learning cad

Discussion in 'Software and Programming' started by jixxerbill, Feb 24, 2013.

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  1. Feb 24, 2013 #1

    jixxerbill

    jixxerbill

    jixxerbill

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    I want to learn cad, but whats the best/easiest to learn... i have downloaded several trial ones over the years but learning curve seemed steep.. It will still be steep but i really want to learn it for eventual use in cnc machine... A little background about myself. I took drafting in high school, back when it was pencil and paper (1984).. Since then I have worked construction and being able to read and understand prints has been invaluable... I currently have the turbocad trial version and i can sketch out parts in paper mode (takes a while lol) but in model mode i cant get zoomed in far enough....Turbocad web sight has a tutorial video for sale .. I was wondering if anyone had used it before...Thanks Bill
     
  2. Feb 24, 2013 #2

    canadianhorsepower

    canadianhorsepower

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    are you a student
    if yes you can have a free CAD student version from auto desk
     
  3. Feb 24, 2013 #3

    Woodster

    Woodster

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    I use Solid Works 2012 and started using it just by going through the included tutorials. It really is the easiest thing to use once you get your head round it. It's expensive to buy, but if you know how and where...........
     
  4. Feb 24, 2013 #4

    jixxerbill

    jixxerbill

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    Luc, i wish i was a student. I been out of school for almost 30 years..
    Woodster, ill check out solid works. thanks..
     
  5. Feb 24, 2013 #5

    canadianhorsepower

    canadianhorsepower

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    It's expensive to buy, but if you know how and where...........


    the same thing can be done with CAD :hDe:with CAD I can supplie you with 3000 pages manual for free cheers
     
  6. Feb 24, 2013 #6

    Tin Falcon

    Tin Falcon

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    check out alibre CAD. IIRC a free trial download is available then the licence for the Personal Edition PE is about $200. Solid works is great if: 1) you are a professional and can afford the licensing fee because you earn your living from it. 2) you are a teacher and get a free licence .3) are a student and get a cheap licence.
    alibre is relatively affordable for the rest of us. the beauty of Alibre is you draw a part in 3-d then in few minutes it will make dimensioned 2 d drawings. yes there is a learning curve.
    Tin
     
  7. Feb 24, 2013 #7

    vascon2196

    vascon2196

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    Bill,

    I started with pencil and paper, then AutoCAD, then Mechanical Desktop, then Pro-E, and finally ended up using SolidWorks. I now teach several CAD courses that are part of a Mechanical Engineering Technology program and have seen every level of CAD student cross my path.

    I have never used TurboCAD but if you will be using it for 3D CAD design then let me at least throw out some comments that you may find helpful.

    Regardless of the program you choose, if it's 3D, the rules of 3D CAD design are almost all the same.

    1. Choose a sketching plane (Top, Front, or Right)
    2. Draw a sketch (a rectangle, circle, any shape)
    3. Create a Feature (Extrude, Revolve, and so on)

    The last think you should do is give up! Learning CAD can be frustrating at first but the more tutorials you can do and the more practice the easier it will become. If you love Model Engineering...knowing 3D CAD will open up a whole new world for you.

    I am currently teaching a gentleman that is more than twice my age...he never turned on a computer until he entered my CAD-1 class. He is doing just fine and loving it.

    Best of luck to which ever CAD program you end up with.
     
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  8. Feb 24, 2013 #8

    jixxerbill

    jixxerbill

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    I just looked at some tutorials on that alibre Tin was talking about and it seems like its a little better than others.. it actually makes changes to a drawing when you change the dimension of a line or circle...etc.. I wish there were tutorials that walked you thru how to make a part and let you do it along with the tutorial...Then get more and more detailed as it goes along....I guess thats why i only lasted 2 years in college ! I can read all day long and that evening if you ask me what i read i will not remember any of it... But if you show me one time I will recall 80 to 90 percent of it...Its a learning problem i have i guess.. There is a name for it,,, slow maybe ?? lol Thanks everyone for all the great responses....Bill
     
  9. Feb 24, 2013 #9

    Dave Sohlstrom

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    Bill

    If you use Skype I can walk you through Alibre CAD using there share screen feature.
    I spent 3 hrs yesterday with my friend in England working with Alibre.

