Author Topic: 3D modeling software wanted.  (Read 10936 times)

Offline John Stevenson

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3D modeling software wanted.
« on: December 14, 2011, 08:41:42 AM »
Getting pissed off with Alibre ignoring messages and it's time to look for other software.

Any idea's ?

Must be 3D modelling, don't suggest Solid Works or Solid Edge, too expensive for what I need. Not interested in Sketchup either, doesn't suit the way I work.

So far looked at ViaCAD V8 but you have to fill a form in the get the download page and so far no response.

Varicad, looks decent but need to try the demo.

Anything else i should be looking at in the 500 - $750 mark tops ?

John S.
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Offline j_e_f_f_williams

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Re: 3D modeling software wanted.
« Reply #1 on: December 14, 2011, 10:08:16 AM »
Your first line kinda removes my suggestion.  With that price point I don't think you are going to find too many options.

I have Alibre and never had a problem getting support etc.    What messages have you had ignored (just curious)

TTYL, Jeff

Offline David Jupp

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Re: 3D modeling software wanted.
« Reply #2 on: December 14, 2011, 10:15:32 AM »
John,

I do some work with Mintronics (including first line Alibre support).  Disappointing if the lack of response is from Mintronics - perhaps I can help? (or at least try to make sure we don't alienate others in the same way).

Alibre in the USA may not respond because one of your 3 accounts is 'retired' (not on maintenance) - though they should still respond if there is a fault with the software, or if you need to move a licence to a different PC.  The other 2 accounts are for Xpress (a free giveaway version that is no longer available).

Offline Lew_Merrick_PE

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Re: 3D modeling software wanted.
« Reply #3 on: December 14, 2011, 12:34:13 PM »
John,  The first question is: Who else plays in the $750 range in CAD?  The second question is, How is someone getting away with a $750 program when most of the market is playing in the $5000 to $15,000 range?  You need to think that one through.

I will be the first to admit that Alibre has its problems.  However, as someone who goes back and forth among and between Catia, SolidWorks, SolidEdge, ProEngineer, and Alibre, I can assure you that they all have their weaknesses (as well as strengths) and problems.  As someone who started using CAD in 1971 (Gerber IDS), I can assure you that this is nothing new.  The thing about Alibre (and most CAD companies) is that their users provide most of the real support for other users.  Try posting your question/problem in the forum at http://forum.alibre.com and see who answers.  This often alleviates the need for an official answer from Alibre -- and will often spark action from Alibre itself.

It is a real PITA to constantly use work-arounds to do things that should be functional in the core kernel of the program.  I have my own list of bitches in this regard for every CAD product I use.  As somebody who worked with Mark Eyelander (the programmer who created the original kernals for NURBS, ACIS, and ParaSolids), I understand how poorly many things have been implemented and how often the terminology used by such systems is just plain wrong!  Unfortunately, John Walker established the norm back when he created Autodesk.  He insisted that none of the programmers or testers have any experience in engineering drafting -- and that is still the norm today!  Thus it is that every major CAD system on the market today calls what traditionally was known as transforms by the term loft (there being no true lofting operand in any of the <$30,000/seat CAD products on the market today).  Yeah, it is a real PITA.

However, having said all that, just think what the market for CAD products would look like without Alibre?  There are really no other low-cost CAD systems that have the grandfathered licenses that allow it to work towards competing with the high-cost systems.  (Here in the U.S. it costs a non-grandfathered (i.e. something on the market since prior to 1997) CAD company more than $150,000/year merely to get the testing done to qualify under ISO-10303 (aka STEP).)  TurboCAD, just about the only other program with this kind of history has changed hands so many times that I doubt all their code exists in one place anymore (this being an opinion and not an actual fact -- but I was quite aware of what happened to TurboCAD when they were controlled by IMSI).  If David's assertion is correct that you do not have a currently active for support license for Alibre, then you need to ask yourself if you would be providing support to a non-paying customer?  Without ongoing (positive) cash-flow nobody stays in business, right?  If you are not supporting the low-cost entry into the competition, you choices are rapidly going to devolve to paying the premium, right?

Offline John Stevenson

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Re: 3D modeling software wanted.
« Reply #4 on: December 14, 2011, 01:53:02 PM »
Some very good points made here, thank you Lew and John.

First a bit of History. I was in with Alibre from the start when they announced a free version called Xcad and then renamed it Alibre Express and gave away 10,000 licenses. A lot of people were not pleased over this and accused them of a bait and switch because they didn't get the full version, only express ??

