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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
So I’m sure many members know or use cad software for design. My previous job involved a bit of inspecting existing cad files in 2d. Now I need to learn it it create 3d fixtures with liberal tolerances. I build something, then put it in cad for proterity. Any suggestions for freeware to learn, and or tutorials?
 

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I'm sorry I can't contribute anything concerning the free packages out there however on machining forums I remember folks saying there are indeed some good free systems.
I have to use systems that can post cnc machine language from the drawings or solid models, I have Surfcam and Mastercam at work, and they have a drawing package in them as part of their product.
I have heard that even in my situation I should probably design and draw in Solidworks and import the files into my cam package and derive my machine code because Solidworks seems to be the premium design software for its cost.

I don't understand why your employer does not recognize the value and return that would be gained by paying for modern well supported software for you to use?

The investment made by my employer has been infinitely valuable to them. It has allowed us to produce much more complicated products that would have been unfeasible without it.

As a bonus I can design press tooling and dies and such that do not flow through the cnc departmental production schedule.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I'm sorry I can't contribute anything concerning the free packages out there however on machining forums I remember folks saying there are indeed some good free systems.
I have to use systems that can post cnc machine language from the drawings or solid models, I have Surfcam and Mastercam at work, and they have a drawing package in them as part of their product.
I have heard that even in my situation I should probably design and draw in Solidworks and import the files into my cam package and derive my machine code because Solidworks seems to be the premium design software for its cost.

I don't understand why your employer does not recognize the value and return that would be gained by paying for modern well supported software for you to use?

The investment made by my employer has been infinitely valuable to them. It has allowed us to produce much more complicated products that would have been unfeasible without it.

As a bonus I can design press tooling and dies and such that do not flow through the cnc departmental production schedule.
My employer will support the software cost and learning.

My job involves minimizing costs. I’ll learn on and off the clock if that exists on salary, as I like to learn.

Due to scale I think I might find as good or better advice here simply because as many members know cad as we have total employees. I have been having things made from napkin sketches without a hint of complaint from the machine shop I’ve dealt with. I’ve had to note this drawing is horrible, feature x should be centered.

Solidworks is a good suggestion. I’ll look into it.
 

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I have wanted to try one of the eBay 3D CAD software offerings,, :dunno:

This is the under $15 ones,,, that is over 250 offerings,,

3d cad software | eBay

then,, there are over 250 that are over $15,,,

Surely something there would be adequate,, the trick is picking one,,,

After the Superbowl,, I may try a couple,,,:bigthumb:

Also, I just checked,, there are a bunch of offerings on Amazon also,,, Hmmmmmmmmm,,

There has to be a favorite software that is supporting all the 3D printers that are being sold cheap,,
So many people are making 3D parts with the 3D printers, there must be some easy to use 3D CAD supporting all of the designs.

There are WAY more 3D printers than old school 3D CAD designers,,, :good2:
 

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There are WAY more 3D printers than old school 3D CAD designers,,, :good2:
This is something I have been puzzling over.
Many folks carrying on about how additive manufacturing is going to take over and many folks buying printers for fun at home and in the workshop but many solid models are very, very difficult (for me anyway) to construct (complexity dependent).
I just can't picture folks buying the printer and just printing anything they want?
 

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There are a few cheap options out there for actual CAD work, the trouble comes when you want to do 3d.
Draftsight is ok for 2d, but unless you buy it, there is no 3d functionality. Since I havent bought it, I cant say how the 3d works.
Its not expensive as far as CAD software goes.
Google Sketchup is a decent option too.
They all have their quirks, and the only way to get used to them is to use them. Starting out on your own, and teaching yourself any software like this is going to take some time. You also are likely to miss out on some tips/tricks that may be huge time savers, or some software may have a shortcut or tool that another wont. How do you know which? I guess you either have to use them or find someone who has and get their opinion...but lots of guys use one thing and generally stick to it.

