Thread: Best cad for beginner
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!
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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?
Last edited by kingcreaky; 16-02-2016 at 08:00 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.
Last edited by magicniner; 16-02-2016 at 08:49 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.
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.... ;)
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.
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 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!
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
Last edited by Boyan Silyavski; 17-02-2016 at 06:16 AM.
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