Author Topic: CAD recommendations  (Read 14943 times)

Offline j45on

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CAD recommendations
« on: May 24, 2011, 03:18:09 PM »
I need a CAD program,I have tried to learn CAD before and failed miserably  :palm: mainly because the software I purchased had no tutorials and I am thick  :lol: ( well it did but they cost as much as the software  :bang:)
So I need something easy to learn  :scratch: affordable,and ideally have some free tutorials What would you recommend ?

I have mach3 and cut2D (which is great) and I was planning to use inkscape but it has turned out to be inaccurate for measurements.
Jason

Offline Brass_Machine

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Re: CAD recommendations
« Reply #1 on: May 24, 2011, 03:25:56 PM »
ALIBRE.

Relatively inexpensive to buy ($199usd for the hobby package...sooo $1.00 after conversion to pounds sterling?  :lol: :lol:), easy to learn and is pretty powerful....

I use it. Quite a few people here do as well...

Eric
« Last Edit: May 24, 2011, 03:27:52 PM by Brass_Machine »
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Offline DaveH

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Re: CAD recommendations
« Reply #2 on: May 24, 2011, 03:33:48 PM »
j45on,

Are you looking for 3D or just 2D.

DaveH
(Ex Leicester, Thurmaston, Ashby De La Zouch.)

Offline dickda1

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Re: CAD recommendations
« Reply #3 on: May 24, 2011, 03:40:31 PM »
I use Adobe Inventor and Rhino - but these are expensive.

If you don't care about rendering a finished model, creating assemblies, parameterizing or inputs to CAD, you can get away pretty cheap.  This is especially true if you just want to create dimensioned 2D and 3D drawings for machining.

Have you tried the free version of Google Sketchup?  Free always gets my attention!

-Dick
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Offline John Stevenson

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Re: CAD recommendations
« Reply #4 on: May 24, 2011, 04:20:35 PM »
At the present time there is no contest.


Solid works which is the main 3D modelling program but expensive, read 5K to license has released a cut down 2D version called Draftsight for free,
no strings attached, and nothing crippled.

Add to this they have put loads of tutorials on Youtube showing various features that you can't go wrong.

http://www.draftsight.com

John S.
John Stevenson

Offline Country Bubba

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Re: CAD recommendations
« Reply #5 on: May 24, 2011, 04:25:17 PM »
I have been using a couple of FREEWARE Acad look alikes.

For the past ~3 years, I have used Progecad smart (can be downloaded here  http://www.progesoft.com/en/smart-2009)
However the last version is the 2009 version and am not sure if they are going to update it. It has a couple of minor bugs, but has served me well. NOTE: it is for non-commercial use ONLY.

Recently, the makers of Solidworks has released a 2D package and again it is very much like Acad. The also have several tutorials in their forum and a fairly active users support in the forum.
This can be found at:

http://www.3ds.com/products/draftsight/download-draftsight/

an internet connection is required (real e-mail address) for registration that is required, but they have not bugged me at all.
It is out of beta now and have issued SP1 however there are still a few issues that need to be fixed. :poke:

For 2d drawings, either is great.

Art
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Offline DaveH

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Re: CAD recommendations
« Reply #6 on: May 24, 2011, 04:27:56 PM »
Here's another free 2D cad with lots of tutorial and web help/support

http://www.doublecad.com/

I would sugest you download  both (and DraftSight) and see which takes your fancy.

DaveH
(Ex Leicester, Thurmaston, Ashby De La Zouch.)

Offline John Stevenson

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Re: CAD recommendations
« Reply #7 on: May 24, 2011, 04:39:29 PM »
Here's another free 2D cad with lots of tutorial and web help/support

http://www.doublecad.com/

I would sugest you download  both (and DraftSight) and see which takes your fancy.

DaveH

That's very good advise as CAD is like religion, there is no program that suits all.

It's a long road but it does pay to download a few and plan to spend at least three nights on each to see which program suits the way you work.

John S.
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Offline DennisWA

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Re: CAD recommendations
« Reply #8 on: May 24, 2011, 04:51:56 PM »
Thanks John S. for the advice on DraftSight - something that I can use on my Apple MacBook  :clap:    I have just downloaded here in Colorado. 

