Deals on Alibre

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Richard Hed

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A deal on Alibre is little compensation to those who have been in the sh*t.
I bought Alibre a few months ago, It is worth the 100$ I paid for it. It doesn't do everything but it makes 3D drawings into printable 2D drawings without much trouble. I did have a weird learning curve as it doesn't make drawings like most other programs I have used. I also have AutoCAD which is very powerful but to make 2D drawings from 3D is hell--but still more powerful than Alibre! Which do I use in my daily use? Alibre.
 
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petertha

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I'm confused by your comment. I don't use Alibre myself, but it generically looks more like industrial, parametric 3D CAD software (for lack of a better term). Where you build a 3D model, then develop a drawing from that model with whatever collection of views, sections, dimensioning... things like that. What makes Autocad 'more powerful' in your opinion? Or maybe you mean Fusion360?
 

L98fiero

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I'm confused by your comment. I don't use Alibre myself, but it generically looks more like industrial, parametric 3D CAD software (for lack of a better term). Where you build a 3D model, then develop a drawing from that model with whatever collection of views, sections, dimensioning... things like that. What makes Autocad 'more powerful' in your opinion? Or maybe you mean Fusion360?
From a personal perspective, Fusion360, Solidworks and others like them are more powerful, what I like it that Alibre is far more affordable and it's pretty intuitive to learn. It doesn't do surfaces but can modify them and it doesn't have all the special modules that the pricy ones do but it does cover pretty much anything you'll need unless you're into freeform shapes and then for~$300 you can add MOI that will do that for you. By itself it, from the little I've used Solidworks, it feels a lot like Solidworks without the bells and whistles.
 

petertha

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Yes, that's why I was curious. If Alibre its anything like SW or similar modelers from the perspective of making a 3D part/assembly & auto-generating detailed drawings drawing from that, I would have thought that functionality would be light years ahead of Autocad. Albeit I haven't touched Autocad in decades. That's why I was wondering if Richard meant Autodesk, parent company for Fusion360. Anyways I have no horse in the race, just curious where the 'power' comment was coming from.
 

a41capt

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A deal on Alibre is little compensation to those who have been in the sh*t.
Agreed. On my 20th birthday I huddled in a hole while under a rocket attack in DaNang. When I got off the plane in San Diego I was spit on, and after I got out I was turned down for 3 jobs because “We don’t hire Vietnam Vets”. If those are the kind of friggin’ taxpayers gweloboy is referring to, and maybe he was one of them, well... That had to be one of the most insensitive statements I’ve heard or read since 1974.
 

CFLBob

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Speaking of all of this, does anyone have recommendations for learning Alibre?

I'm moving from using Rhino for the last 15 years and part of the reason for that is Rhino is very similar to AutoCAD in its interface. I opened Alibre once and there is nothing even remotely familiar. I tried exporting some Rhino files into a format Alibre could read, but I couldn't do anything with them.
 

Doug Burkart

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If you go onto the Alibre website under the Resources tab, they have training on how to use it. There is a 196 page PDF that explains step by step on how to create your first assembly and there are short videos on different subjects. They also have a decent user forum.

Doug
 

CFLBob

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If you go onto the Alibre website under the Resources tab, they have training on how to use it. There is a 196 page PDF that explains step by step on how to create your first assembly and there are short videos on different subjects. They also have a decent user forum.

Doug
I'm embarrassed to say that I have that document and forgot it. I downloaded it when I bought the software.
 

mrehmus

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When you know how to use Alibre, you will find it about 10X faster to get a 2D drawing with as many views as you want than AutoDesk.
 

Richard Hed

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Speaking of all of this, does anyone have recommendations for learning Alibre?

