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whensparksfly
14-02-2016, 11:23 AM
What the Best cad for beginner at a afordable price

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komatias
14-02-2016, 11:29 AM
That's a bit like asking what's the best first car. What do you need to do with it?

Technical drawing with geometric tolerances or just 3D modeling for CAM and 3d printing?


If the later look up fusion 360 or sketchup. If the former you need a pro package like inventor, Creo, solid works/edge.


An oddball one that i could not get on with was OnShape that runs in your internet browser(sic)

magicniner
14-02-2016, 11:54 AM
Before investing in a package (even investing your time in a free one) research what others are using to achieve what you want to achieve.
There's quite a learning curve to any 3D CAD package and a similar if not steeper one for 3D CAM so it's nice to know that when you get near the top that you're climbing the right mountain ;-)

- Nick

whensparksfly
14-02-2016, 12:45 PM
It's for a plasma cad will only be 2d

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cropwell
14-02-2016, 01:39 PM
If you look here https://www.3ds.com/products-services/draftsight-cad-software/ you will find a free version. It is almost an AutoCAD clone.

C_Bubba
14-02-2016, 02:03 PM
If you look here https://www.3ds.com/products-services/draftsight-cad-software/ you will find a free version. It is almost an AutoCAD clone.
I totally agree with this one. I have been using Draftsight for several years now and I came from an autocad background. The price is right and it is easy to use. There are several tutorials available and it only requires the internet to register it. Once in a rare while, I get an email from them, but not a lot.

brumster
15-02-2016, 10:12 AM
For 2D stuff I get on quite well with the freebie QCAD; I've no previous background so I'm quite happy to learn what others would probably call it's "idiosyncrasy".

For 3D stuff I really love OnShape as mentioned above. Again, completely free, very easy to use for me (having come from DelCam Powershape) and when you consider what you can do with it without spending any money, it's a pretty cool tool. I use it mainly for 3D printed parts. Don't poo-poo it straight away because it's browser based, but obviously it does necessitate an always-on internet connection. If you want private designs in it, unshared with the world, then you'll hit the free limits quickly though - and then, at $100 per month, it's not cheap. Their pricing could really do with an intermediate level IMHO.

komatias
15-02-2016, 10:15 AM
.... If you want private designs in it, unshared with the world, then you'll hit the free limits quickly though - and then, at $100 per month, it's not cheap. Their pricing could really do with an intermediate level IMHO.

That!

Neale
15-02-2016, 04:37 PM
Fusion 360 is the same price as OnShape for home/hobby users - that is, free - and doesn't seem to have the same storage limits. That's one reason I use it; the others are that it seems to be a bit more powerful than OnShape and with more fancy features (although that comes at the price of a bit more complexity) and that it has a pretty good built-in CAM package. Although it is 3D, you can in effect use it as a 2D drawing package (and export DXF files if you want). I used to use TurboCAD but now do even simple drawings in F360.

brumster
15-02-2016, 05:44 PM
Fusion 360 is the same price as OnShape for home/hobby users - that is, free - and doesn't seem to have the same storage limits. That's one reason I use it; the others are that it seems to be a bit more powerful than OnShape and with more fancy features (although that comes at the price of a bit more complexity) and that it has a pretty good built-in CAM package. Although it is 3D, you can in effect use it as a 2D drawing package (and export DXF files if you want). I used to use TurboCAD but now do even simple drawings in F360.

Can you elaborate a bit more on the licensing model? It says "full use for 90 days", what happens after 90 days? Might be tempted to try it if it doesn't have to limitations of OnShape... mind you, I do like OnShape :(....

Neale
15-02-2016, 06:13 PM
If you have OnShape under your belt, I doubt if you'll have too many problems picking up F360. Same basic approach to creating designs. TBH, I prefer the OnShape user interface (I started with OS) but have now moved to F360 for the reasons given. Personal choice, though - everyone has different preferences and priorities and availability of integrated CAM was a big one for me.

I did say free for home/hobby use. As I understand it, you sign up for the 30d free trial, and at the end it asks you if you want to buy or continue as a free home "non-commercial" user. I have a feeling that they do allow limited commercial use for small users but it's not clear how that is policed. I'm sorry that I can't be clearer than that as I actually signed up as a student user and I think that the deal is slightly different (although I'm not sure what happens after the first year). "Full use" might also refer to the CAM component as I believe that the free licence only gives you access to 2.5D CAM rather than the full 3D, but I'm guessing somewhat here. And if you are happy with OnShape and don't need the CAM module, then whether or not it's 2.5D or 3D isn't relevant anyway. Give it a try - you might like it!

kingcreaky
16-02-2016, 08:59 AM
I normally pick up software pretty quickly, and until now have become a dab hand at sketchup (using parrelel projection, to do 2d cad), then import dxf and toolpath in aspire. Im presently (and have been for about two months now) trying deperately to get Fusion 360 to "click". Im finding it quite difficult, mainly because its so powerful.

