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For discussing the merits of alternative 3D CAD programs.

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Muzzer27/10/2018 13:08:38
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Seems Atom is quite a cut down version compared to the more expensive Pro and Expert versions. There seems to be a hell of a lot of features missing. Take a look - there's a comparison table here. And a pricing table here.

Have to admit I'm a bit biased, having used quite a few CAD systems now and having settled for Fusion. But bear in mind that if you invest 6 months of your time in this product you are going to have to cough up to continue using it and retain access to any work you do with it. That's £200, £940 or £1540 to pay for the CAD plus £300 or so per year for the optional maintenance (aka bug fixes) and £475 for the CAM if you decide to get into that.

With Fusion you the equivalent of the top end Alibre product or better, plus simultaneous mulitiaxis (professional) CAM, FEA etc etc - for free. You could buy yourself a half decent machine with the money you save....

Murray

Edited By Neil Wyatt on 27/10/2018 15:53:03

JasonB27/10/2018 13:16:40
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But Murray there must be something putting people off as they have had the chance to use F360 for a couple of years now but plenty seemed keen to try Alibre from the responce in the previous thread. Maybe it's the cloud thing or the fear that they may invest even more time in F360 and then they change their terms and start charging, possibly just too many bells and whistles when something less daunting may be more first time user friendly, who knows.

Edited By JasonB on 27/10/2018 13:29:04

Edited By Neil Wyatt on 27/10/2018 15:53:09

Rod Ashton27/10/2018 14:03:28
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Muzzer - Further to your post. Take a look at FreeCAD. Lots of tube videos and the omissions above are mostly present and of course it is free.

**LINK**

Edited By Neil Wyatt on 27/10/2018 15:53:14

Alan Wood 427/10/2018 15:15:12
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I'm with Muzzer on this and can't understand the Alibre euphoria. It seems their offer is becoming more common as the CNCCookbook site are also offering Alibre for 6 months free and then 15% discount on the basic package. It looks like an aggressive marketing campaign on the part of the Alibre management to try to win back some market share ?

I am also concerned that there is perhaps some misunderstanding. Are people maybe thinking that by designing in a 3D CAD package they will then be able to press a button and magically get a finished product ? It is what it is, just a drawing package. To get product from it you need either a 3D printer or a CNC device. To get your design into these devices you will then need an intermediate package(s) to slice the 3D model or produce the GCode CAM. These both represent a further learning curve on yet another software package - a package or packages that may also cost you further subscription funding.

Fusion does the CAD, 3D CAM / CNC CAM in the one package and is free. What's not to like ?

There are some further thoughts here.

Edited By Neil Wyatt on 27/10/2018 15:53:19

Muzzer27/10/2018 15:20:43
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Posted by Rod Ashton on 27/10/2018 14:03:28:

Muzzer - Further to your post. Take a look at FreeCAD. Lots of tube videos and the omissions above are mostly present and of course it is free.

**LINK**

I tried that. It was as buggy as hell, kept crashing and was missing some major features. Whilst I applaud open source, self-funded programs, up against F360 there is simply no comparison. Probably not surprising, given that F360 is being developed by a fully funded team of professional software engineers with a major corporation behind them. You wouldn't find many professional users betting their businesses on FreeCAD, unlike F360.

Murray

Edited By Neil Wyatt on 27/10/2018 15:53:25

Muzzer27/10/2018 15:37:28
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Posted by JasonB on 27/10/2018 13:16:40:

But Murray there must be something putting people off as they have had the chance to use F360 for a couple of years now but plenty seemed keen to try Alibre from the responce in the previous thread. Maybe it's the cloud thing or the fear that they may invest even more time in F360 and then they change their terms and start charging, possibly just too many bells and whistles when something less daunting may be more first time user friendly, who knows.

Edited By JasonB on 27/10/2018 13:29:04

Well, I guess if Neil had chosen to give F360 a free promotion, there might have been a similar take up. Of course, as F360 is free anyway, the concept of "promotion" has a different complexion. With Atom, it's effectively a delayed payment (or option not to buy if you don't get on with it) but it's still a significant purchase by another name.

