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chrisinestes
01-24-2015, 04:21 PM
I read Evan's Sketchup 2015 thread with interest, and figured I'd not hijack it. So, here's a new thread.

A little background info... I've used sign industry related 2D/2.5D CAD/CAM software for 20 years, so I'm not new to that. Currently, I do 99.9% of my CAD drawing with FlexiExpert, ($2,300) which is similarish to "standard" CAD programs like Adobe Illustrator & AutoCAD, but specialized to the sign industry. For calculating tool paths for my 3-Axis CNC machine, I use Vectric's VCarvePro ($600). Right now, if I need a 2.5D/3D (BAS relief) model, I have to buy it.

I want to start getting into the 3D thing. So, what I'd like to know, from people that have used it, what entry-level free 3D CAD software have you used, how did/do you like it, would you recommend it, and why?

Disclaimer: I know free software has limits, but I currently can't spend more than free to begin my 3D learning curve.

Thanks!
Chris

skunkworks
01-24-2015, 04:44 PM
Freecad... http://www.freecadweb.org

I have played with a it just a bit. Seems to be getting better.

http://electronicsam.com/images/KandT/testing/Screenshot%20from%202014-06-23%2010:32:46.png
http://electronicsam.com/images/KandT/testing/stirling/DSC_2169.JPG

justanengineer
01-24-2015, 05:48 PM
The higher end programs usually have a free student version that can be downloaded. Youre usually limited to "basic" modeling and cant get into any of the advanced macros for things like mechanical simulation, quick&easy tubing layouts, etc but youre quite a ways from that anyway. Usually the student versions also limit you to having them downloaded for about a year too, and also do lil things like watermark any prints made with something like "student version - not for commercial use" but they are a good way to access commercial grade software.

Sorry I cant add much other than that Ive logged a couple hundred hours on Inventor, Solidworks, and Catia, and a few thousand on Pro/E. Possibly bc of this I have a difficult time with the lower end software, esp Sketchup.

loose nut
01-24-2015, 05:54 PM
These are four worth looking at that I posted in Evans thread. All of them seem to be capable 3D programs.

Freecad (opensource)

Design spark mechanical 2.0

Powershape-e 2014

PTC Creo Elements Direct Modelling.

chrisinestes
01-24-2015, 07:18 PM
With a little research...

FreeCAD seems to be able to do what I want to do. I'll look at that more.

DesignSpark seems to limit the file types it will import. I need to be able to import .eps, .stl, and/or .obj, so I think this is off the list.

PowerSHAPEe is made by DelCAM, which , it turns out, makes some other CADCAM software I have (ArtCAM Express). The issue I find with PowerSHAPEe for my use is you have to pay to export a model outside of the native format. $79 per model. So, that's a no-go.

PTC Creo Elements/Direct Modeling Express 6.0 Looks like might do what I need. The comparison chart between the free version and the pay version looks promising anyway. I'll give that a good looking at.

I think a free or cheap student version of a much more complicated package is too far down the 3D trail for me at this point.

Evan suggests Sketchup for a new guy, and it looks to me like a good place for me to start. I'll think I'll download it and give it a go before I try either FreeCAD of Creo Elements.

Thanks for the input, and I welcome more,
Chris

PStechPaul
01-24-2015, 08:11 PM
I use TurboCAD and it does pretty much everything I want. I've upgraded many times since my first MSDOS 2-D version, which replaced my Generic CAD when they sold out to AutoCAD. You can download a free 30 day trial (http://www.turbocad.com/TurboCAD/Free-Trials) and sometimes it allows you to continue using it by ignoring the warnings. You can get a recent full version (I recommend the Platinum Pro with mechanical and architectural plug-ins) for under $300 on eBay (http://www.ebay.com/itm/TurboCAD-Pro-19-Platinum-Edition-Professional-2D-3D-CAD-Software-Turbo-CAD-/331432032387). If you get one or two versions back you can upgrade to the current version cheaply.

J Tiers
01-24-2015, 08:58 PM
OK, this does not directly answer the Free CAD question. It's more of a "what to do later" answer. I'm blaming PSTP for setting me off on this slight tangent

I don't know anymore what they charge for it, but I bought Alibre years ago when it first came out. I had NO 3D experience at the time, but felt it was time. I had passed on PRO-E training at the old work, preferring to stay in electronic design as much as possible (a very good decision at that time). I played with it a bit, and stopped for a few years, taking it up again a couple years ago.

I have been using it heavily for a couple years now, and have been upgraded (I am still on maintenance). I have found it to be really quite a good package. I use the middle version, not the high end one with sheet metal (which I wish I had added, except it's maintenance is sky high so I'm better where I am).

So, it may be a good one to look at in future. They have made some corporate changes, but seem to be keeping it up decently. It's very usable, and I like it much better than Solidworks, which I have also used.

elf
01-24-2015, 09:01 PM
I tried Sketchup and absolutely hated it. Even free, it's a waste of money and time :)

Another free program is OpenScad. It has a programmer's interface, so not everyone will like it.

I'm currently using ViaCad v7, which sells for around $35 and is upgradeable to v9 for $100.

Evan
01-24-2015, 09:35 PM
If you have used any other CAD for any length of time trying SketchUp may be confusing. It is not the same as "standard" CAD although it does the same things. The biggest difference is the "Intuition" system where it attempts to guess what you want to do. By that it is trying to automatically align the placement of the end of a line, for instance, so it falls precisely on an axis aligned with a previous line, parallel perhaps. If that isn't what you want then you need to know how to prevent that.

The basic way to do this is to keep everything in groups. Right click, select group whatever is highlighted, done. Another simple way is to remove such items from the work field nearby. That can be done using the many ways of moving an entity or simply keeping items on a layer and turning the layer off for a moment. All items should be grouped and small groups are better. When you have multiples of the same item then create components from a group. That only uses the data once to create as many as you like. In my current project I am using a very large number of fasteners. Really, there is only one but it is a component and is shown over 1000 times. That saves megabytes of data, increases speed and display ability.

