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What kind of CAD software do you use?

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  • What kind of CAD software do you use?

    Hello All

    Questions for the crowd.

    1) What kind of CAD software are you guys using? If any at all.

    2) and Why that one?


  • #2
    For work, Solid Edge v11. It is a 3d solid modeler, pricey at about $6k per seat. Used Autocad 2D for many years and for someone who worked "flat" for so long, the transition had some minor pain. If you know what you want to do, once you access the means of doing it you're halfway there. The beauty of working in 3d is you can drop 2d fabrication drawings out of it, create assemblies, check fits, etc. Even create photo-realistic images which look pretty real if your individual part models are good.

    Also use Intellicad 2000 (was free then) which is an Autocad 2D clone. It is a bit quirky but useable. It now costs $100 and change. Reads and writes real Autocad drawing files pretty well.

    PTC, the maker of Pro/Engineer, a $20k per seat 3d modeler, has a freebie called Pro/Desktop Express. It is tied to your PCs hardware and you need only a simple registration and email for a software key code. Express is a bit quirky but works, produces 3d solid models, drops out 2d fabrication prints.

    I've also heard that Autodesk Inventor is quite capable and the latest version is perhaps better than the packages I've used.

    Have also looked at TurboCad Pro but there is no comparison whatsoever to the 3d modelers mentioned above, even the free one from PTC.

    The important thing is, what do you want to do with the software and what kind of budget do you have ? There are many detailed issues with each package but if you let us know what you need we may be able to point out a package with strong points in that area.



    • #3
      ACAD 14 is what I use at home. I get emailed blueprints sometimes


      • #4
        I use Rhinoceros. It is a 3-D nurbs modeler. For just under a grand you get the following: 1) 3-D models that you can render/shade ect.
        2) 3-D surfaces that export into almost every CAM software.
        3) Will produce surface developments from 3-D surfaces.
        4) Produces IGES, DXF, BMT and a bunch of other file formats.
        5) Produces 2-D drawings from 3-D objects/models.
        Take a look at


        • #5
          Rhino has a free download that saves 25 times, after that the save function disables. It is still usable after that, just won't save. Ditto for the Flamingo surface rendererer. If your going to to useing the software comercially I'd suggest that you spend the money and get a site licence for what ever product you wind up using just to save the potential hassle. After all all of these companies spend a lot of manhours in developing their software packages. If your really serious about 3d look into SolidWorks.
          Forty plus years and I still have ten toes, ten fingers and both eyes. I must be doing something right.


          • #6

            At home, Autocad, used it for work and home work projects. Also for fun projects @ home. The basic 2D software that IMHO is a little more difficult than it should be but is the industry standard. Went a long way since the beginning to make starting from scratch on CAD easier.

            Used Solidworks for 3D stuff also. Best 3D software i ran into to date. Did not use solidedge yet. IMHO 3D is for when you are working on 1 single project with lots of resources or you need to impress non techies into your design. 2D beats 3D in most real work cases for speed. 3D bogs down w/ large assemblies or high complex parts. 3D beats 2D in complex surfaces and molded parts.

            Anvil 1000 is a good 2D software also but nobody but a few people use it. Also has a good CAM interface.

            Dont forget paper and pencil drawings/sketches. Most machinist read them also. hehe.


            • #7
              AutoCAD at work because I'm forced to. I do audio/video systems design and the VidCAD add-on is currently the industry's best for this. IMHO AutoCAD is the hardest to learn program I have ever used.

              At work and at home I have used EasyCAD and FastCAD, both by Evolution Computing, for over 12 years. They are inexpensive, very easy to learn and use, and the product support is the best in the industry. My latest version is 2D but they are working on 3D and I am one V behind.

              They have a BB similar to this one where users can discuss problems, techniques, etc. - just like this one. Except the head programmer for Evolution monitors the board all the time. I have seen responses "straight from the horse's mouth" too many timnes to count and he has even done overnight revisions to fix problems and posted them on their site for instant distribution. In the software industry it just don't get any better than that. I give them my very highest recomendation.


              Paul A.

              Make it fit.
              You can't win and there is a penalty for trying!


              • #8
                I use Solidworks as a design tool. Solidworks is a 3D parametric CAD package. Using a parametric 3D CAD tool is quite different from the archaic 2D CAD like AutoCad. AutoCad is just drafting on the computer. With Solidworks one makes a sketch and then extrudes the sketch into a 3D model. Dimensions and features are added after and can be changed at any time. Using a parametric modeling program is very much like the machining process itself. Start with a solid and add features, like drilling a hole or milling a slot. A big advantage of Solidworks is that a working virtual assembly of parts can be made. The assembly can be checked for fit and parts moved in the assembly. Fixes can be made on the fly. Traditional 2D drawings are automatically generated as is a parts list in eXcel.

                Don Clement
                Running Springs, California


                • #9
                  At work I use pro-e. For plastic funky shaped parts it's great, and quick. But I also use Anvil 1000 V5. if i just need to do something quick. In my opinion, autocad is just to hard to use. I don't know how it became so widly used, but I think that it is falling off. We also use Solid works here, and I hear that for all but the funkiest of parts it's very good. And it is not as expensive as Pro-E