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Wheels17
03-21-2019, 11:15 AM
I just received an email that the free version of DraftSight will go away at the end of 2019. They'll be charging $99 annually for access to the program, and talk about heading to a cloud based solution.

So, with this loss in the landscape for 2D drafting software changes. I'd like to start a discussion about current free or low cost one time purchase CAD software. I know there is a current discussion of the value of CAD, http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net/threads/78613-The-benefits-of-simple-CAD-drawing/page8?highlight=software , but I' like to get into a more feature/cost/licensing discussion.

Here are a few alternative for which I know the name...

Fusion360
Libre Cad
OnShape
Solid Edge ST8
RhinocerosV6 (Whoops! $950 euro) https://www.rhino3d.com/sales/north-america/United_States
TurboCad
FreeCAD https://www.freecadweb.org/

Bob La Londe
03-21-2019, 11:42 AM
Is FreeCAD capable of being setup as a 2d environment for that sort of work? I use it for some of its mesh handling capabilities to try and salvage the entity when a customer sends me a garbage 3D mesh. It seems to be a very 3D environment to me.

I would like to mention ViaCad 2d/3d Pro. (Their real pro product is called Shark) I've been using ViaCad on an everyday basis for all of my 3D work for several years. I do use Fusion, but usually only for CAM. It has some CAM capabilities that create faster more efficient code than some of the other CAM software I use. For me ViaCad was more intuitive to learn than anything else I worked with. Its not free. One time license purchase though. I've been using Version 9 64 bit for a couple years and its powerful. The big thing though since we are comparing to Draftsight is that it is just one (1) click to change from a 3D environment to a purely 2D environment. Its very configurable as well.

Now one many folks dismiss is CorelDraw. The reason for dismissing it is good. In its default installation state its total garbage for real CAD work. Of course its not 3D. Now the thing is you can configure it with grid, ruler, click to, etc to make it tolerable to use for simple CAD work. I would not recommend it. I would go so far as to recommend against it for a CAD solution, but many people already own it.

Now there is the rather likeable bastard step child in the room. CamBam. It started out and is still mostly a CAM program. Its very flexible, and there are dozens if not hundreds of user created plug-ins and scripts that can be used with it. At this time CamBam is a one time fee with unlimited upgrades for life. For 3D it only works with .STL files at this time although a limited capability to work with .STP files has been implemented in the alpha release. All the power users and most of the capable plug-in creators are using the alpha release. Myself included. As far as creating 3D elements CamBam is very rudimentary at best. Even the user plugins have only added a number of simple tools. It is a decent 2D CAD program. Its not full featured like ViaCad, but I have not yet run across a 2.5D project I couldn't do with it. Even thread milling is a native function. In fact I almost never do purely 2D/2.5D jobs in ViaCad anymore. If I need to make something simple like an adjustable bearing carrier I do the whole thing in CamBam. I said CamBam is mostly a CAM program. Well it has some limitations there. It doesn't do REST machining. Tool paths are either horizontal, vertical, or waterline. It doesn't have any in built capability to do true HSM machining. Where you get a constant engagement tool path. One plugin by the user JK does do 2D trochoidal tool paths with a spiral to depth. That can be very handy when machining pockets in tough materials. I've created maybe a hundred styles for different machines in my shop where I just click on an element (2D or 3D) apply the style, and its ready to create code. I've got tool libraries stored for each machine, and preconfigured job templates for lots of jobs that always start out in a similar fashion. Some jobs that would take me all day to plan CAM for I can do I as little as a few minutes.

J Tiers
03-21-2019, 11:49 AM
Alibre Atom, which I have NOT USED, is a subset of Alibre Expert, which I DO use. Atom is $199, about what I paid for Alibre back when I first got it (got several free upgrades during promotions).

Alibre is a permanent license, but without maintenance, no updates are available. You can keep using it, just at that same version.

I know the sheet metal is not in Atom, I am not sure about what else is not, but I do not think too much is left out. Atom is updated about when Alibre is. There is a major Alibre update due out in beta very soon, and typically one big and a coupe small come out every year.

I have used Pro-E, Solidworks, and Alibre. Alibre wins on ease of use, in my opinion.

Danl
03-21-2019, 12:13 PM
I also bought Viacad (PunchCad) version 9, but they seem to have gone to a costly annual update, at least for what you get.
Many times the older unsupported versions become incompatible with the os as time goes by. I really liked the user interface, but not enough to keep me from learning and using Fusion 360 more and more.