I believe Autodesk's repeated promises not to charge for hobby use but if it ever happened I suspect it would be some years in the future, at which point there is likely to be a reasonable choice of good quality / good value CAD and CAM - and many of us will be in the armchair / workshop in the sky. by then. In the meantime I won't be looking the Fusion gift horse in the mouth. It's a pretty darned amazing product and when you get into CAM, there are very few products that come close in terms of features and price - or total lack of price in this case.

I wasn't planning on saving my bank details on the Fusion / A360 cloud and I'm struggling to think any of us would have anything to be worried about keeping our own funny little designs there.

Murray

Edited By Neil Wyatt on 27/10/2018 15:53:30

Neil Wyatt27/10/2018 15:52:06
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This thread established so the Alibre Atom3D thread can concentrate on helping people use the software, rather than being swamped by people who want to promote their personal preferences.

Neil

Neil Wyatt27/10/2018 15:54:09
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Posted by Muzzer on 27/10/2018 13:08:38:

Murray

Murray, if you want to discuss F360, can you do it in another thread.

>I believe Autodesk's repeated promises not to charge for hobby use

I think you have rose tinted goggles on. Here's a verbatim comment from Brian Repp, Autodesk's 'Community Manager':

"While I can't necessarily make any promises that Fusion 360 will indefinitely have a free tier, or who meets the guidelines for a free tier (current entitlements here), please know that we are extremely committed to serving the enthusiasts, hobbyists, startups and smaller businesses."

forums.autodesk.com/t5/fusion-360-design-validate/is-fusion-360-free-indefinitely-if-your-a-hobbyist/td-p/6280628

I've been caught out by having useful free 3D printing software discontinued by Autodesk.

Neil

 

Edited By Neil Wyatt on 27/10/2018 16:09:42

JasonB27/10/2018 16:04:37
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There are also users like me who use their CAD package for work as well as their Hobby, when I originally bought Alibre PE which was then their equivalent to Atom it was a good price and I was not paying for all the stuff I did not need. Whats the cost of a basic Autodesk commercial product?

Alan Wood 427/10/2018 16:20:24
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Should Fusion begin to charge for the full spec package (CAD,CAM etc), according to the same press release by Brian Repp, it would cost ~GBP438 inc VAT for a single cloud based seat at current F/X.

blowlamp27/10/2018 16:23:30
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I like to go with reasonably priced, one-man-band software, instead of the bloated, overpriced stuff. I usually find it to be easier to use than open source too.

My CAD is by Moment of Inspiration (MoI) and is much, much easier for me get my head around compared to the likes of Fusion 360 or other similar software. Almost everyone that tries it likes it.

For CAM, I use CamBam and ECam. Between the two, I can knock out efficient gcode that needs no alterations for both my mill and lathe.

Anyone contemplating getting into 3d CAD should be aware that if you intend to cut your models on a CNC machine, then you'll more than likely be using 2d profile curves in the CAM system - so be sure you can easily export DXF file from your chosen CAD software.

 

 

Martin.

Edited By blowlamp on 27/10/2018 16:26:45

Muzzer27/10/2018 16:53:40
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And there was me answering David Jupp's question about features.

You're sailing close to the wind here, Neil! You appear to be actively promoting a commercial product yet closing down objective discussion.

Murray

SillyOldDuffer27/10/2018 17:10:26
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Posted by Muzzer on 27/10/2018 15:20:43:
Posted by Rod Ashton on 27/10/2018 14:03:28:

Muzzer - Further to your post. Take a look at FreeCAD. Lots of tube videos and the omissions above are mostly present and of course it is free.

**LINK**

I tried that. It was as buggy as hell, kept crashing and was missing some major features. ...

Try it again, recent versions are much more stable.

Pros: Free, not cloud based, no licensing issues or commercial uncertainties. It has a number of other workbenches (like architectural drawing) not supported by Fusion.

