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2D and 3D Cad Software Recommendations

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brian jones 1106/09/2021 14:49:44
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Which goes to show what a minefield it all is with competing product claims confusing the noob as to what he should invest 100hrs study in first

subjective inputs will be quoted in italics

JasonB06/09/2021 15:51:38
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Excel file on Dropbox will work fine, you can put a link to it in a thread so no need for PMs

You may also want to define some of your terms, for example

-you have CNC listed but I expect what you really mean is CAM which takes the 3D model and produces the toolpaths that can then with the use of a post processor create the G-code that the CNC needs.

- What's the difference between a workshop drawing and one you could give to someone else or perhaps publish in a magazine or share via dropbox?

brian jones 1106/09/2021 18:42:02
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Indeed JB

you have CNC listed but I expect what you really mean is CAM which takes the 3D model and produces the toolpaths that can then with the use of a post processor create the G-code that the CNC needs.

yes I mean CAM output but not having experience here it needs better definition from those who know

A shop drg is what i consider to be a conventional 2D dimensioned drg that can be used in a machine shop. I also assume it can produce different line style eg broken, dotted, dot dash etc and also fill in hatched areas for x sections, that kind of thing

Will update the list from further input

brian jones 1107/09/2021 16:57:48
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62 photos

Hi JB grinding my way thru Atom3d tutorials, so far very impressed, shows me how blind I was to real 3s design - ie blow out of the water. I can see how my spiral flute tap could be done in say 10mins max, while it took me 3 days struggle with totally inadequate SU - a junior toy by comparison Im afraid.

the free tutorials are thorough and professional (not like some yahoo making loadsa noise, looking for yt presence, likes and subscribers - what a waste of time they can be - specially if they are jinglish or silent "watch the mouse" type.

IMHO a product with professional tuts is a big big plus

It begs the question

Atom can be used to make proper shop drgs with manual placement of dims, why would you need to use an external 2D drafting app? It also imposes a certain discipline on you at ground level to ensure you make enclosed non intersecting shapes with unique lines and vertices.

Well Brian, I used TurboCAD D/L (2D) for over 20 years and it did have a 3D capability but frankly it was very hard to use. There was a 'Pro' version which was quite significantly more expensive but the base products were similar I believe. However, it worked OK for much of my 2D drawing for many years.

So why move to Solid Edge? Well, I started to draw/design more complex things (such as my Midland Compound engine) and it became increasingly difficult to do so using a (non-parametric) 2D product. Going back to correct errors or make changes becomes very time consuming. I also purchased a 3D Printer and whilst Open SCAD was easy to get into initially, it wasn't a solution for my drawing needs.

With Solid Edge, I can update a Part and everything in the Assemblies above changes. I can open the (2D) drawings I've made of that part or assembly and hit the 'Update' icon and all the drawings are updated automatically. It works for both my 3D Print & engineering needs.

AFAIK Atom uses what is called 'Ordered' drawing, which effectively means that you have to step back (to the point you wish to change) to make that change. Solid Edge does support 'Ordered' tends to use 'Synchronous' drawing. If something is changed, then do so and update no stepping back.

Comment from a member

Means changes in 3D model are reflected automatically onto 2D drg? I think

IanT07/09/2021 17:37:16
1916 forum posts
185 photos

"Means changes in 3D model are reflected automatically onto 2D drg? I think"

Yes Brian, that's what it means, it updates any effected 'drafts' (e.g. 2D drawings) at both Part & Assembly level - so as you make changes to your 3D components, your drawings stay in synch. Beats using TurboCAD hands down.

Regards,

IanT

Rod Ashton07/09/2021 17:48:33
339 forum posts
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Ian - Thank you for the lead on Solid Edge. I downloaded it this morning and have spent the day re-orientating myself from years with Solidworks.

