Total new-comer to CAD. Which programme to choose.

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Bentwings

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I just looked at this and I YHINK it looks pretty good for first timer . Each system has rules to play by Some more complex than others.

I’d say give it a try . There are dozens of cad experts here so plenty of help is available for the asking I’m sure there are limits and things it can’t do but for basic modeling it looks easy enough to learn to make 3 d printing models I think learning the printer itself will be more difficult

The nice thing is there is no money out of pocket to try it out

As I’ve said before leave the old drafting board out in the shed. So far nobody has attacked me for my cad thoughts
 
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ajoeiam

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I like fusion also even with the messes it’s created .

I think the biggest thing is to consider that the programs only connect the shapes and lines it’s not intelligent . Many guys and gals can’t seem to get old school drafting out of mind . I YHINK most programs can generate drawing s some even do automatic dimensioning on drawings. But the bottom line is to begin thinking in terms of the finished product . Essentially you are creating this using solid shapes modified by cutting or adding features . You manipulate various icons to achieve this most have some kind of tool box that provides fasteners hole counter bores all ready for you to insert. . For example you could select a clearance hole through then a counterbore into the curvature of a ball bearing. It would not be fun to create in the shop but not impossible using some nifty machines in a work invironment you could expect a call from the shop asking if you really wanted this. What I’m getting at is you create the object using the cad tool or icons and text . Some programs are more powerful in that they may allow analysis option and wild coloring Woods can be colored shaded given grains . This is exotic area. I’m not real big on it unless it’s for some presentation. I usually thought of this as needless use of computer space. You design into the parts . Parts are made to the machines capability . The cnc shop will determine if equipment can do the job . If not they come up with a there is a lot more to it but others can add comments too. solution so it takes the machinist out of the picture. .
And maybe that's the rub for me.
I can usually visualize what I want to build - - - that's not something I need help with!
What I would like is help with material quantities and where's the best place to put a support or how do I support this long whippy thing so that I can do x or y at this speed. Except then in these 'wonderful full featured' 3D CAD programs - - - well they don't have a wide enough nor complete bolt/screw/pipe/tubing/material availability and then I am supposed to work around that and then trying to find one's way through the minefield of 'have tos' when the breadcrumb dispenser is broked - - - well - - - I can, using paper and a writing tool (sometimes even less) create a 'physical' sketch in moments - - - and that's enough for getting the job done. Just sharing with someone else or for posterity - - - well then that's the rub.
Too many things to do and the time to get things done seems to be getting less - - - not more.
 

kquiggle

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I'll add another vote for Onshape. The free version does require you to make all of your work public (any one can copy it, but only you can edit it). I publish most of my work for free anyway, so making my OnShape work public is no big deal. The stuff I don't publish is not worth copying (and some might say the same for the stuff I do publish!).

One of the nice things about OnShape is that there are also free tutorials. I went through most of the tutorials, and they were a good learning process.

OnShape is cloud based - it works in your browser (Firefox, Chrome, etc.); I was attracted to OnShape becasue it works on my Linux desktop. You can see if OnShape will work on your system via this link:

Onshape

You can sign up for the free version here :

Onshape Free Plan | Onshape
 

Bentwings

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This is like national elections the only thing missing is which sides are getting more money LOL I . After initial look I say if you have any 3D modeling experience at all or can think in terms of machining from solid or even model building the free cad has a lot going for it.
 

Richard Hed

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And maybe that's the rub for me.
I can usually visualize what I want to build - - - that's not something I need help with!
What I would like is help with material quantities and where's the best place to put a support or how do I support this long whippy thing so that I can do x or y at this speed. Except then in these 'wonderful full featured' 3D CAD programs - - - well they don't have a wide enough nor complete bolt/screw/pipe/tubing/material availability and then I am supposed to work around that and then trying to find one's way through the minefield of 'have tos' when the breadcrumb dispenser is broked - - - well - - - I can, using paper and a writing tool (sometimes even less) create a 'physical' sketch in moments - - - and that's enough for getting the job done. Just sharing with someone else or for posterity - - - well then that's the rub.
Too many things to do and the time to get things done seems to be getting less - - - not more.
I organize like this: Caffeine in the morning. Do something in the garage or outside. Take a nap in the afternoon. Do something more before dark. After dark, I may watch some krap on tv or play computer games. when filled up on that or more likely while watching some krap on nutlix, do some drawing on either something I am working on or something I intend to work on.

If designing, here is the place and time to make the mistakes and fix them.
 