I'm moving from using Rhino for the last 15 years and part of the reason for that is Rhino is very similar to AutoCAD in its interface. I opened Alibre once and there is nothing even remotely familiar. I tried exporting some Rhino files into a format Alibre could read, but I couldn't do anything with them.
I had trouble learning this too. The way one does it is not like AutoCAD, Solidworks, Microstation, Inventor, nor like any other CAD I have ever used. It was very confusing. What I eventually discovered is that you must select a surface to draw on before doing anything else. A surface can be a construction plane or a face of a previous 3D drawing. Then once you have a shape made on that surface, you need to switch gears and go over to "model" in which you extrude the shape in some way.
That first step is called "Activate 2D sketch". Once yu have that sketch, then swith to model and extrude or do any of those operations in that group of commands. It was very confusing at first and I wanted to kick the coders of this program but once I understood, it became easy. This is not very powerful compared to other programs, but it is quick and makes 2Ds nicely. for simple designs this is excellent.

I do not know about other features. I tried importing other drawings but it is very weak in this regard.
 

Richard Hed

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I'm embarrassed to say that I have that document and forgot it. I downloaded it when I bought the software.
As far as that 196 pg training guide goes, it is extremely basic, IMNSHO. It gets you started but that is all. The manual is mostly air, could have been done in 30 pages. I have done both Inventor and Solidworks training guides and both are MUCH better. Alibre needs to do a better jobthan this.

don't mistake it that I thimpfks it is a krappy manual, by all means do the exercises--without this yu would certainly be lost. It just doesn't go far enough
 

mrehmus

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With Alibre, to start, you select a plane, draw a shape and extrude it. Model done. Then you can add and subtract bits to detail the model. In all cases, you have to draw on a plane. Either the X,Y or Z planes or on one you insert. Once you figure that out, the rest is easy. At least it was for me. I think of the part as clay and I can do anything to it.
 

petertha

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I had trouble learning this too. The way one does it is not like AutoCAD, Solidworks, Microstation, Inventor, nor like any other CAD I have ever used. It was very confusing. What I eventually discovered is that you must select a surface to draw on before doing anything else.
I’m more familiar with one particular 3D package over others, but I think what you have described is a very common, fundamental workflow of current 3D modelers. By that I mean the more ‘mechanical’ programs. Other software better suited for things like animation are a different animal again.

To make a part, you initiate what they call a sketch (a 2D outline), first on a plane. Then initiate Extrude, Rotate or any number of 3D commands which creates a solid body from that sketch. Making a cutout feature is similar; start sketching on a plane or any planar part surface & remove material with other commands. Then there further 3D commands like fillets, chamfers, hole commands.... With just a few of these basic tools, very complex parts can be created.

Some of the confusion is terminology. Typically these 3D solids are called parts or solid bodies. Collections of parts are called assemblies which are further defined by the types of mates between parts. A piston is a part. A piston + wristpin + rod together form a 3 part assembly. Each will have different mates to one another. In these apps, a drawing is better described as an end result document once a part or assembly has completed. Literally with a button click you can produce a multitude of views, cross sections, dimensions, exploded assemblies… in what we would recognize as a 2D paper shop drawing. If you modify the part, the drawing automatically refreshes & updates with no human intervention or supervision. That is a powerful feature.

Trying to compare this current 3D vernacular to old school CAD is confusing because its really apples & oranges. AutoCad type programs kind of start & end with the 2D ‘sketch’ equivalent of what is described above. Drawing kind of means the 2D paper product equivalent. Programs like Rhino are somewhere in between.

So when you talk a about importing difficulties you should define what you mean. Can a 3D modeler import & digest a PDF 2D output from another program & generate a 3D part? No, that’s not how it works. A 3D model generally needs to be built up internally using a sequence of steps, each builds on the other. This step by step history method is another powerful feature very much different than (non-parametric) packages because you go back to a step in the tree & make changes there where it’s appropriate. An analogy might be handing you a detailed recipe as opposed to handing you a finished pie & say make this.

This is just scratching the surface of course. You can import a picture image into the modeler & utilize that to ‘trace’ sketches, define dimensions & relationships & progressively build the model. Have a look at the Offy post for some good examples of this.

Once a 3D solid has been constructed, it can be saved in specific 3D formats which are understood by other CAD packages, CNC, 3DP machines etc. Similarly a 2D package wouldn’t know what to do with such a file. Learning CAD programs is half the battle. Not all learning resources are the same quality or quantity depending on the package. Unfortunately that is a consideration.
 

ajoeiam

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I’m more familiar with one particular 3D package over others, but I think what you have described is a very common, fundamental workflow of current 3D modelers. By that I mean the more ‘mechanical’ programs. Other software better suited for things like animation are a different animal again.

To make a part, you initiate what they call a sketch (a 2D outline), first on a plane. Then initiate Extrude, Rotate or any number of 3D commands which creates a solid body from that sketch. Making a cutout feature is similar; start sketching on a plane or any planar part surface & remove material with other commands. Then there further 3D commands like fillets, chamfers, hole commands.... With just a few of these basic tools, very complex parts can be created.

Some of the confusion is terminology. Typically these 3D solids are called parts or solid bodies. Collections of parts are called assemblies which are further defined by the types of mates between parts. A piston is a part. A piston + wristpin + rod together form a 3 part assembly. Each will have different mates to one another. In these apps, a drawing is better described as an end result document once a part or assembly has completed. Literally with a button click you can produce a multitude of views, cross sections, dimensions, exploded assemblies… in what we would recognize as a 2D paper shop drawing. If you modify the part, the drawing automatically refreshes & updates with no human intervention or supervision. That is a powerful feature.

Trying to compare this current 3D vernacular to old school CAD is confusing because its really apples & oranges. AutoCad type programs kind of start & end with the 2D ‘sketch’ equivalent of what is described above. Drawing kind of means the 2D paper product equivalent. Programs like Rhino are somewhere in between.

So when you talk a about importing difficulties you should define what you mean. Can a 3D modeler import & digest a PDF 2D output from another program & generate a 3D part? No, that’s not how it works. A 3D model generally needs to be built up internally using a sequence of steps, each builds on the other. This step by step history method is another powerful feature very much different than (non-parametric) packages because you go back to a step in the tree & make changes there where it’s appropriate. An analogy might be handing you a detailed recipe as opposed to handing you a finished pie & say make this.

This is just scratching the surface of course. You can import a picture image into the modeler & utilize that to ‘trace’ sketches, define dimensions & relationships & progressively build the model. Have a look at the Offy post for some good examples of this.

Once a 3D solid has been constructed, it can be saved in specific 3D formats which are understood by other CAD packages, CNC, 3DP machines etc. Similarly a 2D package wouldn’t know what to do with such a file. Learning CAD programs is half the battle. Not all learning resources are the same quality or quantity depending on the package. Unfortunately that is a consideration.
I have spent more than a little time trying to even begin to understand FreeCAD - - - one of the 3D parametric CAD ilk.

Problems with parametric CAD imo.
Making a part - - - - there are all these oh so wonderful tools - - - yet their usage is all too often illogical. In practical terms when I want to constrain a 4 sided figure (welding up a bench) first I need accurate lengths on all 4 pieces then I tack all corners making sure each is square. Then I check for racking - - diagonally accurate and square in 3 dimensions (not always easy to achieve!!!). The cad tool demands a particular order to these operations - - with no guidance except - - - not adequately constrained - - for when its not happy. Then, well, - - - I ALWAYS work with tolerances (too much machining) and dimensioning - - - somehow in CAD (parametric) now tolerancing is unimportant and dimensions are only important when some part of the program (CAD) says it is.

In FreeCAD I just couldn't ever get to where I could pull off any of the " multitude of views, cross sections, dimensions, exploded assemblies " and in asking it seemed to the programmers that these things were not at all useful to them - - - -WTF - - - but then it became quite clear that these people were almost all paper pushers - - - most had no idea of what to do to actually make the thing being designed. So what was important was the design - - - for me the design is only important in that it helps me make the piece - - - which is more than a somewhat different perspective! (And I'm making the piece to either fix a problem with something or to do something with something else that I"m using (LOL - - confusing enough already - - LOL).)

(There was more - - - these engineers with more than trivial experience didn't understand the difference between pipe and tube. Somehow had never heard of different things like the umpteen different screw and bolt forms among other things. Its hard using something when it feels like its background is half baked! Then because I'm not a p.eng it was like what I had learned (over more than a wee while in industry) was immaterial to the programmers. I will likely still try to learn its arcanities but - - -man - - - its just feels like I'm trying to use my toes to screw in a 2-1/2" - 24 tpi bolt around a corner doing it!)
 

Richard Hed

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I have spent more than a little time trying to even begin to understand FreeCAD - - - one of the 3D parametric CAD ilk.

Problems with parametric CAD imo.
Making a part - - - - there are all these oh so wonderful tools - - - yet their usage is all too often illogical. In practical terms when I want to constrain a 4 sided figure (welding up a bench) first I need accurate lengths on all 4 pieces then I tack all corners making sure each is square. Then I check for racking - - diagonally accurate and square in 3 dimensions (not always easy to achieve!!!). The cad tool demands a particular order to these operations - - with no guidance except - - - not adequately constrained - - for when its not happy. Then, well, - - - I ALWAYS work with tolerances (too much machining) and dimensioning - - - somehow in CAD (parametric) now tolerancing is unimportant and dimensions are only important when some part of the program (CAD) says it is.

In FreeCAD I just couldn't ever get to where I could pull off any of the " multitude of views, cross sections, dimensions, exploded assemblies " and in asking it seemed to the programmers that these things were not at all useful to them - - - -WTF - - - but then it became quite clear that these people were almost all paper pushers - - - most had no idea of what to do to actually make the thing being designed. So what was important was the design - - - for me the design is only important in that it helps me make the piece - - - which is more than a somewhat different perspective! (And I'm making the piece to either fix a problem with something or to do something with something else that I"m using (LOL - - confusing enough already - - LOL).)

(There was more - - - these engineers with more than trivial experience didn't understand the difference between pipe and tube. Somehow had never heard of different things like the umpteen different screw and bolt forms among other things. Its hard using something when it feels like its background is half baked! Then because I'm not a p.eng it was like what I had learned (over more than a wee while in industry) was immaterial to the programmers. I will likely still try to learn its arcanities but - - -man - - - its just feels like I'm trying to use my toes to screw in a 2-1/2" - 24 tpi bolt around a corner doing it!)
Yes, this kind of thing happens more often in real life than one might thimpfk. For instance, a graduate of a military sxchool will be in conflict with a top sergeant -- one has experience in real life, the other in theory. Put the two together, a sergeant who has gone to military school, or a graduate who goes out to get real experience and you have a top rate person. Ulysses realized that, and when the civil war started, he wanted tobe a colonel, even when offered a higher position. He knew he was not ready for a higher position and it was important for what took place. He managed to command at the colonel level and worked his way up, learning each position before moveing to the next. the result was a genius who was being sabotaged by his superior, Gen. Halleck, a mediocre general at best. Ulysses was able to do what another genius was unable to do out of fear: Gen. McClellan--yeah, yeah, I know, it doesn't appear that McClellan was a genius, but really, he was. But he had the problem of fear, fear because HE had never commanded at a loweer level, he was thrust into the top position without having gone thru the lower positions. Lincoln was desperate for a commander and so used McClellan. Many thimpfk that if McClellan had been allowed to continue and IF Lincoln would have won the second election, that McClellan would have eventually won the war--but at a FRIGHTFUL cost.

I have to laugh at McClellan because he had won the battle at Malvern Hill and didn't even know it! Instead, he retreated! At Antietam, basically a draw, He was really the winner because RE Lee left the field with his tail between his legs. Of course, everyone knows that had McClellan acted quickly after recieving the "3 cigars" plan of action, he would have most likely destroyed Lee--that is fate, McC just couldn't act decisively. Whereas Ulysses would have trapped Lee and maybe caused a surrender right there?! If if if.

Anyway, there is another example closer to home: the example of the engineer who graduates from the university but has had no experience in welding, machining, construction, roadbuilding or whatever his/her specialization is in. The counter part is the man on the ground who learns the trade from the ground up. If that person goes into engineering, he/she becomes a top rate person. However the graduate alone, often comes inj conflict with the person on the ground as HE, the graduate, knows better! LOL.

So what you are saying is really true in most cases--a software developer with no experience on the ground just will not understand what WE needs.
 

