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

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Zeb

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That was the intent! :) Even the file name is called "break.png" as I was trying to break the solver using 20 minutes of my time. I also mentioned slivers and overlapping features. Freecad did miles better than before.
Likely not grade A watertight tooling surfaces for aerodynamic applications. Those come at extra charge.
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
 

nickjamesd

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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


View attachment 142602
In Freecad it depends on how it was constructed , residual lines can still be present even thought it's a single solid , or it could indeed not be a single solid . It's one of the problems with Freecad there are many ways of achieving something, some will cause problems later . My son uses onshape from PTC who have been a major player in automotive settings for 20+years . There is ( if you hunt for it ) the option for hobbyists to use it for free . I cant comment on it's functionality but he's taught himself to use it , he took one look at freecad and chose something else :) .
 

Catpro

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Hello everyone,
I've been using FreeCAD many years and I am very happy with it. For me as a hobby model builder, it meets all my requirements. Sheet metal parts, 3D-printed parts, even CNC milling has a module in FreeCAD. Everything under Linux. But everyone has to try it for themselves.
 

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comstock-friend

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35 years of 2D AutoCad at work. On retirement my 'gold watch' was a Tormach PCNC1100. Went the Fusion 360 direction (free - hobby/retired/non-commercial) as I need to generate those tool paths to feed the CNC mill...

Here's a little dress up of a Stuart Beam Engine part in Fusion and during fitting.

John
 

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Daryl_bee

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That's engineering, not 3D CAD.
Well there's both. 3D CAD goes a long way towards engineering. Very simple case in point. Assigning material properties to your model and running a mass analysis you can get a center of gravity (C of G) which is very useful for stability. i.e. how much tension I can put on the "Traveller" (below) with various loadings before it tips. There's volume analysis & BOM generation. There's global interference checks etc etc. That's all within the CAD package before using add-ons like FEA.
 

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Gordon

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I think that many well meaning folks here are missing the point of the original poster. He has been designing and building models for 65 years using sketches on scrap paper. What he needs is something to document his designs and provide basic layout of parts and assembly. He does not need a program doing stress analysis, CNC capability and 3D printer files. What he needs is a basic easy to learn cad program. This may be a simple 2D or an easy to learn 3D program. If you look at many of the folks here who are cad proficient many of them spent years working in an industry where an employer invested years in them and high end software so that they could be proficient enough to provide a profit to the employer, not enhance their hobby when they retire. I do not know the original poster but I doubt whether his goal is to spend several thousand dollars and months of time learning a cad program. My guess would be his goal is inexpensive and easy to learn. Too expensive and too hard to learn quickly is going to lead to just dropping the idea.
 

awake

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

John
John, here is a recent FreeCAD project that I did in order to 3d print a cover/case for a re-purposed electrical plug. I have thought about doing a video tutorial on the process, as it would demonstrate a number of different ideas on a practical project. Well, practical in the sense that I needed and used the resulting part ... not necessarily practical in terms of what it would have cost to buy something instead of making this part! (But the fun factor made it more than worth it!)

PC Plug.png
 

ajoeiam

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John, here is a recent FreeCAD project that I did in order to 3d print a cover/case for a re-purposed electrical plug. I have thought about doing a video tutorial on the process, as it would demonstrate a number of different ideas on a practical project. Well, practical in the sense that I needed and used the resulting part ... not necessarily practical in terms of what it would have cost to buy something instead of making this part! (But the fun factor made it more than worth it!)

I'm not sure I should ask - - - but I'm sorta crazy so I will.

Are you up to be a mentor for the learning of FreeCAD's arcane and ever changing miasma of stuff?
 

awake

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I'm not sure I should ask - - - but I'm sorta crazy so I will.

Are you up to be a mentor for the learning of FreeCAD's arcane and ever changing miasma of stuff?
I would be happy to be a resource. Depending on the day or week, it may take me a day or six to respond to questions ... still have this annoying thing called a full-time job. But retirement is on the horizon ... :)
 

awerby

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I think that many well meaning folks here are missing the point of the original poster. He has been designing and building models for 65 years using sketches on scrap paper. What he needs is something to document his designs and provide basic layout of parts and assembly. He does not need a program doing stress analysis, CNC capability and 3D printer files. What he needs is a basic easy to learn cad program. This may be a simple 2D or an easy to learn 3D program. If you look at many of the folks here who are cad proficient many of them spent years working in an industry where an employer invested years in them and high end software so that they could be proficient enough to provide a profit to the employer, not enhance their hobby when they retire. I do not know the original poster but I doubt whether his goal is to spend several thousand dollars and months of time learning a cad program. My guess would be his goal is inexpensive and easy to learn. Too expensive and too hard to learn quickly is going to lead to just dropping the idea.
If that's the goal, he should look into MOI (Moment of Inspiration). It's a native 3D program that manages to be both simple to use and learn while giving users the ability to create forms based on complex curves (NURBS), not just straight lines. It was written by the original author of Rhinoceros, a much more complicated program, but it doesn't have that program's bewildering array of commands and features, or its high price.
 