Autodesks AutoCAD is the top of the heap, but its really costly too. This is what I learned on in school and used at my last two employers, one a conveyor manufacturer, the other a curtain wall manufacturer.
If you want all 3d, Inventor would be better, but still Autodesk and still expensive.
When I was searching for one for personal use, I searched "Autodesk AutoCAD alternative" and it turned up several good options.
If you plan to use your drawings with other software, you want to avoid anything that uses a proprietary file format. You want a software that saves .DWG and .DXF files at the least.

I will say that if you havent learned a specific software yet, get something like Inventor or a 3d only program.
I learned a while back when 2d Autocad was about all there was, then learned some 3d in Autocad. These days, they skip the Autocad and go straight to Inventor (all 3d).
Its hard for some of us old time drafters to learn a second or third software just to do one particular thing like 3d, but they are pretty cool, with all the power they have for editing parts, that the old way of 3d in Autocad just cant touch.
This is generally more handy on large assemblies with many different assemblies making up one big one, as you can make a change to one part, and it will change them all down the line. Its still handy, just not quite as much, on smaller stuff.

All that said, the best thing you can do, if you arent tied to one particular that you like, is to go get trials for a few you think you might like. Then pick a simple drawing, or a complicated one, depending on what you want to find out, and have at it.
Youll find out pretty quick what you like and dont like about them!
 

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This is something I have been puzzling over.
Many folks carrying on about how additive manufacturing is going to take over and many folks buying printers for fun at home and in the workshop but many solid models are very, very difficult (for me anyway) to construct (complexity dependent).
I just can't picture folks buying the printer and just printing anything they want?
Depends on your skill with the software I guess.
A guy good with a true 3d software can draw any part he wants, as long as he can figure out the measurements.
My trouble with it is that I am much more familiar with the old way of doing 3d drawings, using a "normal" CAD program in 3d. Its much easier and faster to use something like Inventor instead of AutoCAD (speaking only of Autodesk products) to produce the same part in 3d, but Im not NEARLY as familiar with Inventor as I am with AutoCAD, so its faster for me the other way. The trouble is, Inventor makes editing the finished part much simpler, and if its a complex part, that can be the difference between 30 minutes modifying it and a few days redrawing the whole thing.
Ive found in my jobs, the younger guys coming in know a WHOLE lot more about 3d and Inventor and similar software than the previous bunch.
So much so that they have no trouble drawing very complex parts and assemblies right out of the gate. Its a whole different world these days vs 10-15 years ago.
 

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Diane you just don't seem to stop amazing me!
 

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I would encourage you to take a look at AutoDesk Fusion 360. If you might qualify for a "Startup" license. I'm not sure what happens after the 1 year of access though...

From: Autodesk - Legal Notices Trademarks - Autodesk Web Services Entitlements
  • Startup: If your entitlement has been designated as “Startup, ” You may use the service if You are (a) a company, startup, or home-based business that generates less than $100,000 (or equivalent in other currency) per year from the total sale of goods or services, or (b) an individual using the service for personal non-commercial projects, hobbies, or personal learning.

    The term for your Startup use is one (1) year from the date You are granted access. Autodesk reserves the right at any time during the Startup term to revoke access of the Startup entitlement by providing notice to You.
Download: Fusion 360 | Free Download For Hobbyist, Startups Makers | Autodesk
 

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I also recommend looking into the Autodesk suite of products. I use Fusion 360 and my CAM programmers are using Featurecam. Great products and there is a ton of online learning and support.
 

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If you want 3D solid modeling check out OnShape. If runs in your browser and is fairly easy to figure out. It is free with the only restriction is that all your files have to be public in the free version. It isn't a limited free version either, it is the full blown program. The guys that created OnShape are the ones that started Solidworks several years ago. It has some really neat features. I am a long time user of 2D AutoCAD and I like using OnShape for my 3D stuff I need at home. I have also use Pro-E which is not very user friendly. We use Draftsight at work and it is ok once you get used to its quirks. Very much like AutoCAD. The free version of Draftsight has some limited features but if you know how to draw you can get around most of them. Anyway just my 2 cents.
 
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