My learning tactic, is watching youtube videos, but I must admit, its worryingly slow progress. Maybe im just getting old?

any tips for learning fusion 360?

magicniner
16-02-2016, 09:47 AM
I don't think it's age, there's a lot to learn with any package that supports so many functions, it took me the best part of 18 months of my spare time to get from no CAD/CAM experience at all to being able to model and machine a 3D part with reasonable speed and competence.
I did a lot of research and eventually chose and bought a 4 axis CAD/CAM package on the basis of how it worked and the quality of publisher and peer support on the various CNC forum sites.
I new it was impractical for me to learn a package just to see if I liked it. On this basis I picked one only after watching a lot of tutorial videos and reading through a lot of forum Q&As, ensuring what I picked did everything I might need and worked in a manner which seemed logical to me, being at that point more used to layout blue and scriber than a computer for engineering stuff.

- Nick

Neale
16-02-2016, 09:57 AM
My apologies in advance if I'm teaching you to suck eggs. Always difficult to know where someone is coming from, but this is based on my own experience as a self-taught TurboCAD user moving to one of these flash new, parametric, sketch-based, 3D packages. I'm sure from odd comments made that there are some professional Solidworks users and the like out there who would think my comments a bit trivial, but there we are.

First, forget most of what you have learnt from 2D CAD. In general, this is like a power-operated pencil and drawing board. You draw lines of given lengths, join the ends, add circles and so on, using whatever drawing aids the package gives you. Then you add dimensions which reflect the lines as drawn.

F360 and friends do it differently. Think back of envelope sketching. I would have said back of fag packet, but you can't get the fag packets these days! Use the drawing tools provided (lines, rectangles, circles, etc) to roughly put in the geometry of the part you are drawing. Accuracy at this point is not needed - big difference from typical 2D CAD. Now, where you want points, hole centres, ends of lines, etc, to line up, use the "constraint" tools to do this. You can lock points together, force lines parallel/aligned, hole diameters equal, and so on. At this point, or maybe a bit earlier if it was appropriate, you can start adding in dimensions. But you are not "reading out" the dimensions you have drawn - you are putting in a dimension that forces the corresponding geometry to match that dimension. For example, you have sketched four holes in a component, and set each equal to the others. Add a dimension to one of them, and they will all automatically change to that value. Change your mind - you meant it to be M5 clearance, not M4 clearance - so edit that one dimension and all holes change to match. This ability to lock drawing elements together is very powerful, but it doesn't come naturally if you are used to drawing "the old way".

Once you have your "sketch", appropriately dimensioned, etc, you can extrude it to give a 3D component. You can now select any face of that object as the base plane for the next sketch - maybe a new, mating, component or maybe just another part of the first. In F360, for example, you would select "new body" or "join" when you do the extrude accordingly.

It does take a bit of getting used to, and of course there are many more subtle factors to take into account when drawing - identifying symmetries in the part so you only draw one half then mirror it, using the pattern tools for multiple features like hole layouts, etc - but for me, the big hurdle was that first one of understanding that you add basic elements to the drawing as rough sketches, then add constraints and dimensions to force the final design. Once you get this concept sorted, it is really useful to be able to go back to a drawing, make one change, and watch all dependent parts of the drawing (or subsequent assembly of parts) change to match.

Finally, it really does help if you can look over a more experienced user's shoulder while they talk you through an example - that's how I climbed the first part of the learning curve.

brumster
16-02-2016, 10:50 AM
I agree. One challenge that can throw people at first is that you really do have to forward think how you're approaching the work (ok, you have to do that with any design) *but* the beauty is that it's always real easy to go back and change things with the parametric approach.... *IF* you haven't overly-constrained your design. So my advice would be to really keep the constraints down; don't over-spec the drawings beyond what you need. Trust the software to work it out; define things like centre-lines on your face early on and then work from that, for example, as the driving dimension.

kingcreaky, if you want a demo/lesson in Onshape I can at least help you with that - maybe it will lend across to F360 easily too.... ;)

Chaz
16-02-2016, 10:56 AM
Fusion 360 is the same price as OnShape for home/hobby users - that is, free - and doesn't seem to have the same storage limits. That's one reason I use it; the others are that it seems to be a bit more powerful than OnShape and with more fancy features (although that comes at the price of a bit more complexity) and that it has a pretty good built-in CAM package. Although it is 3D, you can in effect use it as a 2D drawing package (and export DXF files if you want). I used to use TurboCAD but now do even simple drawings in F360.