I found FreeCad to be clunky and non-intuitive, appearing to have been assembled by a committee, which it basically was (opensource).

I've heard that Salome, HeeksCAD and FreeCad all use the same underlying OpenCascade as their underlying kernal.

Dan

PStechPaul
03-21-2019, 03:07 PM
I'm partial to TurboCad because I have used it for so long (20+ years), and I like it. But unless I needed CAD for my business, I would not be able to justify purchase of the newest Pro or Platinum software, which is about $1200-$1500. They also offer an "Expert" version for $500, "Deluxe" for $150, and "Designer" for $50. I think I would be satisfied with the Deluxe version, which is often offered for less than $100 on eBay. Sometimes you can find previous versions of Pro/Platinum for around $500, but I'm not sure when compatibility with Win10 started. My TC v15.2 Pro won't work on Win8.1 or Win10,

Here is a comparison of features among the four current versions:
https://www.turbocad.com/content/turbocad-2018-compare-key-features

CadAndGraphics is an authorized eBay vendor that offers discounts and previous versions, such as this:
https://www.ebay.com/itm/TurboCAD-Deluxe-2017-CAD-Design-Software-Retail-Box-DVD/382815568253?epid=856641555&hash=item592196017d:g:GgwAAOSwDiBZMcKB:sc:USPSFirs tClass!21030!US!-1

They also offer DesignCad for about $100:
https://www.turbocad.com/designcad/

If you are familiar with AutoCad, they offer an LTE Pro version for about $300 (https://www.ebay.com/itm/TurboCAD-LTE-v9-PRO-Works-like-AutoCAD-LT-CAD-Software-Download/382768158767?_trkparms=aid%3D111001%26algo%3DREC.S EED%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D20160908105057%26meid%3D621b0 77412d349ee982a9ca632ebef30%26pid%3D100675%26rk%3D 3%26rkt%3D15%26sd%3D382823611961%26itm%3D382768158 767&_trksid=p2481888.c100675.m4236&_trkparms=pageci%3Ae6185915-4c0a-11e9-8d64-74dbd1800b6d%7Cparentrq%3Aa19bb6be1690ab6684960a4d fff3aed1%7Ciid%3A1):
https://www.turbocad.com/img/cms/TurboCAD%20LTE9%20Comparison%20Chart.pdf

I have downloaded FreeCAD and I'll be playing around with it for awhile to see if it meets my current needs. I might see how well it imports DXF and STEP and IGES files from TurboCad. It does not appear to be able to work with TurboCad (TCW) or AutoCad (DWG) formats.

[edit] Another option is emachineshop's free CAD software. It is designed to submit to them for instant quotes on actually having the parts fabricated by them, and their prices are usually reasonable:

https://www.emachineshop.com/


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zkcn2eo1HB8

From their sample prices, I chose a small 12 tooth brass spur gear 0.58 x 0.57 x 0.25, which is $111 for one, and $210 for ten, and $3 each for 1000.

Galaxie
03-21-2019, 03:28 PM
Dammit! DraftSight is what I use at home for simple stuff, and at work for reading our customers' .dwg/.dxf drawings. :mad:

loose nut
03-21-2019, 06:58 PM
Ask the neighbor hood kids, they can get you anything you want.;);)

Illinoyance
03-21-2019, 07:03 PM
I won't miss it. I hated AutoCAD so I hated Draftsight. ST8 works just fine. Its interface works more like the SolidWorks I am accustomed to.

Baz
03-21-2019, 08:03 PM
I had Draftsight on another computer and found it ok though less capable than a version of Turbocad given away as a free CD with PCWorld back in '99. Does it need to be re-enabled periodically so they can stop it working without the fee or will it just go on if you don't want the updates?

IdahoJim
03-22-2019, 12:01 AM
I started out, 30+ years ago, with Intellicad. Then the 3rd party I bought it from went belly-up, so I dropped it and started using Draftsight. I've always figured Draftsight would start charging at some point, but was hoping they wouldn't. I think I'll go back to Intellicad. I can get the best version, including 3d for $200.00, with free updates. It's a pain re-learning, but once I own it, I own it.
Jim

J Tiers
03-22-2019, 12:27 AM
I started out, 30+ years ago, with Intellicad. Then the 3rd party I bought it from went belly-up, so I dropped it and started using Draftsight. I've always figured Draftsight would start charging at some point, but was hoping they wouldn't. I think I'll go back to Intellicad. I can get the best version, including 3d for $200.00, with free updates. It's a pain re-learning, but once I own it, I own it.
Jim

At $200, the Alibre Atom seems like a good choice.... Full parametric 3D cad, most of the regular modeling features of full Alibre, https://www.alibre.com/atom3d/

And the program works even of you do not pay the $50 maintenance after the first year. Maintenance gets you updates and so forth, bug fixes, etc.

