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

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Bentwings

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Some where it was suggested to just enrol n a school course and consider the tuition as your subscription cost some community colleges offer pretty good rates if you are still working you may get tuition from employer . You can save files to almost any format so you can save them on windows you may not be able to change them but if you really wanted to you could create drawin files in 2 d and save those in case you go to a different program you could at least make prints the nice thing is you can save them as 3 d print files too . I think you can still attend classes even in retirement im sure there is some one here who has done file saving and conversion If you decide to change programs mid stream you can make the changes as your first project at one point I switched from solid works to inventor and Ijust converted files to inventor in some cases I have just saved as a drawing then recreated from the drawing to new format tedious but it did work in fact I just discovered some of these but I’ll not reuse them as project is done snd gone. Do make a note file on what you are dong and how other wise you can get lost . It kinda lik starting over for me now as it’s been years since I retired however it’s like riding a bike you may wobble around but yo don’t realy forget like a black out . I’m finding icons for different things than I was used to many have a lot more choices and easier ways to do things . I have not done fusion 360 yet but it’s a lot like inventor from the test version however the basics of 3 d modeling are still there so all is not lost I YHINK .
 
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ajoeiam

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Have you looked into SW for makers? They are even offering a promo from $99 to $69/year. There are probably some limitations but I'm still trying to hear from a hobbyist type who ideally has prior SW familiarity reference & has taken the leap.
My major limitation, re: that idea, is that I would then have to run Windows - - - - and - - - if I can help it - - - - that just ain't going to happen.
(I decline to accept M$ Windows continuing and ongoing security opportunities!)
 

Richard Hed

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Some where it was suggested to just enrol n a school course and consider the tuition as your subscription cost some community colleges offer pretty good rates if you are still working you may get tuition from employer . You can save files to almost any format so you can save them on windows you may not be able to change them but if you really wanted to you could create drawin files in 2 d and save those in case you go to a different program you could at least make prints the nice thing is you can save them as 3 d print files too . I think you can still attend classes even in retirement im sure there is some one here who has done file saving and conversion If you decide to change programs mid stream you can make the changes as your first project at one point I switched from solid works to inventor and Ijust converted files to inventor in some cases I have just saved as a drawing then recreated from the drawing to new format tedious but it did work in fact I just discovered some of these but I’ll not reuse them as project is done snd gone. Do make a note file on what you are dong and how other wise you can get lost . It kinda lik starting over for me now as it’s been years since I retired however it’s like riding a bike you may wobble around but yo don’t realy forget like a black out . I’m finding icons for different things than I was used to many have a lot more choices and easier ways to do things . I have not done fusion 360 yet but it’s a lot like inventor from the test version however the basics of 3 d modeling are still there so all is not lost I YHINK .
What version of Inventor do you have?
 

Bentwings

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I don’t have inverter I had it at a place I did contract work for I don’t recall what version version. I actually had the first version called ME mech engineering it was pretty primitive by today’s standard. When I switched from SW to inventor it was almost a bolt on just different icons for the same things as SW. I did several automation lines with it I had enough computer at home so they gave me a seat for working at home I probably could have kept it but I didn’t feel it was right so I returned it and files when my contract was done. From what I’ve seen of late most 3D programs do about the same thing they are just worded different some are easier to use I guess but the thinking is about the same
 

Richard Hed

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I don’t have inverter I had it at a place I did contract work for I don’t recall what version version. I actually had the first version called ME mech engineering it was pretty primitive by today’s standard. When I switched from SW to inventor it was almost a bolt on just different icons for the same things as SW. I did several automation lines with it I had enough computer at home so they gave me a seat for working at home I probably could have kept it but I didn’t feel it was right so I returned it and files when my contract was done. From what I’ve seen of late most 3D programs do about the same thing they are just worded different some are easier to use I guess but the thinking is about the same
Yes, I have an old copy of Inventor, it works on older machines and it's VERY good, but it will not work on my newer machines. I also use SW and I found it very similar to Inventor. I like them both. Now I have the Alibre Atom which is good but does not have the high power. It's quite adequate for what I need it for, so what's to complain about? I also have AutoCADs 2004i Architectural which is VERY powerful but much more difficult to use than Atom, especially when it comes to making 2D prints.
 

hanermo3

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1.
Anyone can run a windows shell in a VM environment on linux.
2.
The best easiest fastest 3D CAD sw I know of is Rhino 3D.
A student license is cheapish.
Easy to get.
Enroll anywhere.

No cloud crap.

And really, really, really easy and good 3D CAD.
Based on 35+ years of experience on 3D CAD, starting with CATIA on dedicated expensive IBM hw, circa 1985.

