Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

O.T. Free beginner 3D CAD Software Suggestions Requested

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

  • O.T. Free beginner 3D CAD Software Suggestions Requested

    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

  • #2
    Freecad... http://www.freecadweb.org

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

    http://electronicsam.com/images/Kand...2010:32:46.png
    http://electronicsam.com/images/Kand...g/DSC_2169.JPG

    Comment


    • #3
      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.
      "I am, and ever will be, a white-socks, pocket-protector, nerdy engineer -- born under the second law of thermodynamics, steeped in the steam tables, in love with free-body diagrams, transformed by Laplace, and propelled by compressible flow."

      Comment


      • #4
        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.
        The shortest distance between two points is a circle of infinite diameter.

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

        Southwestern Ontario. Canada

        Comment


        • #5
          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

          Comment


          • #6
            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 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. If you get one or two versions back you can upgrade to the current version cheaply.
            http://pauleschoen.com/pix/PM08_P76_P54.png
            Paul , P S Technology, Inc. and MrTibbs
            USA Maryland 21030

            Comment


            • #7
              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.
              1601

              Keep eye on ball.
              Hashim Khan

              Comment


              • #8
                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.

                Comment


                • #9
                  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.
                  Last edited by Evan; 01-24-2015, 09:37 PM.
                  Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    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.
                    Last edited by J Tiers; 01-24-2015, 11:50 PM.
                    1601

                    Keep eye on ball.
                    Hashim Khan

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I eventually got my Ubuntu installation to work today and immediately installed FreeCAD, unfortunately the help facility did not install.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        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.
                        John Titor, when are you.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Sketchup was originally set up for architecture hence the walls and roofs etc.
                          The shortest distance between two points is a circle of infinite diameter.

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

                          Southwestern Ontario. Canada

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Evan View Post
                            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.
                            Last edited by loose nut; 01-25-2015, 10:10 AM.
                            The shortest distance between two points is a circle of infinite diameter.

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

                            Southwestern Ontario. Canada

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by loose nut View Post
                              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.
                              1601

                              Keep eye on ball.
                              Hashim Khan

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X