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Ian Skeldon 214/01/2019 21:14:51
356 forum posts
29 photos

Turbine Guy,

I have looked at Onshape a couple of times but unless your a student (or I have missed something), it seems pretty expensive $1500 a year.


Rod Ashton15/01/2019 06:13:08
280 forum posts
12 photos

Never paid a penny!

Ian Skeldon 215/01/2019 20:36:35
356 forum posts
29 photos

Could be I am looking at the wrong thing, this is all I found **LINK**when looking for Onshape. As I am not a student or an educator it would seem that there is only the trial version available?

Turbine Guy16/01/2019 15:22:04
79 forum posts
35 photos


I've never paid anything. You have to pay for the full version, but if you don't mind making your models public, the free version works fine. When my friend suggested using Onshape, I went to their website and created an account. I don't remember all the details, but it wasn't difficult.

Nigel Graham 215/03/2019 22:22:29
104 forum posts

A note regarding Fusion's use of the "cloud" (i.e. the Internet) for storing your data...

It is the default setting but when I tried Fusion, you could choose otherwise. That was several months ago but I'd be surprised if they've changed that.

Actually it's amusing that we amateur engineers might worry about our drawings being in an Internet server. Although companies handling very sensitive designs would not risk it, I am sure Fusion takes extremely good care of its users' security - to be negligent would be commercial suicide - but I doubt Mr. Putin or Kim Whatsisname would be after our drawings!

Regarding future pricing, much of the IT trade is moving to a subscription-only business model that must make far more money for no more work by the publishers. WinZip for example, is available now only by costly monthly rental, according to its own pop-up ads. So it may be that in a decade, perhaps less, we won't be able to buy any professionally- made software, not just CAD, outright, but will be forced into either low-quality free-ware, or open-ended contracts at prohibitive costs.

Incidentally, what happened to TurboCAD? It was being sold through the model-engineering trade, and at a very reasonable one-off price, but seems to have disappeared more thoroughly than a parted-off 12BA stud in swarf.

TurboCAD seems to have been the first industrial-quality CAD available to amateur users, affordably, in full rather than "trial" form; but is no longer advertised in ME or MEW. TC is very much mechanical-engineering focussed but also has a strong architectural section, as its Users' Forum gallery shows.

Swarf Maker15/03/2019 23:18:08
63 forum posts
4 photos

Put 'Paul the CAD' into your browsers search engine. UK agent for all versions of TurboCAD.

Swarf Maker15/03/2019 23:40:49
63 forum posts
4 photos

As a bye-the-bye on CAD, I use QCAD Pro for straight-forward quick 2D drawings. These sometimes get imported (dxf files) into Fusion 360 as the basis for 3D models.

Fusion360 is now my preferred 3D modeling software. The 2D drawing generation from the 3D model is adequate for most purposes and the whole package has great utility, and I really love the timeline features of F360 that make changes and error correction a breeze.

Because F360 is still evolving there are some features that are lacking. For drafting where F360 has shortfalls I use TurboCAD Pro Platinum. Both 3D modeling and 2D drawing generation are fully featured but a bit more hard work.

Saving TurboCAD files as DWG allows the work to be easily uploaded to F360 so the best of all worlds. Similarly the DXF 2D sketches from QCAD can be imported into both T'CAD and F360.

clivel16/03/2019 01:04:58
280 forum posts
12 photos
Posted by Nigel Graham 2 on 15/03/2019 22:22:29:

but will be forced into either low-quality free-ware, or open-ended contracts at prohibitive costs.

Actually I find that incredibly condescending. Much software that you dismiss as "low-quality free-ware" is not only of excellent quality but can in fact is be far superior to the overpriced bloatware it replaces which accounts for why over 80% of cloud services run on Linux server software and not Windows, or why the most popular web hosting software is still the freeware Apache. Of course Linux and Apache are not alone, there are hundreds if not thousands of free software applications that are best in class.

That of course doesn't mean that all free software is good, like with everything else there is junk out there. I have long since given up trying to like FreeCad, even though I really wanted to like it. But not only is it far too buggy for my taste but learning it was an exercise in frustration. The multiple workbenches are confusing for the beginner, and the online tutorials all seemed to be geared up to different versions to what I had installed. After countless wasted hours I removed it, installed Fusion 360 (on Linux, under VMware and Win7), watched a few of the excellent tutorials and have not looked back.

So in the software industry, price really is not an indication of quality. but either way I really do not like the gouging subscription model, it is nothing less than a not very transparent attempt for some companies to fleece their users.


