What CAD software you use?



  • After discussion about CAM tools we (well, me, again 😞 ) digressed to talk about CAD tools and since I'm checking out these days for some useful cad tool for my 6.5yo (and maybe also a 3yo) some discussion might help me out find stuff I never knew existed 😄

    I used, for ages, solidWorks + solidCAM but since I'm not using "cured" software and can't explain the $$$ for solidWorks licence I'm chasing other solutions that are free.

    • onShape, I really liked, and used for a while, and don't remember why I stopped (There was some issue with licences/terms and conditions, I don't remember, maybe it was some FUD I succumbed to .. but whatever the reason I don't use it for new products). It is not very cheap but offered a free version with single private project and all other projects "visible to any onshape user". IIRC they removed this option to have a private project recently. I heard from few ppl that they were unable to get free account at all recently but mine still works.

    • fusion 360, I'm using mostly these days. transition from onShape/SolidWorks was easy... it's what most 3d printing nerds are using these days

    • OpenSCAD, I feel like I'm using openscad "forever".. I see on my computer some files I made with dates in 2010 so at least 10 years, I love it, I will always use it for certain type of parts

    • FreeCAD, I'm dancing around FreeCAD for many years, downloading, trying, giving up, downloading, trying, giving up. I mostly used it to convert STL to "solid" so that I can edit it then in onshape or f360 or.. it was always super slow, very buggy and was just not getting job done. I have not tried it for maybe a year and today I downloaded latest version and spent 4-5 hours with it and WOW this works!!!!

    • Blender, blender is very powerful tool that I never learned how to use. It has a steep learning curve but I'v seen stuff ppl make with it and it is very capable, you just need to invest in learning it - I never did 😞

    • Art of Illusion, this is a small java modeling app that looks ugly and incapable but is actually very powerful. I was introduced to it by a colleague from RepRap team (Forrest Higgs) back in the day. This small powerfull app can import, edit and export STL! It has a very powerful scripting language (you write your script basically in Java) that allow you to create a whole bunch of stuff, and a lot of script already exist (I still use the script to create involute gears, racks, pinions, normal and harringbone made by Forrest 10+ years ago). It is also the most powerful mesh optimisation tool I ever tried, I get with it way better results than with meshlab and similar tools.

    For kids, I am searching for weeks and

    • sketchup, tried, kids don't like it too much
    • 3dslash, looks promising, we'll see in few weeks

    Now kids have a 10" tablet (rather powerful 8 cores 8G ram.. low res) and a windows 7 i5 laptop ... so not some powerful graphics station but..

    What do you use? What your kids use?

    EDIT:
    I'll add here so there are in the top post, for the reference, the mentioned tools:



  • I use Fusion360 but hate the fact that it reports to the mothership and also that I need a dedicated computer for it (only windoze program I run)

    I would love to use FreeCad but it's been buggy and the features I need/want just aren't there.


  • Moderator

    I use Fusion360 and I love it. I don't care about the licensing and I'm not afraid of cloud integration. I don't mind paying for good software and I actually like the cloud functions and use them quite a bit. It is annoying when the STL translation service is down and I can't export an STL, but that's pretty rare. It's fast, powerful, and easy to learn and use.

    I used to use sketchup for woodworking projects, but now I use fusion for that too.

    I still use tinkercad for editing STL meshes.



  • @jens55 said in What CAD software you use?:

    (only windoze program I run)

    only program I need to run on windows, but who knows if fusion decides to build for arm64 as Apple jumps that fence we might see it on linux/arm64 as well?



  • @Phaedrux said in What CAD software you use?:

    I still use tinkercad for editing STL meshes.

    It's also a good starting point for kids.

    I am using fusion360 for GUI and OpenScad for text. Things that are easy in one are difficult in the other and vice versa (e.g. try to do chamfer in OpenScad).

    Fusion360 gives me though an unease feeling due to the heave dependency on the cloud and licensing (which can go away any time). I wonder how it compares to FreeCAD.



