Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Alibre CAD program

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Alibre CAD program

    Hi Guys,

    I am looking to purchasing a CAD/CAM program. I am currently "test driving" a fully functional program .... Alibre Design Expert.

    Do any of you guys own Alibre software or have knowledge of this company? They are currently offering a $2800.00 program for $999.00. My thoughts bring me to the following:

    1. Have hard economic times befallen this company hence a "serious price reduction?
    2. Are they about to go out of business ..... for whatever reason ..... thus selling as much as possible before "closing their doors"?
    3. On the surface it appears that an Internet connection is required to run Alibre Design Expert CAD program. If after spending a bunch of money for the program, what happens if they go out of business thus no future Internet connection with this company?
    4. Regarding quality and user-friendly properties, how does this program compare to other CAD/CAM programs?

    Over all, is purchasing this program worth the time and effort involved in learning this program?

    From what I gather when speaking with their representative, all drawings (file extensions) support all CNC machines therefore one can send a drawing to a CNC shop and the part can be fabricated.

    Thanks,


    Harold
    For those having fought for it, Freedom has a flavor the protected will never know.
    Freedom is only one generation away from extinction.

  • #2
    I use Alibre for all of my mechanical designs... I've not regretted buying it for a moment! I think it's a great program.

    I know nothing about the company, but they've had lots of great deals over the years... I wouldn't let that bother you.

    Comment


    • #3
      Harold,
      I purchased Alibre V12 about a month ago when they had the $399 deal. I think the reason they are making these low price offers is to sell as many seats as possible so they can make their money back on the yearly maintenance fees. In a commercial shop like mine it makes sense to pay the maintenance fees so I always have the most up to date version and the support that goes with it. My friend bought Alibre V11 when they had the $99 deal. When he changed his operating system to Windows 7 and Alibre wouldn't work. He has since upgraded Alibre with maintenance.

      I don't use Alibre for a CAM system, I have Mastercam X4. Mastercam has an Alibre file converter. I can draw in Alibre and then open the file in Mastercam and generate the tool paths from the drawing. In my shop CAD/CAM is one of the most profitable tools I own, my CNC machines would not be as profitable without it. Mastercam X4 has a system called Feature Based Machining (FBM) that allows you to take a solid model and let Mastercam decide how to machine it and what tools to use. I can take a complex Alibre drawing, open it Mastercam, answer a few simple questions and Mastercam will pick tools from my library and generate all the tool paths to make the part. At that point I send the code to the machine and cut away. It takes me less than 10 minutes to get the machine code for FBM type parts, without FBM it could takes hours on some complex parts to get code. I don't know about other CAM systems supporting Alibre files but CNC shops with Mastercam X4 can work with them.

      I have only been using Alibre for a short time so I can't give an honest review yet. It does seem fairly easy to use although it is not Solidworks, nor does it cost the same as Solidworks. The customer service at Alibre has been good but I haven't used it a lot.

      Alibre seems to have sold many seats lately so I don't think are about to go under. Many companies are offering deals right now, Solidworks called me on Friday and sent this email the same day,

      "Dear Mark



      I am writing to let you know that, due to the phenomenal response we had last month with our best deal ever on SolidWorks, the promotional pricing has been extended through December.

      When you buy a new SolidWorks Basic license before December 29th, we’ll upgrade you to our flagship SolidWorks Premium package at no additional cost.

      Simply pay for Basic SolidWorks to get SolidWorks Premium and save $4,000!"

      Solidworks has some very high yearly maintenance fees and you pay for the level of program you have, so sure they want to give you the upgrade so they will make the money back in Maintenance fees.


      I think Alibre is a good low cost choice for a CAD system.
      Mark Hockett

      Comment


      • #4
        Hi Guys,

        Much appreciate that you took time to respond. Both have been helpful.

        Mark I am especially interested in your reply and the CAM program you are using. I wouldn't doubt too much that a CNC machine is in my not so distant future. Thanks again for the information.

        Harold
        For those having fought for it, Freedom has a flavor the protected will never know.
        Freedom is only one generation away from extinction.

        Comment


        • #5
          hmmm
          all those sums of money

          if you download from them the free one and regester

          then hang on ..
          first you will get offers of $2000 plus

          then a couple of hundred a week or two later ..

          then you will get the 99 dollar one a week later again ..

          i dont know whats going on ..guess they are after suckers ..

          all the best.markj

          Comment


          • #6
            I cannot wrap my head around the idea of paying that much money for a cad program, or any software. For that sort of money it better sing, dance and take out the garbage while drawing what you want by reading your mind.

            I have used some high end software of various types and have never seen enough difference to justify the cost. One example was the cost difference between Paint Shop Pro and Photoshop. Photoshop was around $800 and PSP was $150 or so. There was nothing about Photoshop that made it over 600 dollars better than PSP and in fact PSP was the better of the two in my opinion.

