digging into obscure files buried in nearly inaccessable folders like the current systems do .

That was a few years ago , now it looks like I will have to pass on some work to setup a pc which will do what I want with no input from a monopolistic corporation which doesnt want to help customers , just take their money and run.

I wont really care if I allow others to use my ideas either as I dont believe in that way of getting money .
But that is another entire post on a different subject .

Michael
Michael

Jaakko Fagerlund
02-03-2014, 03:58 AM
Yup, CAD is an issue as most commercial applications run only under Windows (go figure).

But other than that, your needs would be fulfilled with Ubuntu. You can download that, burn it to a bootable CD or make a bootable USB stick so you can try it. It is of course slower than when installed, but lets you try out things. The Ubuntu comes with LibreOffice, Thunderbird, Firefox etc, so it is ready as soon as you install it. Just config your email settings and that's about it.

mike4
02-03-2014, 04:08 AM
What would be so wrong with the machining and engineering communities banding together and specifying that programs be made run on different platforms , that would be good .

But I do suppose that to get agreement within those two groups let alone expect them to collaborate would be akin to herding cats.

Michael

Ian B
02-03-2014, 04:37 AM
+1 on installing Ubuntu - version 12.04 has long term support and is stable. If you don't want the GUI, then load the server version. www.ubuntu.com (http://www.ubuntu.com)

Ian

mike4
02-03-2014, 04:48 AM
I had several bad experiences with Dells and the company in the previous few years , and why buy a product that basically tells the purchaser that you can only use their proprietary cards etc.

I will try Ian B 's suggestion on a new pc as soon as it arrives and if I can get reasonably free of the other stuff then great , I am due to purchase a new CAD program , might stick it to them as part of the specs , that it has to be able to run on something other than Microsofts products .

Michael

lost_cause
02-03-2014, 07:05 AM
when running linux you have three issues to overcome: operating system installation, software installation, and ease of use.

for operating system installation, i would say that you will probably be okay on a brand new pc, but probably even safer to install on a machine that is just a little older. newer linux distributions do a pretty good job of identifying the hardware in your system and installing a driver for it, but with hardware you aren't guaranteed to have drivers until the card / chipset is out in the world. in general this is a non-issue because the os will most likely recognize the underlying chipsets on a card, but hardware that is older than the operating system version will be virtually guaranteed to be supported. if you are familiar with pc hardware you can check your internal components to make sure they are supported. the various linux distributions will have a list of all the supported hardware - generally based on the underlying chipset and not specifically the vendor that branded and marketed the piece. as was noted earlier, wireless network cards often require a little bit of a nudge to work, but you should have no trouble finding clear directions on how to install and configure the drivers. my only rule when installing any brand of operating system: make sure you have another working internet connected computer so you can search online to troubleshoot.

software installation is generally pretty easy. i only have recent experience with ubuntu, but i'm sure that the other distributions are similar in that they have a tool that allows you to select from a library of software to install. many common software packages will install automatically. browsers such as firefox and chrome are available, and will function virtually the same as they do under windows. there are a myriad of mail clients - i've never used it, but thunderbird is the mail compliment to firefox, and it is available. filezilla ftp client and 7zip are utilities that i already used under windows, so they were natural choices under linux too. adobe pdf reader is there, and there are many other useful utilities you can install for free. open office and now libre office are linux freeware packages that are word/excel compatible.

since you mentioned cad, i assume that you have a specific application that you require? if not, there are a bunch of freeware linux versions that will allow you do open, edit, print, and save in standard cad formats: dxf, dwg, etc. if you do need a specific program you may or may not be able to use it. often you can use an emulator that basically imitates windows to allow you to run a session of your windows based software. sometimes it will work, sometimes it won't. some software will work, but requires you to have a machine that can boot to windows or linux, thus allowing you to install the software under windows and later be able to run it through the emulator within linux. if you need a specific windows application, i would take an older pc and try to figure out if you can get your application to run on linux before taking too much of a plunge. there are numerous places to look for support on things like this, the only downside is that often the answer is out there, but you (and i) aren't capable of understanding the answer.

ease of use may vary, but you should not have any issue. the default interface for ubuntu 10.04 (2010 release) was very intuitive for a windows xp/vista/7 user. ubuntu 12.04 (2012) i do not find as appetizing, though i still use it. part of that is laziness. these operating systems are free and thus can be configured many ways. there are other interfaces you can use that may be more or less exciting to work with, depending on what you want.

jlevie
02-03-2014, 08:12 AM
A bit off the mark with respect to the original question, but you might consider a Mac. The OS is remarkably robust and there are some good cad packages for it. A Mac mini is pretty affordable.

