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Do you use CAD?, what software.

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  • Do you use CAD?, what software.

    I just finished drawing up a couple parts that I will be machining, It occurred to me that most everyone is probably using some kind of CAD software, I have no problem with continuing to use pencil and paper because I would rather spend time making the part instead of trying to learn some CAD software. I know some of the CAD packages are expensive as well, but I can't justify an expensive CAD package for a mini machine shop, for my own personal projects.

    What do you guys use for CAD (if any)?

  • #2
    Pro engineer. (creo)

    Been using it for 20 years now. Man, when I type that out, that's a long time!!


    • #3
      I have AutoCAD and have since '89 but when I retired I: 1) Didn't need or want their 3D (it's a pain in the arse) and 2) couldn't
      afford their prices!

      I also changed recently form a PC to a MAC so messed around looking for a MAC cad. Settled on TuboCAD and bought their
      $40 one. Junk in my opinion.

      On another board I found a lot of folks were using a fairly new program called QCAD. It's free and seems to beat anything
      out there for features, useablity, and import/export flexibility. They have an upgrade to the 'Pro' version but it's only like
      $20 or something. From what I've played with so far it looks like I'll be getting the upgrade.

      Oh, and it runs on both PC and MAC!!

      1973 SB 10K .
      BenchMaster mill.


      • #4
        I've been using TurboCAD for 15 years or so, and I like it. I have version 15.2 Pro, with full 3-D and mechanical and architectural options. There's a free demo download and you can get less current versions on eBay for $50-$200 or so. Here's drawings of a recent project:

        Paul , P S Technology, Inc. and MrTibbs
        USA Maryland 21030


        • #5
          Through work I have access to Autodesk Inventor and AutoCAD. Inventor is great once you figure out some tricks, but I am really happy when I am using AutoCAD. I had a co-worker who could always tell when I was using AutoCAD instead of Inventor because there was a big smile on my face.

          I never learned drafting with a table and pencil. I can sketch decently, but I don't have the experience doing formal drawings. I went directly to AutoCAD, and love using it.

          I don't like the programs that I see in some colleges now that take the trainees directly into the 3D programs. With a 2D system you still need to learn good drafting practices to make a proper drawing. Things like scaling, dimensions, annotations, views. With 3D systems it sometimes seems like the drawing is an afterthought, where a ton of work is put into the model and the drawing is a byproduct at the end of the process. Just bang out a couple views and toss on some dimensions and call it a day. How many views are required? Who cares, just add more because it's easy. Dimensions? Just start firing away until it looks good. Scale? Use whatever fits.

          Unfortunately that drawing should be the communication to the guy doing the actual machining, and that communication breaks down if the drawing is not properly thought out.
          Cayuga, Ontario, Canada


          • #6
            I've been using Visual Cadd in its various incarnations for 20+ years.

            If you're not doing CNC, there probably isn't much reason to change. If you are going to do CNC, then Fusion 360 would be a good choice. It's free for hobbyists and startups. It includes an advanced CAM program as well.

            If you're a programmer, OpenScad is a good open source program.


            • #7
              The problem with software is that it is very personal. Lots of people will tell you how great something is and you'll find you hate. I currently have the latest version Autocad LT and while I have used it at my job for 15 years I still think it sucks. If I had to go back to 2D only for myself I'd be real inclined to go back to Visual Cadd. I think it is hands down the fastest 2D package on the planet. I was incredibly fast using that program. AutoCad has just slowed me down so much it is sickening. Unfortunately Visual Cadd is $495, worth every penny but not cheap.

              For 3D I started on Rhino and still have Version 3, but Rhino isn't a drafting program, but is incredible to work with and costs about $750 discounted. I used SolidEdge at 4,000 for about eight years too. I now have SolidWorks Pro 2016 at $6,000 and I like it a lot. If you design machinery like I do the price is very quickly recouped, but again not cheap.

              You might look at Fusion 360 or Onshape as they both have kind of hobby versions for little money. I think 3D is the way to go today. You don't just design stuff with it, you design better stuff faster.


              • #8
                There's tons of threads here on cad, you should search and read, be prepared to spend some time!

