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jimmy b29/09/2018 20:16:22
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Thank you Jason and Neil. I'm looking forward to trying this.

Jim
Emgee29/09/2018 20:22:25
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I have no doubt some will remember Alibre Design when it was provided as a free package, following multiple updates various functions were disabled as time past, in the end after an updates download my package failed to work as I did not have a registration number to enter, nor could one be provided by Alibre or their agent in the UK.
Signing in and connecting to the Alibre site proved fruitless, but then you can't complain so much with free offers !!

Emgee

Edited By Emgee on 29/09/2018 20:25:07

JasonB29/09/2018 20:39:14
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Kind of the opposite to my experience with them when I wanted to move my unsupported PE from an old 32bit machine to a new 64bit where they were very helpful. Also the couple of times I have spoken with John Minto (UK Agent) he has been fine to deal with though he did prize a few quid more out of me the last time we spoke which has turned out to be money well spent.

Emgee29/09/2018 20:50:56
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Jason, from memory the PE package followed the free hobby system, think it was priced at £99+VAT in the UK when $99 in the US.

Agree John is a very helpful person but he couldn't sort my earlier registration number problem.

Emgee

Neil Wyatt30/09/2018 10:10:05
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Emgee is, in broad terms, right, about the history, but this is aprt of a new chapter.

This article explains what happened and why the launch of Alibre Atom3D is intended to deliver:

www.engineering.com/DesignSoftware/DesignSoftwareArticles/ArticleID/16649/The-Emancipation-of-Alibre.aspx

Neil

JC5430/09/2018 22:32:07
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Just checked out link to Alibre, needs 64 bit system just like fusion 360. Have I got to upgrade/replace computer to use a 3D system?

Frances IoM30/09/2018 23:06:11
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I think any laptop or desk machine running a windows O/S built in last 12 years would contain a 64bit processor - whether you have sufficient memory (XP was limited to 3GB) or processing power or graphics capability are other major considerations - my own guess is that low end consumer Win 7 machines are probably on wrong side of boundary

Edited By Frances IoM on 30/09/2018 23:06:48

Ady130/09/2018 23:24:16
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Just checked out link to Alibre, needs 64 bit system just like fusion 360. Have I got to upgrade/replace computer to use a 3D system?

Curious that I registered a win 7 pro sector on my pooter today

You can download old Win 64 stuff and buy a valid key for less than a fiver from ebay

My own one had an error message and I used the +44 Microsoft toll number to activate it

The easiest route is to use another hard drive with the same pooter but there are cpu power issues with 3d CAD stuff, you need a machine with decent grunt, like a quad core, to make it work well

EDIT The key was 2.75 and the toll number about 2 quid

Edited By Ady1 on 30/09/2018 23:26:04

David Jupp01/10/2018 07:30:39
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Ady - multi-core processors really don't help that much with most 3D CAD systems - not all modelling kernels can take advantage of multiple cores, and even if they can, a lot of operations are by definition serial in nature (one builds on top of another).

Additional cores can help by off-loading background Windows tasks, and any other applications that might be running, but Atom3D won't benefit directly. Higher clock speed will give more benefit than additional cores.

Neil Wyatt02/10/2018 13:22:10
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Alibre Atom3D Software Requirements

Supported Operating Systems
Windows 7 – 64 bit
Windows 8 – 64 bit
Windows 10 – 64 bit

RAM
4 GB RAM minimum
Note: if your designs are very complex or you use lots of applications at the same time, you may need more RAM.

Video Card
Video card must be compatible with DirectX 9

Internet Access
Internet access is required for activation and de-activation of the software. It is also required every few weeks to refresh your license.

Suggestions

– Faster cores are more beneficial to Alibre Atom3D than multiple, slower cores
– Larger assemblies (e.g. 100s of parts) will require more RAM
– An SSD will significantly speed up load and save times

Matt Harrington02/10/2018 14:19:41
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Posted by Neil Wyatt on 23/09/2018 15:27:05:

I've been having a go with the package.

I produced this today, as a tryout, it's a hull for a British Power Boats Whaleback ASRL, using a paper 1940s plan as a guide. Took me about 2 1/2 hours, but I'm learning as I go along. This is an STL exported from the program, I'm going to try 3D printing it.

asrl.jpg

Neil, I shall class you as a 3D printer expert (well, you have written a book about the things!) and as such, you are more than familiar with 3D modelling. I would be interested to see how a user with a minimal 2D CAD experience will cope with such systems and also a user with no experience of CAD.