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TSutrina

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I have used at my employer's expense 2D Autodesk a little and one provide by Boeing. 3D cad: Pro-E, UG, Solid Works. On the hobby end: used Granite, Creo both from Pro-E, purchase one that went bankrupt, and tried about three other in the free versions.
I have settled on FreeCAD as an open source and free software. What I was looking for is: A) sufficient market penetration so that it stays around, by far for the free software this is top and it is in the top 10 for all 3D cad software. B) File input and output formats include STEP IGUS and output STL, the more the better because you never know what you may need. I believe Alibre Atom and some of the others do not have the capacity to output STEP or IGUS (STP IGS) which forces you to not send models to anyone. C) unlimited number of item models within an assembly model. D) reasonable capacity to create 2D drawing. FreeCAD is getting better but will likely never achieve the purchase commercial quality. E) not limited to hobby or have a water mark on all 2D drawings.
What you need to understand and I realized this from working with commercial products for manufactures. All cad programs will be great at some things and poor at others. And you will have to find work arounds.
All successful CAD programs start with a 2D sketch and is then turned into a solid by a number of operations like extrude, rotate, sweep on a curve, loft which is sweep from one sketch to others. Can add and remove solid from the final part. Some let you build with simple shapes but that represent 10% of building an object. Typically objects can be built from surface that are made like solid are made. multiple surface can be put together to form a solid. CAD program let you import a solid object from a file like STP and IGS as part of your design or part.
Assembly in cad program is done in successful programs by creating parts as a model file. Then combining them into a solid with the ability to use command to define the interface. FreeCAD initially didn't let you change the part model in the assembly, however; they have joined the majority that do. It was a something to work around.
Things that are nice to have. The commercial programs charge for each additional feature. FreeCAD won me over since they include a lot of modules that let you do many things at no additional cost. To name a few: Animation, gear design, robotics, sheet metal, 3D printing, Structural, fluid flow, architecture, ship design, working on airplane design.
 

johnmcc69

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Can anybody share some examples of the work that you're doing in "Freecad"?

John
 

Bentwings

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That’s a good synopsis of features . It probably could win me over if I set about exploring it. I liked the note comparing creating a model then sending or bringing it upon another module I did this numerous times. Creating a model then send it to the analysis program . The issue was when analysis showed need for modification . This meant going back to the main model , make mods then resend to analysis. This was very time consuming when you consider the analysis might take an hour to remedy the model then you might have to “tune” this which took more time. The yearly maintenance cost would buy a very expensive luxury car every year .

I’ll ty and explore free cad things that sound to be too good to be true usually turn out false so we will see keep up the good input .
 

Bentwings

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Some times machining capabilities . This leads to issues in the shop making chips as we say . This is where you can design yourself into a hole very quickly . It’s a easier to delete a feature on the screen before it hits the shop and before a piece of unobtainium gets scrapped out
 

SmithDoor

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I have been building and designing model engines now for quite some years and have been modelling for over 65 years. I have designed from scratch about 11 model diesel engines and built them and they all run - and have had a couple put on CAD by kind fellow enthusiasts.

I would like to have a go at learning CAD enough to make at least 2D drawings and hopefully in time be able to do 3D where the design can be rotated, but realize baby steps first..

I was reasonably good at maths 60+ years ago when at school - but sines and cosines etc mean zero now.

I am happy to spend some funds to get the right programme but there seems to be quite a number of them - so thought I would pose the question here and see if there are others like me that had the desire to conquer CAD and have succeeded.
Have pick a cad program.

Dave
 

bdrmachine

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For what it is worth SolidWorks has some promotional pricing. It is a very powerful program but, it has a steep learning curve. If you served honorably in any branch of the armed forces (unlike one resent president that claimed bone spurs to avoid the draft) you can get a full version that includes CAM for $20 plus a valid DD214 discharge form.
 

Zeb

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Ooh, and we forgot to bring out the modeling kernels!

CAD modelling kernels (under hood) make a big difference on limitations. This is particularly true with fillets. Below is personal opinion...
🍿🍿🍿Parasolid (NX, Solidworks)
🍿🍿🍿Shapemanager (Inventor, F360)
🍿🍿C3D (Ruskis)
🍿🍿ACIS (Alibre, BricsCAD)
🍿Troutlake (Rhino)
🍿 Open Cascade, Coin 3D (FREECAD)

FreeCAD is still more than enough for almost everything built on this forum.

Edit*
FreeCAD has come a ways since .18
20 minutes of fooling around and it seems to handle slivers and overlapping features quite well.
 

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rogerwest48

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I've used AutoCAD since 1990 (32 years) and Microstation for a bit as well.
Thats been for 2D drawings and 3D modeling in the mining industry.
AutoCAD is expensive, about A$2000/y. Ouch!
Now semi-retired and making models I use ProgeCAD about A$600. Forever, no more to pay.
I always redraw the plans that have been designed by others to allow me to check dimensions or redesign some parts.
Also design and generate my own models, 3D print them and cast them at the Petrie Trade Guild, of which I am a member.
Now...ProgeCAD is exactly the same as AutoCAD and behaves exactly like it. Even the keystrokes are mostly identical. You can download it for a free trial period.
I recommend it.
 

Jasonb

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Edit*
FreeCAD has come a ways since .18
20 minutes of fooling around and it seems to handle slivers and overlapping features quite well.
If that is supposed to be a solid piece of metal then it is not handling things well with those lines where you have extruded separate sketches, should not be there on a "solid" piece


well.JPG
 

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