Fusion 360. Most users wont need more. Its free and you can import almost any existing format into it.

Neale
16-02-2016, 11:21 AM
You can, of course, mix-and-match CAD packages. One feature lacking in the out-of-the-box F360 is the ability to automatically add dogbone fillets into corners - typical requirement for slot-together designs in wood. It does have an add-in but my experience of this is that it's not too clever and doesn't always work as expected. I've recently been making some simple box dividers cut from thin ply. The design had tapered sides and I didn't want to have to work out the geometry for the tabs so I designed in F360, proper 3D model, easy to do, then exported panel shapes as dxf, imported into vCarve, added fillets and did the CAM there. Sounds really complicated like that, but in practice it was very quick to do.

Two conclusions from this - F360 can be a good way to do even simple designs as it allows that useful feature of 3D visualisation, and as an engineer, look for the easy way to achieve what you want even if it's not the most obvious way at first sight! And vCarve is a pretty good 2D CAD/CAM tool for CNC routing but at a price.

Chaz
16-02-2016, 11:23 AM
I normally pick up software pretty quickly, and until now have become a dab hand at sketchup (using parrelel projection, to do 2d cad), then import dxf and toolpath in aspire. Im presently (and have been for about two months now) trying deperately to get Fusion 360 to "click". Im finding it quite difficult, mainly because its so powerful.

My learning tactic, is watching youtube videos, but I must admit, its worryingly slow progress. Maybe im just getting old?

any tips for learning fusion 360?

Youtube !!! No need for anything else IMHO. Subscribe to NYC CNC's channel, he does a lot of basic drawing and then CAM from these. Then also Autodesk's own 'evangelists' do some good videos.

MikeyC38
16-02-2016, 02:44 PM
My apologies in advance if I'm teaching you to suck eggs. Always difficult to know where someone is coming from, but this is based on my own experience as a self-taught TurboCAD user moving to one of these flash new, parametric, sketch-based, 3D packages. I'm sure from odd comments made that there are some professional Solidworks users and the like out there who would think my comments a bit trivial, but there we are....

I have to agree with Neale here, I too am a TurboCAD user and pound-for-pound it has got to be one of the best value packages around (see an example of my use of it here (http://www.mycncuk.com/threads/8206-Ar-last%21%21%21-Started-my-Gantry-3-Axis-CNC-Build) ).
Whatever you do, there will be a learning curve and with some packages it is steeper than others. It took me about 3 months of regular evening use to get comfortable and the biggest help is good tutorial material. For TurboCAD, Don Cheke (http://www.textualcreations.ca/) has brilliant key-by-key tutorials and for me this was money well-spent as it shortened the learning curve dramatically. The program supports 40 different CAD file import and export formats. When I sent the design to my cousin who uses CREO PTC, the step files I created imported perfectly!

All my designs are pretty much in 3D these days and I can produce 2D projections when I need to print dimensioned drawings for manufacture etc.

I'm waiting until I've 1) Finished building my CNC machine and 2) Earned so real money with it before investing in Solidworks. But hey I can dream!

Regards
Mike Campbell

Boyan Silyavski
17-02-2016, 06:51 AM
I would definitely recommend you learn a parametric CAD and avoid like hell programs that will not use solids. And dedicate a couple of weeks to learn from a book the basics and principles of parameter drawing, it will pay very fast in the long run.

Siemens programs are the best and all other copy or started by copying them.

Some programs have strong communities which is also a big +, cause there you can download models etc.

Sketchup /neither solid or parametric/ was the program i used when i started a couple of years ago, and i was used to recommend it as its very easy to learn. Now learning NX from an year, i see i started to sketch faster in NX. Further more Sketch up has some inherent problems and is buggy and slow with big models even if the PC is extra strong it can not use its resources. So big NO to Sketchup.

For sign making you can not avoid a dedicated program, as it speeds up things considerably.


PS. Thanks for the info about Turbocad. Just downloading it to try it. It seems quite interesting from videos on Youtube i have just seen

cropwell
17-02-2016, 12:55 PM
Sketch up has some inherent problems and is buggy and slow with big models even if the PC is extra strong it can not use its resources. So big NO to Sketchup.


I am going to echo that. I use it for 3D printing and for small, easy stuff, it is OK-ish, but unless you pay for the pro version you can't export DXF and that cuts it off from CAM programs in the main. My experience of the free Sketchup Make doesn't make me want to spend good money on the upgrade. TurboCAD seems to be pushed at the exhibitions, so I will probably have a more serious look at it and then try it at a show.