The Mac one is a Beta version but it will give me something to do on my current trip to the USA / UK visiting grandchildren (2 months away from my workshop :bang:)

Enjoyed the brief chat at Harrogate.

Cheers

Dennis

Offline j45on

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Re: CAD recommendations
« Reply #9 on: May 24, 2011, 05:28:38 PM »
Many thanks everybody  :bow: I shall download some now and have a play

A few specific answers

j45on,

Are you looking for 3D or just 2D.

DaveH

Just 2D for now
Have you tried the free version of Google Sketchup?  Free always gets my attention!

-Dick

I have but the free version will not output the files I need which is a shame as its easy to use


Jason

Offline kwackers

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Re: CAD recommendations
« Reply #10 on: May 24, 2011, 06:11:14 PM »
I've tried various packages on and off and found them mostly frustrating.

I do simple stuff in vcarve which is great and pretty intuitive but not that good for complex stuff.

However, I've just downloaded DraftSight (thanks John for the link!) and in 10 minutes of playing and watching a few of the youtube videos have got far further than any other package despite sometimes spending a fair bit of time trying to get them to do fairly basic things.

TBH, probably my lack of patience...

Offline j45on

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Re: CAD recommendations
« Reply #11 on: May 24, 2011, 06:19:45 PM »
Just downloaded Draftsight as well  :thumbup: as it will run on a mac which is what I have indoors
I must go and google the videos i'm still reading the pdf
Hopefully I can figure it out  :nrocks:
Jason

Offline jgroom

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Re: CAD recommendations
« Reply #12 on: May 26, 2011, 05:45:35 PM »
As a Linux user I love Draftsight, but it is woefully short of documentation for the new user.  As a 20+ year user of AutoCad in various work environments I can say the commands in DS are very similar.  Hit the local used bookstores/libraries for the AutoCad Bible, Dummies guides to ACAD, etc.  They'll put you on the right track.

Cheers

Jeff

Offline John Stevenson

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Re: CAD recommendations
« Reply #13 on: May 26, 2011, 05:49:41 PM »
Short on documentation ?

186 page manual here free for download.

http://www.3ds.com/fileadmin/PRODUCTS/DRAFT_SIGHT/PDF/GETTING-STARTED-GUIDE.pdf

John S.
John Stevenson

Offline kvom

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Re: CAD recommendations
« Reply #14 on: May 26, 2011, 06:06:33 PM »
Another happy draftsight user here.

Offline j45on

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Re: CAD recommendations
« Reply #15 on: May 26, 2011, 06:26:15 PM »
Short on documentation ?

186 page manual here free for download.

http://www.3ds.com/fileadmin/PRODUCTS/DRAFT_SIGHT/PDF/GETTING-STARTED-GUIDE.pdf

John S.

I have been following that and I have managed to draw some of the panels for a wooden puzzle box  :ddb:
I could not figure out how to draw a simple square with the last program I had :palm:



I am getting there slowly  :D
Jason

Offline DaveH

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Re: CAD recommendations
« Reply #16 on: May 27, 2011, 04:21:39 AM »
Jason,

Well done,  :clap: :clap: :clap:  you know what they say "practice makes perfect" :thumbup:


 :beer:

DaveH


(Ex Leicester, Thurmaston, Ashby De La Zouch.)

Offline kwackers

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Re: CAD recommendations
« Reply #17 on: May 27, 2011, 04:44:57 AM »
I tried to draw a cylinder for a steam engine using it. All went well, even felt like I was getting the hang of it! Draw a box here, relative to that one there, mirror that object etc etc.

But then when I came to dimension it, the dimensioning arrows are bigger than the cylinder! In fact if I shrink the image to make the dimension arrows about the right size my cylinder is a dot.
I think somewhere along the line I've got my scale wrong, perhaps I selected angstroms...

Offline kwackers

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Re: CAD recommendations
« Reply #18 on: May 27, 2011, 02:44:42 PM »
Does anyone know how to enter fractional values?  i.e.  1 9/16 into these cad packages?