I have sold CAD/CAM systems (on and off) for the last 40 years and I'm always interested in user expectation. Ability is something else and have see 80 year old youngsters perform magic on a CAD system and yet a young draughtsman have no ability.

I suppose what I'm saying is that a lot of prospective users get put off early on thinking that a design system is too complicated - something that new systems seems to be addressing these days.

Matt

SillyOldDuffer02/10/2018 14:51:01
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To really stretch a modern computer, you need something like a an interactive shoot'em up game. As these are popular with the yoof, even basic machines these days have enough grunt to do 3D CAD. It just has to be reasonably modern. Unless you go deliberately down market with a tablet, or a very cheap laptop, secondhand, or use a server, you will get a moderately fast multi-core processor with at least 4Gb of memory, and - most important - a recent Graphics Processing Unit (GPU).

A GPU is an interesting beast. It provides massive parallel processing for graphics that can be tapped into by anything needing serious mathematical grunt in the way of matrix manipulations. Like 3D CAD with Finite Element Analysis.

My experience with Fusion360 on Windows 10 is probably typical of what might be expected of Alibre. Fusion runs satisfactorily on an ordinary 3 year old 64 bit 4-core mid-range laptop with a hard disk. It's a genteel home-office machine, not a hot multi-media or games box. Fusion tells me the laptop's bog-standard built-in Intel graphics card (with GPU) isn't optimum, but everything works. I've animated a couple of simple engines (100 odd parts and joints) with no sign of slowing down, though the cooling fan gets busy! The laptop's a bit sluggish, not bad enough to annoy, and I use it a lot while watching TV with my daughter. (She makes me watch terrible telly.)

However, Fusion feels far more slick on a 4 year old 8-core mid-range workstation with an SSD & 8Gb memory. The really significant difference though is the workstation's big screen: I'd recommend buying one for any serious work on a computer. Doing CAD on a small screen is a bit like modelling through a letter-box.

Graphics is one of those areas in electronics that advance rapidly every few years . Unfortunately the advances rely on lots of fast memory and up-to-date hardware. In that context 32-bit and XP aren't 'reasonably modern'. I'm afraid if you want to do 2018 CAD, an upgrade may be necessary if you own an old computer. You have my sympathy, I found converting to Windows 10 irritating because I had to switch off unwanted new features that intrude on my privacy. Apart from that it's OK.

Dave

Rod Ashton02/10/2018 14:55:41
339 forum posts
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What provision will there be for CAM since it is a requirement of full usability. I see that AlibreCAM 2018 is just short of £500 plus the initial £200 odd for Atom. Just to put some perspective on it.

Still a reasonable price all up. But to my parsimonious mind it might be more interesting if an integrated package had "a bit of deal" attached.

Limpet02/10/2018 15:09:09
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I think one of the questions are how does Alibre atom compare with Fusion 360 considering the later is free. I'm wanting to use 3d cad and tried Turbocad (which I really found unintuitive) downloaded Fusion a couple of weeks ago but not done very much at all, is it worth getting or should I continue with Fusion. Oh what a dilemma

SillyOldDuffer02/10/2018 15:50:20
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Posted by Limpet on 02/10/2018 15:09:09:

I think one of the questions are how does Alibre atom compare with Fusion 360 considering the later is free. I'm wanting to use 3d cad and tried Turbocad (which I really found unintuitive) downloaded Fusion a couple of weeks ago but not done very much at all, is it worth getting or should I continue with Fusion. Oh what a dilemma

I think you need to start by getting to grips with only one of them. Picking up any CAD package from scratch is a steep learning curve, and poking about inside 3 might lead to madness!

On paper, Fusion looks to be more fully featured than AlibreAtom, and - for hobbyists - it's free, at least for the time being. Some negatives. Fusion is still being developed - I use it intermittently and quite often have to take an update before starting work. It's slightly unstable, though I've never lost anything. I'm not keen on storing stuff in the cloud, but so far so good. I find it fairly intuitive to drive, though early on I had several bruising encounters. (Typically when I expected the package to do things one way when it actually does it another.) I've found some things that ought to be easy but aren't, like positioning text on a circular path as on a coin. On the whole, it's impressive.

No experience with Alibre yet, but they claim it's easier to use than the competition. This might be true, for example, when defining parts, Fusion creates a 'Body' that often has to be converted into a 'Component' before certain tools will work with it, which I feel is an unnecessary complication. A quick look at Alibre's website suggests it's worth checking before committing to Atom that it includes everything you want - for example, I believe Finite Element Analysis and other tools are extras. This might effect advanced users.