Cheers,

Rob

Neale
17-02-2016, 04:28 PM
I'm starting to regret mentioning TurboCAD - that's the product that I have more-or-less abandoned in favour of Fusion 360, even when I'm only wanting to do 2D drawing. While it's fine as a 2D tool, I've tried a few times to work through the 3D features and gave up when I found that I needed to start at the beginning every time I went back to it. And the parametric and history features of these newer-generation 3D tools are really useful. I have lost count the number of times I have wanted to update a TurboCAD drawing and found it easier to start again where a similar change in F360 would be a couple of clicks and entering a new dimension - and all the dependent parts would change at the same time. If you are used to using TurboCAD I don't want to knock it - the illustrations on the box suggest that it's possible to do some great drawing with it - but if you are starting from scratch, it might be worth looking elsewhere and at least for 3D, have a shorter learning curve.

But this is one man's view, and one who runs an MDF-built router at that, so take that into account when choosing!

MikeyC38
17-02-2016, 11:04 PM
You've got to use Turbo CAD Pro (preferably Pro Platinum) as it has the full ASCIS 3D solid modelling engine and the Lightworks rendering engine. Again look at my previous post for the quality of modelling and rendering you can do with it. I agree that the parametric CAD tools such as Solidworks are easier to use - but I don't have 7000 + 1200 pa for a maintenance contract! I modelled my CNC using TurboCADS solid modelling tools using version 15 of Pro Platinum product which I got the Model Engineer show for less than 100! I recently upgraded to version 21 of the Pro Platinum product for 149! You don't have to get the latest version either - contact Paul Tracey at his website https://paulthecad.com/ for the best prices.

Regards
Mike

Neale
18-02-2016, 12:00 AM
I've been using Pro v19, having also upgraded via a copy bought at the ME show a few years back. My problem isn't that great results aren't possible - clearly, they are - but that I personally find it very difficult to use in 3D. Where in Fusion 360 I can just click on the face of an object to set the drawing plane, I have struggled to do the equivalent with TCAD. Add in parametric and history features, plus the fact (for me as a hobby user) F360 is free, and my personal decision was easy. But it may just be that I have completely missed something fundamental that would have allowed me to make progress with TurboCAD.

I think that we are living through interesting times where the guys originally responsible for Solidworks have brought out OnShape, Autodesk have brought out Fusion 360, and both are likely to change the cost and availability model of these kinds of tools over time. Commercial users may see things differently - while the licences are expensive, powerful tools that do everything and are fully supported mean more productivity, maybe - but as a home user, I'm happy to grab what I can while it lasts!

magicniner
18-02-2016, 01:44 AM
Parametric, on the whole, simply compensates for the inability of the user to adequately visualise their project until they have it laid out in front of them.
It's no bad thing but not everyone needs it, if you're designing a Power Station you NEED parametric, if you're designing a house, a clock or even a moderately sized multi-cylinder IC engine and you need parametric then you may be unable to visualise your project adequately and may achieve good results but might easily miss out on an outstanding result because you don't truly understand the minutiae of what you're fiddling with.
It's the plague of our time that everyone with a PC thinks they are a Publisher, an Engineer or a Designer and very few of us are.

- Nick

Neale
18-02-2016, 11:37 AM
My son is an architect with an ability to visualise in 3D in a way that I could only dream about. I can bang out a quick sketch that roughly represents what I want to make, but I lack the ability to visualise all aspects of a complex design in sufficient detail to be able to produce all these sketches at the outset. And my pencil sketches tend not to be that intelligible the day after I've drawn them, and seldom survive very long in the workshop. Add these deficiencies to the fact that I have been known to make mistakes and I prefer to make them on a screen rather than the expensive chunk of Ecocast sitting on the mill table at the moment, and I accept that I am a poor runner-up to those who can go from mental image to finished, assembled, components with the help of no more than the back of a fag packet and a broken pencil.

Still, if the man who never made a mistake never made anything, I should have made quite a lot by now!

Boyan Silyavski
19-02-2016, 01:50 PM
You need parametric if you are designing whatever machine, CNC including. Especially if you will repeatedly make something, but every time a bit different. Believe me, it was a great pain redesigning a machine i had in Sketchup to fit specific size working area .

I know only basic parametric modeling and am discovering how it looked difficult, but every next time it looks easier. Till the point I stopped sketching in Sketchup, where i am really very fast.
It really reminds me of the time in photography, when i was using all tools but not Photoshop. Then at the end i overcome my ignorance, went to a basic course and then learned it on a professional level. So it raised my photographic skill on a whole different level. So at the end i understood 1/2 is the photo and 1/2 is the development process/ Photoshop.

Back to the question. Obviously quality product like Fusion 360 will be preferred, cause there is a big name behind it. Cause i hate learning a program and then realizing its dead or its no good, or it has some ridiculous limit.