Seems to be a pita to have to manually convert stuff like that before typing it in. I tried changing the units to fractional but nothing I typed in seemed to make it happy. (This is for draftsight, but I guess the procedure is common amongst most).

Offline Country Bubba

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Re: CAD recommendations
« Reply #19 on: May 27, 2011, 02:59:06 PM »
in your example, in the command bar type 1-9/16 and it should work.

Art
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Offline kwackers

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Re: CAD recommendations
« Reply #20 on: May 27, 2011, 03:02:41 PM »
Excellent! Thanks and work it did too!

Offline John Stevenson

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Re: CAD recommendations
« Reply #21 on: May 27, 2011, 05:32:50 PM »
The command line instructions are very good in CAD programs, the ones that support them that is.
Once you start getting up to speed it's well worth printing out the command line structure for common moves.

Type in "L" [ no inverted commas] in the command line and it knows it has to draw a line, first question is start point ? Type in 0,0 and it will start at the drawing base point. Then it wants the next point.

As most drawings are dimensioned as a part and not from a common point we are used to so wide, so long as opposed to always measuring from an absolute point like 0,0. From an absolute point is called , well absolute and the so wide, so long method is called Relative.

So to carry on with our line if we type in 100,0 we get a line 100 units long none high so parallel, now if we need a vertical side 30mm high we type in 100,30
This side is Absolute to the start point and can be confusing if you have a sketch that doesn't give any idea of where every point is to the absolute start point, even harder is the absolute point isn't at 0,0

The choice is now to work in relative which adds entities on from the last point and doesn't care where the start point is.

On the command line we have alternative moves that are highlighted in blue, Undo is one as it's a likely next move, so press U then enter and the vertical line disappears, press U enter again and the horizontal line disappears.

Now type in @100,0 and we get the same horizontal move as before because it starting from the same point, however now type in @0,30 and we get the same vertical line 30 units long but starting from the last point.
@50,50 will get us a line 50 units along it's base and 50 units high, in other words a line at 45 degrees but we don't know how long that line is without using trig.
But if we type @50<45 it now draws a line 50 units long at 45 degrees.

Here endeth this lesson.

@ gets you relative moves from the last point.
< gets you angular moves.
U enter gets you an undo move.

John S.
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Offline sparky961

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Re: CAD recommendations
« Reply #22 on: May 27, 2011, 10:53:18 PM »
I use Draftsight for all my 2D work, with is admittedly very little these days.  I have few complaints about it, and with every new version they seem to keep fixing the small things that were annoying me.

I'm a devoted SolidWorks user since starting with it about 3 years ago.  I started with AutoCAD for 3D and spent HOURS building very simple shapes.  When I had to change something, I spend 10x the original number of hours doing so.  Then I thought I was in heaven when Sketchup because mainstream, but it had many limitations that I struggled with and I haven't touched it since becoming proficient with SolidWorks.

In SolidWorks, being a parametric modeling program, as long as you design your model with a bit of foresight, you can make changes to features you drew very early on in the process and other features will "adjust" accordingly.  In many other lesser 3D programs, you would have to make all of these adjustments manually or start to play around with faces and such.

Obviously cost is a factor.  As some have already mentioned, it isn't difficult to come by a copy of it and it isn't like Dassault Systems is losing out on a sale.  If you didn't "find" yourself a copy, it isn't like you'd actually purchase it for hobby use - most people not even if the price were a few hundred (CAD$).  That said, if you get to the point where you're running a viable business using the software, you really should buy a legitimate copy and support further development.  I figure the more people that use a software package, the more popular it becomes and this actually drives further sales of a product.  Very few successful businesses would continuously use software they didn't pay for.

I'm fortunate to have access to this at work, but I wish there were an open source project (maybe there is?) that builds on much of the very good work that Dassault Systems has done with Solidworks.  Given the time and absence of control freak project managers, I'd certainly be willing to contribute some coding effort.

-Sparky

Offline Stumpy

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Re: CAD recommendations
« Reply #23 on: June 03, 2011, 05:25:48 AM »
Iv just tyred the Draftsight system and i must say i found it very nice and very easy to use.

I found that the key commands are the same as AutoCad so a few hr's on youtube might give you a few tips i find watching some one on a videio easyer to pick things up over reading it.

