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How necessary is 3D?

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Mark C23/08/2015 22:01:17
707 forum posts
1 photos

John, Peter, I suspect that the amount you pay for the software also plays a big role - you aren't likely to be using Solidworks anytime soon if you only have a few hundred quid to spend, i don't know about the Fusion 360 thing. In the case of Solidworks, using it is very very simple as long as you don't want to do fancy stuff like surface generation or complex curves (helical gears.... ). You pick where you want your sketch to go and everything else tends to follow intuitively. It will flash up the lines pallet and you select pen tool, you then click the start point (akin to putting your pen on the paper) and start to draw. It will initially draw a straight line from the starting point but will automatically make it horizontal or vertical as long as you are close, if you want curves from then on you just move the mouse in a curved direction from the last point and it will generate a tangent curve accordingly. when you move near any intersections (ends, midpoints etc) it will snap to them and close the sketch. The whole idea is to leave you thinking about what you are drawing without messing about looking for commands and buttons. Once you are done the rest follows seamlessly. It's a shame it is so expensive as it would surprise a lot of wrinklies by how quick they could learn it, it really is the easiest way to draw and see stuff you can imagine. Even for simple mods where there is loads of space!


V8Eng23/08/2015 22:05:47
1726 forum posts
6 photos
Posted by John Stevenson on 23/08/2015 21:32:17


The stumbling block is the steep learning curve and the time needed to learn it and lets be honest here, as you get older time gets shorter as does the ability to learn things fast.

Edited By John Stevenson on 23/08/2015 21:34:47


I blame that the six hour days myself, they make the weeks ever so short!

Edited By V8Eng on 23/08/2015 22:08:11

Phil P23/08/2015 22:15:47
805 forum posts
195 photos

I f you get profficent on 3D CAD you might actually give up making things in metal altogether.

There is a real feeling of satisfaction when you have designed and 3D modeled a Corliss valve mill engine or a traction engine, and you can turn the flywheel on the screen and watch all the valve gear working etc.


John Stevenson23/08/2015 23:34:22
5068 forum posts
3 photos


You are not wrong there. I did know a guy in an old folks home who was 'building' a full sized loco in Alibre.

He's lost his workshop and the ability to use the machines but did this for about 4 hours a day to keep himself mentally active.

Unfortunately he's long dead now thru old age but it shows an insight into how you can change and adapt.

Mark C.

In all fairness anyone who has overcome the hurdles of learning a system soon forget the hurdles and "It's not hard " is a frequently spoken phrase when actually when you are stood at the bottom looking up, it is hard.

Long short is I reckon you need 20 to 30 hours and then it does become easy. However it's that commitment to the 20 or 30 hours. If you are employed it's only half a week or so, depends if you carry on at night but taken as the odd hour plus playing catchup from forgetting where you got or going back to rectify mistakes that 30 hours can be a year.

Another thing is people learn different ways. Some can learn from books, some need to be shown.

Many tutorials don't follow the program, how many times have you read click the icon that looks like a gear only to find no icon where it's supposed to be and also no clue where it should be. When what they shold say is open the properties toolbar and click the gear icon.

Because they know the program they assume everyone else does.

Not insurmountable but for some it's the last straw, they have spents a week at nights and not managed to do the first tutorial.

Peter G. Shaw24/08/2015 16:28:43
1454 forum posts
44 photos

John, You've put it a lot better than I did. Thanks.

Everyone, it's a fact that I simply want to be able to use the tools, the basic, hand-controlled tools that is. I don't have CNC or DRO's. Yes, I'm a backwards looking old codger, but I'm in this game to learn how to use the mechanical tools, including the measuring gear. I don't particularly want electronic gear since this to me takes away some of the interest for me. Don't get me wrong, I can see how electronic measuring makes life easier especially to the wrinklies with less than perfect eyesight (which is why I have magnifying lenses of various types), but at the same time my limited experience with electronic calipers is that the batteries (cell actually) don't seem to last two minutes and then I have to spend time scrabbling around changing it. And if I haven't got a spare, going out and buying one and making sure that the dimwitted shopkeeper who thinks that the LR44 is the same as a 357 doesn't fob me off with the LR44. Plus the stated accuracy/resolution which is always stated as being plus or minus one digit. And so on. But hey, if you're ok with that then go ahead, I'm not.

Yes. I like using the mechanical tools and attempting to create something myself without relying on electronic goodies.

You could argue, then, why am I bothering with CAD? Why am I indeed? Well for one thing, it's a darn sight neater than what I can do by hand. Secondly, it's a darn sight easier to modify and do a reprint. And both arguments could well apply to using the tools, ie why not let the tools do it for you? Suffice to say that doesn't do anything for me.

Let me just say one other thing. I do this for me, no-one else, just me. I get the satisfaction from, if you like, creating a drawing (which I could do by hand but see above), and then making it. (Actually, it always seems to be the other way round - make it, then draw it!) And seeing what a rubbish job I've made of it. And before anyone poo-pooh's that last statement, the article that initiated this correspondence, is not particularly well made. I hope it will do the job when it is finally assembled, but some of the surfacing shows evidence of chatter. But, it's my chatter (!), on a piece of metal I have formed by my hand-eye-brain co-ordination. If it doesn't work, then I'll have to have another go.

Which brings me back to learning 3D. And the possibility of learning Python to write a Linux program to replace a DOS program I'm using via DosEmu. I rather think that in both instances I may end up doing like the gentleman John mentioned, the one who was building a full size steam loco on the computer. Similarly with trying to investigate both mine and my wif'e's parentage via the genealogical websites. It's all down to accepting that at some point in the future I won't be able to do practical things, but hopefully I'll still be able to use my brain and computer.

And with that ramble around the houses, ta ra for now.

Peter G. Shaw

Neil Wyatt24/08/2015 16:57:09
19075 forum posts
736 photos
80 articles

> It's all down to accepting that at some point in the future I won't be able to do practical things, but hopefully I'll still be able to use my brain and computer.

I'm hoping that 8-bit microcontrollers will still be available for much the same reason!


Mark C24/08/2015 19:17:26
707 forum posts
1 photos

"I'm hoping that 8-bit microcontrollers will still be available" do they have a use by date on them?


ANDY CAWLEY25/08/2015 16:06:27
185 forum posts
48 photos

What is an 8 bit micro controller?

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