Thread: Best cad for beginner
RobIt takes all sorts to make a world, I am just glad I am not one of them.
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!
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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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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