    Dave skype name dave.sohlstrom
     
  10. Feb 25, 2013 #10

    littlelocos

    littlelocos

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    Hello,
    I have used various CAD programs at school, work, and home over the last 25 years. At work it's AutoCAD (we do facilities work). At home, it's TurboCAD v19pro. I have used TurboCAD for about 10 years or so and have enjoyed it. For the price, it is very powerful and does not require a yearly subscription to keep using it. I have never used the TurboCAD tutorials, but can highly recommend Don Cheke's TurboCAD tips. He has a HUGE amount of info available on his web site and does not charge for it. The TurboCAD forums at TurboCAD.com are also very friendly and helpful. Don can be found on the forums and at http://www.textualcreations.ca/Don_Cheke's_TurboCAD_Tips.html

    I have never used Alibre, but understand it is easy to use.

    TurboCAD has several different "levels" available from simple 2D design/drafting to full-blown solid modeling. The first thing to decide in any CAD package is what do you want to do with it? Is is more importante to draft in 2D and produce a usable drawing or sketch, or do you want to produce 3D renderings of a full project?

    Todd.
     
  11. Feb 25, 2013 #11

    aonemarine

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    Having used both turbocad and alibre, The alibre is much more fun and IMHO easier to use. You can download alibre for a free trial period and there is also a forum that can help you out if need be. I cant afford solid works, but doubt I would buy it if I could. Alibre does what I need...
     
  12. Feb 25, 2013 #12

    dman

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    i dont know why people always suggest proprietary applications when some wants to get started.

    windows has open source and freeware just like the free operating systems.

    http://free-cad.sourceforge.net/

    it's written in python and has some quirkyness, but then again so does the uber expensive proprietarty applications. i drafted in highschool and know a few programs including autocad, mastercam, featurecam, some of visual nadstrum(working model) and i dable in some of the free ones. i tried solid works but like solids in mastercam better, solidworks may be better for high polygon counts and i think it handles moving parts. my friend is a professional draftsman for an engineering firm and we've both come to the conclusion that all cad programs have issues.

    for blueprints i like autocad. the infinite lines and layer system make construction easy. the 3d is ok for wire frame. solids are a pain if you don't get things right the first time and the program has weird rendering errors if you do too much zooming.

    for solids and surfaces i like mastercam but that's not what it was designed for, still it is great at editing solids especially after they are created. but it has a learning curve for wire frame because it isn't as interactive and is missing a few features i like in autocad. there is more inputting point coordinates and creating features from the origin and translating them to the location.

    for cam mastercam is best for 3d especially multi axis, and featurecam is easy for getting things from concept to program as it handles things in a similar way to how you would make parts manually.

    there is a ton of other stuff out there my friend knows but i can't comment on it. some sounds interesting but a pain to use.
     
  13. Feb 25, 2013 #13

    jixxerbill

    jixxerbill

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    As stated in first post id like to be able some day to use cnc equipment, so from what i understand i need to be able to do 3d ? If this is not correct let me know..Alibre says it will do 3d then make 2d drawings and also convert to g-code for input into cnc use..Again im probablly wrong.. Im just trying to make the first step toward end result of getting a cnc mill.. If alibre is easy to use and skips the first step of learning 2d then im time ahead, then if in fact it will convert to gcode it seems it would be an all in one package.. Plus it has a lot of tutorial free of charge but i cant get to it in the trial version...Thanks again everyone for the input...Bill
     
  14. Feb 25, 2013 #14

    dman

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    nope, you hardly ever need 3d all. but it looks cool. most parts can be made with all the geometry in a single plane then you can use radius cutters or define sides with draft angles in the tool path generator tools. when you do cam you can step away from the mentality of including all the details. the heights can often be put into the toolpath tools.

    if you want to do complex parts that need 3d you'll mostly use surfaces but take one step at a time. but when you get there a mistake people often make is that they forget they are working in 3d space through a 2d interface. it gets very easy to put things in the wrong place when you try to work in 3d instead of defining your working plane and view then using the coordinates inputs instead of just clicking on where things appear to be.
     
  15. Feb 25, 2013 #15

    kf2qd

    kf2qd

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    If you are starting from scratch then any CAD program is going to have a wicked steep learning curve. The better, and more powerful the CAD program, the steeper the curve.