  • @Phaedrux said in What CAD software you use?:

    I don't mind paying for good software

    I don't mind paying for software that makes me money and I use a lot of very expensive tools for my work, but this is hobby and there I have limits. SolidWorks is 4000$ + 1300$ yearly, not something I can really approve for myself... I didn't have problem paying 150$ for s3d but you can't compare 150 vs 5300 for first year 🙂

    I did purchase netfabb studio (4.0 or 4.1 I Don't remember) that was rather expensive with a promise of good slicer... that was iirc 1000eur back in the day, too bad that app don't work on my computer any more 😞 ... since they as company do not longer exist no clue how to reenable that licence (I still have the usb dongle sitting somewhere) .. too bad as netfabb studio was very capable mesh handling tool 😞


  • Moderator

    @arhi said in What CAD software you use?:

    I did purchase netfabb studio

    You mentioned an education licence for autodesk. If that's the case you probably already have access to current netfabb studio through that.



  • @zapta said in What CAD software you use?:

    @Phaedrux said in What CAD software you use?:

    I still use tinkercad for editing STL meshes.

    It's also a good starting point for kids.

    hm, I tried to edit a mesh in tinkercad 10+ times and never managed to do it.. something about it do not sit with me so I did not show it to my kids as I can't show them how to use it 😞

    I wonder how it compares to FreeCAD.

    Feature wise, try FreeCAD and decide for yourself, I was impressed today (not so earlier). Licence wise FreeCAD is open source 🙂


  • Moderator

    @arhi said in What CAD software you use?:

    I can't show them how to use it

    Take the built in tutorial and make yourself a key chain. It's pretty easy.



  • @Phaedrux said in What CAD software you use?:

    @arhi said in What CAD software you use?:

    I did purchase netfabb studio

    You mentioned an education licence for autodesk. If that's the case you probably already have access to current netfabb studio through that.

    Awesome, I found it, had to disable ABP and uBLOCK plugins to actually get it 🙂



  • @arhi said in What CAD software you use?:

    @Phaedrux said in What CAD software you use?:

    I don't mind paying for good software

    I don't mind paying for software that makes me money and I use a lot of very expensive tools for my work, but this is hobby and there I have limits. SolidWorks is 4000$ + 1300$ yearly, not something I can really approve for myself... I didn't have problem paying 150$ for s3d but you can't compare 150 vs 5300 for first year 🙂

    I did purchase netfabb studio (4.0 or 4.1 I Don't remember) that was rather expensive with a promise of good slicer... that was iirc 1000eur back in the day, too bad that app don't work on my computer any more 😞 ... since they as company do not longer exist no clue how to reenable that licence (I still have the usb dongle sitting somewhere) .. too bad as netfabb studio was very capable mesh handling tool 😞

    Lol, well, sorry to break it to you, but NetFabb was bought by Autodesk! Haha, man. They are ruining your life. 😞

    [edit: seems you already knew that 😛 ]

    They still sell it, at an exorbitant price, and it looks like they added some things and made it look nicer. If you ask nicely, they may grant you a license based on your old credentials.

    Many of the features of NetFabb are in Fusion. The FFF slicing, iirc, is not actually directly lifted from NetFabb, but many of the surrounding features are.

    MeshMixer and NetFabb both pop their heads up within Fusion.



  • @bot said in What CAD software you use?:

    Lol, well, sorry to break it to you, but NetFabb was bought by Autodesk! Haha, man. They are ruining your life. 😞

    I don't mind, to be fair the old 4.1 version had everything I need (except for slicer but thats not why I purchased it), if I could just get my 4.1 to work I'd be ok but the contacts I had in netfabb are not there any more and they made the whole thing with the dongle weird (they make you a special licence key that they send you via email and it then works with that dongle ?!?! so when I replaced the computer - puf, nothing works any more, nor a I can download the netfabb 4.1 any mroe 😞 )

    but installing premium 2020 now .. looks like this edu licence works ok 🙂

    (hm, just god "install error 0: the operation complete successfully !?!?!?!")

    Many of the features of NetFabb are in Fusion. The FFF slicing, iirc, is not actually directly lifted from NetFabb, but many of the surrounding features are.

    MeshMixer and NetFabb both pop their heads up within Fusion.