Old School16/03/2019 07:32:14
223 forum posts
3 photos

The last time I used a cad it was Autocad 12 running in dos. Having bought an Aldi 3d printer I now need to use cad again. I have a free version of Fusion 360 and have started doing the online tutorials by Lars Christensen it's a lot easier than I expected I hope to be able to print my first own design part in a couple of weeks.

Brian Hutchings16/03/2019 07:49:13
9 forum posts

Plus one for Lars and Fusion 360.


Nigel Graham 216/03/2019 07:49:55
104 forum posts

I am sorry - I had no wish to be offend anyone though I don't understand where I was "condescending".

I wrote as I had found by a lot of shopping around and trying a lot of free or low-cost CAD packages. I wanted to know: their value for engineering designs, their relative ease of learning, and obviously, price.

I was disappointed to find most virtually useless for mechanical engineering. They were probably good for their intended purposes, mainly landscaping and kitchen design. The nearest to engineering in these packages were electrical circuit-diagrams and process flow-charts.

Others were potentially more useful for mechanical engineering, but peddled as "free", "student" or "trial" versions. These proves just introductory, with useful features labelled but switched off. The real versions were costly, as they were aimed at commercial companies and educational establishments.

I did find one giving engineering-drawing features, apparently free and reasonably simple to start using, but I think that too was a limited form of its real editions.

SolidWorks & SolidEdge are used extensively in industry, including by my employer, and by the college that is home to my model-engineering society; so it gave me an insight into CAD. However, is not available for private users, as far as I could determine from its own web-site which does not even give the price. If you have to ask...

So having rejected quite a number for failing my tests, I looked at two, and now three, professional-quality ones available to the amateur.

In chronological order of experience:

TurboCAD was not free but readily-available, a one-payment purchase, very reasonable price, complete and with a sizeable Users' Forum that compensates for its own on-line "manual" being poorly-arranged and only really an aide-memoire for experienced users.

I had a bad start though as the training CD supplied with it, proved faulty. It walked me through drawing a rectangle, putting two "holes" in it, slotting one to the edge... It said "press Escape" to complete each step, but at some point Escape turned itself to Delete and erased the whole drawing!

I am still trying to learn TurboCAD and can now draw fairly-adequate 2D views but have more or less given up on 3D modelling with it, as I find it almost incomprehensible. Its Users' Forum Gallery shows exquisite engineering and architectural renderings but such work is all beyond me.

Fusion 360 is the only CAD package available genuinely free to private users, and in full version. I found its presentation and look-what-we-can-do approach off-putting though; as was its lack of instructions. After a hopeful start I was rapidly baffled.

My first attempt was encouraging. I soon drew a simple square plate with a large central hole and "bolt-holes" in the corners (e.g. a pipe-flange), dimensions too, and saved the drawing. On my next session I discovered the "pipe-flange" still existed but as an isometric rendering with the dimensions deleted, and nothing to help me understand why.

TurboCAD's gallery is at least by users. Fusion's web-site "look-at-me" pictures, by its staff professionals, and its over-enthusiastic approach, very disheartening. If I can't draw a dimensioned flat plate with five holes and save it from one session to the next as I'd left it, fancy pictures will be beyond me.

Allibre is the new-comer. I tried it, to see if it is easier to learn than TurboCAD and Fusion whilst still letting me produce what I want from a draughting programme: engineering-drawings!

It's certainly friendlier and more welcoming than Fusion, and seemed easier than TC. I managed the first instalment in MEW but that's all, and now know it will be quite expensive. I began to feel I was not learning Alibre, just following instructions to draw a scribing-block, using Alibre. It showed me what Alibre does, but greatly widened the gap I felt between exercise and own drawings.

Anyway, it's not really logical to make some progress with one package then start from scratch with another that will cost more than TC and cannot read my accumulated TC drawings.

I appreciate advanced software is very expensive to produce and the publishers need to recover their costs and make a profit. I don't expect anything genuinely free and I was surprised that Fusion360 is, for private use. In fact I tried F36o twice, and noticed that on the second go this service was far less explicit on the Fusion site.

I do not mind subscribing to a magazine - that's no different from buying it an edition at a time in a shop, in fact it can be cheaper. However, I would far rather buy software outright than subscribe via an open-ended arrangement at prices that are small change for a large company using it intensively, but prohibitive for an individual.

To sum up, my best course is to stay with TurboCAD. I have it, it's paid for, I will never be very good at CAD; but at least I can use what I have so far, to make simple orthographic drawings adequate for my own workshop use.

blowlamp16/03/2019 11:10:45
1184 forum posts
82 photos

Anyone looking for easy to use CAD should give MoI a try.