Made 1GB files of my machine tool, VMC, with hundreds / thousand parts with asemblies, holes (several hundred) etc.
Good scripting language.
Very fast.
Best interface of any cad program.

Rhino lacks associative dimensioning. Biggest drawback.
And You can make "almost" 3D models where the polygons/hexels don´t match. Possible to fix, but annoying, and a major pain if you discover it late in the modelling.

I really, really like SW.
But it is really hard to do anything useful with it, until you spend 200+ hours with it, and still a lot of stuff drives You bonkers.

3.
Example.
Model a 32 mm D ballscrew using the real ogive arch. Taper starts and ends of threads.
Make sure a mori seiki or makino lathe or 5 axis grinder can make it in one setting.
The model must be able to be made in one setting in steel.
Make sure the model is accurate to 1 micron. Explain why it´s that accurate.

I can/could do the above in 20 mins in rhino.
Would take about 1.5 hours now.
Have done it. 300 MB model.

3.1
Make a parametric program to create the screw in any length.

3.2
Extra -- In multiple diameters.
Note the ogive arch. It´s hard.

Fairly easy in rhino. The ogive is hard.
Real sanity checks are hardish.
 

Zeb

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I'm actually about to pull the trigger on a perpetual Rhino license (before they get Autodesk'd as well). Even though it's a niche market, it's still the best value for surfacing tools out there. Some amazing automotive, marine, and architectural projects have come out of it.

I've found the prompt interface the most awkward to learn though and the knowledge doesn't transfer directly to other applications. Unless someone here is painstakingly creating composite molds, replica crankcase castings, or manifolds, it may not be the ticket. The fillet solver also fails more compared to cheaper alternatives.

They offer a free 90 day unrestricted trial to work through all the kinks. They have a helpful community too and it's still a tool you can own.
 

ajoeiam

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1.
Anyone can run a windows shell in a VM environment on linux.
2.
snip
You bet - - - - you can if you want but I decline the joys of such.
I tried that - - - - except every time you update your VM environment software (IIRC I was using virtual box at the time) I would have to authenticate ALL the M$ software. As I did not allow the instance to have a IP connection it meant calling M$ service (a right royal joy that was) and then figuring out which buzz words were the new as well as applicable so that I could get the incredibly long stupid number that would convince 'windows' that I had actually bought it rather than I was trying to run an illegal copy. As that got to taking some 45 minutes or more each time - - - - - well I stopped doing that. M$ copy protection is a right royal steaming pile of excrement but they like it that way - - - - it makes them feel like they've avoided another nefarious scammer - - - - except I bought all my copies!
So - - - - the incentive to use windows here is not very high - - - - I prefer to have at least a wee little bit of privacy not that the 4, or is it 5, gigantic T-rex data behemoths want me to have any.
 

Richard Hed

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You bet - - - - you can if you want but I decline the joys of such.
I tried that - - - - except every time you update your VM environment software (IIRC I was using virtual box at the time) I would have to authenticate ALL the M$ software. As I did not allow the instance to have a IP connection it meant calling M$ service (a right royal joy that was) and then figuring out which buzz words were the new as well as applicable so that I could get the incredibly long stupid number that would convince 'windows' that I had actually bought it rather than I was trying to run an illegal copy. As that got to taking some 45 minutes or more each time - - - - - well I stopped doing that. M$ copy protection is a right royal steaming pile of excrement but they like it that way - - - - it makes them feel like they've avoided another nefarious scammer - - - - except I bought all my copies!
So - - - - the incentive to use windows here is not very high - - - - I prefer to have at least a wee little bit of privacy not that the 4, or is it 5, gigantic T-rex data behemoths want me to have any.
Yup
 

hanermo3

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You bet - - - - you can if you want but I decline the joys of such.
I tried that - - - - except every time you update your VM environment software (IIRC I was using virtual box at the time) I would have to authenticate ALL the M$ software. As I did not allow the instance to have a IP connection it meant calling M$ service (a right royal joy that was) and then figuring out which buzz words were the new as well as applicable so that I could get the incredibly long stupid number that would convince 'windows' that I had actually bought it rather than I was trying to run an illegal copy. As that got to taking some 45 minutes or more each time - - - - - well I stopped doing that. M$ copy protection is a right royal steaming pile of excrement but they like it that way - - - - it makes them feel like they've avoided another nefarious scammer - - - - except I bought all my copies!
So - - - - the incentive to use windows here is not very high - - - - I prefer to have at least a wee little bit of privacy not that the 4, or is it 5, gigantic T-rex data behemoths want me to have any.
Pretty much agree ...
but calling the ms windoz authorization nr on the screen gets you auto-prompt and gives you a new code in 3 mins.