    Well the major stuff I used netfabb for was fixing meshes and booleans between meshes as it was apart from AOI the only tool that was doing it properly. Unfortunately these tasks in f360 don't work nearly as good as they did in netfabb 😞



  • @arhi Until I got into 3D printing 5 or 6 years ago, I had never used any CAD software whatsoever. I taught myself enough OpenScad to get done what I need to do, but I've never found the time to teach myself anything else, apart from a brief flirtation with FreeCad which is completely alien to an old fart like me.



  • Hi,

    I use "Moment of Inspiration" because it works the way my mind does - if that makes any sense.

    Frederick


  • Moderator

    @fcwilt said in What CAD software you use?:

    Moment of Inspiration

    That's an interesting one. I'd never seen that before.
    http://moi3d.com/



  • @Phaedrux said in What CAD software you use?:

    @fcwilt said in What CAD software you use?:

    Moment of Inspiration

    That's an interesting one. I'd never seen that before.
    http://moi3d.com/

    I've tried many of them, both free and paid.

    For whatever reason MOI was the most intuitive for me. It just seemed to make sense, things seemed "natural".

    I suspect that is likely related to how my mind works and others may not like it at all.

    Frederick



  • @fcwilt I never even heard of it, and looks like I'm not the only one 🙂 .. that's why I created this topic as I'm sure some diamonds will pop up 🙂 ...



  • First would be Solidworks, distant second would be Solid Edge, followed by f360 for when I have to stay in OSX.



  • @Phaedrux said in What CAD software you use?:

    It is annoying when the STL translation service is down and I can't export an STL, but that's pretty rare.

    Unless I’m misunderstanding, right click component name in browser, “save as STL,” no cloud export required.



  • I used DesignSpark Mechanical for a few years before I switched to Fusion360. It's about as easy to learn and use a SketchUp, but much more powerful and doesn't turn out bad STL files that have to be repaired before they can be printed.

    Solvespace is an interesting program...

    I've made and printed a few small "artistic" pieces generated using Structure Synth. If you like Open SCAD you'll love structure synth! It's not for modeling real objects, but more of a mathematical sculpting tool that uses recursion.



  • The US based organization, EAA (Experimental Aircraft Association) offers a Solidworks license with its $40/year membership. If anyone tries it please report back on its restrictions, if any. I thought about joining and getting a license but with Catia (From Dasault Sytemes also the creators of Solidworks) at work and BobCad/Cam for hobby I'd just assume not jump on another learning curve.



  • @3DPMicro It's the same as the other educational/military/gov deals - for one year and not for commercial use.


  • Moderator

    @whopping-pochard said in What CAD software you use?:

    @Phaedrux said in What CAD software you use?:

    It is annoying when the STL translation service is down and I can't export an STL, but that's pretty rare.

    Unless I’m misunderstanding, right click component name in browser, “save as STL,” no cloud export required.

    Maybe? https://www.reddit.com/r/3Dprinting/comments/9es1xt/getting_an_error_in_fusion_360_about_exporting_to/



  • @Phaedrux Fusion360 does the STL conversion in the cloud. When they are updating their servers, usually on Sundays in the US, saving as STL usually doesn't work. When they finish server maintenance, STL conversion becomes functional again.



  • @mrehorstdmd said in What CAD software you use?:

    I used DesignSpark Mechanical for a few years before I switched to Fusion360. It's about as easy to learn and use a SketchUp, but much more powerful and doesn't turn out bad STL files that have to be repaired before they can be printed.

    Solvespace is an interesting program...

    I've made and printed a few small "artistic" pieces generated using Structure Synth. If you like Open SCAD you'll love structure synth! It's not for modeling real objects, but more of a mathematical sculpting tool that uses recursion.

    +1 for Design Spark mechanical.

    It's apparently a very slightly dumbed down version of an expensive program called "Spaceclaim", offered by RS as a tool to design things using their components (and therefore buy them).

    The only price of freedom is that you have to close the initial RS page on startup.

    I was advised of some custom stl export settings, and it does seem to do really "high poly" resolution in prints (if that's the right way to say it).

    I haven't seen a way to add text to a design with it though...is that possible?


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