A lot were on about taking a class action out over the bait and switch routine but I stood up for Alibre and said "Fine you will get back exactly what you have put in - nothing. " Their CEO at the time Greg [ name escapes me ] emailed me and thanked me for sticking up to them and as a gesture of goodwill gave me a few extra's on the free license.

Later on when Express was dropped and PE came out I paid the upgrade and these features were carried on.

I must admit I never got round to using the program other than a few tutorials, recently I came to re-install V11.2 and got into a loop saying the computer name and site key were invalid and couldn't get out this loop.
Got a print out of license numbers but no way to enter anything as the program wouldn't run, just this loop.

Emailed support in the US where I bought it from and they sent me a new license number which was the same as one I already had. Emailed them back and sent screen shots of the loop screens and just got ignored which pissed me off.

Later today I was contacted by the UK reseller, Mintronics who now informs me that v11.2 will not run on W7.

Nowhere on the install screen does it say it will not run on W7.

So state of play is I can pay to upgrade to V2012 and my extra features will still carry on and in all fairness to Mintronics they have been very helpful which is more than I can say over Alibre, TX.

Because this original post was posted on 3 forums and this same reply is going to all three i have been given a few leads in the price bracket I was looking.

I don't need this for business, it's purely a hobby concept it's needed for hence not wanting to outlay for full commercial software.

Cons for staying with Alibre is the large user base, local support if bought in the UK and extra features.
Against is this reliance on being internet based, something that is making me look elsewhere.

Over the next couple of weeks I propose to look at Viacad, ZW3D, Varicad and then make a decision.

John S.
John Stevenson

Offline David Jupp

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Re: 3D modeling software wanted.
« Reply #5 on: December 14, 2011, 02:23:22 PM »
John,

In fairness to Alibre, Win7 didn't exist when version 11.2 was released!  So hard to see how it could give warnings about an OS it isn't aware of.

v2011 (aka 13.0) was the first version of Alibre to be Win7 compliant.  We are now on v2012 (aka v14.0), released in October.

Having seen your earlier post here, I had a chat with John Minto at Mintonics, hence the call you received today.  One option still open to you is to install your existing v11.2 on an old PC (or perhaps it might work in XP compatibility mode, though I don't guarantee that).

As Lew mentions, you'd probably find out things like if XP compatibility mode is worth trying from the Alibre user forum.

Offline John Stevenson

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Re: 3D modeling software wanted.
« Reply #6 on: December 14, 2011, 02:55:41 PM »
Granted V11.2 wasn't out when W7 was released but W7 has been released for ages BEFORE Alibre updated the web pages and online registration.

Alibre TX was very quick at replying and sending me a new licence key which was exactly the same as the one issued 2 years previously but without being able to start the program the key wasn't much use.
They could have told me in the email that it wasn't compatible with W7 instead of sending an out of date key.

John S.
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Offline David Jupp

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Re: 3D modeling software wanted.
« Reply #7 on: December 14, 2011, 03:18:58 PM »
Granted V11.2 wasn't out when W7 was released but W7 has been released for ages BEFORE Alibre updated the web pages and online registration.

Sorry John I don't quite understand that sentence. 

I can't comment on the reponse you got from Texas (especially without knowing exactly what you told them) - some of the people there are more helpful/knowledgeable than others.

It has to be your decision what you want to do going forward, hope you reach a point you are happy with (whatever software you settle on).

Offline John Stevenson

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Re: 3D modeling software wanted.
« Reply #8 on: December 14, 2011, 04:35:41 PM »
David,
I might be coming across as very negative and with some aspects I am.

One one hand the new Alibre website and method of checking licences is new, far newer than W7 release date but there is nothing to give a clue that V11.2 will not run on W7.
After contacting Alibre, TX and saying I was upgrading to W7 I was just given one of my old keys. However the new system of registration will not let you go any further that go round in a loop if you don't have the correct numbers [ which W7 will not generate ]

On the other hand today John Minto from Mintronics contacted me via your input and couldn't have explained things better where I stand. 10 out of 10 for John's effort which if Alibre, TX had done their job would not have been necessary.

I am currently evaluating some of the links I have been given. The problem I am having is one I come across a lot, people who know the software, sellers and writers know it that well they assume everyone else does.
Classic example tonight when doing a tutorial is that the help / tutorial file isn't for the current version of the software and icons in the tutorial don't match or worse are missing from the program and a complete beginner has no idea where they are.
One demo has been deleted already for that reason.

I have two more to look at but the local support from Mintronics is looking more interesting every minute  :wave:

John S.
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Offline David Jupp

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Re: 3D modeling software wanted.
« Reply #9 on: December 14, 2011, 05:13:03 PM »
I can sympathise! 