Also, pay attention to the tiny little marker that shows when the cursor touches an entity. It is telling you what it is touching and that makes all the difference in what will happen next. Get the single page reference card to start with.

http://help.sketchup.com/en/article/116693

There is one plugin for SketchUp that is absolutely essential, MoveIt. It makes moving and rotating a breeze and with whatever level of precision you care to use.

http://sketchucation.com/pluginstore?pln=jf-moveit

SketchUcation is the primary SketchUp forum and requires a free signup to use. I have been on it for years under user name Evan. I haven't posted in a very long time though.

J Tiers
01-24-2015, 11:40 PM
Most CAD systems have some level of built-in "intuition" as to what you want to do. Polite ones SHOW that they think you are pointing at something, and what they think you want.

They also often show you what they are defaulting to as an action... or modifier. Many have symbols that show up telling you that the default is snapping to an endpoint, or a midpoint, center, tangent, etc.

The 3D programs have defined ways of "constraining" parts to other parts, like a certain distance that face 3 of part A must be directly away from face 7 of part B, or the like. They call them by different names.

Alibre has "mate", "align", "orient", and "tangent" , among others. Most can be either direct joins, or have an offset distance. "Mate" joins the two surfaces like putting your palms together, and the offset is the space between. "Align" joins them as if they were both against the same tabletop, parallel and coplanar (or offset). "Orient" is like "align", but doesn't have a specified offset, it only makes the surfaces parallel. "Tangent" can be to inside or outside, and joins a circle or segment to another surface, so that a cylinder for instance will be touching another surface.

These will be suggested when you select the features, which may be surfaces, edges, planes, lines, or points. You specify whether you want "mate", "align", etc, so there is less chance of error.

AutoCad can require turning off selections, to prevent having it default to an undesired selection. So the "intuition" features really aren't so different, at least in concept, from other programs. The implementation may be odd, I don't know. There may be other things that make it differ from "standard CAD".

I have not used Sketchup, and have no plans to try it. So I have not had a chance to personally compare it.

The Artful Bodger
01-25-2015, 12:04 AM
I eventually got my Ubuntu installation to work today and immediately installed FreeCAD, unfortunately the help facility did not install.

Mike Amick
01-25-2015, 01:46 AM
I think Even is right. Sketchup is so different that anybody even a little comfortable with
standard cad software might have a problem with it.

I have no experience what so ever, and when Ive tried standard programs like turbocad and
such, I was totally lost.

But with absolutely no help at all, I was able to get Sketchup going. My only problem was
all the tutorials seem to be directed at walls and roofs and other building things. I would
really like some direction with mechanical devices. Maybe a plugin or something like that.

loose nut
01-25-2015, 10:02 AM
Sketchup was originally set up for architecture hence the walls and roofs etc.

loose nut
01-25-2015, 10:08 AM
There is one plugin for SketchUp that is absolutely essential, MoveIt. It makes moving and rotating a breeze and with whatever level of precision you care to use.


That is or was the biggest problem with Sketchup. What commands that were included in Sketchip work fine but it didn't have, at least it didn't a few years ago, all the basic functions that a cad program needs, like simple Boolean functions IE: a cut/subtract command. Yes you could go on the web and find plugins that do these things but these need to be in the program from the start. A move or rotate command is essential to cad and should be built into the program.

P.S. there are a few more open source cad programs available, no names but I didn't include them in the list because they tended to crash. Maybe they will be better in the future.

J Tiers
01-25-2015, 11:10 AM
A move or rotate command is essential to cad and should be built into the program.

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!

Wow........ You mean it's an add-in?

Oh...........

Never mind.

small.planes
01-25-2015, 01:53 PM
I use 123d from autocad for my 3d printer.
The interface is similar to other 3d cad, and the price is right :)

Dave

Evan
01-25-2015, 05:55 PM
"Wow........ You mean it's an add-in?"


No, it isn't. There are many ways to very accurately move things in SketchUp, but they are not obvious. For instance: Select anything with the cursor and then use the move tool to drag it in whatever direction you wish. You only need to move it a very small amount in that direction. Then, before doing anything else just type in the precise distance and press return (enter). Bingo!


To make moves very accurate you can draw a construction line, which is a non-entity that is used for all sorts of references for the entities you work with. Then by using the move tool to move something you drag it along the construction line and type in the distance. The construction line can be drawn from an exact line ending or any other point in/on an entity to any other exact point else where.


What is not well known is that the construction lines can be manipulated with tools such as the rotation tool. That allows you to rotate the line until it falls on the precise location you want. Then you do the move as usual.


Another way to move things is to alter the size and shapes of things. By highlighting an edge of a rectangle for instance, that edge can be moved in various directions to simply enlarge the rectangle or even change its shape entirely. It is also a good way to deal with the intuition system. If you are trying to draw a line and it is being connected to the wrong points at either end, say to shorten a surface, then draw it a short distance away parallel to where you want the line. Then highlight it and use the mover tool to drag it along one edge to the correct location. It is a super easy way to deal with situations where a number of entities all meet at the same point and Intuition is picking the wrong line endings.


By far the most powerful tool is the scaling tool. It can do far more than just making something bigger or smaller. There are very many ways to use it to change shapes in any or all axes at once or sequentially. It can also be used to move something by expanding it in one direction and then shrinking it from the other end back to the original size. It also has the big advantage of being able to make a component a different size without removing it from the class of components it belongs in. Components are essential to making life easy in SU. It allows painting and altering numerous items by only changing just one. But the Scaling tool allows you to circumvent that usual condition if needed. That actually makes components even more useful as you can design a single size of screw, of which you might need many, and then make various sizes that are still in the same class of components. In my current project I have a little something like 10 different types of fasteners but they are used about 8000 times. That is only possible using components and the scaling tool.