If this deal (free) is real. Then this must be the dogs wallongas of free 3Dcad.. Takes a bit of effort finding things at first, but very inclusive as you begin to get the hang of it. - Shame they do not offer the Cam package also.

brian jones 1107/09/2021 17:56:18
347 forum posts
62 photos

Well I remember Turbocad from the days when Acad was still DOS and difficult for the amateur to access, so it was an alternate cheap route into 2D drafting so you became competent enough at CAD operator level and could access ACAD commercially and get your skills up. (anyone remember Intergraph)

When Acad tried to do 3D modelling for platforms and I saw how painfully slow and tedious it all was - for me a complete turn off then along came Sketchup and suddenly it was 3D for numpties, instant visuals but ultimately a bad route to follow for eng work

I can see how desperate it would be if your 2D drafts didnt keep in step with your 3D manipulations

brian jones 1107/09/2021 18:31:00
347 forum posts
62 photos

Well siemens have CAM pro but are very coy about price. Perhaps if you find out , let us know

Is it possible to collect your parts designs and export into another CAM app like meshcam? $250-500, Mark4 $280?

I know zero about CAM but it seems to be a black art

Perhaps it needs a separate Topic heading of its own Monsignor

On the other hand for hobbyists there is something called MDI where G code instructions are input piecemeal by the machinist but I dont know JSfrown

 

came across this

https://www.cnccookbook.com/cnccookbook-2018-cad-survey-results-customer-satisfaction-awards/

BUT WARNING its a sales pitch but seems to offer some insight.  Seems a bit of snakeoil salesman here but maybe someone with knowledge might shed light.

Edited By brian jones 11 on 07/09/2021 18:47:55

IanT07/09/2021 21:04:46
1916 forum posts
185 photos
Posted by Rod Ashton on 07/09/2021 17:48:33:

Ian - Thank you for the lead on Solid Edge. I downloaded it this morning and have spent the day re-orientating myself from years with Solidworks.

If this deal (free) is real. Then this must be the dogs wallongas of free 3Dcad.. Takes a bit of effort finding things at first, but very inclusive as you begin to get the hang of it. - Shame they do not offer the Cam package also.

Hi Rod,

Well, the terms clearly state it's a free lifetime licence. It's probably not going to suit everyone here but frankly I'm delighted with Solid Edge CE (perhaps this shows?) and whilst I might not have thought of describing it as the Dog's "Wallongas" - it would have been something very similar I suspect.

Regards,

IanT

Rod Ashton08/09/2021 06:23:13
339 forum posts
12 photos

Ian - Yes I was a little effusive perhaps, but I was actually still keen enough to work through much of the evening. I have my usual Estlecam to download to, which should compliment the Solid Edge output for the Mach3 and Planet CNC machine controls. Need to test it with heavy 3d surfacing files, but do not expect any problems. Will advise if any arise.

IanT08/09/2021 10:23:22
1916 forum posts
185 photos

Good to hear Rod,

Thinking about this overnight and since you've just downloaded SE Community (and my download was over a year ago) - I have some questions. Could you PM me please?

Regards,

IanT

Rod Ashton12/09/2021 06:10:49
339 forum posts
12 photos

The 3d surfacing (spline to spline loft) transferred to Estlcam without any hesitation and produced the gcode for both PLanetCNC and Mach3.

IanT12/09/2021 09:33:49
1916 forum posts
185 photos
Posted by Rod Ashton on 12/09/2021 06:10:49:

The 3d surfacing (spline to spline loft) transferred to Estlcam without any hesitation and produced the gcode for both PLanetCNC and Mach3.

I'm delighted to hear this Rod, as (one day) I may need to do something similar.

At the moment though, I'm just happy SE is meeting my (much more) basic CAD requirements.

I was also very happy to hear that your recent 'Community' download includes the 2021 Solid Edge upgrades. I'm still using the 2020 version (which I downloaded last May) but will certainly get around to installing the latest 2021 version before too long.

Great news - very encouraging!

