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    Default Recommended 3D CAD system - important features listed

    I am intending to use the next couple months (take advantage of reduced workload) to finally get into a 3D CAD system. Here's my needs: relatively easy learning, mostly for simple fixture design, need to be able to "import" components (e.g. from McMaster Carr). The "output" is going to be "concept" drawings (paper or online viewer) for a client to review/approve, and mostly 2D DXF for laser-cutting or PDF "sketch" drawings for my tool & die guy. Yes, overall this is very "low scale". If anything "technical and detailed" would be required, I'd hand it (the concept model) off to another CAD drafter/engineer along with some specs. I could conceivably get into 3D printing, had some "near hits" on that but nothing urgent.

    I currently use Microsoft Visio (only 2D) for this which covers 80%A of my needs until things get "complicated". The "stick factor" that keeps me from upgrading to 3D is it's incredibly quick and easy to generate simple 2D drawings.

    I did try Fusion 360 for a few months, way to complicated IMO. I'm sure it's great for people who want to design OEM products and other complicated things but I don't need that capability. Most of the time I have a steel base (laser cut), some other laser-cut brackets, purchased components (e.g. Carr Lane clamp) and a few machined blocks.

    Any recommendations? I just downloaded a copy or TurboCAD 2019 Deluxe but it won't import any of the McMaster 3D CAD models. They recommended I look for a "free" converter to DWG format. I'm willing to explore this (let me know also if you have a recommended converter) but, before I proceed, thought I'd do a check-in on any recommendations.

    Thanks,
    The Dude

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    Try Onshape.

    Sent from my Pixel 3a using Tapatalk

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    The Dude,

    I can't really imagine anything (that I know of) that would be more suited to your needs than Fusion 360.

    2d drawings are super easy. They have online viewers (desktop/laptop) and also tablet/phone apps that do the same. Fusion 360 will import McMaster components from directly within the interface (a McMaster window actually opens *inside* of Fusion).

    And finally, the "crowd-sourced" support ("how-to" YouTube videos) eclipses any other CAD program there is.


    PM

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    [QUOTE=precisionmetal;3521464]I can't really imagine anything that would be worse than Fusion 360.
    [QUOTE]

    Fixed that for you.


    And finally, the "crowd-sourced" support ("how-to" YouTube videos) eclipses any other CAD program there is.
    You're kidding.


    Solidworks has WAAYY more support out there.

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    Have you considered NX. But in all seriousness stick to fusion. It seems complex now but with time that will pass. Onshape is good too but it's too cloud based for my liking and seems more expensive than fusion.

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    The biggest and unavoidable problem with fusion is: Autodesk Inc.

    As a long time AutoCAD, Inventor and FeatureCAM user and subscriber ( maintenance nowadays ) with a perpetual license, all I can say is that now that they are
    switching to this "Named User" concept and eliminating the maintenance option for ALL customers with perpetual licenses, I AM DONE WITH ADSK!!!
    FOREVER!!!

    I was doing just fine paying the maintenance for the last 13 years, and would have continued to do so for the foreseeable future.
    Come May of 2021 they are doing exactly the OPPOSITE of EVERYTHING THEY'VE EVER SAID, WROTE or ADVERTISED, by eliminating all perpetual licenses and
    forcing everyone to go to the rent-A-software option.

    Not only that, but come 2021, the fancy new definition of "Named User" means 1 license for every single Swingin' Dick in your organization!!!
    In case that isn't clear, here is what that means: Technically, IF you have 2 shifts at your workplace AND have 2 engineers in each shift, you'll need 4 licenses!!!

    And not only that, but come 2024 they will enforce the 3 versions back licensing and WILL NOT provide activation codes for older versions!
    In case THAT isn't clear, here is what that means: Currently I have a perpetual license with maintenance for the absolute latest version of 2020.
    I am fully allowed to use it for as long as I or my computer on which it is installed lives.
    BUT!!!
    Should my computer decide to die and I'll need to re-build or re-load it entirely after 2024, Autodesk Inc. WILL NOT PROVIDE ME WITH AN ACTIVATION CODE!!!

    There is absolutely NOTHING that can be trusted when it comes to Autodesk!!!
    If you think you like Fusion, the licensing terms and it's capability, just wait a fucking year ( or less )!