                That said, a lot depends on what your goal is. Is it just to draw a plan of something for your own use, to show to somebody, to send to a 3D printer or cam shop, or are you just looking for a tool to help you design. I design a lot of stuff that I make in my shop, and I use Sketchup. It's free. I use a traditional style 2d cad for technical drawing, and have learned Solidworks and other parametric programs to see what the fuss was about. A lot of guys who have used traditional cad systems hate Sketchups "way of thinking", but once you learn it, to me it makes "thinking on screen" much easier than trad-cad. You want to lengthen a part, you just pull the side out. I'm not the only one to find the parametric programs want you to know what the final product is before you draw it.

                You can download the program and tutorials, even look at the zillion models that have been uploaded to see what it's capable of.
                Location: Jersey City NJ USA


                • #9
                  I used Computervision and Catia when I was in tool design. On my own I got TurboCad. Tried it a bit, couldn't figure out how to do anything I wanted and quit. I came back to it some time later and pulled up the tutorials. Once I'd spent a little time getting some basics, things fell into place nicely. I use solid modeling a little, but a lot of time I'm just doing quick sketches for the shop or some geometry to check clearances or dimensions so just use 2D lines. They make sense to me from years on the drawing board. And then there are times when I need to make finished drawings, bills of material, revision blocks and the whole works. These might be 2D if simple or for complex things I can suck views and sections out of the solid design.
                  "People will occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of the time they will pick themselves up and carry on" : Winston Churchill


                  • #10
                    I used Autocad, avoided Pro-E, used Solidworks, and now I have personally Geomagic, which is what Alibre turned into.

                    It's 3D and has a super good rendering program with it (Keyshot). The newest version, which I could, but have not yet downloaded (I'm on maintenance) has them integrated for interactive use.

                    I like it a lot, I did not like Solidworks, but I DO like Geomagic.

                    Design in 3D, export most any useful format, including Solidworks files, make good 2D drawings of the part quickly, render it photorealistically, what's not to like?
                    CNC machines only go through the motions.

                    Ideas expressed may be mine, or from anyone else in the universe.
                    Not responsible for clerical errors. Or those made by lay people either.
                    Number formats and units may be chosen at random depending on what day it is.
                    I reserve the right to use a number system with any integer base without prior notice.
                    Generalizations are understood to be "often" true, but not true in every case.


                    • #11
                      I'm not a programmer, when it comes to writing code in a computer programming language, but I know my way around a computer. I am a PLC programmer and I have written some pretty involved scripts and HMI applications in my career as an automation controls tech, I have done some engineering level work, but I try to avoid it since I don't get paid any more to do an engineers work I have Windows, and Linux operating systems (no Mac).

                      I have a little CNC experience with a friends Mach 3 CNC mill, but I currently have no plans to build or buy a CNC setup.


                      • #12
                        I think you need to state what your goals are and budget is, programs costing hundreds and thousands of dollars are being mentioned. It sounded to me like you're a hobbyist.
                        Location: Jersey City NJ USA


                        • #13
                          There are two basic types of drafting software on the mkt 2D (old school) 3D (new school). They both have there positives and negatives and each requires a different mental approach the task.

                          For those of us who were raised on a board nothing beats versacad. It is intuitive and you don't need the thousand page manuals that originally came with it. For design work for one trained on the board, it cannot be beat.

                          I will give you one example: an architect and engineer came to my office with a structural design problem - we discussed the problem - I sketched a proposed solution - they agreed with the solution. They then said that they had to go back to their respective offices (an hour+ away). I said wait so I can give you a dwg to sign off on. I convinced them to wait and, starting from scratch, gave them a 2D dwg to sign off on within 10 mins. Both were amazed and said that it would take there draftsmen at least and hour and a half using AC.

                          It is great design software for those trained on the board.

                          3D - different thought process as it requires 3D thoughts as opposed to the x y z views. For example: picture a Wide flange (H beam, I beam) - those of us who were trained on the board thing of the end view, top view, and side view. To me the 3D programs require one to think of structural objects as extrusions. The best I have found for this is Solid Works.

                          The bottom line is who or what do you want to communicate with? If machines, choose 3D; if yourself or others that are trained on the board, then choose a 2D program.

                          The above is my 2 cents worth. Go try the vary and sundry software that is available and find the one that is most productive for you.



                          • #14
                            FETOAU ... you said "on the board" 5 times ! .. in your post.

                            I'll bite .. what does that mean ?

                            edit : ok maybe I can answer my own question. Looking around do you mean with drafting pencils and
                            drawing "board" ?
                            Last edited by Mike Amick; 12-18-2015, 01:14 AM.
                            John Titor, when are you.


                            • #15

                              I just need one more tool,just one!