I have worked with Unix & Linux operating systems since the mid 80's (and DEC minicomputers before that), so I have more than a passing knowledge of them. I still work with Linux now (RedHat & CentOS) and have a couple of CentOS boxes at home, but I use a Mac laptop as a personal machine. I'm going to add a Mac Mini to the home network pretty soon for video editing and CAD (with CadOpia).

MrFluffy
02-03-2014, 08:20 AM
We run lenovo's, they come preloaded with windows from a supplier, but find because of the ex ibm history things usually work fine under the alternative. Lot of the smaller companies produce assembled from parts pc's which are pretty compatible as they use standard components from the suppliers. My main desktop is a q180 lenovo silent pc running gentoo and my only gripe is "silent" means different things to different people. Its whisper quiet, but its not as silent as the pasively cooled Targa mini pc it replaced which had no fans whatsoever in it.

Looking around at the rack, theres only one machine with windows on it, and thats running inside a virtual machine under a linux host os that just gets kept around for legacy testing.

skunkworks
02-03-2014, 08:23 AM
for cad - might look at freecad..

http://www.freecadweb.org/

I have it installed but have only lightly played with it. (I was corrupted by autocad in the 90 and it is hard for me to wrap my head around parametric modeling...)

sam

JohnAlex141r
02-03-2014, 10:48 AM
Just a data point:

1) Use Ubuntu on 4 computers for workshop.

2) QCad (2d cad) is absolutely fine.

3) CamBam works just fine on Linux.

4) Am thinking of running virtual box with a windows XP partition for some of the 3D CAD packages, but have not bothered yet.

For me, points 1-3 currently do 100% of my CNC stuff; Linux for desktops, LinuxCNC machines for running CNC machines.

Seems to work. :-)

John.

Euph0ny
02-03-2014, 11:12 AM
I recently broke one of the main rules of computing - never power down a running system. Of course, powering it up again let the magic smoke out (on my main desktop, no less).

I got one of these to replace it - an ASUS VivoPC (http://www.asus.com/ie/ASUS_VivoPC/) VM40B-S003M. It's basically an appliance that looks something like a kitchen scale - small, cheap and quiet. I upgraded the RAM memory to whatever was the maximum that would fit (8 or 16 Gb - I don't recall), and I will be putting Linux Mint on it (Mint is Ubuntu with the stupid removed).

I have no particular need to do CAD on it, but I am certain it will do just fine for surfing the internet, e-mail, office-type applications, photo retouching and so on. It has an internal 500Gb HDD, but I also store everything to two independent NAS boxes with RAID which are on my home network.

This will be my first experiment with appliance-type computing (up to now I have always built my own desktops from quality components, and never had any trouble, beyond end-of-lifetime component failures). I am fairly confident that the technology is now powerful and stable enough to be used and treated as an appliance, instead of a major investment.

ETA: Dassault DraftSight CAD software worked fine on my new defunct Ubuntu box. I expect it will also run on Mint on the new appliance.

Jaakko Fagerlund
02-03-2014, 11:49 AM
for cad - might look at freecad..

http://www.freecadweb.org/

I have it installed but have only lightly played with it. (I was corrupted by autocad in the 90 and it is hard for me to wrap my head around parametric modeling...)

sam
+1 for that one. Haven't too played much with it yet, as the controls are not intuitive for me yet as I've accustomed to MasterCAM mainly. But, have somethings sketched and made in to solid models :)

loose nut
02-03-2014, 12:03 PM
Like it or not it's Microsoft world.

If you are running a business then you pretty much have to use MS Office, open source office products are not usually 100% compatible (even through they say they are) and pissing of a client because the word or excel document doesn't format properly on his computer is a bad thing. If it is just for personnel use they who cares.

If Cad is a biggy (3D parametric program like Inventor or Solidworks) then Windows is probably a necessity again, that's what most of the big guns use. If you are just doodling for your own home shop then maybe a linux 2D program is good enough.

As far as hardware goes, for a recent version of a high end 3D cad program, a late model Intel multicore chip with gobs of memory and most importantly, the video card. 3D cad programs use a lot of video horse power. It is a good idea to check the compatibility of the card with the program you are going to use because many cards don't have all the necessary functions that some cad programs need. Some programs need two cards bridged together to function properly. Some programs can get by with a good gaming card but other require a special cad video card ($$$$$$$). Video cards are usually the most expensive part of a computer. You need to research this. Again for a linux based 2D cad then just about any 'puter and video card will do.