    For me, when the day comes that I cannot hack my existing Inventor license back to life, I will be switching to BRICS: CAD software | 2D, 3D, BIM and mechanical design | Bricsys

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    Quote Originally Posted by plutoniumsalmon View Post
    But in all seriousness stick to fusion. It seems complex now but with time that will pass. Onshape is good too but it's too cloud based for my liking and seems more expensive than fusion.
    How could something be MORE cloud-based than conFusion 360??
    I did a 30 day trial of Fusion. Here is my gripe list:

    1) You cannot rotate the model without going all the way to the top right corner and turning the cube. No click-drag.
    2) EVERYTHING is cloud-based. All your files, license, etc. No internet- no worky.
    3)Their sales people. They put used car salesmen to shame.
    4) Modeling sucks! There are minimal external file references, everything is locally stored in a file.
    5) CAM sucks too. I did so much cheating and lying to make it do what I wanted it to...
    6) There is no user customization like SW.


    I know some people will say you have to pay maintenance on SolidWorks.
    Not true.
    I have a friend that bought SW Professional for $3500. He has ZERO internet connection and doesn't pay maint. He's just fine.

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    Just to throw this out, Cadkey 7 will read-write dxf and dwg files and is really nice to use. I've seen it on a couple of abandonware sites. Might be a bit tricky to get it to run in a virtual machine, now that Windows support for old programs is shit, but if you did, you'd like it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Dude View Post
    I am intending to use the next couple months (take advantage of reduced workload) to finally get into a 3D CAD system. Here's my needs: relatively easy learning, mostly for simple fixture design, need to be able to "import" components (e.g. from McMaster Carr). The "output" is going to be "concept" drawings (paper or online viewer) for a client to review/approve, and mostly 2D DXF for laser-cutting or PDF "sketch" drawings for my tool & die guy. Yes, overall this is very "low scale". If anything "technical and detailed" would be required, I'd hand it (the concept model) off to another CAD drafter/engineer along with some specs. I could conceivably get into 3D printing, had some "near hits" on that but nothing urgent.

    I currently use Microsoft Visio (only 2D) for this which covers 80%A of my needs until things get "complicated". The "stick factor" that keeps me from upgrading to 3D is it's incredibly quick and easy to generate simple 2D drawings.

    I did try Fusion 360 for a few months, way to complicated IMO. I'm sure it's great for people who want to design OEM products and other complicated things but I don't need that capability. Most of the time I have a steel base (laser cut), some other laser-cut brackets, purchased components (e.g. Carr Lane clamp) and a few machined blocks.

    Any recommendations? I just downloaded a copy or TurboCAD 2019 Deluxe but it won't import any of the McMaster 3D CAD models. They recommended I look for a "free" converter to DWG format. I'm willing to explore this (let me know also if you have a recommended converter) but, before I proceed, thought I'd do a check-in on any recommendations.

    Thanks,
    The Dude
    FWIW, the McMaster engineers actually design their products in Solidworks. If you download a 3D model it has a fully functional Feature Tree that you can edit, not just a .step model like you'll get with Fusion.

    Last I checked SW Standard runs around $2500 w/o sale prices.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ChipSplitter View Post
    How could something be MORE cloud-based than conFusion 360??
    I did a 30 day trial of Fusion. Here is my gripe list:

    1) You cannot rotate the model without going all the way to the top right corner and turning the cube. No click-drag.
    2) EVERYTHING is cloud-based. All your files, license, etc. No internet- no worky.
    3)Their sales people. They put used car salesmen to shame.
    4) Modeling sucks! There are minimal external file references, everything is locally stored in a file.
    5) CAM sucks too. I did so much cheating and lying to make it do what I wanted it to...
    6) There is no user customization like SW.


    I know some people will say you have to pay maintenance on SolidWorks.
    Not true.
    I have a friend that bought SW Professional for $3500. He has ZERO internet connection and doesn't pay maint. He's just fine.

    I meant it's only browser based. I am not a fan of fusion but it seems cheaper than onshape and can be used without internet. As far as solid works I won't comment. I use it a lot and love it but it seems like it's a lot of money and functionality for the op.

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    Thanks for all the responses. I can't say there's one that "hit the target", more of a confirmation of my frustrations. I think for now I'm going to do the TurboCAD training/trial and see how that goes. On any post, it can become a catch-22 to list too few or too many "issues". I would like to be able to use offline and without a subscription service. Maintenance costs are also kind of "scammish". Bottom line though is I have to find something that "works" for what I need and is justifiable. NOT buying something just because I don't agree with certain aspects of their business can end up costing me time & money.

