What CAD tools do you use?

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What CAD tools do you use?

Post by Ennoble » Tue Nov 06, 2012 1:10 am

I've been getting exciting about my shapeoko showing up and I've thought I really should try to familiarize myself with a CAD tool made in the last decade. I've been looking through various options (I'm primarily interested in OS X tools) and I don't know that I've found a clear winner, but I've found some positives and minus. What tools do people use? Do you use 2D tools or 3D tools? In the case of 3D, are there particular tools that are good at splitting a design into pieces that could be made on a mill? What about creating the tab edges that are frequently seen on designs in thingverse?

+ good tutorials
+ easy to use
- $20/month seems like a lot over time
- seems like it would be possible to reach the tools maximal ability pretty quickly

autocad inventor fusion
+ lots of features
+ free
- tutorials are approximately useless
- not an intuitive as i would have hoped after using tinkercad

+ free
- a worse version of tinkercad
- doesn't have any boolean operations on objects

Cheetah 3D
I haven't spent enough time with it, but it's certainly more complicated

I've used sketch up to draw other things and always found it frustrating to accurately place objects, but perhaps I need to spend more time with it
I'm not sure what is going to happen with it now that Google has sold it

Anyone have other favorites or suggestions?
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Re: What CAD tools do you use?

Post by T4b » Thu Nov 08, 2012 5:59 pm

Inkscape: 2D, nice, but better suited for graphics than CAD. Quite easy to use.
QCAD (or one of the clones, librecad or something like this): 2D, quite a lot of features, also not that hard to use once you've gotten the principle (try around a few hours)
AutoCAD: 2D. Really expensive, but students get it for free (all other Autodesk software too, they also have 3D software and software for puzzling components together etc.). It's okay, you notice it has more features than qcad, but not worth the price if you aren't a student. Plus I hate virtualization (and there is no Linux version).
FreeCAD: 3D, quite nice, have used for a some things. I would say it's relatively easy to use, I found my way around it okay by reading the documentation on it's wiki. Something I especially like are the advanced scripting features in Python. I would recommend it over gnuplot for plotting graphs for designs (I've written a module for that which makes it relatively easy, look on the wiki).
Rhino: 3D. I liked it, but it only runs on Windows and OS X (there is a free beta for OS X, as you seem to use that give it a try for sure). I would have payed the $200 or something for the student version (as I am a student) if it would run on Linux natively.

Gnuplot: 2D, no frontend, only for design which consist only from plots of mathematical functions. I used it for a sun dial. It produced okay output, but not that great. Not intuitive to use, documentation is bad.
OpenSCAD: 3D, you script your designs, nice front-end, I didn't like the scripting language it uses

That's what comes to my mind right now.
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Re: What CAD tools do you use?

Post by bjbsquared » Mon Nov 26, 2012 10:53 am

Autocad has just released 123D Design which is available on the Mac OSX or as a web app. I'm starting to really like it..
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Re: What CAD tools do you use?

Post by calica » Sun Dec 02, 2012 7:16 am

Just another note with regard to Autodesk. You can get them for free if you're a FIRST robotics mentor. http://www.usfirst.org/ I'm one and it is very rewarding. Almost any team would appreciate the skills of the people on this forum.

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Re: What CAD tools do you use?

Post by JuKu » Sun Dec 02, 2012 9:38 am

I tried about ten packages. For me, Alibre PE was the winner. Not free, but not too expensive either. Pros: Easy enough to greate own parts, by far the best in creating assemblies. In other words, if you want to design a machine using not extremely complex part, it is well worth downloading the free trial. Cons: No 3d part import! By far the biggest downside. The trial can convert step models, but the cheap PE diton can't. Only stl output. I'm not yet in the stage to go forward with that, I hope there is a path to CNC from that! :lol:

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Re: What CAD tools do you use?

Post by jland » Thu Dec 13, 2012 8:35 pm

I'm Solidworks user (not cheap, obviously) but I know that dasseault has a free autocad clone software called Draftsight which seems competent enough the few times I've used it.

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Re: What CAD tools do you use?

Post by iconeo » Sat Dec 29, 2012 7:57 pm

If your a student, or say your a student, you can download the CAD packages from autodesk for free. It'll just put a stamp on your drawing if you try and print it I believe.

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