Jaakko Fagerlund
02-03-2014, 12:19 PM
If you are running a business then you pretty much have to use MS Office
I don't see any issues in using open source formats or PDF to send stuff, the receiving end can always install the same free software to read it (just like 'everyone' has Adobe Reader).


If Cad is a biggy (3D parametric program like Inventor or Solidworks) then Windows is probably a necessity again, that's what most of the big guns use. If you are just doodling for your own home shop then maybe a linux 2D program is good enough.
Check that FreeCAD, it is parametric 3D program, just like Inventor and SolidWorks and it can do heck of a lot for a free software :) I'm just waiting for the CAM add-on for it, it is in the planning stage at the moment.

But have to agree 150 % on the video card issue, anything other than a small wireframe (like, think all parts of a mold in single file) eats up a lot of video card power and it shows really quick if the card is not up to par with it.

rythmnbls
02-03-2014, 01:14 PM
I'm a long time Linux user, my hardware preferences for a system if I were building one today would be a core I5 or I7 motherboard and a decent NVidia card for video. NVidia have good 2D and 3D Linux driver support. A few gigs of ram and you'll have a system that wont need upgrading for years.

If you want an Office suite, Libreoffice (http://www.libreoffice.org) would be my choice.

For 2D cad I use Librecad (http://librecad.org/cms/home.html) I think its a fork of QCAD.

For 3D work I use Blender (http://www.blender.org), while not designed specifically for 3D CAD there are extensions and tutorials out there that make more cad friendly. Rab3d (http://www.rab3d.com) is a good place to start. Blender does have an odd user interface that takes some getting used to but for me it was worth the effort.

Regards.

Steve.

macona
02-03-2014, 01:15 PM
Dells don't use proprietary cards. They use standard ram, CPUs, pci, and pcie cards. They do have their own motherboards. I have a couple dell laptops and a 1U server I run my laser cutter off of. They all run fine. One of my laptops runs win7/macos dual boot.

We use open office at work and for internal stuff it is fine. When someone sends you a file from real office is when you start having issues. I have had word files not open right, excell file macros not run, you name it. OpenOffice is close but not close enough.

danlb
02-03-2014, 03:42 PM
Like it or not it's Microsoft world.

If you are running a business then you pretty much have to use MS Office, open source office products are not usually 100% compatible (even through they say they are) and pissing of a client because the word or excel document doesn't format properly on his computer is a bad thing. If it is just for personnel use they who cares.

While that's a commonly held belief, it's not entirely on target. Microsoft has altered the file formats with every version since Open Office first came out. The idea, as shown in a European law suit, was to break compatibility with 3rd party software. Thus there were MS supplied Word 98 filters to allow Word 95 users to read the newer format, and again for the next version and so on.

Before PDF became the format of the day, I received lots of documents from vendors using the latest version of MS products. My company had chosen not to upgrade so I had to ask for a resend in a format that I could use. That's still common in today's business world. Before sending a document I always ask the recipient to provide the format that they can use.

Open office does a nice job of making word compatible files for the older versions. :) MS could not screw that up without screwing themselves up.

When looking for "cad" using the Ubunto software install tool, I found half a dozen cad packages including a commercial 3D version.

Dan

Glug
02-03-2014, 07:14 PM
4) Am thinking of running virtual box with a windows XP partition for some of the 3D CAD packages, but have not bothered yet.


Do it. It's easy, and it's free. The list of positives is long.

Get yourself a nice ISO of XP that installs without a bunch of questions and no activation hassles. None of my virtual machines have general network access for security and consistency reasons, but of course I can share directories with my host OS and other virtual machines.

loose nut
02-03-2014, 08:03 PM
I don't see any issues in using open source formats or PDF to send stuff, the receiving end can always install the same free software to read it (just like 'everyone' has Adobe Reader).


Check that FreeCAD, it is parametric 3D program, just like Inventor and SolidWorks and it can do heck of a lot for a free software :) I'm just waiting for the CAM add-on for it, it is in the planning stage at the moment.

But have to agree 150 % on the video card issue, anything other than a small wireframe (like, think all parts of a mold in single file) eats up a lot of video card power and it shows really quick if the card is not up to par with it.