    This is getting to be a little bit like buying a truck. I could spend months deciding on whether to buy Ford, Chevy, etc. and, in the meantime, losing money if I need one. Sometimes it's better just to chose one and get back to business (so I'm "renting" a Ford to see if it works out).

    If TurboCAD works out okay, I'll likely buy the Deluxe version and upgrade once things get going.

    Just FYI, the thing that bothered me most with Fusion was the whole "history" thing and "projecting/relating off of one part to another". I'm sure for an expert user those are great features. It was just messing too much with my learning skills. All of a sudden things would "change" and I'd go "WFT!?". I just couldn't find any good training on how to learn it quickly or "shut if off" and pick it up down the road.

    Thanks,
    The Dude

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    Quote Originally Posted by ChipSplitter View Post

    -- I can't really imagine anything that would be worse than Fusion 360. --
    Fixed that for you.


    You're kidding.

    Solidworks has WAAYY more support out there.

    LOL.... thanks for altering my comment ChipSplitter. Strong work.

    Just to be fair -- I did a quick search on number of SW "how to" videos online -- 3.6 million.
    How about the number of "how to" videos for Fusion 360? -- 11.3 million.

    Of course a good come-back on your part may be: "yea... well 10 million of those F360 videos are titled: 'how to get rid of Fusion 360'! ".

    Seriously though...
    I would not begin to argue that Fusion 360 is the be-all end-all of CAD or CAM. It's nothing of the sort. Any shop of modest to significant size (especially if doing detailed 3-axis contouring, or 4/5 axis work) probably won't touch it. Understood! I wouldn't either.. I'd be using Hypermill or NX or Esprit, most likely. However... for almost every new post in this Forum that asks: "looking to get into CAD and or CAM", I honestly can't believe how quickly the AD bashing ignites in this forum as soon as F360 is mentioned. WTH?

    A new user can spend $500 for a year, have CAD and CAM (remember, this is someone "getting into it"). If F360 isn't up to the task, they've kissed off a whole 500 bucks for CAD and CAM use for a year, and after that time the user has undoubtedly learned enough to decide what they really want or need.


    PM

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    Quote Originally Posted by precisionmetal View Post
    LOL.... thanks for altering my comment ChipSplitter. Strong work.

    Just to be fair -- I did a quick search on number of SW "how to" videos online -- 3.6 million.
    How about the number of "how to" videos for Fusion 360? -- 11.3 million.

    Of course a good come-back on your part may be: "yea... well 10 million of those F360 videos are titled: 'how to get rid of Fusion 360'! ".

    Seriously though...
    I would not begin to argue that Fusion 360 is the be-all end-all of CAD or CAM. It's nothing of the sort. Any shop of modest to significant size (especially if doing detailed 3-axis contouring, or 4/5 axis work) probably won't touch it. Understood! I wouldn't either.. I'd be using Hypermill or NX or Esprit, most likely. However... for almost every new post in this Forum that asks: "looking to get into CAD and or CAM", I honestly can't believe how quickly the AD bashing ignites in this forum as soon as F360 is mentioned. WTH?

    A new user can spend $500 for a year, have CAD and CAM (remember, this is someone "getting into it"). If F360 isn't up to the task, they've kissed off a whole 500 bucks for CAD and CAM use for a year, and after that time the user has undoubtedly learned enough to decide what they really want or need.


    PM
    And I understand where you're coming from. And FWIW, I get no kickback from SW...
    But my experience is; buy something you can grow into like Solidworks or SolidEdge.
    The lower end stuff will do the job, sure. But if you figure in the time you spend learning a program that really is maxed out in your application, it becomes a waste of time. :yawn:

    I just recently persuaded someone into buying SW. He was like, Aw I just want a cheap program that does just what I need it to. Within a month the tune changes. He can't believe what he's been missing out on by using 2D dxf programs like Bob-Cad. Like I mentioned before, he bought it and never did updates or any license fee. It just sits there and runs.

    I never cease to be amazed at the level of user customization and sheer power of SW. Which would you rather have on your resume' , Solidworks or Fusion?


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    Well so far I have to say it's going pretty good with TurboCAD deluxe. The worst part is there are just so many features/commands/options, etc. It would be great if programs had a "beginner" setup that just started off all the menus with the highest use commands but so far it's going "good enough" that I'm pretty sure I'll make the purchase and then upgrade to Platinum at some point so I can download the components from McMaster.

    If someone knows of a quick/easy/free way to convert STEP/IGES/SAT files into DWG so that I could import them to TurboCAD, that would help.