One more thing that helps in cad for me is having a mouse with lots of buttons on if you set it up right you have enter,esc,shift and so on at the end of your finger tips may not sound like much but over 3hrs drawing you will soon see a big time saver and you poor arm will be thanking you for it.

And right clicking in the tool bar will bring up more tools to use yet again less key board work
If i cant fix it ill know some one that can

Offline kvom

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Re: CAD recommendations
« Reply #24 on: June 03, 2011, 09:01:32 AM »
Quote
when I came to dimension it, the dimensioning arrows are bigger than the cylinder!

You can change the size and position of dimensions text;  select one or more dimensions and modify the text attributes.

Offline bry1975

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Re: CAD recommendations
« Reply #25 on: June 03, 2011, 09:44:47 PM »
Have any of you tried Qcad on Linux os it's free seemed quite good last time I used it?

Offline quantumeer

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Re: CAD recommendations
« Reply #26 on: June 04, 2011, 09:45:39 AM »
I use QCAD (the free "community edition") on Linux. It works fine for me. This edition has not been updated in ages, so is probably as you remember it.  Because of this, and the fact that it is not tracking updates in linux, the LibreCAD fork is probably the future of the free version.  It is said to be working now, but I have not tried it.

Mark

Offline bry1975

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Re: CAD recommendations
« Reply #27 on: June 04, 2011, 07:52:46 PM »
Thanks Mark,

I'm an ex Autocad user I guess like most of us on here.

I think the best Autodesk package I used would've been Mechanical desktop 3 or 4 it was an educational version but was quite good even started to use parametric 3D modelling etc etc.



Bry

Offline Bluechip

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Re: CAD recommendations
« Reply #28 on: July 18, 2011, 04:02:48 PM »
At the present time there is no contest.


Solid works which is the main 3D modelling program but expensive, read 5K to license has released a cut down 2D version called Draftsight for free,
no strings attached, and nothing crippled.

Add to this they have put loads of tutorials on Youtube showing various features that you can't go wrong.

http://www.draftsight.com

John S.


Hi Folks ..

OK, so full of wild enthusiasm, I download the thing, validate it, but it don't ekkle.

W7 says 'The program has stopped working and is looking for a solution' BLLX, it never starts.
When I click the icon all I get is the logo wotsit.

Anyone use this with W7/64 bit ??

Looked at the FAQ's re: system requirements, I got more than the min. but it don't say if it's to run on W7/64 ??

BC
I have a few modest talents. Knowing what I'm doing isn't one of them.

Offline dickda1

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Re: CAD recommendations
« Reply #29 on: July 23, 2011, 11:55:41 PM »
This is only vaguely related, but is truly amazing (and free).

Try Photofly

http://labs.autodesk.com/technologies/photofly/

Take a bunch of still pictures around an object (machine part, a person or a building), ship them up to the Autodesk cloud super computer.  It will return to you a 3 dimensional image.

You have got to try this.

-Dick
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Offline rotorhead

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Re: CAD recommendations
« Reply #30 on: April 06, 2012, 08:44:06 AM »
Hi Bluechip,

Did you get Draft-Sight to work in your W7 x64.

Just downloaded it, and the PDF instructions pointed to by JS.

It seems to work OK so far, maybe you needed some .net libraries updating or installing....

Anyway hope it worked eventually.
Chris
Ulceby, North Lincolnshire.

Offline Bluechip

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Re: CAD recommendations
« Reply #31 on: April 06, 2012, 09:35:19 AM »
Hi Bluechip,

Did you get Draft-Sight to work in your W7 x64.

Just downloaded it, and the PDF instructions pointed to by JS.

It seems to work OK so far, maybe you needed some .net libraries updating or installing....

Anyway hope it worked eventually.

Hi Chris ..

Strewth ... blast from the past ...  :lol:

I have 2 PC's, one a Toshiba Laptop, t'other an ACER in a box.

Both on W7 Home Premium 64 bit, both have far more than the minimum CPU/Storage requirements ...