I need windoz for rhino and office and mach3 cnc.
maybe cam sw.

It´s incredibly easy and efficient to use excel as a front end for real databases (postgres sql).
And making endless complex docs based on arcane rules, depending on other rules .. really good db territory.

I would love to go all in on linux, that I used heavily in the past on lots of production servers.

For me, very very experienced in excel/word and macros and vb and rhino3d and mach3 the switch would be incredibly painful.
The horrible windoz 8+10 forced upgrade stuff almost made me switch over.

Agree very much on the security (lack of) and the horrible policies ms does (like switching encryption methods on fileshares, of course without telling anyone, breaking huge # of smb systems).

E.g. As a consequence reuters-owned-company techs routinely disabled all security on hundreds-thousands of critical legal database apps.
With millions of files.
Madness.
Been there, seen that, until we switched sw.
 

ajoeiam

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Pretty much agree ...
but calling the ms windoz authorization nr on the screen gets you auto-prompt and gives you a new code in 3 mins.

I need windoz for rhino and office and mach3 cnc.
maybe cam sw.

It´s incredibly easy and efficient to use excel as a front end for real databases (postgres sql).
And making endless complex docs based on arcane rules, depending on other rules .. really good db territory.

I would love to go all in on linux, that I used heavily in the past on lots of production servers.

For me, very very experienced in excel/word and macros and vb and rhino3d and mach3 the switch would be incredibly painful.
The horrible windoz 8+10 forced upgrade stuff almost made me switch over.

Agree very much on the security (lack of) and the horrible policies ms does (like switching encryption methods on fileshares, of course without telling anyone, breaking huge # of smb systems).

E.g. As a consequence reuters-owned-company techs routinely disabled all security on hundreds-thousands of critical legal database apps.
With millions of files.
Madness.
Been there, seen that, until we switched sw.
Dunno how you got it done in 3 mins - - - - - I'm remembering even needing multiple calls because the help person from India that answered the North American help number had a hard time understanding why I just couldn't get my code using the web.

Office - - - - so far - - - LibreOffice seems to do a reasonable job - - - but then I don't do really weird stuff in spreadsheets and my writing is sorta tame compared to a long time ago. Does office allow you to have two parallel pages (for translating) - - - that would be quite useful these days.

Are you finding win 11 to be any improvement on anything?
AIUI the uptake on it is very low compared to what was expected (and that was already low imo).

I would love to have better CAD software but that is really the only place where I find that linux truly sucks.

Do you have any knowledge on the using of RTOS systems on embedded hardware?
 

Bazzer

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I'm actually about to pull the trigger on a perpetual Rhino license (before they get Autodesk'd as well). Even though it's a niche market, it's still the best value for surfacing tools out there. Some amazing automotive, marine, and architectural projects have come out of it.

I've found the prompt interface the most awkward to learn though and the knowledge doesn't transfer directly to other applications. Unless someone here is painstakingly creating composite molds, replica crankcase castings, or manifolds, it may not be the ticket. The fillet solver also fails more compared to cheaper alternatives.

They offer a free 90 day unrestricted trial to work through all the kinks. They have a helpful community too and it's still a tool you can own.
You should look at MOI 3D it is developed by a chap who worked for Rhino and it does pretty much everything that Rhino does without the clutter.
 

burkLane

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Have you looked into SW for makers? They are even offering a promo from $99 to $69/year. There are probably some limitations but I'm still trying to hear from a hobbyist type who ideally has prior SW familiarity reference & has taken the leap.
I recently started to teach myself this program. The cost per year was just too good to pass up. I don't have solidworks experience, but I do have about 20 years of Autocad experience as a base for all cad bloatware. I have been using Iron cad innovate for about 7 or 8 years now. I find it to be by far the easiest 3d cad system I have ever used. With prior cad experience as mentioned above I was able to draw detailed multi part models in a matter of hours. After a few weeks of experience it was almost simple to draw very detailed models of just about anything. That said like most things it does have some limitations and a few things that can frustrate the user. I decided to learn the online solidworks program mostly to see what was different and learn a different workflow and methods. Right now, it takes about 10x more time to get about same results as Ironcad inovate because of the very structured workflow and having to learn how it works. On the plus side it has a number of surface modeling features that are crazy fun to use and Ironcad for the most part has little ability to do this type of modeling. I do pretty much all cnc machine work and Ironcad integrates with my Sprutcam software very well. Solid works so far takes a number of extra steps to get the model into cam but again Im learning! And there is alot to learn! I would recomend this to anyone learning or just wanting a different set of tools "like me" to use! Like most things it takes time and ability to adapt to their way of working. "open mind helps with all bloatware"
Hope this helps
 