Well, my experience has been different and any company with decent computer security won't let their employees install software at will, especially freeware. Coming out of the corporate world, I have seen MS Office as mandatory. Smaller companies, who knows but if they want to or have to deal with bigger corp's they will have to use MS Office. It's a cost of doing business.

Freecad and other freeware or cheaper cad programs may be 3D parametric modelers but that is a lot different than being equal to Inventor or Solidworks. Alibre or what ever it is called now can produce useable 3D models but doesn't have most of the functionality of the better programs, which can suck up major computer overhead.

The OP hasn't said what kind of program he would use, or what he is going to do with this computer (business or private) so it's all a meaningless point without knowing.

danlb
02-03-2014, 10:09 PM
Do it. It's easy, and it's free. The list of positives is long.

Get yourself a nice ISO of XP that installs without a bunch of questions and no activation hassles. None of my virtual machines have general network access for security and consistency reasons, but of course I can share directories with my host OS and other virtual machines.

The problem with doing a virtual machine is that you again have to buy a copy of an OS that is not supported and my not even be able to activate at some time in the future. If you do not buy it you are pirating it, and we all know that is a bad, bad, evil and nasty thing.

That said, I do have one copy of XP that has never been installed, so I could install it in a virtual machine if I wanted. I just don't want to. :)


Dan

mike4
02-03-2014, 10:35 PM
My computers are used for business and if some corporation wants to dictate what programs i install and use then they will have to find someone else to repair their gear simple.
I am over the suckup to large corporations and their puppets , I can do quite enough to survive in a lot of different fields and would be a lot less stressed to boot .

The people who work in quite a lot of these corporatins treat field personell as lazy drunks who need to be guided through even the simplest tasks .

Now back to my just ordered pc , I have asked for a fast powerful machine with a high capacity graphics card and as much memory as they can get on board (32gb ) .

But it must not have any software either bundled with it or loaded as I only want Linux OS to be running and I will add programs like office equivalents as time permits , I already have a copy of an accounting program.
Michael

Jon Heron
02-03-2014, 10:59 PM
Good on ya mike4!
I would recommend going with intel for the processor, they are very open source supportive, they just released the complete documentation including the internal registers of their new Haswell CPU's to the public. Get an i5 or i7 and you wont need to worry about a video card as its built right into the CPU and works perfect in linux without needing any drivers. I have a new i7 in my TV PVR/security camera box and it works fantastic. My new work laptop is a Lenovo X1 carbon with an i5 and fedora runs perfect on it right out of the box, I believe you can even get the Lenovo with linux preinstalled now.
I recommend libre office for your office needs, it works great and is compatible with all the ms crap. The developers of open office quit open office and started libre office when Oracle bought open office...
Most linux distros come with secure email preinstalled right out of the box, evolution and thunderbird seem to be the most popular, I use evolution cause it comes preinstalled with fedora, I used to use thunderbird when I used windows and I found it much nicer to use then outlook.
I cant help you with cad, I dont use it enough to know, I do have an older version that works perfect in wine however I dont believe there is any 3d modelling in it...
If you try ubuntu and dont like it dont give up! I did not like ubuntu at all but am very happy with fedora and the gnome desktop, the beauty of linux is you have actual choices, and lots of them! Keep us updated on what you end up doing!

if they want to or have to deal with bigger corp's they will have to use MS Office. It's a cost of doing business.
As someone who works for, and does business with large corporations all over the world, I can say with total confidence, that's complete bull****.
Cheers,
Jon

Jon Heron
02-03-2014, 11:02 PM
Now back to my just ordered pc , I have asked for a fast powerful machine with a high capacity graphics card and as much memory as they can get on board (32gb ) .
Do yourself a favor and specify an intel i7 with the built in graphics. If you want a video card then specify nvidia as ati is not open source friendly...
Cheers,
Jon

Jaakko Fagerlund
02-04-2014, 12:27 AM
Well, my experience has been different and any company with decent computer security won't let their employees install software at will, especially freeware.
Any company with decent security doesn't use Microsoft products, as they are closed source and thus can not be trusted. And not even talking about vendor locking yet, which is a real issue in corporate setting when something breaks. On the other hand, if the IT department knows anything what they are doing, they would supply the free programs for users. Or do they not allow installation of Adobe Reader at all?


Freecad and other freeware or cheaper cad programs may be 3D parametric modelers but that is a lot different than being equal to Inventor or Solidworks.
I said that because I've used both commercial products and from my use I can't tell a difference of what gizmo might be missing, but the FreeCAD works and produces exactly what is needed - solid models, drawings, renderings etc. May I suggest you try it out first?

dp
02-04-2014, 12:34 AM
Any company with decent security doesn't use Microsoft products, as they are closed source and thus can not be trusted.