It doesn't take long after moving to a new version that you start to forget how things worked in the earlier version (which some people still use) - that does make support a bit tricky but we try.  Tutorials don't necessarily get updated with each version, so may not fully reflect the current interface.  Finally, how to do a particular task is so obvious to the guy that wrote the software that his description in the help file is so minimal as to be of no use at all to a newcomer.

Offline DaveH

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Re: 3D modeling software wanted.
« Reply #10 on: August 24, 2013, 02:55:40 PM »
John,
Did you get anywhere?
Have you found any good un's (low priced or nearly free)  :)
 :beer:
DaveH
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Offline z3t4

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Re: 3D modeling software wanted.
« Reply #11 on: August 25, 2013, 12:15:38 PM »

So far looked at ViaCAD V8 but you have to fill a form in the get the download page and so far no response.



John S.

Hi John. A resurrected thread  :D
For anyone looking, their UK distributor is here.

Usual disclaimer (ie happy punter).

HTH.

Offline John Stevenson

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Re: 3D modeling software wanted.
« Reply #12 on: August 25, 2013, 05:27:00 PM »
OK update.
Finished up staying with Alibre which is now called Geomagic after being bought out.
Bought all the training video's but need to train myself on time management and actually get round to learning it. My fault, no one elses.

I did buy Viacad as the demo ran out but when I got into it I wasn't impressed on how it works.
V8 isn't parametric so any changes won't update but biggest cruncher for me was one license, if I want it on the laptop, another full price upgrade.

Certainly not a modern way of working.
John Stevenson

Offline DaveH

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Re: 3D modeling software wanted.
« Reply #13 on: August 25, 2013, 05:57:44 PM »
Thank you John for the update, I've had a quick look around and didn't see any I really fancied. So for the time being I'll stay with Alibre Design PE (2011).
 :beer:
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Offline AdeV

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Re: 3D modeling software wanted.
« Reply #14 on: August 25, 2013, 06:29:23 PM »
I was going to try Alibre out, I even got as far as installing the trial version, which promptly crashed (Virtual machine running XP on a Linux host - that might have been an issue).

I guess now it's changed again, and I've reluctantly joined the 20th Century and largely upgraded to Windows 7, I should try it once more...
Cheers!
Ade.
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Offline DaveH

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Re: 3D modeling software wanted.
« Reply #15 on: August 25, 2013, 07:27:24 PM »
I think it is worth a look Ade, you may like it , you may not.
It is a bit a steep learning curve but I think whichever one you choose it will be the same.

Just a case of getting use to the 'words' they use and what they mean in terms of the program, there are tutorials that can help  and some videos.
 :beer:
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Offline philf

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Re: 3D modeling software wanted.
« Reply #16 on: August 26, 2013, 04:20:43 AM »
OK update.
Finished up staying with Alibre which is now called Geomagic after being bought out.
Bought all the training video's but need to train myself on time management and actually get round to learning it. My fault, no one elses.

I did buy Viacad as the demo ran out but when I got into it I wasn't impressed on how it works.
V8 isn't parametric so any changes won't update but biggest cruncher for me was one license, if I want it on the laptop, another full price upgrade.

Certainly not a modern way of working.

John,

When I bought my copy of ViaCAD I asked Cadsoft: "One more question - will I be able to load it on my desktop and onto my laptop?" to which they replied: "Yes, but you will need to register again, each authorisation code is specific per computer."

So, I have it on my desktop and laptop. (Maybe even on my Mach3 PC.)

Although far from perfect it was very cheap by CAD standards. I some times find it easier to draw the 2d geometry in Autocad then paste it into ViaCAD to turn it into a 3D model.

Having said all that I've still not got any decent 3D CAM software to go with it and will probably stick with 2.5D because of the amount of time true 3D machining takes.

Cheers.

Phil.
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Offline AdeV

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Re: 3D modeling software wanted.
« Reply #17 on: August 26, 2013, 09:46:52 AM »

Having said all that I've still not got any decent 3D CAM software to go with it and will probably stick with 2.5D because of the amount of time true 3D machining takes.