MrMetric

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Hmmm, I'm a hardware engineer, turned software... hmmm :)

I actually think your point is well made. I'm a product of the University of California system. Did I learn much? Not really. Frankly, I think the UC system, although good, fails in one important way. It teaches mostly theory and not practice (I'm going to be slaughtered by others here for saying that, I'm sure...). I was always a hands on person, though, so I was in better shape there. But I was stunned when, in my first job, a UCB EE graduate needed to have me explain to her how a relay worked.

Fast forward 20 years and several jobs... I was talking with several of my Indian colleagues about education. In India, the practice (I shouldn't say this is true at all schools... I really don't know) is to have a program where you get hands on experience in different disciplines. As such, the Indians I worked with knew some fundamentals about lathes, milling machines, welding, etc. They did not know a lot, but at least they were exposed to the concepts. Further, it was a way for them to decide if they wanted to move into a different area of engineering. These were all software guys. Frankly, I think that was a +1 for the Indian educational system over the US (or at least the University of California) system.
 

Richard Hed

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Hmmm, I'm a hardware engineer, turned software... hmmm :)

I actually think your point is well made. I'm a product of the University of California system. Did I learn much? Not really. Frankly, I think the UC system, although good, fails in one important way. It teaches mostly theory and not practice (I'm going to be slaughtered by others here for saying that, I'm sure...). I was always a hands on person, though, so I was in better shape there. But I was stunned when, in my first job, a UCB EE graduate needed to have me explain to her how a relay worked.

Fast forward 20 years and several jobs... I was talking with several of my Indian colleagues about education. In India, the practice (I shouldn't say this is true at all schools... I really don't know) is to have a program where you get hands on experience in different disciplines. As such, the Indians I worked with knew some fundamentals about lathes, milling machines, welding, etc. They did not know a lot, but at least they were exposed to the concepts. Further, it was a way for them to decide if they wanted to move into a different area of engineering. These were all software guys. Frankly, I think that was a +1 for the Indian educational system over the US (or at least the University of California) system.
It's true and it's a big mistake. I understand that in Germany, and maybe other parts of Europe too, have to do an apprenticeship where they have to learn about the mechanics (on the ground) of what they are "engineering" about. they have to do a couple years of it. Look at what is happening in American universities in Electronics: It used to be a lot of hands on fun but now it's all MATHEMATICS!

Frankly this is what is wrong with the American education, and I am told by friends who should know, now European countries are following in that path, it's turned to brain ded, fun starved basura. Richard Feynman said something like this: Modern education is much like doctors from 150 years ago, cupping and bleeding were used extensively and it was never noticed that it didn't work, even to the point of killing the patient (George Washington for instance.)
 

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It was very confusing. What I eventually discovered is that you must select a surface to draw on before doing anything else. A surface can be a construction plane or a face of a previous 3D drawing. Then once you have a shape made on that surface, you need to switch gears and go over to "model" in which you extrude the shape in some way.
That first step is called "Activate 2D sketch". Once yu have that sketch, then swith to model and extrude or do any of those operations in that group of commands. It was very confusing at first and I wanted to kick the coders of this program but once I understood, it became easy.
The most difficult part for me in learning 3D modeling was to figure out exactly what the procedure was.
The sketch plane and modeling mode were extremely confusing, and I stumbled with this for months.
Once I figures out exactly what was happening in each mode, then 3D modeling became usable.
Once I figured out how to accurately insert and rotate planes, then I could basically model almost anything.

I have a 3D tutorial, but it is too big to put here.

Here is a beam I modeled (from the 1840 US Navy steam ship Mississippi side beam engine).
The purple is the machining allowance added to make a pattern.

Image333-2.jpg


Image333-3.jpg


Image444-6.jpg
 

GreenTwin

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Here is a 2D drawing diagram, and a 3D modeling diagram, that I created to try and clarify which program did what.

With 2D drawings, each sketch is independent of the other, and you can make multiple errors in each sketch and never discover those until the design is complete.
With 3D modeling, the 2D drawings are generated from the 3D model, and so any change to the 3D model propagates to every drawing automatically.

SW-Overview-2D-01.plt.jpg






SW-Overview-3D-01.plt.jpg
 
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