Also, the mover tool can be used to stretch/shrink objects so the edges snap to the edge of another object, That will close gaps, esssential for 3d printing objects. To do this the shapes used in any object to be distorted must be triangular rather than squar, which is the SU default. There is a handy plugin that will triangulate everything selected.


enough for now...

chrisinestes
01-25-2015, 06:07 PM
Here's an update on my progress... Or possible regress...

I gave SketchUp a try, and I hated it. So yeah, it doesn't work like the CAD software I use. I could probably figure it out, but I'm done with it for now.

PTC Creo Elements/Direct Modeling Express 6.0 isn't parametric, so a change needed early in the drawing requires a redraw from that point. So that's out.

FreeCAD. I watched several FreeCAD videos on Youtube, and I like how it works. You can tell each piece where to be, what shape to be, and how big to be. And changes can be made to any piece at any time w/o screwing up the rest of the drawing. It's still on the list, and since it's free, I'll download it and work with it enough to know if it'll do what I want it to do.

TurboCAD. As Paul says, it looks like I'd need Platinum Pro to do what I want to do. By the time I bought an older version and upgraded to the newest version, I'd have $600-$700 in it, and I think I can get software with my needed features for lots less money. So, it's off the list for now.

Alibre. Way too professional of a package than I hope to ever need! Haha...

OpenScad. I took a look, and I don't think I'd like it.

ViaCAD. Now this looks cool. I watched some videos on Youtube, and it does some neat stuff fairly simply, with practice, of course. Watch the boat video and the spoon video if you're so inclined. I'd need the Pro version, which is $250 retail for the current V9. However... They offer an upgrade from any Pro version to v9 for $99.99. I seem to be able to buy v7 Pro NIB on ebay for $26.88 shipped. So, if this is all correct, and it's a legit version, I can get ViaCAD Pro V9 for around $125. I'll check with them on a few questions I have before I take the plunge.

I haven't looked at 123D or any of the other free Autodesk apps yet. My preconceived notion is that it's geared towered entry-level users, which makes perfect sense. Disclaimer: There's nothing wrong with that!

Thanks for the continued input... I welcome any more.
Chris

PStechPaul
01-25-2015, 06:36 PM
Just a quick note about TurboCAD. I am still using version 15, and it is more than adequate for my needs. So you could get V19 for $300 and it should be fine without upgrading, and sometimes you can find an earlier version for much less. You don't have to upgrade and there are no recurring maintenance or licensing fees, and you can install it on any and all computers you have. As long as you don't install it on someone else's machine, or use more than one of yours at the same time, you are within the intended legal parameters of the EULA.

You might even be happy with the "Deluxe" version 20, which is just $60, from the same reseller I have used previously:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/TurboCAD-Deluxe-20-2D-Design-and-3D-Modeling-CAD-Software-Turbo-CAD-DVD-/381127240121

Or Ver 19 for just $40:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/TurboCAD-Deluxe-19-CAD-Software-with-Free-training-Turbo-CAD-Design-/381135693139

wmgeorge
01-25-2015, 07:40 PM
I have tried TurboCAD and SketchUp, they may fine if you have never used AutoCAD or even AutoCAD LT but they are not anywhere close. BTW I don't need or use 3D or Solid modeling.

All the shortcuts I used in ACAD and LT were not in the free or cheap ones. The only one I have found that is Just Like ACAD is Draftsight, its free but kind of nagwear as they ask you to re-register every year. The other one I use and very leery of is an older version of IntelliCAD 2001. I have it running on a 64 bit Windows 7 Pro system, so far no crashes but Draftsight is my go to. It reads files that go back to 1992 without a problem.

I know people who love Sketchup and use it all the time, but I will stick with what I know.

Evan
01-26-2015, 01:43 AM
SketchUp isn't intended for 2D CAD. It can do it but that isn't what it is meant for. It is a 3D modeller and especially one that can be used to make good looking models in a hurry. Everything it does revolves around that purpose. It happens that it is also entirely possible to use it for 3D CAD and once you have it figured out it does it well and fast. Every CAD program I have used is a PITA to start with. The first one I learned was 2D Autocad in the early '80s.

They all have steep learning curves and what you have learned before is not a lot of use for a different program. I have learned about a dozen or so well enough to use them but SketchUp just plain appeals to me more than any other. This is in part because it is perfect for doing realistic 3D art work which I very much enjoy doing.

The one that I have played with in the past that comes somewhat close is Alibre but that was a very early version and I haven't tried any newer version any time recently. It seemed to be like an attempt to be like SketchUp except it failed badly. SketchUp has the best system for simply looking at the model from any direction, from the full model to exceedingly close where something one millimetre in size fills the entire screen. That BTW, requires you work in orthograpic mode. Trying to work in perspective mode is a total waste of time and if anybody that has tried it didn't use orthographic mode then you should go back and try it again.

Perspective mode is for looking at pretty models, not for making them. Perspective is the default in SU so the very first thing to do is change to orthographic. It takes a bit to get used to it but after a while it is perspective mode that doesn't look right, and it isn't. In orthographic mode parallel lines are parallel on the screen, as they need to be and it is also then possible to zoom in by any amount without clipping.

I also use Blender a fair bit and Mesh lab as well, both are 3D. The very first 3D CAD-Rendering program I learned was POV-Ray when it was on the Amiga. That is incredibly powerful but is not for most people. It is entirely keyboard driven and is controlled by writing a program in POV-Ray language which is a full fledged programming language that somewhat resembles programming in C. Want a cube? give it the 3D coordinates of a cube and it will make one. Need to rotate it? Write a 3D transformation and it will. There is a plugin for SketchUp that can export much of it's models to POV-Ray and that can put out some pretty nice looking models.