DR
03-22-2019, 05:40 AM
Be careful of Alibre Atom if you have Alibre Design on the same computer. I downloaded the trial version of Atom to verify it'd be a good choice for the grand kid's 3D printing.

I found out the hard way they can't be on the same computer.........neither one will run and the Atom installation will corrupt Design. Of course, they don't tell you this.

As to the Draftsight announcement, I'm expecting Autodesk to do the same thing with Fusion 360. At some point it'll no longer be free to hobbyists, etc. Once they've got you hooked they turn the screws. I never liked Draftsight anyway, but I use Fusion occasionally because of features none of my other Cad's have.

bjmh46
03-22-2019, 06:55 AM
I got the same email re. draftsight. What can you do, it's their software, and if they choose to no longer give it away so be it. I'm on Linux so my options are more limited. I have successfully run progecad (free) under wine but gave that up when Draftsight became a viable option. Since I've got about 30 years Autocad experience I'd prefer to stick to an acad clone. I have a very extensive archive of dwg & dxf files. I've decided to give Librecad and Freecad a tryout. If you can enable the librecad daily ppa, you get v 2.2 which has experimental dwg capability. Seems to work ok if the drawing is not too complex. Another possibility is the appimage of Librecad which is v. 2.11, and has dwg as well. Beyond that, I'm going to give freecad a shot--mainly as 2d. Barring satisfaction with available native linux cad apps, I can run a windows virtual machine, or use the only laptop left in my posession with windows 7 on it. With that I can run solid edge draft, or nanocad, or any number of other freebies with autocad-like interfaces. Most of the windows 2d cad apps are not capable of being run under wine--at least the last time I tried.

Regards
Bob

IdahoJim
03-22-2019, 11:33 AM
At $200, the Alibre Atom seems like a good choice.... Full parametric 3D cad, most of the regular modeling features of full Alibre, https://www.alibre.com/atom3d/

And the program works even of you do not pay the $50 maintenance after the first year. Maintenance gets you updates and so forth, bug fixes, etc.

Thanks, Jerry, I'll take a look at that. Most of my stuff is fairly simple, so I don't need a ton of bells and whistles. I did the 3d perspective drawings for my patent app, with 2d Draftsight and it worked OK. After looking at Fusion360, I decided it is way more than I need, and the learning curve would take too long.
Jim

IdahoJim
03-22-2019, 11:36 AM
I just received an email that the free version of DraftSight will go away at the end of 2019. They'll be charging $99 annually for access to the program, and talk about heading to a cloud based solution.

So, with this loss in the landscape for 2D drafting software changes. I'd like to start a discussion about current free or low cost one time purchase CAD software. I know there is a current discussion of the value of CAD, http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net/threads/78613-The-benefits-of-simple-CAD-drawing/page8?highlight=software , but I' like to get into a more feature/cost/licensing discussion.

Here are a few alternative for which I know the name...

Fusion360
Libre Cad
OnShape
Solid Edge ST8
RhinocerosV6 (Whoops! $950 euro) https://www.rhino3d.com/sales/north-america/United_States
TurboCad
FreeCAD https://www.freecadweb.org/

I haven't been notified of this. I'm hoping it ain't so...LOL
Jim

enginuity
03-22-2019, 04:35 PM
QCAD is very good for what it is.

Realistically the price they are asking for Draftsight isn't that much. $99 is less than Microsoft Office.

For hobby use I would go with the Solidworks EAA deal. If you need CAM or do work for profit Fusion 360 is probably the best way.

Alibre is also worth it. It has that classic Solidworks feel which is very good.

fixerdave
03-22-2019, 05:25 PM
Just a quick search on Linux of Open-Source "CAD":

p freecad - Extensible Open Source CAx program (alpha)
p kicad - Electronic schematic and PCB design software
p leocad - virtual brick CAD software
p librecad - Computer-aided design (CAD) system
p openscad - script file based graphical CAD environment
p pythoncad - Computer Aided Drafting (CAD) program
p sagcad - CAD/CAM of 2D program
p xtrkcad - Model Train Track CAD Program

Not vouching for any of them, just trying to complete the list of what's free, in this case Open-Source free. At least with Open-Source, you'll never get one of those letters.