            BTW, there is an import/export plugin now available for Sketchup that exports to CAM BAM.
            http://www.cerebralmeltdown.com/cncs...rt/default.htm

            There is also a plugin available free that generates G-code inside of Sketchup.

            http://www.phlatboyz.com/the-process...g-your-design/

            It's GNU license but you must register on the forum to be able to access the download.
            Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Evan
              I cannot wrap my head around the idea of paying that much money for a cad program, or any software. For that sort of money it better sing, dance and take out the garbage while drawing what you want by reading your mind.

              I have used some high end software of various types and have never seen enough difference to justify the cost. One example was the cost difference between Paint Shop Pro and Photoshop. Photoshop was around $800 and PSP was $150 or so. There was nothing about Photoshop that made it over 600 dollars better than PSP and in fact PSP was the better of the two in my opinion.

              BTW, there is an import/export plugin now available for Sketchup that exports to CAM BAM.
              http://www.cerebralmeltdown.com/cncs...rt/default.htm

              There is also a plugin available free that generates G-code inside of Sketchup.

              http://www.phlatboyz.com/the-process...g-your-design/

              It's GNU license but you must register on the forum to be able to access the download.
              Evan,

              Therein lies my issue .... of sorts. Currently, having but scant knowledge of *real* CAD programs, I find it difficult justifying the need for such expense. I've been using CorelDraw (various versions) since 1992 and over the years I have learned to draw most anything I desire. However, CorelDraw (at least the versions I own) do not communicate with CAM software. When faced with that fact, I do see need for a CAD program but only because of difference in function and end use; end products of CAD programs will likely be used for a "higher calling" than simply pictorial representations of "what is to come".

              Having used Adobe PS since 1994 (and all updated version to date), I can draw a corollary between the use of Paint Shop Pro and Adobe PS (based on personal experience of using both) if comparing CorelDraw to a *real* CAD program. Vast potential (computing power) and undiscovered properties are yet to be unleashed in my darkroom if using Adobe PS. I find new "windows" each day I use PS. Naturally, I will NEVER harness the *total power* of PS such as I will never have full knowledge of CorelDraw but outwardly it appears that Alibre Design Expert is on a totally different plane than CD and PS. I suspect that Alibre Design Expert (or most any CAD program) is on an order far above CD and PS (which I have revered all these years).

              Being TOTALLY ignorant of that which is required to cause drawings to communicate with CNC machines, it's a bit intimidating to embark on this journey. More accurately stated, based on Alibre's product that I am "test driving", the learning curve for powerful CAD programs scares the sh%! out of me. It's taken me years to become comfortably proficient with Adobe PS and CD and I *fear* the thoughts of possibly spending similar time learning a CAD program. Hell, if I buy a CNC machine I may never get to use it for spending years learning how to talk to the beast!

              When it comes to CAD programs, I suppose having and never needing is better than needing and not having. That's the other issue .... the other side of the coin. Facing this in a positive light, assuming that running a CNC machine is not so "hairy", I would hate to purchase a lesser program then soon thereafter realize a need to upgrade to a more potent software. This would be costly!

              Thanks for your response.

              Harold
              For those having fought for it, Freedom has a flavor the protected will never know.
              Freedom is only one generation away from extinction.

              Comment


              • #8
                There ARE factors that make it worth extra money, IF you need/want them. If you don't use CAD I couldn't possibly explain them, you just won't understand.

                When Alibre had their super introductory deal, I didn't have an XP machine to run it on, and so couldn't try it. Now it has gotten very expensive and NO deals , so I keep using Autocad. Wouldn't mind Autocad Inventor, though, it is a good 3D... also expensive.

                In my case I know what I'd like, but it isn't worth the money to me.
                1601

                Keep eye on ball.
                Hashim Khan

                Comment


                • #9
                  Evan, Glad to find another long term fan of PSP. I've been using it forever.

                  Regarding Alibre vs others, I bought Alibre a few months back for a sweet price and within a month, the bottom dropped out of the price with a $99 offer. Alibre was very good about it and satisfied my need for some sort of adjustment.

                  We run 3 seats of SolidEdge at work at around $6k per seat. I wouldn't think of handing my mechanical designers Alibre or other "low cost" package. Don't confuse "low cost" with "low end" either. Alibre is very capable but if you are going to work it hard all day long on parts and assemblies ... for profit ... you want SolidEdge or SolidWorks.

                  After a month or so of adjusting to Alibre, I can see that even with V12, it has a long way to go in fixing bugs and removing many quirks that exist.

                  You just can't have people working all day long on work-arounds to what should be straightforward part creation and design entry.

                  From what I've seen of Alibre Design, there is no way I would want to manage design revision with it. That's where the revision managers in the higher cost packages really show their worth. Nothing is perfect, but the higher cost packages have had a lot of time spent making them the workhorses that they are.

                  I love Alibre for home use and would use it for a one or two man business. Hopefully, their experiments in marketing pay off and they remain a healthy viable CAD company.

