The one I found was version 11. The new code I got from Alibre didn't work with it.
Alibre Design is at version 12 now. I've looked in several places for prices, but all of them want you to contact them to get the price.
In my experience, that means I can't afford it.
The "free" version is a 30-day trial. After that it's (US)$100 for the "you can use it forever, but there's no support or updates and some of the functions have been limited" version. For (basically) $500 you get the "Professional Design" version with support and updates for a year (they will ding you about $100/year thereafter) and some
of the functions disabled. For (about) $1000, you get the full version with their CAD, CAM, and some (limited) CAE tools. If you pay attention, they have "discounts" where the price for the "high end versions" is about half of the list price a couple of times a year.
A few years ago when they were going for another round of funding, Alibre offered their "just past" version as a free, you can use it forever, program to boost the number of people they could claim as users/customers. That's what everyone remembers. It's not incorrect, just outdated.
I started doing CAD in 1971. Back in the early-90's I had to list all the CAD programs I used as part of my CV for a presentation I gave. The list ran to nearly 250 different programs -- most you have never heard of. Most of my design work today is done using customer-defined programs: Catia, ProEngineer, and SolidWorks top the list. I use Alibre for general concept and preparation work (along with General CADD a 2D program that is incredibly powerful and fast). I am trying to help the Alibre team get some of their "features" working better for the 13.0 release (which I think they are calling Alibre-2010 to avoid the "13"). There is no compensation involved in this relationship (just to be clear about it).
Catia can be had for as "little" as (US)$28,000, but the typical "seat" runs about $65,000 installed and ready to go. ProEngineer can be had for as "little" as $4800, but the typical "seat" ends up in the $20,000 range when the dust settles. SolidWorks runs about $5600 installed and ready to go and you can figure on spending nearly as much to tweak it out to really gain speed.
Alibre has its problems (all
CAD systems do), but I can complete designs using Alibre about as fast as I can using ProEngineer (which I have more than a decade's experience running) after less than six months. My primary complaint about Alibre is that they do not
have a good system set-up to allow users
to share the little "utilities" that everyone writes to make things go faster. I.E. I just completed the complete "library" of National Aerospace Specification (NAS) socket head screws and there's no good
way for me to share this effort with other Alibre users to save them
similar effort. I can post it to a message in their user's forum (http://www.alibre.com/forum/ucp.php?mode=login
), but you would have to find that message
to grab a copy. (This is an arena where all
CAD companies fall down.)
A friend of mine's father-in-law makes ukuleles. I modeled the ukulele neck for him last January using Alibre and also using ProEngineer. I was able to create a more accurate model of the neck in Alibre than I could using ProEngineer as it has better lofting capabilities (they are called "quilts" in ProEngineer). Alibre also lets the user have direct control (in the more expensive versions) of Boolean operations. On the "downside," Alibre only
creates flat-bottomed holes in the "drilling" routines and their "tap expert" is (as is true of most
CAD systems today) wrong
. Otherwise, their geometry creation routines are as good as any in most instances.