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Expensive CAD and CAM software treated like a physical asset?

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Chris Richards 305/03/2016 23:07:23
68 forum posts
13 photos


I've recently done the rounds of pricing up various cad and cam software packages. The sales guys try to push that it is an asset that you own so does that mean I could legally buy and use a second hand copy? What do people think?


John Haine05/03/2016 23:12:41
3253 forum posts
175 photos

Normally you don't buy software as such but get a licence to use under the owner's copyright. This allows them to restrict what rights you have to sub licence. Look hard at the terms and conditions.

duncan webster06/03/2016 00:55:04
2732 forum posts
40 photos

If you're after 2D CAD, don't part with hard earned money, there are several perfectly useable packages available fro free, I use Draftsight. If you're after 3D then Fusion360 is getting good reports

Bandersnatch06/03/2016 01:35:48
1713 forum posts
60 photos

Posted by Chris Richards 3 on 05/03/2016 23:07:23:

......does that mean I could legally buy and use a second hand copy

Some years ago, I had a licence for Autocad 2D which I sold. I had to work through Autodesk to get the licence transferred but there was no hassle. (It's not the copy of the software that you sell, it's the licence to use it).

Muzzer06/03/2016 03:18:48
2904 forum posts
448 photos

Sub licensing is different to selling it on surely. If you've bought it, you can generally sell it once you have no use for it. Subscription-based licences are going to be different.

I could rant about the pricing for purchase and (pretty much obligatory) "support" for the likes of Solidworks but for the likes of us, Fusion 360 and possibly Onshape are very cost-effective, the former being free for life for hobby use and under active development so getting better all the time.

Sandgrounder06/03/2016 08:08:48
198 forum posts
6 photos

When I put Autocad 2D and 3D Inventor on my PC many years ago details of the PC's hardware were taken by Autodesk and they then issued me with a 16 digit code based on my hardware serial numbers, I believe that even replacing one piece of the hardware, say the graphics board, would stop the software from running.

Chris Richards 306/03/2016 18:13:04
68 forum posts
13 photos

I've briefly looked at the Fusion 360 but personally don't like the idea of investing time into something that could be taken away in the future. I also dislike the subscription based systems as who knows how the renewal will turn out each year.

I definitely need 3D design, I didn't want to spend loads hence looking at used seats hoping to get more for the money. I may settle for something like Bobcad as you get integrated cam and 3D modelling mmm hopefully I can sell the software on if I make the wrong choice

SillyOldDuffer06/03/2016 19:51:43
6168 forum posts
1334 photos

There isn't a simple single answer. You will have to read the small-print and ask the right questions. The various shades of buying and selling "Second-hand" might be OK but you can't just assume it. If the salesman tells you his software is an asset ask him directly what that means in your circumstances.

Owning software can get complicated. A simple example: often exactly the same software is licensed differently depending on the sort of user you are. For example student and professional users often pay wildly different rates for exactly the same thing. But it's very unlikely that the terms and conditions will allow the student to profit by reselling his copy of the software at the professional rate. Or even allow the student to use his software for a business purpose. Or allow a business to buy a student license.

You don't say if you are hobbyist. It makes a difference to what's meant by an "Asset". For example, a business 'asset' might have accounting and tax advantages for the commercial owner that won't apply to hobby ownership. Also a business might need a multi-user solution. This requirement introduces another raft of license considerations. Choosing the right multi-user option can make a big difference to the cost. If serious money is involved and you're a business you should buy in consultancy.



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