Free and easy to learn 3D CAD

Related to all sorts of CAD and CAM tools. Users should post questions, comments, and recommendations with respect to their favorite CAD and CAM tools.

Moderators: Harold_V, GlennW

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Pipescs
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Location: Lester Alabama

Re: Free and easy to learn 3D CAD

Post by Pipescs » Sun Mar 20, 2016 4:08 pm

The Veterans/Student version of Solid works has been here for a little over a week now. The first thing I did was order a book called "Solid Works No Experience Required" This is a tutorial that walks you from how to set up the program thru the user interfaces and then into a lamp project where it has you make up all the parts for a desk lamp. I had the same book for AutoCAD 2002 which took you thru building a cabin.

My first impression of Solid Works is that, while different than anything I have used, I am going to like it

This is of course the student version and I will have to renew every year at the cost of 20.00 right now.

Harold, Maybe we need a column just for CAD questions and training.
Charlie Pipes
USMC Retired

Current Projects:

2.5 Baldwin 2-4-2/2-4-4/0-4-4 Conversion (What ever)
Little Engines American Restoration
Bobber Caboose

Harold_V
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Re: Free and easy to learn 3D CAD

Post by Harold_V » Mon Mar 21, 2016 3:34 am

Pipescs wrote:Harold, Maybe we need a column just for CAD questions and training.
I'll bring up the subject with administration to see how they feel about the topic. Indications are there's more and more of it being discussed and used, so it may be a good idea.

Harold
Wise people talk because they have something to say. Fools talk because they have to say something.

mspetersen
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Joined: Sun Jan 13, 2013 12:26 pm

Re: Free and easy to learn 3D CAD

Post by mspetersen » Mon Mar 21, 2016 7:19 am

YouTube has numerous FREE training videos for the CAD product of your choice. Some of the SolidWork's video are quite professional. SolidProfessor has a FREE training series to get you started with AutoCAD Fusion, Its paid for by AutoCAD to encourage the adoption of their product. Does require you sign up.
Mark Petersen

12" x 36" Logan Lathe
Lagun FTV-3 Mill

kvom
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Location: Cumming, GA

Re: Free and easy to learn 3D CAD

Post by kvom » Mon Mar 21, 2016 7:24 am

I've had the SW veteran's deal for over a year, and have found it quite easy to do the kind of parts I'm typically interested in. I worked through the online tutorials first. Most of the work I've done has been on model stationary steam engines for which I have 2D plans. These are pretty similar to loco parts. Modeling said engines is quite useful in finding errors in the drawings, which mainly appear when holes for fasteners don't match up in the model.

RET
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Location: Toronto, Canada

Re: Free and easy to learn 3D CAD

Post by RET » Mon Mar 21, 2016 7:28 pm

Hi,

Solidworks is a very good commercial program which makes very nice drawings. It does not have the capability of generating CNC code. Mastercam does have an addon for Solidworks which does generate CNC code. I don't know if this addon is available for hobby use.

Richard Trounce.

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kenrinc
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Location: SF Bay Area

Re: Free and easy to learn 3D CAD

Post by kenrinc » Tue Mar 22, 2016 11:04 am

I had originally used Alibre design which is now GeoMagic. They changed their licensing and no longer allowed paid yearly subscriptions so I opted out. I actually found it quite good. I use FreeCad for 3d but I don't recommend it for many reasons the biggest is that it's just a big work in progress but for the occasional stuff I do it's fine.

I know many people that use nothing other than a 2D CAD app and a CNC plasma cutter. You can build an entire steam locomotive from laser/plasma/waterjet cut parts.

Ken-

kvom
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Re: Free and easy to learn 3D CAD

Post by kvom » Wed Mar 23, 2016 8:51 am

RET wrote:Hi,

Solidworks is a very good commercial program which makes very nice drawings. It does not have the capability of generating CNC code. Mastercam does have an addon for Solidworks which does generate CNC code. I don't know if this addon is available for hobby use.