Could not get any sense out of it on the Tosh. but it works fine on the ACER ..  :scratch:  :scratch:

OTOH at one time I could not get CuP Alloys site to work on the ACER, just got errors. But it worked OK on the Tosh.
Now CuP Alloys site works fine on both. More friggin'  :scratch:  :scratch:  :scratch:

No, I can't use Draftsight. Not had much of  fiddle with it though .. one day maybe ...

Dave BC





« Last Edit: April 06, 2012, 02:19:36 PM by Bluechip »
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Offline Lew_Merrick_PE

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Re: CAD recommendations
« Reply #32 on: April 06, 2012, 12:38:04 PM »
Jason -- The answer is, as always, it depends on what you need or want to do.  Remember that we sent men to the moon & back using pencils & paper with nearly all the calculations done using slide-rules and abacus!  In point of fact, the first hand-held (but not pocket) calculators were designed by NASA and built for them by HP and TI in 1967-68 (I made most of the injection mold and trim dies for the HP program).  I started working with CAD (Gerber IDS) in 1971.  As of 1994, I had used nearly 300 different CAD programs.

My work requires me (today) to switch back-and-forth among: Catia, SolidWorks, SolidEdge, ProEngineer (now CREO), UniGraphics (UG), and Alibre.  These are all 3D "solids" (a misnomer) systems that have varying degrees of "rules-based" (they like to call them "parametric" -- but, with the exception of Catia and SolidEdge, they are NOT) design systems.  I have also done a couple of design jobs using (Autodesk) Inventor.  For the most part, there are very complicated design systems that create really POOR QUALITY drawings!  The people in control of the CAD universe today have NO IDEA how dimensions SHOULD BE applied to a drawing.  SolidWorks and ProEngineer like to "rearrange" you dimension to suit somebody's total IGNORANCE as to how dimensions ought to be applied to a drawing.

Documentation is, for the most part, an after-thought.  CAD company supplied tutorials are, for the most part, trivial and incomplete.  This makes it hard for the "new to CAD" person to get a handle on things.  Spend some time looking at the User's Group Forums before you plunk down any cash.  This is where you assistance is going to come from!

To be clear, I believe that the CAD industry as a whole made a major mistake in swallowing the concept of "solids" as they did en masse in 1994.  They seem to have forgotten that geometry is comprised of: points, paths, areas, and volumes.  They have mistaken photo realistic for functional.  They seem to have forgotten that models, while they need to be accurate representations, they also need to be variable to represent various tolerance conditions in order to properly control overall fit-up.  They seem to never have known that drawings are inherently schematic in nature and, as such, often need to be exaggerated to convey information to those actually making the design a reality.  This is why I often tell people that I hate all the modern CAD systems.

Now, having said that, I often tell new (often start-up) businesses to start out (at least) using Alibre.  My reasoning here is simple.  It has nearly all the tools that the high-priced systems have for a total initial investment of $1100/seat (that is reputed to be coming down in the very near term) with an annual update & license fee running in the $300 range.  This buys you a reasonably powerful CAD toolset plus a basic CAM toolset that can compete pretty much head-to-head with SolidWorks or ProEngineer.  You are (dumb solids) compatible with both SolidWorks and ProEngineer and actually have more configuration and command structure control with Alibre than with either SolidWorks or ProEngineer.  The downside (other than a couple of known bugs in the current release -- which is also true of other CAD products) lies mostly in your having to figure out work arounds for some pre-programmed commands available in other CAD products.

For about $900 you can add the FEMdesigner product to Alibre to have integrated CAD/FEA capabilities.  I make no bones that FEMdesigner is a product that needs work before it becomes a designer's analysis tool (rather than an analyst's tool) -- and I am working with them to upgrade parts of their interface (and I get their products for free for working with them in this way -- just so you understand what my interest in the company is) to make it more useable for the designer.  If you can afford the pricetag (about $8500), FEMap is a more powerful and intuitive FEA analysis tool.

As I said, it depends on what you need from your toolset.

Offline Mayhem

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Re: CAD recommendations
« Reply #33 on: July 02, 2012, 07:23:11 AM »
I have tried a couple and settled on DraftSight.  My main issue however, is getting the chamfer tool to work.  It just baffles me.  Fillets are fine but chamfers is a whole different story  :bang: