Cad and animation

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Gordon

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I am looking for recommendations for CAD and animation. I have been using a 2D CAD program for 20+ years. I use Visual Cadd and started back when it was Generic Cadd. I usually redraw any engine project in CAD before I start so that I understand it and find errors. I have looked at and played around with a couple of 3D programs. Sketchup, 123 Design and Fusion 360 but have never gotten to a point where I was comfortable with them.

At this point I would like to be able to do some basic animation to check operation and clearances. The ideal would be to import a 2D DXF drawing and get the various parts to move in the proper relationship. Needless to say I am not prepared to spend a small fortune on this.

I guess that mostly I am interested in determining which 3D program to concentrate on to actually learn. So far it has mostly been a frustrating experience. A trial does not really mean much because if I spend 30 days learning a program and then have to spend several hundred dollars it is a waste of time to even learn the program.

Perhaps I am expecting the impossible. Any input is appreciated.

Gordon
 

Brian Rupnow

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If you design your components in 2D and save them as "blocks" then you can paste the blocks into a new drawing and animate them to some extent. I can automate stuff in 3d with my SolidWorks software, but it is horribly expensive. If I didn't have it for my business, I could never justify the cost for a hobby.---Brian
 

Picko

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G'day Gordon, I'm a long time user of Visual/Generic Cadd also but only a learner in model engine building. I've used Brian's method on occasions with success.
John
 

Gordon

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If you design your components in 2D and save them as "blocks" then you can paste the blocks into a new drawing and animate them to some extent. I can automate stuff in 3d with my SolidWorks software, but it is horribly expensive. If I didn't have it for my business, I could never justify the cost for a hobby.---Brian
I assume that your method is to rotate individual blocks in increments and then paste mating blocks together. I am building an Atkinson Differential engine and things just do not want to work. I think that the intake, exhaust and ignition ports are not correct and I want to see what is happening as the engine cycles. Additionally it seems almost impossible to achieve compression prior to ignition. I will try to play around with that tomorrow.

As I said I have been using Visual Cadd for years and I am comfortable with that program. The thing I miss the most in the 3D programs is being able to enter coordinates to get to the next position. Most 3D programs seem to involve placing primitives and then resizing and modifying them. I am still using an older version of VC because I am retired and the two newer versions just add things which are not really useful to me. It is not worth even the relatively modest cost to upgrade.

Gordon
 

Goldflash

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I concur with the comments about fusion 360 . its free and plenty of tutorials on You Tube
Designing a two stroke similar to a ships diesel with crosshead piston etc and its facinating to be able to animate it and see all the bits working and where any conflics might be.
 

johnwm

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Best CAD for non-commercial use that I've found is Onshape Education . They have a great range of training material online and some excellent tutorials. You can construct 3D models and fully animate them. You can also output drawings to DXF for CNC plasma/laser or models to STL for CNC printing/milling.
 

ron4vt

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Dear Gordon,

For many years, I’ve been working with fine mechanics and faced several difficult assemblies that could only be really machined with the aid of a 3D animation software. Small details that aren’t noticed or well managed during the project are promptly highlighted when the new equipment either starts rotating or move its levers back and forth at the computer screen.

So please have in mind that SOLIDWORKS is the easiest, fastest to learn, modelling, sumulation and animation 3D program that has ever appeared for any mechanical design. One can master it in a short period of time and have their mechanical problems once and for all solved!

Please take a look at one of my fine mechanics accomplishment:

Regards, Ron
 

Gordon

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Dear Gordon,

For many years, I’ve been working with fine mechanics and faced several difficult assemblies that could only be really machined with the aid of a 3D animation software. Small details that aren’t noticed or well managed during the project are promptly highlighted when the new equipment either starts rotating or move its levers back and forth at the computer screen.

So please have in mind that SOLIDWORKS is the easiest, fastest to learn, modelling, sumulation and animation 3D program that has ever appeared for any mechanical design. One can master it in a short period of time and have their mechanical problems once and for all solved!

Please take a look at one of my fine mechanics accomplishment:

Regards, Ron
It may be the greatest program ever produced but $4000 is just not even something I would consider. This is a hobby, not a career.
 

ron4vt

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Gordon,
I've heard there is a free version for teenager school purposes. Please take a look and good luck with your hobby !

Ron
 

Gordon

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Gordon,
I've heard there is a free version for teenager school purposes. Please take a look and good luck with your hobby !

Ron
At 78 I am going to have a hard time convincing anyone that I am a teenage student. Fusion 360 looks like a better choice because it is free to hobby users.
 

AzBob

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I have had very good results with IronCad Innovate. Can easily drag and drop basic 3D shapes into the workspace and easily manipulate them using their patented TriBall. Easy to create 2d geometry and extrude to 3D shapes. Has AutoCad DWG and DXF import functions as well. Animation is included in the package. I created this video using IronCad Innovate. Not exactly cheap, but powerful for the price. I paid $900. for the software 4 years ago.

 

editor123

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SolidWorks is $20 per year for U.S. and Canadian veterans. I'm just in the process of renewing my license for a second year.
I use Alibre Design for my magazine work since the SolidWorks license is not for commercial use. They have a $200 version for home use. I think it is easy to learn.
 

ron4vt

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For sure a very good 3D model and animation, AZBOB. The wobbling cylinder valve is quite a feat of engineering

Congratulations !
 

Gordon

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I am giving Fusion 360 another try. Looks like a long learning curve. One thing I have discovered is that it is possible to import my 2D parts as DXF into Fusion. That helps since making the 2D part is much easier in Visual Cadd than it is in any of the 3D programs that I have tried. Converting them to 3D looks like a relatively easy process. Manipulating, assembling and animating the parts is going to take a lot of study. I have looked at a bunch of videos but even trying to do the same operation while pausing the video and going to the open program is an exercise in frustration. I am sure it will get better as I figure out the proper sequence of operation like select parts and then enter a command or the other way around.

I am sure that there are better solutions but I am not prepared to spend thousands or even hundreds of dollars for a hobby.

Gordon
 

vederstein

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I've used several 3D Mechanical CAD programs over the years: Intergraph EMS, Solid Edge, Solidworks, Inventor, FreeCad. I've even did solid modelling in AutoCad (ugh). They all suck in their own special ways.

They'll all hard to learn. Some have more features but are unstable. Some have convoluted workflows. All of them have varying doses of WTF?

...Ved.
 

AzBob

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I’ve been in about the same boat as vederstein. Tried several 3d Mechanical CAD programs as well. AutoCad Mechanical Desktop, Rhino, Solid Edge, Fusion 360, Alibre etc. and lastly IronCad Inovate. They all had things I liked about them and things I disliked. For me, a good compromise was IronCad Inovate, relatively easy to manipulate, reorient, resize objects using the Triball and object pull handles. The 2D sketch mode not as intuitive as AutoCad Commands. For 2D I sometimes use DraftSight and then import the 2D drawing into the Inovate workspace. Depends on what I’m doing.

Agreed, “All of them have varying doses of WTF?"
 
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Brian Rupnow

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AzBob--Amazing bit of animation there. I can animate quite well with my Solidworks, but nothing that touches what you have done there.---Brian
 

e.picler

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Hello Ron!
It is amazing what you did. Congratulations!
Where did you get the reference to create those scenarios? It is impressive the reality of those images. It really represents the interior of Brazil on the sixties and seventies, very good work. I'm impressed.

Edi
 

Gordon

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This may be just more frustration. I played around with Fusion 360 yesterday. I thought that I would be able to import drawings I had made in 2D and convert them to 3D. After numerous tries and looking at videos and different forums I am no closer than I was in the morning. If I cannot at lest take advantage of my existing work and I have to start from scratch on every piece it is probably not worth the effort. I can import the drawing but then trying to make it 3D just does not happen.

Gordon
 
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