                  Den

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I will offer one piece of advice about learning to use any sort of 3D CAD software. A very large part of the learning curve is realizing that there is an order of magnitude more information that must be given by the user to the program about the "drawing". In 3D CAD you aren't creating a drawing, you are creating a computer simulation of the object. I have been working with variations on this concept since I bought my first computer in 1979 so my learning curve is now going on 30 years.

                    Objects in 3D space have a location expressed by the X,Y and Z parameters on a 3D cartesean coordinate system. They also have an orientation expressed by roll, bank and yaw expressed by angles in a polar coordinate system.

                    The 3D CAD system must know these values and the better systems will try to deduce what you intend by making assumptions based on how you draw the part. This is where the major catch lies and is the part that is hard for many people to grasp at first.

                    There is no way for the software to read your mind. If it uses assumptions that aren't what you intended then you will be fighting to make it work and it won't. That is why every CAD program has some sort of facility to always enter these values manually from the keyboard. That includes values of X, Y and Z plus the roll, bank and yaw. It is by entering such values with exact numbers that the program is then able to calculate precise values for everything else it must do.

                    Start by imediately using the keyboard commands and data entry system. It's there in every program. Learn to use it first and the rest will make a lot more sense.
                    Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Evan
                      Objects in 3D space have a location expressed by the X,Y and Z parameters on a 3D cartesean coordinate system. They also have an orientation expressed by roll, bank and yaw expressed by angles in a polar coordinate system.

                      That is why every CAD program has some sort of facility to always enter these values manually from the keyboard. That includes values of X, Y and Z plus the roll, bank and yaw. It is by entering such values with exact numbers that the program is then able to calculate precise values for everything else it must do.

                      Start by imediately using the keyboard commands and data entry system. It's there in every program. Learn to use it first and the rest will make a lot more sense.
                      I hate to disagree but this would keep most designers away from 3D solids packages today.

                      Not to oversimplify either but if you realize that when you squeeze your toothpaste tube (with 1/4" ID) you're going to get a 1/4" solid cylinder as long as you squeeze for, you're a candidate for 3D solids.

                      Once the concepts of extruding (either a solid or a cut), revolving (to create a solid or a cut), poking a hole in something and the basics of positioning of entities are grasped (even lightly) you can start making parts.

                      In general you're only working on one sketch at a time so if you can read the views of a part blueprint, you've got a fighting change of generating a feature of that type.

                      Some analogs between 3D solid and machine world are helpful to get started:

                      < 3D Solid = Machine equivalent >

                      end mill = extruded cut
                      round over mill = fillet
                      ball mill = fillet

                      revolved cut = lathe turning or rotary table work
                      feature pattern = DRO hole or feature pattern

                      swept feature = lathe taper attachment (pretty loose comparison )
                      helical sweep or cut = thread or cam cutting

                      shell = roughing out

                      In general, starting with the softwares tutorials, no matter how boring, are a good idea to get the feel for where "tools" are that you need or expect to have available somewhere in the package.

                      Den

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        somebody had also suggested Wildfire Pro E or pro engineer. Somewhere on their website they have a $250 "personal use" version. I may try that at some point...

                        A while back I had asked about a free or nearly free CAM program, but had pretty much come up empty handed. The main problem is that most of them are way too limited, or come up with retarded tool paths.

                        A lot of the people around me just pirate an expensive program, and nothing bad seems to happen to them. Sheesh, why pay $1000 when you can get something for free?
                        Wildfire also has a "student version" of Pro E for $89, which, as far as I can tell, is the same as the personal use version. Why don't I just use my old student ID or get a student to buy it for me if it can save $161?
                        A real ethical dilemma.
                        No wonder software piracy or cheating is such a problem.

                        In my case, my parts are simple enough that I write g-code by hand.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Why are there great deals on cad software, the cad market is saturated.

                          Companies like Autodesk and Solidworks make most of there money these days on annual maintenance fees etc. instead of selling copies of software.

                          Alibre is one of the newer cad companies and to break into the market they have to make deals that attract new buyers away from the other companies and hope to make more profits in the future off of these people, again more maintenance fees.

                          The reason Autocad became a big name in cad years ago, not because it was the best in it's class but because they didn't copy protect their software and it was widely spread around, many people became proficient at it on pirated copies and therefore a supply of trained drafters was available so companies bought Autocad.

                          The free Alibre version is good enough for most home applications, unless you have seven grand to spare.
                          The shortest distance between two points is a circle of infinite diameter.

                          Bluewater Model Engineering Society at https://sites.google.com/site/bluewatermes/

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I have the original free Alibre version and just now tried to install it. No go. It complains that it can't register a Java class even though I have Sun Java running and updated. I was going to have another look at it but looks like I won't.
                            Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              The reason Autocad became a big name in cad years ago, not because it was the best in it's class but because they didn't copy protect their software and it was widely spread around, many people became proficient at it on pirated copies and therefore a supply of trained drafters was available so companies bought Autocad.
                              That was intentional and achieved the desired result according to John Walker, main founder of the company. He still does programming and has a variety of applications and tools that he gives away with absolutely no strings attached by placing them in the public domain.
                              Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X