Black Forest
01-26-2015, 02:48 AM
I downloaded SketchUp to have a look again. What I can not seem to find is how to constrain parts together. I searched the knowledge base but nothing about constraints is listed except for constraining dimensions in a dynamic part.

Jim2
01-26-2015, 10:15 AM
I've been using SketchUp for a couple years. I haven't made anything that is nearly as complex as the work that Evan does, but I have used layers and a couple add-ins. I'm not sure what you mean by constraints as I'm not familiar with other CAD programs, but I'm wondering if you're familiar with groups and components. Maybe they will provide the functionality that you're looking for?

Jim

Evan
01-26-2015, 01:57 PM
Everything you do in Sketchup should be placed in a group(s). This is how you prevent nasty interactions between various collections of lines and faces. As soon as something is grouped it insulates it from being affected by anything else in the model. A component is a group and acts in exactly the same way but with one major exception. When a group is made into a component the data used to make every feature is collected into a special component database. It is then used to create a display data entry that allows it to be displayed multiple times without having to recalculate what it will look like every time it is shown in the model. This is highly efficient, both in the display and the amount of calculation required and the amount of data needed to be stored. It only needs to store the shape data once no matter how complex it may be.

This is how SketchUp is able to handle a model such as my current work that has nearly 3 million lines. I suspect that most other programs would choke long before that level.

chrisinestes
01-26-2015, 03:42 PM
Update:

I heard back from the ViaCAD PRO v7 seller on eBay, and it's fully legit, and registerable. So, for just under $30 with USPS Priority shipping, I bought it and should have it by this Friday. Here's a link to it on eBay in case anybody is interested.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/360797712902?_trksid=p2059210.m2749.l2649&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT

I also heard back from ViaCAD, and they say this Pro v7 version is upgradable to Pro v9 for $99.99. This way, I can end up with the current V9 Pro for $130, which is about 1/2 price of me buying v9 directly from them.

I figure $30 isn't too big a risk for me, so if I don't like it, I'm not out much. If I do like it, another $100 gets me current. I like to be current on software. I've found it easier to get support

I'm not locked in to ViaCAD, so I welcome further input. It's surely helping me, and hopefully some others, too.

Chris

wmgeorge
01-26-2015, 04:39 PM
This is on Amazon.com http://www.amazon.com/Punch-Viacad-Pro-V7-DSA/dp/B0051M6VFA is it the same thing for $20?

Or here for $38 http://www.amazon.com/ENCORE-Punch-ViaCAD-Pro-V7/dp/B00DEQMAMI

I have used the Punch software before but not the general purpose CAD, it seemed to work fine.

chrisinestes
01-26-2015, 07:24 PM
This is on Amazon.com http://www.amazon.com/Punch-Viacad-Pro-V7-DSA/dp/B0051M6VFA is it the same thing for $20?

Or here for $38 http://www.amazon.com/ENCORE-Punch-ViaCAD-Pro-V7/dp/B00DEQMAMI

I have used the Punch software before but not the general purpose CAD, it seemed to work fine.

Yup... Good eye. I thought I checked Amazon, but I guess I didn't.

The $20 + shipping version says DSA in the title... I don't know what that means. The $39 + shipping one doesn't say DSA. They are both from the same seller, and actually the same seller I bought from on eBay. Maybe I could have saved $6!

Care to ask the seller what DSA means? I would, but he'd recognize my email address.

Chris

wmgeorge
01-26-2015, 07:36 PM
I would tell him right up front its listed cheaper on Amazon and ask what is the difference?

Using Draftsight right now the 2D version but they have a 3D Pro I think is 3D anyway. $2xx.00 to purchase and then $99 for a Subscription per year after? Draftsight "free" requires you to have an internet connection and register again in 6 months and then every year after.

Been looking at an older Legal version of AutoCAD LT 2007 or 2008 but it needs to work on Windows 7 Pro 64 bit. Amazon has some listed from private venders for $89 to $199 plus shipping and I think those are the "forever" versions. I have a thing about Renting or Subscribing to software, would rather just pay and be done with it.

BTW when Evan says Sketchup is easy, you have to remember the guy is a whiz kid at everything! Never met someone who knows so much about everything.

mayfieldtm
01-26-2015, 07:51 PM
I always go back to Solid Edge. (Many Solid Works users migrate to Solid Edge.)
They have a really good student version, easy to obtain and renew every year. Hardly restricted at all, mostly you can not open any of your drawings on another machine (no commercial use). Lots of very good tutorials. I often use the Sheet Metal Design and the Wire Harness features for any electronics work. The best part is once you get the basics, it's stupid simple to Design and most importantly... Change the Parts!
I purchased Sketchup and tried really hard for about 6 weeks, and never got off the ground with it. (too stuck in my ways)
Too bad, cause it is a really nice 3D Modeler. (No 2D!) Search for some of Evans drawings, they are quite impressive.
I almost always convert my 3D Solid Edge Part into a 2D Dimensioned Print suitable for a machinist or myself to make the part.

Tom M.

Evan
01-26-2015, 09:37 PM
There is a plugin that gives Sketchup what you need to use it in 2D mode. It works pretty well.

http://sketchucation.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=22091

It includes such things as line weights.