Gary Wooding16/03/2019 11:25:41
526 forum posts
109 photos

My first CAD program was called EasyCAD. It was a DOS based program that was distributed on a floppy disk and was strictly 2D .After using it for a few years I encountered a magazine (can't remember the name) that was giving away a copy of a 3D program called TurboCAD. I tried it, but the 3D facility was very Mickey Mouse and I found it not as intuitive as EasyCAD.

There came a day when I designed something for myself (in EasyCAD) that I subsequently decided to submit for publication. Dimensioning was a pain, because EasyCAD didn't have associative dimensions, so when I discovered that TurboCAD did, I switched over and never looked back.

I eventually got a better version of TurboCAD that, although heavily based on a 2D engine, could do pretty good 3D design work, but when somebody demonstrated SolidWorks to me I realised just how primitive TC's 3D was. But there was no way I could afford SolidWorks. I even tried Alibre when it first came out, but was dissuaded by the price.

Then I heard about Fusion, which seemed too good to be true. I downloaded and tried it but, because of the very poor documentation, didn't make much headway. The Remap panel for which I do voluntary work then obtained a 3D printer and I had the first case that required it. I used TC to created an STL for a special mug lid, but it was very slightly too small to fit the mug. Changing the size involved basically redrawing it from scratch, so I decided to use Fusion, with it's parametric facilities. It worked really well, so I gradually switched my work from TC to F360. I still use TC for basic 2D drawings, but use F360 for everything else.

I found the F360 tutorials sort-of useful, but it wasn't until I had to design a complicated model containing lots of separate parts that I got to think in the F360 way. F360 is now my CAD system of choice. I've even started to use the built-in FEA system that is a very pricey and complicated facility in other systems. When I've got some CNC machinery I'll find another use for F360.

Using F360 for a large project certainly requires some self discipline. You should certainly adhere to Rule#1 whenever possible, and be pedantic about naming sketches and features. Failure to do this can lead you into deep water when you sometimes create errors on changing certain parameters. I recommend F360 whole heartedly.

Barrie Lever16/03/2019 12:01:44
177 forum posts
38 photos

I agree with Blowlamp MOI is a super 3D programme, particulary good for organic shapes that are difficult to define by geometry and measurements.

All of the screen shots below were of CAD produced in MOI, and the resulting model which is all CNC patterns in the last shot.

Regards Barrie

wing internals.jpg

tip 2.jpg

f3d nats.jpg

Rod Ashton16/03/2019 12:49:41
280 forum posts
12 photos

Barrie - How did you make your wing tips?

Barrie Lever17/03/2019 07:52:55
177 forum posts
38 photos
Posted by Rod Ashton on 16/03/2019 12:49:41:

Barrie - How did you make your wing tips?


Do you mean in CAD or in the actual wing?



Rod Ashton17/03/2019 12:54:38
280 forum posts
12 photos

The actual wing/wing tips


Barrie Lever17/03/2019 13:20:57
177 forum posts
38 photos
Posted by Rod Ashton on 17/03/2019 12:54:38:

The actual wing/wing tips


Hello Rod

So we have a two part composite mould that was taken from the CNC'd patterns.

The wing skin construction is 43gsm spread tow carbon fibre,1.5mm balsa sheet and another 43gsm spread tow carbon, this is cured under a vacuum bag.

Then the wing internals are fitted to the underside skin, you can see some of these in one of the screen shots, basically there is a 10mm end grain balsa spar that is capped with approx. 1mm of carbon fibre UD, there are mounts for the UC and the aileron torque rod is mounted to the inside of the top skin.

The two halves are joined with a epoxy/paste mix along all of the leading and trailing edge mateing faces and the same on top of the spar and other internal details.

49gsm glass cloth works well instead of the 43gsm spread tow carbon fabric and the 49gram glass is about £95 per metre cheaper !!

To keep the reply vaugly on topic

The 3D CAD is done with MOI V3.0, all of the CAM G code is produced with BobCAD V30, some internal parts such as servo trays are designed in BobCAD. The patterns were machined on a Shop Sabre gantry router, metal parts such as the engine mounting pan were machined from 7075 T6 on a Dugard 3 axis machine with a 4 th axis. Internal parts of the wing and fuz are machined on a CNC Step gantry router, we will use the CNC Step for future pattern making as it has quite a bit more finesse than the Shop Sabre.

Every single part of the models that you can see in the photo is designed machined/moulded and painted by either myself or the younger chap on the left who is called Nathan Attridge.

If you have any other questions I am happy to answer them.



Edited By Barrie Lever on 17/03/2019 13:22:11

Edited By Barrie Lever on 17/03/2019 13:22:56

Rod Ashton17/03/2019 17:25:19
280 forum posts
12 photos

Barrie - That was very interesting and helpful. Much appreciate your sharing the info.



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