Dave

Neil Wyatt02/10/2018 18:12:37
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Posted by Rod Ashton on 02/10/2018 14:55:41:

What provision will there be for CAM since it is a requirement of full usability. I see that AlibreCAM 2018 is just short of £500 plus the initial £200 odd for Atom. Just to put some perspective on it.

Still a reasonable price all up. But to my parsimonious mind it might be more interesting if an integrated package had "a bit of deal" attached.

I think the best answer to that is 'wait and see', there could be up to three affordable integrated hobbyist/small user CAM solutions available from Mintronics in the near future.

I have no idea if any special offers will be made available at the end of the trial.

Neil

Edited By Neil Wyatt on 02/10/2018 18:18:40

Neil Wyatt02/10/2018 18:14:26
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Posted by Limpet on 02/10/2018 15:09:09:

I think one of the questions are how does Alibre atom compare with Fusion 360 considering the later is free. I'm wanting to use 3d cad and tried Turbocad (which I really found unintuitive) downloaded Fusion a couple of weeks ago but not done very much at all, is it worth getting or should I continue with Fusion. Oh what a dilemma

My worry about Fusion360 is that it will go the same way as Autodesk's free 3D printing utilities, starting with lost of features and then seeing them gradually disappear.

I suggest trying Alibre with the tutorials and example files (which will be available in less than a month's time) and seeing how you get on. It won't cost you anything except some time.

Neil

Edited By Neil Wyatt on 02/10/2018 18:16:47

Alan Vos02/10/2018 18:37:01
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Posted by SillyOldDuffer on 02/10/2018 14:51:01:

The really significant difference though is the workstation's big screen: I'd recommend buying one for any serious work on a computer. Doing CAD on a small screen is a bit like modelling through a letter-box.

I have to agree. At work, I seem to have picked up the role of occasional 3D draftsman and printer operator. A 4K screen makes a very noticeable improvement. Physical screen size to suit eyesight. An HP Z32 seems to be working well for me, including general text use.

Side note. The CPU is AMD Radeon HD 7540D. According to all the data I can find, the maximum resolution is 2560x1600. In practice, it delivers decent 3840x2160. There is a bug with Fusion 360 drawings, the derived 2D kind. The same bug also appears on a much more recent Intel CPU. WIth 4K, drawings in the bottom 40% (ish) of the screen don't appear. So use the top 60%, there are still plenty of pixels. I really should log that as a bug.

Muzzer02/10/2018 18:53:47
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If you have any interest in any of full 3D modelling / drawing environment, true multiaxis CAM (CNC or 3D printing), sheet metal, thermal / stress / vibration analysis, a wide and very open user base, an active development team and user forum etc, then Fusion is for you, not least due to the fact that all of this is free.

It's true that the product is still in development but having followed them (and used it) for the last 3 years or so, they are clearly very close to having a finished product. The "missing" features are probably ones very few us would ever have a need for. If you have any doubt about its capability, have a look at what is being done with it.

Portability or the ability to export your work into other formats is an important consideration. I have some Geomagic / Alibre files that can't be opened unless I pay for a license, whereas the likes of Fusion come with a wide range of import / export capabilities. So even IF Fusion were to start charging (which I doubt), you'd be able to save your work beforehand and open it in another application. I can do this with my existing SW files, although there is no way with any import filter to retain the mates / joints / assembly constraints, so you have to reassemble the individual parts afterwards

There was another factor that caused me to stop using my works Solidworks licence - the longer I used it, the more work would be at risk of loss unless I were eventually to buy a license myself, at vast initial (and eyewatering ongoing "maintenance" costs. This greedy behaviour on the part of Solidworks is of course the very opportunity that the Fusion team is capitalising on.

Murray

JasonB02/10/2018 19:19:48
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But look on the bright side Murray, you have all these forum members who will have their free trial of Atom3D tripping over themselves to open up your old Alibre files for you and export as something you can use in F360smile p

Or you could even download the trial yourself and be able to open up all those old files.

" I have some Geomagic / Alibre files that can't be opened unless I pay for a license, whereas the likes of Fusion come with a wide range of import / export capabilities. So even IF Fusion were to start charging (which I doubt), you'd be able to save your work beforehand and open it in another application"

I suppose the same could have been said for your old Alibre, had you exported the files in another format before you were unable to use them they could have been opened in another program.

 

Edited By JasonB on 02/10/2018 19:28:17

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