These are the functions it provides:

2D Set Z-plane
2D Line
2D Rectangle
2D Freehand
2D Arc
2D Circle
2D Polygon
2D Face Maker
2D Hatching
2D Fillet
2D Adjust
2D Line Style
2D Text
2D Polyline Edit
2D Tools Help


Also, 2015 has new ways to make circles and arcs as well as some other changes. I have determined that the deletion issue with crashing is most likely due to the BugSplat bug reporter, not Sketchup itself. A workaround is to simply disable just the report generator, BsSndRpt64.exe, in the Sketchup\SketchUp 2015 folder in C:\programfiles

Just change it to BsSndRpt64.xxx Don't change the associated DLL files as SketchUp needs them to generate operation logs. It turns out that BugSplat is not part of SketchUp at all. It is a third party bug alert/reporter program. It happens to have a method in the exe file called "FlushFileBuffers". That makes me very suspicious when it is the only thing left running after a crash and all the SketchUp files have been deleted.

Doozer
01-26-2015, 11:02 PM
Why learn something weird that no one else uses.
The industry uses Solidworks.
It makes sense to learn it.
Find a hacked copy and learn it.
Then when you want to use it for profit,
buy the legal version and get all the latest updates.
There are hacked copies on the internet.
Just use your own ethics before going forth
and using it for a business.
--Doozer

loose nut
01-27-2015, 11:29 AM
Doozer, some of THE industry use it, not all. There are several high end cad programs that carry the load, not just Solidworks. PTC, Catia, Solidworks, Inventor to name some. These programs are a step above most other programs in ability, available bells and whistles and cost.

Truisms for CAD

-Everyone has a favorite program and don't want to change.

-Every program has a high learning curve that needs to be accepted and dealt with.

-Not every program, particularly the cheaper ones, have the same seller and third party support. Bugs don't always get fixed in a timely fashion. Lack of available training support can be problem when trying to learn a program.

-Every program has it's own style and "peccadilloes", for the lack of a better term.

-Autocad, Solidworks and Inventor are probably the big three and because of this they get the lions share of third party publications and training support.

-If your starting out in CAD you just need to pick a program that looks like it might do what you want and can afford, if free isn't good enough, and buckle down and learn it. Cad isn't particularly hard to learn. Individual commands are generally quite easy on good programs but there can be a lot of them. You may not need to learn all of them, some are specialized to a specific type of work that may be outside your needs.

-Practice, practice, practice..............

Stu Miller
01-27-2015, 11:35 AM
I downloaded Sketchup 2015, sat through the tutorials, then tried to draw a rectangle to a specific size. Select the rectangle tool, click on the start point, pull out a rectangle, enter the dimensions in the box at lower right, click to complete the rectangle, check the dimensions with the measuring tool. No resemblance at all. I am willing and anxious to learn what I've been doing wrong but, using their instructions, it is just a toy.

Danl
01-27-2015, 12:19 PM
I used to d/l some of these "hacked" software packages, justifying it by saying I wasn't making money with them, no innocent third parties were hurt, etc., etc. The last couple of times I tried, I gave up in frustration due to the malware and viruses contained in them. Not worth the effort, especially given that if I were to really get into them, they are gonna cost me at least several thousand dollars to get legit.

Just my take on these....

Dan


Why learn something weird that no one else uses.
The industry uses Solidworks.
It makes sense to learn it.
Find a hacked copy and learn it.
Then when you want to use it for profit,
buy the legal version and get all the latest updates.
There are hacked copies on the internet.
Just use your own ethics before going forth
and using it for a business.
--Doozer

Black Forest
01-27-2015, 12:35 PM
I downloaded Sketchup 2015, sat through the tutorials, then tried to draw a rectangle to a specific size. Select the rectangle tool, click on the start point, pull out a rectangle, enter the dimensions in the box at lower right, click to complete the rectangle, check the dimensions with the measuring tool. No resemblance at all. I am willing and anxious to learn what I've been doing wrong but, using their instructions, it is just a toy.

The first couple of times I made a rectangle I had the same problem. I could not input the dimensions I wanted. I work in mm and it irritates me that when I do something in SU it shows the dimension in .meters. For instance when I input 300mm the measure tool shows it as .3m Maybe there is a setting somewhere I could change that to mm.

So after a few times of trying to get the dimensions I wanted it started to do it correct as to the size but still displaying in meters.

I still have not found an explanation regarding constraints. So I will ask this question again. Does SU use constraints and if so what do they call them because a search of the help and google turned up nothing. Every other CAD package uses constraints. SpaceClaim doesn't call them constraints but uses them. The same as they call filets rounds.

wmgeorge
01-27-2015, 01:13 PM
Well I purchased a legal un-opened box of AutoCAD LT 2007 one of the last versions if not the last that does not require a yearly subscription or contacting ACAD for a authorization code. Got off an Amazon vender, and it carries the Amazon A-Z warranty, and refund if needed. We will see, I'd like to get back into the program as I know I can customize the way I want.

chrisinestes
01-27-2015, 01:13 PM
I'm not worried about the extra $6 I paid buying ViaCAD off eBay instead of Amazon. I saw it on eBay, liked the price, and bought it... I'm good. If it works for my needs, I'm happy... If not, I haven't wasted much money. :cool:

I'm also not currently worried about using something that's not industry standard in this particular area. If the highly unlikely time comes that I need a many thousand dollar industry standard 3D CAD package, I'll deal with it then. I have spent around $7,500 on sign industry standard CAD/CAM software & upgrades over a 20 year span. And I agree that using stuff that most other people in the industry uses makes it easier to get help, and the software is generally better.

I'm not one to use cracked software either... Too many risks, and I hate it when somebody steals from me.:mad::D

Thanks!
Chris

Danl
01-27-2015, 07:13 PM
Chris, after seeing this thread, I went ahead and downloaded ViaCad from their website, and was so impressed with the straightforward and logical interface and power behind it, that I went ahead and bought the Amazon version. Hope I can update it.

Like Evan, I started with one of the earliest versions of AutoCad, 2.2 or some such, on 5" floppies. Not sure they ever used dongles to protect their software, in fact they almost encouraged their users to install it at home, based on how wide open their stuff used to be. I've drawn over a hundred house plans over the years with it, and am fairly proficient with it, but they were rather slow jumping on the 3D and modeling bandwagon. Their stuff was called 2D there for a while.

