dikman

3D design programme

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A question for you more experienced folks out there - what is a good free design programme to start with? I really need to start learning how to design things but am reluctant to spend anything until I know I can do it!

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I use RD Works. There's a few people on y--toob with videos on using it. (Not that I have watched any, I just bumble educated-guess my way through). :P

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Nobody knows, or I'd be using one.  A 2-d program will likely do everything you need, and cost a LOT less.  

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I use Onshape.com for all of my personal projects.  Free if you are okay with what you make showing up on the public listing.  The active development of it means it has similar tools to most professional 3D cad programs, and a good support network.  There is also some free plugins that will convert the 3d into 2.5D G-code for CNC, or layers for laser cutting.

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Good grief, nobody here knows about Sketchup?  There's a free version of it that does everything I ever needed.  

https://www.sketchup.com/products/sketchup-free

I also use Inkscape for 2D and isometric drawings - excellent free drawing/design/illustration tool.

https://inkscape.org/en/

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I haven't tried it myself, but have heard good things about tinkercad - a free 3d browser based cad program.

-Bill

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Tinkercad is good, onshape is ok if you dont mind the files being public (you have to pay their subscription to have private saves), fusion 360 is free when register it as a hobbyist. It all depends what you want to do for modeling? I prefer fusion 360 as i 3d print all my templates and custom stamps. Also great way to make molds for wetforming or fitment for things like phones or even helping to get wallet pockets wore in while wait for them to sell by printing card blanks. 

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Sketchup is ok for visualizing. Its mesh creation and export of stl files tho is horrrrible. I can always tell when someone sends me a stl that was created in sketchup as its full of errors and particles that i have to run thru clean up programs a few times usually to hopefully fix. 

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Thanks 3DReefer but Fusion looks like it's an online/cloudbased proggie? If so I'm not interested as I want something that's stand-alone. I consider my NBN connection too unreliable (after nearly 12 moths they're still trying to find out why I get dropouts!!).

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5 hours ago, dikman said:

Thanks 3DReefer but Fusion looks like it's an online/cloudbased proggie? If so I'm not interested as I want something that's stand-alone. I consider my NBN connection too unreliable (after nearly 12 moths they're still trying to find out why I get dropouts!!).

It is and isnt. It requires a net connection every couple of months to recertify your login and license, but can be ran offline also. For a while I didnt have internet and ran it, only connecting when it told me it wanted to certify licensing via my phone. When it does get an internet connections it just will sync all your new designs to the cloud server. It in no way requires a constant net connection like any of the browser based ones will. Designs and autosaves updates (done every 3rd or so change to design which is really nice) are all done locally and then sync to the cloud only when you do an actual save point or close the program. If there isnt a net connection, then it just syncs the next time there is. 

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When I decided to do some 3D CAD design work, I researched a few options and I ended up settling on Autodesk Fusion 360. The learning curve with any powerful 3D CAD programs is steep and painful, so I only wanted to do it once. I don't regret my decision. Fusion 360 is one of the very few, very powerful 3D CAD programs you can use for free. In fact, I don't know of another 3D CAD program that's as powerful AND free. The importance of the CAM (Computer Aided Manufacturing) end of the 3D CAD program is not to be underestimated - I've used Fusion 360 to design CAD parts and generate CAM G-Code files for Tormach CNC mills, ShopBot CNC wood routers, as well as export files for use with my Cetus 3D printer.

I learned most of what I needed to know from watching videos made by NYC-CNC on YouTube. 

The "cloud" aspect hasn't interfered with my work. Fusion 360 is a program installed and run on your computer, not just some web browser interface to a program that runs remotely.

I've used Fusion 360 with and without an internet connection on my Mac laptop. I occasionally use the Windows computers at my MakerSpace to just log into my Fusion 360 account and have access to all my designs for quick little tweaks.

For simple 2D CAD design work, other options like SketchUp etc. may be fine, but the topic question was about 3D CAD design programs.

Edited by Uwe

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Thanks Uwe. I just downloaded 123D, it's apparently not supported any more by Autodesk, but that doesn't matter for my needs. I found some tutorials on youtube and it looks pretty good as the learning curve doesn't seem too bad. If this isn't adequate I'll give Fusion a try.

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