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TSutrina

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If that's the goal, he should look into MOI (Moment of Inspiration). It's a native 3D program that manages to be both simple to use and learn while giving users the ability to create forms based on complex curves (NURBS), not just straight lines. It was written by the original author of Rhinoceros, a much more complicated program, but it doesn't have that program's bewildering array of commands and features, or its high price.
Free cad is first of all a "CAD" program with the ability to draw sketches and make solids, combined solids add or remove to make parts. 2D drawing can be projected for the part and dimensions. Parts can be put together to make assembly.
About all the other modules. I seldom use them, once a year. But say vibration is a problem then a stress analysis can tell you what is the problem.
S C Johnson Wax sniffer snap together handle failed about a dozen times. Talking about modifying the ejection molds, not cheap. Guessing the problem clearly didn't work. An FEA analysis was used for the next mold fix. Passed the tests and is in production.
 

TSutrina

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If that's the goal, he should look into MOI (Moment of Inspiration). It's a native 3D program that manages to be both simple to use and learn while giving users the ability to create forms based on complex curves (NURBS), not just straight lines. It was written by the original author of Rhinoceros, a much more complicated program, but it doesn't have that program's bewildering array of commands and features, or its high price.
I have learned about a dozen cad programs most free in the last 40 years. The commercial thousands of dollars have more refined finishing features, but I haven't found a free cad 3D program that doesn't create the part using the same steps: sketch, path line to extrude to ad or remove material, and add the sketches together. The weakness part is often projection of 2D drawings.
 

Zeb

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MOI is great, but it is destructive/non-parametric. With some care it could be made to work. I think it goes for $300.

Along the destructive vein, Blender has a new, free parametric addon that might interest others lurking here.

The reason I mention it is that there are thousands of people out there you can potentially hire for a job. You can keep the file ten years from now knowing it won't get Autodesk'd. It is a beast to learn, but hiring something out might offset that.

If you are an engineer who only likes sketch-to-solid and does not suffer from tinkeritis, I would not recommend it. ;)

Subdiv to NURBS conversion (test)
NURBSfromSubdiv.png
Pipe was a slip fit on first print, so accurate dimensions are possible.
3D_print_cyclic.png
Some parametric practice pieces..
Practice.PNG
 

Bentwings

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Nice thread start this could be a record Number of participants there are lots of people with shop skills then there are those of us that have both shop skills an engineering skills many of us have life long careers and walls of certs and degrees etc . It’s bound to be highly opinionated With solid reasons. I’m too old to get into heated debates now so easy to learn reasonable capability would be my thought. I did a lot of very high end stuff along with incredible flow and analysis capability . I have a cad system but frankly I’m retired and like to stay that way ive had my run as we
say in sports “ it was a good run “

I say look into fee cad I was impressed with the plug cover shown I near the beginning My guess is paper drawings could be made easily so you could make the parts in the shop or just get them printed
 
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ajoeiam

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MOI is great, but it is destructive/non-parametric. With some care it could be made to work. I think it goes for $300.

Along the destructive vein, Blender has a new, free parametric addon that might interest others lurking here.

The reason I mention it is that there are thousands of people out there you can potentially hire for a job. You can keep the file ten years from now knowing it won't get Autodesk'd. It is a beast to learn, but hiring something out might offset that.

If you are an engineer who only likes sketch-to-solid and does not suffer from tinkeritis, I would not recommend it. ;)

Subdiv to NURBS conversion (test)
View attachment 142681
Pipe was a slip fit on first print, so accurate dimensions are possible.
View attachment 142682
Some parametric practice pieces..
View attachment 142683


Hmmmmmmmm - - - wondering if its time to give Blender a whirl.

It certainly seems to be used for some interesting kind of stuff!
 