I've been playing with FreeCad for several months, and while I could finesse it to do certain jobs, in my opinion, it is not as good to work with as ViaCad. You've heard about camels being designed committee? That's kinda my impression of FreeCad.

Thanks,

Dan


I'm not worried about the extra $6 I paid buying ViaCAD off eBay instead of Amazon. I saw it on eBay, liked the price, and bought it... I'm good. If it works for my needs, I'm happy... If not, I haven't wasted much money. :cool:

I'm also not currently worried about using something that's not industry standard in this particular area. If the highly unlikely time comes that I need a many thousand dollar industry standard 3D CAD package, I'll deal with it then. I have spent around $7,500 on sign industry standard CAD/CAM software & upgrades over a 20 year span. And I agree that using stuff that most other people in the industry uses makes it easier to get help, and the software is generally better.

I'm not one to use cracked software either... Too many risks, and I hate it when somebody steals from me.:mad::D

Thanks!
Chris

ecortech
01-27-2015, 07:47 PM
The first couple of times I made a rectangle I had the same problem. I could not input the dimensions I wanted. I work in mm and it irritates me that when I do something in SU it shows the dimension in .meters. For instance when I input 300mm the measure tool shows it as .3m Maybe there is a setting somewhere I could change that to mm.

So after a few times of trying to get the dimensions I wanted it started to do it correct as to the size but still displaying in meters.

I still have not found an explanation regarding constraints. So I will ask this question again. Does SU use constraints and if so what do they call them because a search of the help and google turned up nothing. Every other CAD package uses constraints. SpaceClaim doesn't call them constraints but uses them. The same as they call filets rounds.

Units can be inches, feet, millimeters or meters you can select whichever you wish to use.
You need to Click "Window" and select "Preferences."
Click "Template" in the left pane.
Choose a template in the right pane. Each template uses a certain unit. The unit used by each template is listed directly under the name of the template.
You can also Click "Window" and select "Model info"
Click "Units" in the left pane, you can then select which units to use and the format of the units.

As for Constraints yep Sketchup does use constraints, a rather complex thing to explain.
Do a bit of searching on Google, I'm sure you will find lots of info on using constraints.
Sketucation forums will also have lots of info on just about everything you need to know.

Ed

Puckdropper
01-27-2015, 08:20 PM
I downloaded Sketchup 2015, sat through the tutorials, then tried to draw a rectangle to a specific size. Select the rectangle tool, click on the start point, pull out a rectangle, enter the dimensions in the box at lower right, click to complete the rectangle, check the dimensions with the measuring tool. No resemblance at all. I am willing and anxious to learn what I've been doing wrong but, using their instructions, it is just a toy.

"click to complete the rectangle". Hm... I wonder if you're moving the mouse at that point. Try just pressing enter instead.

Make sure your tape pointer is exactly on the endpoint hotspot. On version 8, the dot turns green.

ecortech
01-27-2015, 08:28 PM
I downloaded Sketchup 2015, sat through the tutorials, then tried to draw a rectangle to a specific size. Select the rectangle tool, click on the start point, pull out a rectangle, enter the dimensions in the box at lower right, click to complete the rectangle, check the dimensions with the measuring tool. No resemblance at all. I am willing and anxious to learn what I've been doing wrong but, using their instructions, it is just a toy.

Instead of clicking to complete the rectangle, just hit "enter" on the keyboard the rectangle will appear with the correct dimensions that you entered.
If you "click" to complete the rectangle it will create the rectangle to the dimensions that the cursor is at.

Sketchup is light years from being a toy.
Simply amazing, mind boggling the level of drawings some people create with Sketchup.
At the same time also very easy to make simple 3D models.
Highly configurable with built in settings, and add-on plugins.
It can be as simple or as complicated as you want to make it.
I have used many different drawing programs every one had it's own problems.
First tried Sketchup several years ago within an hour I had made my first model.
Absolutely the easiest and quickest program to learn of all that I have tried.
I've yet to find something that it can't do, often a number of different methods to accomplish what's needed.
Sketchucation forums or a quick search on google will find anything that I've had trouble with.

Ed

Black Forest
01-28-2015, 12:01 AM
Units can be inches, feet, millimeters or meters you can select whichever you wish to use.
You need to Click "Window" and select "Preferences."
Click "Template" in the left pane.
Choose a template in the right pane. Each template uses a certain unit. The unit used by each template is listed directly under the name of the template.
You can also Click "Window" and select "Model info"
Click "Units" in the left pane, you can then select which units to use and the format of the units.

As for Constraints yep Sketchup does use constraints, a rather complex thing to explain.
Do a bit of searching on Google, I'm sure you will find lots of info on using constraints.
Sketucation forums will also have lots of info on just about everything you need to know.

Ed

I have Googled till my fingers are bloody and found nothing about constraints.

Evan
01-28-2015, 12:18 AM
See here:

http://help.sketchup.com/en/article/70142

and this search:

http://tinyurl.com/nqxgt62

Black Forest
01-28-2015, 12:36 AM
I have two cubes in a scene. I want to move cube a to align with cube b on the top face and front face of cube b. I can drag cube a to the corner but it is not constrained.

Evan
01-28-2015, 01:01 AM
Added: I assume you are working in orthographic mode. If not, then change to it.

If not already done make each cube a group. Then use the ruler tool to draw a line from the vertex of one cube to the vertex of the other which you wish to be coincident. Use the mover tool and point it to one of the vertices and drag it along the line. It doesn't have to be kept on that line all the way. As soon as you start to drag on that line it will know where it is in space. When it becomes very near to the destination vertex they will snap together.

