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  • DraftSight Free Versions End as of 12/31/2019

    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/thr...light=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-.../United_States
    TurboCad
    FreeCAD https://www.freecadweb.org/

  • #2
    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.
    *** I always wanted a welding stinger that looked like the north end of a south bound chicken. Often my welds look like somebody pointed the wrong end of a chicken at the joint and squeezed until something came out. Might as well look the part.

    Comment


    • #3
      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.
      1601

      Keep eye on ball.
      Hashim Khan

      Comment


      • #4
        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
        Salem, Oregon

        Comment


        • #5
          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/tur...e-key-features

          CadAndGraphics is an authorized eBay vendor that offers discounts and previous versions, such as this:
          https://www.ebay.com/itm/TurboCAD-De...ss!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.turbocad.com/img/cms/Tur...on%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/



          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.
          Last edited by PStechPaul; 03-21-2019, 03:38 PM. Reason: video and price
          http://pauleschoen.com/pix/PM08_P76_P54.png
          Paul , P S Technology, Inc. and MrTibbs
          USA Maryland 21030

          Comment


          • #6
            Dammit! DraftSight is what I use at home for simple stuff, and at work for reading our customers' .dwg/.dxf drawings.
            Location: Northern WI

            Comment


            • #7
              Ask the neighbor hood kids, they can get you anything you want.
              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


              • #8
                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.

                Comment


                • #9
                  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?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    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

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by IdahoJim View Post
                      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.
                      Last edited by J Tiers; 03-22-2019, 12:33 AM.
                      1601

                      Keep eye on ball.
                      Hashim Khan

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        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.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          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

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by J Tiers View Post
                            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

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Wheels17 View Post
                              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/thr...light=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-.../United_States
                              TurboCad
                              FreeCAD https://www.freecadweb.org/
                              I haven't been notified of this. I'm hoping it ain't so...LOL
                              Jim

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