Note that there's also Inkscape if you just doing basic 2D (Like Corel, not really CAD). I actually use InkScape to generate text and vector art that I import into Fusion 360.

Edit: And Blender (a little daunting), SolveSpace (never used it), oh, and don't forget TinkerCAD. Okay, you might want to forget these if it's 2D you're after.

David...

RB211
03-22-2019, 05:50 PM
I am completely bewildered by any suggestion other than Fusion360, which is free, as good or better than premium Solidworks, has really good cam, and probably the best file import / export of any CAD software. Fusion360 too hard to learn? Are you kidding us?
Fusion360 is a dream come true for the home shop machinist, and small job shop. You are wasting your time dicking around with anything other than 3D parametric modeling software, even for 2d and 2.5d parts.

fixerdave
03-22-2019, 08:14 PM
I am completely bewildered by any suggestion other than Fusion360, which is free, as good or better than premium Solidworks, has really good cam, and probably the best file import / export of any CAD software. Fusion360 too hard to learn? Are you kidding us?
Fusion360 is a dream come true for the home shop machinist, and small job shop. You are wasting your time dicking around with anything other than 3D parametric modeling software, even for 2d and 2.5d parts.

I chose and use Fusion 360, with no regrets, This, despite the fact that, because of my work, I have a lot more "free" options than most people here. I could use Solidworks, Inventor, AutoCAD. etc. for free. But, I'm not bewildered that some others would make different choices. There are downsides:

Fusion 360 has a very aggressive and entirely forced update cycle, which is good... unless you hate change. The UI is going to change on you, like it or not. You can't just stick with some old version.

With Fusion 360, at some point, sooner or later, you will either hit some feature that costs or you'll get "that letter." I expect it will be the former rather than the latter, and that feature is likely to be some new thing rather than some established action I depend on. For example, I'd like to try that generative design feature... but I'm not going to pay for it.

Some people, through personal choice or NDAs, are quite leery of cloud-based applications. They want everything to stay where they put it. That's a fair choice, even if I don't care (and actually like the cloud-based functionality).

And, some people have been using Product X for some crazy amount of time and simply don't want to learn anything new, preferring instead to use Product Y that follows the old Product X UI look and feel. That's fair too... limiting, but a fair choice.

But, yeah... unless there's some strong reason not to go that route, Fusion 360 seems to be well ahead of the pack these days, and will probably stay there for quite a while.

David...

PStechPaul
03-22-2019, 10:46 PM
I have been playing around with FreeCad for a while and I've made some progress but I find it very difficult and slow after being used to TurboCad for so many years. I found a video that points out some of the annoying inconsistencies in FreeCad and that may steer me away from seriously considering it.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R9KIa3_dJu8

PStechPaul
03-23-2019, 01:41 AM
I decided to try TurboCad Deluxe. I was able to open at least one recent TurboCad drawing that had multiple solid model objects, and it seemed to just convert them to surface models, with no major differences in appearance.

So I started a new drawing, and I fairly quickly made a surface model of an aluminum plunger I plan to make. Took only about 10 minutes, and everything seems to work the same as I have become accustomed to with version 15.2. It won't save in IGES format, but it works for STL, DWG, and DXF. I was able to open the STL file with the Windows 10 Print 3D App:

http://enginuitysystems.com/pix/Plunger-stl.PNG

Here is the part saved as JPG and cropped in MS Paint:

http://enginuitysystems.com/pix/Plunger.jpg

Here are the various file formats. Please see if you can open them in your favorite CAD program:

http://enginuitysystems.com/pix/Plunger.dwg
http://enginuitysystems.com/pix/Plunger.dxf
http://enginuitysystems.com/pix/Plunger.stl

I can buy the license for it for $125:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/TurboCAD-Deluxe-2018-Download-CAD-Design-Software/382838862011?hash=item5922f970bb:g:TBkAAOSwqmVbdIv W

J Tiers
03-23-2019, 04:48 AM
Be careful of Alibre Atom if you have Alibre Design on the same computer. I downloaded the trial version of Atom to verify it'd be a good choice for the grand kid's 3D printing.

I found out the hard way they can't be on the same computer.........neither one will run and the Atom installation will corrupt Design. Of course, they don't tell you this.

As to the Draftsight announcement, I'm expecting Autodesk to do the same thing with Fusion 360. At some point it'll no longer be free to hobbyists, etc. Once they've got you hooked they turn the screws. I never liked Draftsight anyway, but I use Fusion occasionally because of features none of my other Cad's have.