If you make them components you can also set them to glue to another component with some extra options. You use the component window to do this by selecting "In Model" components and then selecting the one in question. This fully constrains the parts together.

http://ixian.ca/pics11/components.png

Jim2
01-28-2015, 09:52 AM
Evan, you've stated a couple of times in this thread that SketchUp should be used in "orthographic" (parallel projection?) mode. I've been using the default perspective mode, which I find to provide pleasing images. . . . Why does it matter? Are you suggesting orthographic is better because folks here are doing engineering drawings and those are typically rendered orthographically? Or, are there features of SketchUp that simply don't work in perspective mode (or, maybe not as well)? Or, is this just a personal preference? Something else?

thanks,

Jim

loose nut
01-28-2015, 11:16 AM
Not sure they ever used dongles to protect their software, in fact they almost encouraged their users to install it at home, based on how wide open their stuff used to be.

When Autocad first came out, I don't know how long after, there wasn't any copy protection on it. Because of this it was spread around and used by many at home. This became a great asset to Autodesk since in the early days of PC CAD systems there weren't enough cad draftsmen/designers available to fill the need. The exception was for Autocad. Many people learned on pirated software and this created a large pool of "trained" people for it compared to other CAD packages , it was the system of choice for industry and made Autodesk the #1 PC based CAD system.

It was an advantage that Autodesk has given up and now decline to benefit from.

wmgeorge
01-28-2015, 12:08 PM
When Autocad first came out, I don't know how long after, there wasn't any copy protection on it. Because of this it was spread around and used by many at home. This became a great asset to Autodesk since in the early days of PC CAD systems there weren't enough cad draftsmen/designers available to fill the need. The exception was for Autocad. Many people learned on pirated software and this created a large pool of "trained" people for it compared to other CAD packages , it was the system of choice for industry and made Autodesk the #1 PC based CAD system.

It was an advantage that Autodesk has given up and now decline to benefit from.

Now they (Autodesk) have gone the "other" way, now its all about profit and anyway we can. They have bought out competition and even in the low cost CAD world they have either purchased the company and raised the prices or shut it down all together. AutoCAD LT used to be $200-$300, not anymore its up to $1500 list price and you are required to purchase updates or a Subscription as they call it. The software is never sold, its just your license to use and that's now more of a rental from year to year.

loose nut
01-28-2015, 04:15 PM
Well I guess the jokes on them because there are any number of copies of there software floating around the web.

Evan
01-28-2015, 04:22 PM
" Or, are there features of SketchUp that simply don't work in perspective mode"

Correct. Try zooming very close to a vertex in both modes. You will immediately see the difference. Also, it is impossible to determine just by eye what is parallel and what isn't. Nothing is ever shown as parallel in perspective mode unless you are exactly perpendicular to a plane and even then only the items lying in that plane.

"which I find to provide pleasing images..."

That is what perspective mode is for, not for design work. There are a very few situations where using perspective mode can provide some assistance in working on the model. In particular, because of the clipping it produces when zoomed in closely it can make it easier to determine what is happening inside a normally hidden space. I usually do that by simply selecting a face and using the "cut" function to remove a face, being careful to insure that only the face is selected, not any of the edges. Then I can do some work on the inside, such as applying a dark material (AKA colour) to the back faces and then replace the cut face using Paste in place. When re-pasting it be sure that the same part it came from is selected or it will be pasted in some other part.

The cut/paste function can be extremely useful, not just for removing and placing items. If the edges of something have extra edges that are interfering with the ability to select the proper edge they can be very easily removed as long as they are not a part of something else. Simply highlight the face in question NOT including the edges that define it, then cut it. Then delete the edges that did define that face as well as any extras that don't define anything. Replace it immediately and new edges will be defined/created that correspond to that face and nothing else. Any extra/broken/gapped edges will be gone and only the ones required for that face will remain.

Extra edges can be a real problem and are easy to create but hard to remove. If you are trying to create a face that is directly aligned with others edges the tool might not select the correct edges/vertices during the procedure. This is very common if you aren't paying close attention to the tiny drawing info circle next to the cursor point. So then you draw another line and maybe get it right. In the mean time maybe you don't delete the edges you drew the first attempt. Now you have extra edges that don't define anything but will attract the cursor during further work. The easiest way to remove them is to first remove, or usually just move whatever is correctly defined in the area which makes them easy to find. The cut/paste function is a handy way to do this instead of using the mover tool or some other method.

Black Forest
01-28-2015, 05:06 PM
I deleted SketchUp from my computer. It is too clumsy for me. The manner that one has to do things is not for me. Workarounds and plugins and such take too much time. Having watched hours of videos and read lots of tutorials my curiosity has been satisfied. SpaceClaim is so much faster and easier to use but that does come with a price. What I like about SpaceClaim is it hooks to both of my rendering programs. So if I make a change in a part it is instantly updated in either KeyShot or Simlab. The assemblies are very easy to animate in either program.

alsinaj
01-28-2015, 05:15 PM
FWIW, I'm with Evan on this one. I have abandoned TurboCAD and Alibre and use SketchUp exclusively with a SpaceNavigator 3D mouse. I have now used SU for thousands of hours. Navigation has become completely automatic, as well as using constraints, changing between unit systems, and boolean operations, all of which are standard with convenient toolbars and/or shortcuts in the version I'm currently using (2014 Pro). I've reached the point where I'm completely unaware of using these and most other features, which leaves my mind free to think about what I'm doing. Although there are surely some shortcomings, none of the ones complained of in this thread are real, IMO. With a bit of patience and skill, you can even make components parametric. There is a learning curve, of course, and you get out of it what you put in. The only thing I would like to do that I haven't been able to do is animation of things like linkages. Perhaps there are ways to do this, but I don't know of them.