Regards,

IanT

Edited By IanT on 12/09/2021 09:34:55

Tony Jeffree24/10/2021 15:59:24
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489 forum posts
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Has anyone any experience of FreeCAD? Is it any good?

Tony Jeffree25/10/2021 16:09:03
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Answering my own question here...I've downloaded FreeCAD and so far it seems somewhat simpler to use from the GUI point of view than Fusion 360 - especially since the limits were placed on free use of Fusion - so I am going to persevere with it and see if the initial promise continues.

SillyOldDuffer25/10/2021 16:31:36
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Posted by Tony Jeffree on 25/10/2021 16:09:03:

Answering my own question here...I've downloaded FreeCAD and so far it seems somewhat simpler to use from the GUI point of view than Fusion 360 - especially since the limits were placed on free use of Fusion - so I am going to persevere with it and see if the initial promise continues.

I wrote a Getting Started in FreeCAD thread in 2019.

I use QCAD-Pro for all 2D work and Fusion360 when Joints and Assemblies are required.

FreeCAD is good for single parts which suits what I do - like 3D printing. On the downside, it's a bit experimental guv and has a plethora of features, like Ship Architecture, I'm unlikely to use. (I'd prefer the developers to prioritise the Part and Part Design Workbenches rather than the others!) There are also a multitude of useful but not immediately obvious add-ons hidden away. See the Macro Add-ons button and Tools->Add-on Manager.

Dave

Edited By SillyOldDuffer on 25/10/2021 16:32:20

Tony Jeffree25/10/2021 16:33:12
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489 forum posts
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Thanks Dave - I will take a look.

Nigel Graham 225/10/2021 17:29:32
1767 forum posts
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SolidEdge CE:

For anyone inspired as I was by the various posts above, to try it.

It requires WIN 10 at least.

Siemens does not instal any of their software on any MS operating system after MS stops supporting that. The site does say that up-dates to suit WIN 11 will be available next year.

(As I have just found only after entering my details and confirming I-Am-Not-A-Robot, on my W7-Pro PC. )

IanT26/10/2021 23:17:17
1916 forum posts
185 photos

Well Nigel, I've always made clear that I'm running Solid Edge CE on a five year old i5 laptop running Windows 10 Home. The Siemens site says that you need Windows 10 'Pro' to run SE but that will be their (official) "supported" platform.

Commercial software customers often have support contracts with vendors and are expected to keep their s/w installations up to date (I speak from experience). If a support engineer goes into look at a client problem and finds the s/w revision is out of date - the first thing he will suggest is that the software be updated. Software (of all kinds) constantly evolves and changes over time for many reasons and it isn't commercially practical to support software revisions going back to the year dot.

So when software is no longer 'supported', it doesn't mean that it will stop working, just that the vendor is not maintaining (or resolving) problems with it any more. Your Win 7 has not been officially supported since January 2020 but it is still working I assume?

I don't know if SE will run on Win 7 (it may do so) simply that Siemens do not recommend or support it. Solid Edge is a commercal CAD product that has to compete with other commercial CAD products and it will be constantly evolved and improved. It is also closely integrated with MS technology and will need to move in step with MS.

Personally, I don't see the need to keep up to date with Microsoft OS as a problem (in fact I see free updates as an advantage). I've been doing it in personal and business life for well over 30 years now. I know others might not share my preference for Windows but it has always worked well for me and still does - no hassle and no problems.

There are also of course, many other CAD products out there. Some browser based, others needing some internet connectivity. Some are relatively simple, others much more capable. I prefer a locally installed CAD solution and have been delighted with the power and functionality that SE-CE provides me at no cost. There are a few other Solid Edge users here that seem to share my enthusiasm.

I do understand that everyone has their own preferences with respect to things like operating systems, programming languages and CAD design tools. I guess perhaps unsurprisingly, that there is no one-size fits all.

Regards,

 

IanT

Edited By IanT on 26/10/2021 23:21:28

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