    That being said - I have used Draftsight, from the folks who make SolidWorks. It is a 2D CAD and workd a lot like AutoCAD. I have also used ProgeCAD and liked it. It is almost identical to AutoCAD and actually has a couple features that I like better.

    Draftsight is a FREE download.(and there is a version that works with Linux) There is a 2D version of ProgeCAD, ProgeCAD Smart that is very similar to DraftSight. ProgeCAD Pro is $400US. 3D and very nice rendering. By playing around with settings it can come out almost photorealistic. ProgeCAD Pro also has the AutoLISP and the version I used had the VBA addon. I was able to create a Visual Basic for Applications program to generate some CNC code from the data in a drawing. Click the segmant and add it to the CNC code.A lot cheaper than AutoCAD.

    While the users of various types of CAD ALWAYS (yes I mean ALWAYS) have a reason why their particular version is better, I think the bang you get for the buck is important. I have tried TurboCAD in the past and I was always frustrated by what it couldn't do. Biggest problem with learning any CAD program is figuring out what they call commands and such. The programs are very big, have a lot of options and it is easy to get lost trying to find some function or command. Once you find them, it gets easier because you will use a subset of the available functions over and over in every drawing you make.

    For example = I wanted to rotate a line, relative to another line. Or I wanted to rotate something that was at an angle to get one edge ortoganal. It turns out that in AutoCAD you select ROTATE, the pick the center of rotation, and then type RE (for relative) and then pick the center and the 2 endpoints that indicate the rotation you want. The problem was that I didn't have a clue what the program called the operation so it was difficult to get an answer that helped me. The learning curve is figuring out what they call stuff so you can figure out how to use it. All CAD systems have the problem, they just use different names for similar functions.
     
  16. Feb 25, 2013 #16

    Swifty

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    Started press tool design a long time ago with a pencil on a drawing board. When I started with CAD, it was a while before classes were to start, so I sat down and figured out how to draw in 2D, just followed the way I did it with pencil and paper, X and Y axis lines and built on from there. 3D came a lot later, more to prove to myself that I could do it.

    So I think that the way to go would be to master 2D first, then 3D. I realise that you can do 3D drawings and then let the package lay out 2D drawings for you, but it would be like learning to mill on a CNC machine first, then trying to learn how to work a manual mill. The basics need to be learnt first.

    Paul.
     
  17. Feb 25, 2013 #17

    aonemarine

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    lots of varying opinions I see... I still say go with the alibre. Its easy to use and easy to learn.
    I did this in the first 2 weeks of having the program and learning how to use it...

    SEA3001.jpg
     
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  18. Feb 25, 2013 #18

    kvom

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    There are two basic classes of CNC milling: 2.5D and 3D. 2.5D uses 2D drawings (DXF) and essentially automates manual milling. 3D CAD uses files that define surfaces (STL). These are typically milled with ball mills.

    For the vast majority of the models that are mentioned on this site 2.5D CNC is sufficient, and you need only a 2D CAD program. I use Draftsight, but any program that produces DXF or DWG files will work.

    If you do want to learn a 3D CAD program, you can get the rendered images of your parts and assemblies like that shown above. As long as the 3D model can generate 2D files, you can still use it for 2.5D milling of individual parts.
     
  19. Feb 25, 2013 #19

    Brian Rupnow

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    Jixxerbill--Just a heads up from someone who's been there and done that. Start with a 2D cad package like Draftsight, which is a free downloadable program, and is excellent. You are GOING TO HAVE TO KNOW HOW TO DRAW IN 2D FIRST!!! Once you master basic drawing and dimensioning in 2D then you are ready to move on to 3D. All 3D drawings begin with a 2D sketch, which you then extrude into the third dimension to create a solid part. That is simply a one click command. Regardles---You MUST be able to create geometry and be comfortable with 2D work first.-----Brian Rupnow (who spent 32 years on a board, 3 years on autocad 2D, and 13 years doing and teaching 3D cad.)
     
  20. Feb 25, 2013 #20

    Chriske

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    Although I don't use it myself (I use Inventor) I'd pick Alibre to work with if I had to choose.
    A few people I know use it and they make stunning things with it.

    Nice work btw aonemarine..!

    Chris
     

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