I can highly recommend CamBam for 3D stuff. So long as your CAD program exports in one of CamBam's supported formats (I had to use STL). There's good support through the forums, the program itself is pretty capable (I just produced a CNC'd BMW sump, which required 8 programs (4 roughing, 4 finishing), and other than a couple of niggles early on - which turned out to be problems with the wetware - CamBam did just great. OK, the finishing programs were 18-hour monsters, and used almost a full tank of slideway oil each; I could probably have saved a bucket full of time by using a flat endmill rather than the ball-nosed one and got a smoother finish to boot, but what I've got is perfect for the task & looks great.
Cheers!
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Offline Brass_Machine

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Re: 3D modeling software wanted.
« Reply #18 on: August 26, 2013, 11:54:16 AM »
.... but what I've got is perfect for the task & looks great.

so... Lets see em!
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Offline David Jupp

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Re: 3D modeling software wanted.
« Reply #19 on: August 26, 2013, 02:59:49 PM »

Finished up staying with Alibre which is now called Geomagic after being bought out...


As John mentioned Alibre Design has been 're-branded' as Geomagic Design, and Geomagic Design Elements.  To confuse things even further, the 'hobby' product Alibre PE is now Cubify Design - not to be confused with Cubify Invent (which is actually based on the same code, but is very restricted).  All these products are based on a common core, with feature availability controlled by licence key. 

In terms of sales value Geomagic is a bigger brand than Alibre (hence the name change).

Confused?

Offline philf

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Re: 3D modeling software wanted.
« Reply #20 on: August 26, 2013, 03:31:06 PM »

Having said all that I've still not got any decent 3D CAM software to go with it and will probably stick with 2.5D because of the amount of time true 3D machining takes.


I can highly recommend CamBam for 3D stuff.

Hi Ade,

I tried CamBam some time ago and uninstalled it. I can't remember why! I should have made some notes at the time.

I've just installed it again and it knows that I have used it before because it told me I had 37 (out of 40) evaluation sessions left.

I imported my STL file and the first problem I had was that I needed to swap X & Z axes over. I couldn't get my head round doing it in CamBam so went back to ViaCad and did it in that.

I tried generating some toolpaths and first off couldn't find the tool libraries to create a 3.5mm ball ended cutter. I did it in the properties section but thought there would be a library somewhere. [Edit - Just found it!]

I've now generated a waterline roughing toolpath but I can't find a way of looking at it properly as I can't find a way of getting a 3D view. I guess there must be some way (?) but it doesn't seem to be in the View menu which I would have expected. [Another Edit - I should have thought to look in the System Configuration menu where it tells me it's ALT + L mouse button!]

I had a trial version of MeshCam which was very intuitive - I produced working code without looking at (of for) a help file. Unfortunately, between me downloading the trial and deciding I should buy it the price more than doubled overnight - bugger.

I think I probably ditched CamBam last time because I struggled so much with it. I'll spend a few more hours on it but, up to now, I'm not too enamoured. Looking at some examples of work done with CamBam I guess it will do everything I want if only I have the patience.

P.S. (I've still got the big Abwood vice taking up space.)

Cheers.

Phil.
« Last Edit: August 26, 2013, 04:00:57 PM by philf »
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Offline raynerd

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Re: 3D modeling software wanted.
« Reply #21 on: August 27, 2013, 02:38:57 PM »
Phil. So are you using viacad currently?
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Offline philf

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Re: 3D modeling software wanted.
« Reply #22 on: August 27, 2013, 06:13:09 PM »
Phil. So are you using viacad currently?
Hi Chris,

If I want 3d I use ViaCad - 2d Autocad. Autocad's 3d (in my 2005 version) is cumbersome.

I think ViaCad 2d/3d was only 70ish so I didn't expect Solidworks photorealistic performance or functionality.

A few examples from ViaCad - you'll recognise some of the parts:















Phil.
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Offline raynerd

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Re: 3D modeling software wanted.
« Reply #23 on: August 27, 2013, 08:26:08 PM »
For 70 you can`t complain at all getting 3d models like that - infact, you are tempting me to purchase as an early birthday present to myself :-)

I do indeed recognise the Parslow parts! Just curious, is it the correct cycloidal tooth form or an approximation of the form?
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Offline philf

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Re: 3D modeling software wanted.
« Reply #24 on: August 28, 2013, 05:13:26 AM »
I do indeed recognise the Parslow parts! Just curious, is it the correct cycloidal tooth form or an approximation of the form?

Chris,

The cycloidal form is based on the British Standard but isn't critical - particularly for the model which will never be used for machining - it was just an exercise.

The only real 3d machining I've done was for the loco wheel and I've still only done it in MDF because it would take forever in steel or CI. My current thoughts are that I'll turn the profile of the wheel (when the CNC lathe is working) and then cut out the spokes on the CNC mill. The spokes will then have sharp corners rather than fillets but I'd then be looking at perhaps an hour per wheel instead of 16 hours!

Phil.
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