Why would you have both? If you have Alibre, no reason for Atom, other than maybe to try it out.

One is a subset of the other, and they use the same files to run, so yes, one per computer, or each install will "step on" the other. I think that occurs for many programs.

The user group site has been very clear about one install per machine.

sansbury
03-23-2019, 09:02 AM
Regardless of the package you choose, making the move to 3D parametric design with assemblies was a revolution for me. I suspect some people avoid it because it leads you to spending more time in front of the computer than the mill/lathe, but it also means less scrap and faster progress on projects of any real complexity.

DR
03-23-2019, 12:01 PM
Why would you have both? If you have Alibre, no reason for Atom, other than maybe to try it out.

One is a subset of the other, and they use the same files to run, so yes, one per computer, or each install will "step on" the other. I think that occurs for many programs.

The user group site has been very clear about one install per machine.

I thought I made it clear I wanted to see how it would be for my grand kids to use for 3D printing. Also, being a newer version of Alibre than my free Design version I wanted to see if any new features were apparent. It would have been easy for Alibre to detect my version of Design and warn against or prevent the double installation. As it was after my insistence, Alibre did send me a special installation version of Atom that could co-exist with Design.

I don't subscribe to the user group and didn't know it existed. I went for years never using Alibre. Recently by a combination of Alibre and Fusion 360 I've been about to accomplish some 3D modeling operations that neither would handle by themselves.

PStechPaul
03-23-2019, 02:48 PM
The OP apparently needs just 2-D capability, and there are many free or low cost software options for that. Draftsight (https://www.draftsight.com/) seems overpriced for what it is, although I haven't used it, so YMMV. The 2019 versions appear to be subscription based, $100 or $200 per year for 2-D, and they now offer a 3-D version for $500/yr.

I used TurboCad just for 2-D drawing for probably 10-15 years, but once I learned the advantages of 3-D, I greatly prefer it. My TurboCad Pro v15.2 has served me well, and I like having some of the premium capabilities such as architectural shapes and mechanical options such as bends, but I rarely use them. So it looks like the latest Deluxe version will work for me - it just lacks solid modeling and some mechanical options.

Perhaps a topic for another thread, but I've been looking into the essential differences between surface and solid modeling, and I have not found a definitive answer. My surface modeling of a simple part as shown above was done with the same tools that I have previously used on solid models, and it appears to be able to produce a STL file for 3-D printing. I have found some rather complex designs that were done with surface modeling:

http://www.kastenmarine.com/why_NURBS.htm
http://www.kastenmarine.com/_screenshots/40m%20_KLM_unlocked.jpg

http://www.kastenmarine.com/_screenshots/steamer_80_aft_above.jpg

https://www.reddit.com/r/cad/comments/saey4/solid_modeling_vs_surface_modeling/

https://learnfreecad.wordpress.com/2018/08/02/freecad-solid-modeling-vs-surface-modeling/

https://www.3dhubs.com/talk/t/difference-between-surface-and-solids/6214/8

https://forum.solidworks.com/thread/47947

Perhaps more important is the concept of direct versus parametric design and editing of surfaces vs solids.

https://www.ptc.com/en/cad-software-blog/parametric-vs-direct-modeling-which-side-are-you-on

https://www.engineering.com/DesignSoftware/DesignSoftwareArticles/ArticleID/16587/Whats-the-Difference-Between-Parametric-and-Direct-Modeling.aspx

J Tiers
03-23-2019, 04:25 PM
I thought I made it clear I wanted to see how it would be for my grand kids to use for 3D printing. Also, being a newer version of Alibre than my free Design version I wanted to see if any new features were apparent. It would have been easy for Alibre to detect my version of Design and warn against or prevent the double installation. As it was after my insistence, Alibre did send me a special installation version of Atom that could co-exist with Design.

I don't subscribe to the user group and didn't know it existed. I went for years never using Alibre. Recently by a combination of Alibre and Fusion 360 I've been about to accomplish some 3D modeling operations that neither would handle by themselves.

I saw that, but did not "get" all the implications. OK.

The current version of Alibre expert is quite good, and the new version due out in a few weeks looks to be even better. None of them are perfect, Solidworks has some odd problems also, as I found out when I used it extensively a couple years ago. I do not know how much of that gets through to Atom.

When 3D Systems sold it back to the old development team, Alibre lost the ability to import STL files, but it can still output them, and I know Atom has that also.