Gordon

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It is interesting that the original poster has not made an appearance since the original post. I am sure that this discussion just made him more confused than enlightened. There are many cad programs which would work and they range from free to $1000+. Learning curve goes from short time frame to months or even years. My guess is that he is back to sketching on the back of old envelopes and has just dropped the idea of cad.
 
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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.
As you can see, there are quite a few opinions on software here as well as any other site that discusses Cad or Cad/Cam software. If you never have used any Cad software, then there is going to be a learning curve you will have to go through. Everyone has a different approach on how to solve a problem, that's just human nature. It's that difference that makes people prefer one thing over another, including software.

Since you have been modeling over 65 years says you have been around the block more than a few times, like a lot of us here. A question you need to ask yourself is how many more times you can make it around that block. In other words, how many laps are you willing to give up learning a Cad Program? I am not trying to be facetious here, I am just trying to make the point that you want to keep that learning curve at a minimum. A lot, if not most 2D Cad programs work similarly to AutoCad. If you can sketch something out on a bar napkin and your buddy can understand it, then the 2D program won't take long to figure out. It will draw a straighter line and rounder circles than you can though. :)

3D in my opinion is horse of a different color. The learning curve is much steeper and the interface between the software and the user can be frustrating. I believe most all Cad products have a user group where you can ask for help, as well as here on this site. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but a video is so much more. Vendors should offer instructional videos on their site or have them available on YouTube. You Tube can be your friend when trying to learn something, just don't pay attention to the influencers that try to compare Cad A to Cad B.

There has been some good advice given by others here, along with several capable Cad programs. Check out their websites for the programs mentioned and take advantage of the 30-day free trials. At some point you are going to have to put your toes in the water.
 

Jasonb

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The big advantage of 3D for someone like ED who designs his own engines is that 3D allows the parts to be assembled and animated so you can see if something clashes or just simply get a good idea of what the engine will look like. Also if he wants to publish more designs then he does not have to rely on someone else to do the plans which may not be quite as he wants or saves having to ask that person to make revisions and updates. It would be quite easy to draw one of his designs such as the "Holly Buddy" with Alibre as it's a far simpler engine that what Gordon has managed to draw in a short time since trying out Alibre
 

Richard Hed

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As you can see, there are quite a few opinions on software here as well as any other site that discusses Cad or Cad/Cam software. If you never have used any Cad software, then there is going to be a learning curve you will have to go through. Everyone has a different approach on how to solve a problem, that's just human nature. It's that difference that makes people prefer one thing over another, including software.

Since you have been modeling over 65 years says you have been around the block more than a few times, like a lot of us here. A question you need to ask yourself is how many more times you can make it around that block. In other words, how many laps are you willing to give up learning a Cad Program? I am not trying to be facetious here, I am just trying to make the point that you want to keep that learning curve at a minimum. A lot, if not most 2D Cad programs work similarly to AutoCad. If you can sketch something out on a bar napkin and your buddy can understand it, then the 2D program won't take long to figure out. It will draw a straighter line and rounder circles than you can though. :)

3D in my opinion is horse of a different color. The learning curve is much steeper and the interface between the software and the user can be frustrating. I believe most all Cad products have a user group where you can ask for help, as well as here on this site. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but a video is so much more. Vendors should offer instructional videos on their site or have them available on YouTube. You Tube can be your friend when trying to learn something, just don't pay attention to the influencers that try to compare Cad A to Cad B.

There has been some good advice given by others here, along with several capable Cad programs. Check out their websites for the programs mentioned and take advantage of the 30-day free trials. At some point you are going to have to put your toes in the water.
I disagree about the learning curve for 3D cad being steeper. I thimpfk 3D CAD is easier to learn than 2D.
 

Zeb

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Discussions may not always benefit the original poster, and if rules are important, he could have done a search on this popular topic before posting.

Lurkers might be interested in other's past professional experience and how they use tools today. New tools and methods are constantly improving. Old ways of doing things without CAD are becoming valuable. Companies often switch hands and hold people's work hostage. All legitimate subjects for which CAD product one should chose. This benefits lurkers who wouldn't dare risk a post and might use a search function instead.

The mods could just delete all "Which lathe should I chose" posts...or they could banish the more illustrious characters to the experimental flash steam thread. For some it is a warm, happy place like Monty Python's Camelot...for others I work with in engineering disciplines, I could see it being an absolute nightmare.

This forum, along with the usual internet banter, has helped me formulate which CAD product I use today. Maybe these disorderly posts will help someone else?

I assume if I were in Oz right now, I'd be logging out for the summer!
 

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