No, and yes. Every company I've worked for and that includes the largest in Seattle, uses Microsoft products. And since it was my job to assure it, they have more than decent security. Personally I don't trust MS products and don't use any, but it is possible to mitigate the weaknesses through policy, hardening, rapid response, and exhaustive monitoring. Policy includes a lot of heavy handedness, AV tools, and process isolation. The effort far exceeds that needed to secure Unix systems but our most secure systems were the IBM AS400 systems.

mike4
02-04-2014, 12:42 AM
Thanks for the replies , and I only use Nvidia cards as most of the others usually die either just out of warranty or dont work period.
I have also spoken to a company who had their IT people setup the whole of business onto linux before they moved into a larger corp headquarters , that was 4 years ago and their IT havent had any problems with malicious software since.
They used to have two to three day outages with windows server based system due to many internal glitches .

I have to wait until the box arrives and I load the OS before I can comment further .

Michael

Jaakko Fagerlund
02-04-2014, 03:54 AM
No, and yes. Every company I've worked for and that includes the largest in Seattle, uses Microsoft products. And since it was my job to assure it, they have more than decent security. Personally I don't trust MS products and don't use any, but it is possible to mitigate the weaknesses through policy, hardening, rapid response, and exhaustive monitoring. Policy includes a lot of heavy handedness, AV tools, and process isolation. The effort far exceeds that needed to secure Unix systems but our most secure systems were the IBM AS400 systems.
Sure it can be made to work, but still you just can't trust the system in practically any way. It is like a boat with lots of leeaking holes: sure you can use it, just have enough buckets at hand.

RichR
02-04-2014, 11:04 AM
Hi Michael

... and as much memory as they can get on board (32gb ) .
You'll need to run a 64 kernel if you want to use all that RAM.

JohnAlex141r
02-04-2014, 11:36 AM
Do it. It's easy, and it's free. The list of positives is long.

Get yourself a nice ISO of XP that installs without a bunch of questions and no activation hassles. None of my virtual machines have general network access for security and consistency reasons, but of course I can share directories with my host OS and other virtual machines.

This is what I was thinking of doing; I have not used windows since 1996, but recently I needed to do it for running the Qualcomm SOC debugger, and it runs only on Windows. So, I now have a windows box. It would not run in VMWare on my OSX desktop @work.

@home if I do it, it's mainly for trying Cubify3D, and maybe some other programs, if I decide to purchase them (i.e., use them, not steal them!)

BTW - have recently received a handful of the AMD APUs, including a just-released A10-7850K, and they look interesting.

BTW2 - I *do* write lots of code that runs on the graphics co-processors, but that's work stuff, not workshop stuff!

John.

loose nut
02-04-2014, 12:30 PM
and as much memory as they can get on board (32gb ) .


32 Gigs might be a bit excessive 12 is more then enough, for most computers, unless you have something special in mind.

dp
02-04-2014, 12:41 PM
Sure it can be made to work, but still you just can't trust the system in practically any way. It is like a boat with lots of leeaking holes: sure you can use it, just have enough buckets at hand.

In the case of the Microsoft boat it leaks money.

Regarding memory size, not all i7 cpus are alike. Check the bitness of the memory bus. Some are limited to 24G, others can use 32G. The Xeon chips in my servers can run 192G and I've built several production Oracle systems that were maxed out and ran blistering fast thanks to massive disk cache capability. My i7 960 (4 core) Redhat Linux server (home built) is limited to 24G and has 16 in it now, most of which is used for disk cache as it has only a web server, MySQL, and Squid proxy software on it and is used only by the intranet and production backups.

My Dell servers have 2 each Xeon L5520 cpus which are way overkill, and with no keyboards/monitors attached, the vid perf is not a factor. One of the Dell servers replaced a Sun Netra X1 that I bought new in 2001 and which ran non-stop until last year doing the same job as the Dell but with 1 450mHz CPU and 4G of RAM. The other Dell replaced an equally old Sun Netra T105 that has 2G ram and 500mHz cpu. That one I'm migrating to another location and will run it again for another few years.

dp
02-04-2014, 12:57 PM
32 Gigs might be a bit excessive 12 is more then enough, for most computers, unless you have something special in mind.