Cons: Still in development with major features slow to appear. The Mechanical CAD workbench is limited to single parts - assemblies and joints are not available - and the drawing tools are basic making modelling certain objects awkward.

Bottom line for home workshop: good for modelling single parts but gets clumsy as complexity rises. Easier to use than Fusion but much less capable. Up to a point I prefer it to Fusion, but Fusion does much, much more. Good choice if you have simple requirements and don't trust big business. Not a good choice for advanced users in a hurry.

Dave

Ian Skeldon 227/10/2018 17:11:17
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Neil,

What's the point of starting a thread called '' For discussing the merits of alternative 3D CAD programs.'' if people are then discouraged from doing just that?

Neil Wyatt27/10/2018 18:31:34
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Posted by Muzzer on 27/10/2018 16:53:40:

And there was me answering David Jupp's question about features.

You're sailing close to the wind here, Neil! You appear to be actively promoting a commercial product yet closing down objective discussion.

Murray

Murray,

Use common sense.This is a commercial website. We are a business.

The product I am primarily promoting is the magazine Model Engineers' Workshop; the only gain I have made from Alibre is a complimentary copy - because I wanted to be 100% sure the software was suitable for reader's needs before proceeding.

I am also promoting Alibre Atom3D, firstly because that is the package that accompanies out tutorial series but I would not be promoting the product if I thought it was a 'lemon'. My enthusiasm for it is genuine and it's greatly increased my productivity. I have done things I would have previously done in TurboCAD deluxe much more quickly, and done a few things I have no idea how to do in TCD after some four or five years of using it.

I'm also using Atom3D - the same as readers are getting, not a full version so i can judge its limits as well as its capabilities. The one limit I found a constraint is to be added to the functionality at the next update.

The arrangement came about as a result of my asking a reader to enquire about the possibility of a link up. This led to a mutual agreement between MEW and Alibre Design. I have been looking for a way to provide readers with a meaningful trial of a 3D CAD package accompanied by tutorial series for years. I have tried to get such an initiative off the ground twice before and it has not succeeded, but it remained a priority because of the interest of readers.

No money has changed hands between ourselves and Alibre. Their UK distributor wishes to advertise alongside the series which was in no wise a precondition to the arrangement.

The fees for the tutorial series are being donated to REMAP.

The fact I have moved this discussion and made space for it is clearly NOT closing it down.

That said, I am increasing beginning to consider that you are deliberately trying to disrupt and undermine an offer secured for readers in good faith.

You may not feel I have made the right choice of package to offer readers. I feel that it is an appropriate choice and that the cost of buying a copy at the end of the trial is reasonable for what you get and that the purchase outright with wholly optional add ons model is fair and transparent.

The fundamental difference between F360 and Alibre Atom3D is that fusion is solidly marketed with the dual aim of getting students and new recruits to big companies to ask for it and for growing companies to end up needing licences. This is how Autodesk grew AutoCAD. Their offer to hobbyists is and always will remain contingent on that business model sustaining itself.

Alibre, in contrast, genuinely want to develop a paid-for hobbyist user base as part of their business model. Yes they hope people who develop their business or skills to upgrade to more advanced versions, but their business model is not predicated on that. This means the hobbyist version can be, and is being, actively tuned to the needs of its users. It also means it can be sold as a stand alone install and forget package without all the implications of annual relicencing, verification etc. that go with a cloud based licence.

I should say I have nothing against Autodesk, although I struggled with the stability of Print Studio as bundled with the Dremel 3D printer I reviewed. They were helpful, but unable to solve my problems and now it is no longer supported. Ironically Print Studio has been removed from Fusion 360 and Autodesk now recommend you use Cura instead, although with some digging you can still download it as a standalone.

Neil

Andrew Johnston27/10/2018 18:39:56
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Posted by blowlamp on 27/10/2018 16:23:30:

Anyone contemplating getting into 3d CAD should be aware that if you intend to cut your models on a CNC machine, then you'll more than likely be using 2d profile curves in the CAM system - so be sure you can easily export DXF file from your chosen CAD software.