Richard Trounce.
The HSMXpress free add-on to SW will generate 2.5D g-code. Since I've been using CamBam for a long time I haven't needed to try HSMXpress, although I know some other internet acquaintances do so.

ianjkirby
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Joined: Fri Oct 16, 2009 6:29 am
Location: Wollongong NSW Australia

Re: Free and easy to learn 3D CAD

Post by ianjkirby » Wed Mar 23, 2016 11:34 pm

I have used a product called ViaCAD 2D3D for several years now. It's available from http://www.punchcad.com
It's priced at $100, but is frequently available with a 25% discount. There is at the moment a free trial offer available.
It is relatively easy to learn. It's not as powerful as SolidWorks, but it is a lot cheaper, and probably has about 80-90% of SolidWorks capabilities.
There are a few shortcomings; the model-to-sheet (paper) feature is less than great, but can be got around with patience. There is a great user forum, and the principal developer reads the forum and responds quickly.
Have a look; I suspect you will not be disappointed.
Regards, Ian.

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Pipescs
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Re: Free and easy to learn 3D CAD

Post by Pipescs » Thu Mar 24, 2016 4:58 pm

The Solid Works for Veterans has been here for two weeks.

The buying experience was fairly straight forward. I had to download a form to fill out to send in with a scanned copy of my DD 214 (SSN Whited Out) I received an Email in two days giving me a link to the purchase site. Cost was $20.00 shipping included.

It is a two disc set, with the second install disc having to be in the player to bring up the program.

Knowing I would have a learning curve, I ordered a book "Solidworks, No Experience Required" which is a tutorial on drawing a desk lamp. I had used a version of this book when self teaching myself AutoCAD 2002. Very easy to use and it walks you thru various different ways to do the various parts of the project, along with printing and file management. I am about half the way thru the book.

Very impressed so far with the ease of use even with the different mentality of it and AutoCAD.

I do realize that there is a good chance the people at Solidworks will reach a point when they will no longer make this available to Vets at this price but in the mean time I have worked up a couple of quick projects that I uploaded to Shapeways to verify the printing capability. Worked great.
Charlie Pipes
USMC Retired

Current Projects:

2.5 Baldwin 2-4-2/2-4-4/0-4-4 Conversion (What ever)
Little Engines American Restoration
Bobber Caboose

WJH
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Location: Florida

Re: Free and easy to learn 3D CAD

Post by WJH » Tue Jul 26, 2016 1:07 pm

Hands down, Fusion360, has built in CAM. Both Solidworks and Fusion 360 are very easy to learn as far as CAD is concerned. I've used Solidworks for years, but for the price, I made the switch to Fusion360.

rabbit_nick
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Re: Free and easy to learn 3D CAD

Post by rabbit_nick » Mon Feb 19, 2018 4:56 pm

Hello,

I just saw this post.
We use the DesignSpark Mechanical for our projects at work. It is a very handy and fast CAD software.
We usuall export the 3d designs as DXF and then we machine them with the CNC or we save them as STL and we 3d print them.

The reason I am writing this post is that I want to share an information with you.
DesignSpark Mechanical is a "demo" version of the original software which is the SpaceClaim (http://www.spaceclaim.com/en/default.aspx).

The SpaceClaim software is fantastic. Image a super fast and easy Fusion 360. If you ever had the luck to work with SpaceClaim then you know what I mean :)
SourceRabbit.com - Desktop CNC Milling Machines

Mr Ron
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Joined: Tue Dec 22, 2009 12:36 pm
Location: Vancleave, Mississippi

Re: Free and easy to learn 3D CAD

Post by Mr Ron » Thu Mar 15, 2018 10:44 am

Can anyone recommend a FREE 3D package that works on Windows XP? Most of the programs I've looked into won't work with XP.
Mr.Ron from South Mississippi

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