Sizing memory isn't rocket science but it is a bit more complicated than that. Disk speed and RAID (if used) come into play, concurrent critical processes also, and disk reads and writes/sec are examined. If you see a lot of paging (not swap), large reads (a huge inbox, for example), or work with video and audio, then you can speed things up with $150 worth of RAM. Consumer disks that run at 10K and above are not common - typical is 7.5K (RPM). Add a simple mirror disk and you clobber IO and see poor IOWait numbers. Caching cures that to a large degree. All modern computers use every byte of memory for something, and giving a lot of memory to caching pays off. Keeping your inbox small helps, too. Some people will have 10G of junk in the Inbox, and on Unix systems that means mbox which is a single large file. 5 or 6 users with that kind of inbox is not uncommon and it results in paging of cache for what I consider low-criticality use vs holding Wordpress database tables.

loose nut
02-04-2014, 06:57 PM
Any company with decent security doesn't use Microsoft products,

To use Jon herons favorite expression that "Bull $#!+"

loose nut
02-04-2014, 07:00 PM
but the FreeCAD works and produces exactly what is needed - solid models, drawings, renderings etc. May I suggest you try it out first?

I have used many free cad programs and as I stated on a earlier thread they will work but if you really have used the high end cad programs (Inventor or Solidworks) then you would know what gizmo's are missing.

Jaakko Fagerlund
02-04-2014, 11:51 PM
I have used many free cad programs and as I stated on a earlier thread they will work but if you really have used the high end cad programs (Inventor or Solidworks) then you would know what gizmo's are missing.
Haven't used all the bell's and whistles in a SolidWorks, so can't say for sure what is missing from an average user. Could you point out some of these features?

dp
02-05-2014, 02:13 AM
To use Jon herons favorite expression that "Bull $#!+"

True, that. There's some good news out of our neighboring city Redmond - legendary pit bull Steve Balmer is out at Microsoft as CEO. That can't be a bad thing.

loose nut
02-05-2014, 10:47 AM
Haven't used all the bell's and whistles in a SolidWorks, so can't say for sure what is missing from an average user. Could you point out some of these features?

I will give it my best shot.

I personally don't like Solidworks that much, the interface doesn't appeal to me but that is just a my choice. I have more time using Inventor which in my opinion has a better interface, others will disagree.

Most of these programs, Freecad included, have the same or similar drawing engines, the core program that does the work, so they function in a similar matter. What the high end programs bring to the table is the extras.

Inventor and I am assuming Solidwork, and other higher end programs, are similar, has built in functions that most of us don't need like FEA and other analytical functions but it has a engineering section that will do most of the calculations for you. Again not much use to most of us but a real time saver for those that do.

The part that I like the best is the ability to generate parts on demand. You need a bearing (ball, roller whatever), nut, bolt, washer, sprocket, gear, chain or any of tens of thousands of other components for what ever you are designing, you just tell it what you want (that is a simplified statement it is more involved) and it generates a part, drops it into your assembly (with full spec data). All you have to do is position it. It is possible to do this with programs that don't have this functionality by downloading parts from third party suppliers and manufacturers. Any manufacturer that wants to stay in business these days offers these for free, hoping you will buy their components but it takes time and by the time you find what you want and download it you are long time finished with it in Inventor. Other more advanced functions are they ability to do tubing and run electrical cable in assemblies, put "weld" into parts and fro people that do sheet metal work (I do) it will take a part that you make and "unfold" it into a flat template. On top of that there is the motion generating functions that are nice, gives the ability to fit parts that have to move together. Many programs include these functions or at least some of them not just Inventor, I honestly don't know how much is included in Freecad.

Another feature I like is the ability to generate drawings rapidly. You can do a set of drawings minus dimensions in about 30 sec. I don't know how long it takes with Freecad but having used Autocad in the past, which had a major failing in the way drawings are setup (a holdover from the early days I would imagine), it is a pleasure to do it in Inventor. I haven't used Autocad for years so I can't say if it has been "modernized" or not.

I have Freecad on my computer but I haven't really gotten into it very far, it has a completely different type of interface and I haven't taken the time to learn it, time problem. I wasn't trying to put it down, I think it is a great program especially for freeware (I have tried many of them, Freecad seems to be the best by far) and it can be had in Windows or Linux so that might be what the OP wants. It will do most of the functions that a hobbyist will want. 3D cad isn't for everyone, those using it for 2 or 2 1/2D CNC would probably need a 2D cad program??? I don't CNC so I can say for sure.

Hope that helps

P.S. I will admit to being biased in favor of Inventor, that doesn't mean other programs aren't as good.