PStechPaul
01-28-2015, 05:22 PM
I almost always use snap-to-grid mode with TurboCAD, and that automatically makes every shape orthagonal and with exact fractional dimensions. I had a drawing created by someone in Autocad, imported to TurboCAD, and found that the dimensions and shapes were "off" by various amounts, which were not apparent until zooming in or doing precise measurement. There are some cases where I need to set a specific non-grid position, length, or angle, but that is easily done by typing in the parameters. For fractional dimensions, it can get tedious when they are not integral multiples of 1/16". Even that requires decimal equivalents of 0.0625, which is not too bad, but every subsequent division adds another place to the decimal, so 1/32" is 0.03125. The grid can be easily divided or multiplied by factors of 2, so it takes care of that automatically.

There is also an "edit" mode, where all the vertices that define an object can be moved and placed at any 3 dimensional point in model space. There is a wide array of snap modes as well, that can make alignment of objects easy and exact.

Evan
01-28-2015, 05:30 PM
Animation is well covered by the Sketchy Physics plugin. There is a new version available that fixes many of the bugs in version 3.2 and also adds some new functions. I haven't tried it yet but version 3.2 was/is fun to use. It will generate a movie as it runs, if you want. It even has sound.
See this model of mine:

http://ixian.ca/pics11/railgun.jpg

https://3dwarehouse.sketchup.com/model.html?id=d75dc7b5f84e394be845c056d1647575

It is a magnetically powered railgun. You can download it and check it out but to actually use it you will need the plugin. It uses the physics simulation of magnetism to power the "bullet". No cheating by just using a move script.

The plugin:

The original version is here: http://code.google.com/p/sketchyphysics/downloads/list

More info here: http://sketchucation.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=61&t=17914&sid=47752fd711ddd5151d29203677f71aa4

You may need that version to make the railgun work, I don't know (yet).

The new version: http://sketchucation.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=61&t=58936&sid=47752fd711ddd5151d29203677f71aa4

Sigh. I have just read that the new version of Sketchy Physics is NOT compatible with SketchUp 2015 64bit. A good reason to keep 2014 or lower installed. Fortunately, SketchUp doesn't care at all how many versions you have installed and each higher version can save models in all the lower version formats.I also have other animated models on the 3D Warehouse including one that explores the Three Body orbital mechanics problem.

https://3dwarehouse.sketchup.com/user.html?id=0031359538483141435820637

Jim2
01-29-2015, 11:27 AM
" Or, are there features of SketchUp that simply don't work in perspective mode"

Correct. Try zooming very close to a vertex in both modes. You will immediately see the difference. Also, it is impossible to determine just by eye what is parallel and what isn't. Nothing is ever shown as parallel in perspective mode unless you are exactly perpendicular to a plane and even then only the items lying in that plane.

OK, I see the difference. Working in perspective mode, I've never gotten so close to a vertex without clipping, or "going inside" the object.




" which I find to provide pleasing images..."

That is what perspective mode is for, not for design work. There are a very few situations where using perspective mode can provide some assistance in working on the model. In particular, because of the clipping it produces when zoomed in closely it can make it easier to determine what is happening inside a normally hidden space. I usually do that by simply selecting a face and using the "cut" function to remove a face, being careful to insure that only the face is selected, not any of the edges. Then I can do some work on the inside, such as applying a dark material (AKA colour) to the back faces and then replace the cut face using Paste in place. When re-pasting it be sure that the same part it came from is selected or it will be pasted in some other part.

The cut/paste function can be extremely useful, not just for removing and placing items. If the edges of something have extra edges that are interfering with the ability to select the proper edge they can be very easily removed as long as they are not a part of something else. Simply highlight the face in question NOT including the edges that define it, then cut it. Then delete the edges that did define that face as well as any extras that don't define anything. Replace it immediately and new edges will be defined/created that correspond to that face and nothing else. Any extra/broken/gapped edges will be gone and only the ones required for that face will remain.

Extra edges can be a real problem and are easy to create but hard to remove. If you are trying to create a face that is directly aligned with others edges the tool might not select the correct edges/vertices during the procedure. This is very common if you aren't paying close attention to the tiny drawing info circle next to the cursor point. So then you draw another line and maybe get it right. In the mean time maybe you don't delete the edges you drew the first attempt. Now you have extra edges that don't define anything but will attract the cursor during further work. The easiest way to remove them is to first remove, or usually just move whatever is correctly defined in the area which makes them easy to find. The cut/paste function is a handy way to do this instead of using the mover tool or some other method.

I haven't used the cut/paste extensively, cut I can see where it would be useful. I've been deleting a line and then redrawing it if I've wanted to work inside an object. Sometimes replacing the line results in some unintended consequences. Cut/paste would be much quicker and easier. I'll have to do some experimentation to fully understand some of the nuances that you've laid out there. . . .

thanks for the help!

Jim

chrisinestes
02-01-2015, 06:25 PM
Just updating this. I got the software, installed it, and had no trouble registering it and getting it activated. I've been busy with another project, so I've only spent enough time with it to know I need to start with the training videos.

Chris

Black Forest
02-01-2015, 06:43 PM
Just updating this. I got the software, installed it, and had no trouble registering it and getting it activated. I've been busy with another project, so I've only spent enough time with it to know I need to start with the training videos.

Chris

do you think we are psychic? What software?

chrisinestes
02-01-2015, 08:32 PM
Just updating this. I got the software, installed it, and had no trouble registering it and getting it activated. I've been busy with another project, so I've only spent enough time with it to know I need to start with the training videos.

Chris

I thought I talked about that, but I'm too lazy to go back and look.:rolleyes: I got ViaCAD Pro. I found v7 on ebay for under $30. If I like it, I can upgrade to the new version, v9, for $100. That's half price of me buying v9 right away. The demo videos looked good, so I risked the $30.

Chris