Even if I only use 2.5D commands in CAM I always import a solid model via an IGES file. Then you can do 2.5D on different levels, and choose the top or bottom of a feature as needed for a reference.

Andrew

Nick Hulme27/10/2018 18:58:31
632 forum posts
35 photos

Posted by Neil Wyatt on 27/10/2018 18:31:34:

Ironically Print Studio has been removed from Fusion 360 and Autodesk now recommend you use Cura instead, although with some digging you can still download it as a standalone.

Neil

Yeah, they bought and stuffed NetFabb too!
NetFabb was a really slick product until Autodesk got their mitts on it.

Barrie Lever27/10/2018 19:05:52
159 forum posts
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Gents

A very interesting discussion.

Firstly I think that MEW doing the Alibre Atom feature is a good thing, there are really no downsides to the feature, no one is forced to purchase the product and we are all grown up enough to realise that there are other offerings out in the market place. The CAD/CAM market place is pretty fierce in terms of competition so the various vendors will try to find ways to get their product onto peoples computers. Alibre done very well at this about 10 years ago with their PE offering, I guess the MEW and CNC cookbook offerings are along the same lines. I will follow the feature with interest as whilst I use other CAD packages than Atom,. you never know what you might learn.

I agree with Jason B, there is clearly something stopping people making a wholsale jump to Fusion 360, I cannot quite put my finger on why this is though.

My feeling is that the Fusion 360 thing is a retaliation from Autodesk towards Dassault, this is because Dassault released Draftsite and really undermined the entry level market for 2D CAD products.

For the record, I will list my choice of CAD packages and the reasons for using them.

Number 1 choice for 3D CAD and if I was restricted to only one 3D CAD package this would the choice, is Moment Of Inspiration (mentioned earlier by Blowlamp), this is a stunningly simple and effective NURBS modelling programme, it is also very good at importing STP and IGS file types, I use this programme for modelling organic freeform shapes. Cost about £250.00

For 2D CAD I use Bricscad, this is an AutoCAD clone which is also developing a 3D capability, a really good 2D capability is important for producing high quality workshop drawings, whist a number of items may be manufactured directly from the 3D model, I still like the 2D drawing as a back up and refernce point for calling up manufacturing standards etc. I know that very advanced 3D CAD like Catia float this information along side the 3D model, I still prefer the 2D drawing to convey information. Cost about £450.00

For 3D parametric modelling I use Alibre, it is a good package and is quite a bit cheaper than Solidworks, although not as cheap as Fusion !! Alibre is not super strong in 2D but is adaquate. Costs indicated earlier by Muzzer.

For CAM I use BobCAD/CAM, generally I import models into BobCAD and then run the G code from there, BobCAD takes some getting used to but does give access to the powerful Moduleworks CAM kernal, a lot of CAM packages use the Moduleworks kernal, although not Fusion or Open Mind as far as I know. I do tend to model fixtures and jigs within BobCAD after a model is imported. Cost around £600.00 but very variable according to how the salesmen feel !!

I do heaps of CAD/CAM for both hobby and professional use, I produce G code from BobCAD for 5 different CNC machines and believe me it is nerve wracking producing code for a £60,000 machining centre that is miles away from my desk and I only have email comm's with themachinist.!!

Regards

Barrie

Barrie Lever27/10/2018 20:07:18
159 forum posts
35 photos
Posted by Muzzer on 27/10/2018 16:53:40:

And there was me answering David Jupp's question about features.

Murrey

There is nothing any of us can tell David Jupp about Alibre, you just misunderstood the context of his post when you thought it needed an answer.

Best Regards

Barrie

Mark Rand27/10/2018 22:45:02
664 forum posts

Is anyone using Dolphin CAD/CAM? I know the late Sir John was keen on it for a while, but it doesn't seem to get many mentions since then.

As the moment, I still use a 15 year old copy of Visio for all my drawing. I was first introduced to it when the boss gave me a free copy they'd sent to him for evaluation in 1995 just after they released the product and well before they were bought out by Microsoft.

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