awake

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You bet - - - - you can if you want but I decline the joys of such.
I tried that - - - - except every time you update your VM environment software (IIRC I was using virtual box at the time) I would have to authenticate ALL the M$ software. As I did not allow the instance to have a IP connection it meant calling M$ service (a right royal joy that was) and then figuring out which buzz words were the new as well as applicable so that I could get the incredibly long stupid number that would convince 'windows' that I had actually bought it rather than I was trying to run an illegal copy. As that got to taking some 45 minutes or more each time - - - - - well I stopped doing that. M$ copy protection is a right royal steaming pile of excrement but they like it that way - - - - it makes them feel like they've avoided another nefarious scammer - - - - except I bought all my copies!
So - - - - the incentive to use windows here is not very high - - - - I prefer to have at least a wee little bit of privacy not that the 4, or is it 5, gigantic T-rex data behemoths want me to have any.
Joe and Richard, I've not had the issue of having to re-authorize the Microsoft software on my VM. I've been using VirtualBox to host a Windows VM on my linux machines for many, many years; I have updated VirtualBox more times than I can count, and have moved the VM across at least 4 machines. Never once have I been asked to re-authorize Windows or Office. I don't know what would make that difference, unless perhaps the version of Windows that I have used, which came through the university where I work. Maybe???
 

CF-EKM

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This thread is nice, many CAD presented I didn't know about.

Solid Edge (Siemens) is also a good option for modelers. I use it both for work and since a while for hobby.

- "Maker"/Hobby license, 0,00 €/£/$
- it's a full version like the commercial license, all is included and functional
- OFFLINE installation, working and file storing...no cloud, no internet required
- both direct and parametric modeling
- comes with a very basic FEM module, comfortable to use and good for a quick & simple load analysis, mostly a tool to support the design evolution of a part
- full file import/export functionality, reads many foreign file formats
- good .stl export interface
- wide offer of tutorials as it's a widely used software

- native files only open with the Maker license
- 2D drawings are added a watermark

I was rid of the "kind offers" of other cad systems that invite you to go online/cloud.
Lessons learned from my time with PTC Creo which stopped and all the work was waste. One of the few file native formats I could not open on any other cad so far...

Kind regards,
Christian
 

hanermo3

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Dunno how you got it done in 3 mins - - - - - I'm remembering even needing multiple calls because the help person from India that answered the North American help number had a hard time understanding why I just couldn't get my code using the web.

I would love to have better CAD software but that is really the only place where I find that linux truly sucks.

Do you have any knowledge on the using of RTOS systems on embedded hardware?
In europe the windozw thing is automated. No persons.
Just press private user, follow silly prompts.

The rtos systems of mine, lots of, are usually related to mach3 cnc sw.

The windows mach3 is simply the interface, and the actual hw runs on ring 0 interupts and mostly on proprietary hw directly.
Siemens industrial cnc does the same, pretty much, afaik.

The fast loops run in hw with feedback loops, and the sw just feeds them instructions.

The cheap easy solution is polabs, pokeys, from poland.
It works good on mach3, has good support, is somewhat quirky, is cheap.
People use it to build flight simulators, automation, stuff, anything.

Limited to 100 kHz, and 4 axis, iirc, depending, and these are not enough for me anymore.

For 500 kHz, the CSlabs industrial hW with 4 MHz native speed and 6 axis is very good.
But it´s expensive.
But it´s really good, and really industrial, and really better than most-anything else.

For 1-wire control and embedded stuff in the sub-50$ range I have no experience.
Would expect that 1/10 pieces of kit are good, reliable, and have most of the funny bugs out.

The arduino stuff and similar I have no experience with, but the above guesstimate applies.
The hw is typically ok, the sw is typically quirky, and endless funny limits happen mostly after when You have spent 1000 hours building something.

And You find You cannot actually do c. if you are doing a and b.
Exactly the same applies to most expensive industrial networking hw, btw.

Lots and lots (millions of use hours) of experience doing rthw on networking, for 25 years.
 

TSutrina

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Thank you for who ever sent me an add for Solid Works for builders. I went straight to the file restrictions information. this is what your getting a discount for, very restrictive compared to FreeCAD. The export format is limited to what could be sent to a 3D printer and likely a CNC machine. Can not export a step file to send to a friend and can not sent a Solid Works file to a person that has the standard program. And drawing will have water marks. My opinion is that it will not become popular and eventually be dropped or it will become significantly less restrictive. My guess is the first option will happen since this will create very little income for the effort to keep the program and community satisfied.
 

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