    Thanks,
    The Dude

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    Quote Originally Posted by EmanuelGoldstein View Post
    Just to throw this out, Cadkey 7 will read-write dxf and dwg files and is really nice to use. I've seen it on a couple of abandonware sites. Might be a bit tricky to get it to run in a virtual machine, now that Windows support for old programs is shit, but if you did, you'd like it.
    Lol, I've been using Cadkey 99 since, well 1999. I stopped paying maintenance when Cadkey 19 came out, the successor to CK99.

    It's maybe the easiest CAD to learn. I do most of my initial work in CK99 from wireframe thru to solid. Then I export solids to UG NX2 and generally finish the work there. UG has better tools for working on solids that CK99.

    I haven't found a program superior to CK99 for 2D/3D wireframing yet. It's solid tools are decent, surfacing is ok. There is a module called FastSurf that had some very good surfacing tools.

    One of the nice things about CK99 is the ability to make very good 2D drawings for presentations. I do a lot of stress reports for the hardware I design, and all the pictures for the reports are done in CK99.

    CK99 will run in a virtual machine. The copy I have gets copied across to each new PC I acquire, and runs well on anything from Win ME to W10. I have a virtual machine setup on the PC I use most, CK99 does run in the VM, but I don't have to use the VM anymore.

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    Quote Originally Posted by triumph406 View Post
    Lol, I've been using Cadkey 99 since, well 1999. I stopped paying maintenance when Cadkey 19 came out, the successor to CK99.

    It's maybe the easiest CAD to learn. I do most of my initial work in CK99 from wireframe thru to solid. Then I export solids to UG NX2 and generally finish the work there. UG has better tools for working on solids that CK99.

    I haven't found a program superior to CK99 for 2D/3D wireframing yet. It's solid tools are decent, surfacing is ok. There is a module called FastSurf that had some very good surfacing tools.

    One of the nice things about CK99 is the ability to make very good 2D drawings for presentations. I do a lot of stress reports for the hardware I design, and all the pictures for the reports are done in CK99.

    CK99 will run in a virtual machine. The copy I have gets copied across to each new PC I acquire, and runs well on anything from Win ME to W10. I have a virtual machine setup on the PC I use most, CK99 does run in the VM, but I don't have to use the VM anymore.
    I was going to respond to EG about Cadkey but you had a more thorough response and I will just add to it.

    Cadkey is now Key Creator and is fully updated for modern computers. I used Cadkey for many years. It was full 3D before Autocad even thought about it. 3D wireframe, full surfacing and solids. I still use a seat of it at home. Very easy to learn although there may not be a lot of online support for it. Imports and exports all major formats. So, in a nutshell, Key Creator is still a very robust format. And, it is very inexpensive.

    Precision Software to Accelerate Manufacturing | Kubotek3D

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    Quote Originally Posted by LockNut View Post
    I was going to respond to EG about Cadkey but you had a more thorough response and I will just add to it.

    Cadkey is now Key Creator and is fully updated for modern computers. I used Cadkey for many years. It was full 3D before Autocad even thought about it. 3D wireframe, full surfacing and solids. I still use a seat of it at home. Very easy to learn although there may not be a lot of online support for it. Imports and exports all major formats. So, in a nutshell, Key Creator is still a very robust format. And, it is very inexpensive.

    Precision Software to Accelerate Manufacturing | Kubotek3D
    I had a trial version of WS21.5 from 2002, which I think was one of the first new revisions that came out after Kubotek bought Cadkey. It was pretty impressive, and fixed a lot of the issues in the older Cadkey versions. At the time I had a regular job so wasn't going to spend the $'s required to catch up on maintenance as I wasn't using it to make money at the time.

    The WS21.5 trial version still works if I set the PC clock to 2002. Once in a blue moon I use it to explode text into machineable geometry.

    I might give the latest Keycreator a whirl.

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    Quote Originally Posted by precisionmetal View Post
    ...
    I honestly can't believe how quickly the AD bashing ignites in this forum as soon as F360 is mentioned. WTH?
    Well, that's probably because you have not gotten any one of the dozens of ADSK shafts up yer' ass!
    See how you'd feel if you've been a loyal customer for many years, spent north of 50K on being a loyal customer, only to be rewarded with
    a very kindly worded Fuck You letter!

    So if you want to invest your time and effort into Fusion only to have Autodesk turn the tables on you a year or two down the road .... please, be my guest.

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    Quote Originally Posted by triumph406 View Post
    I had a trial version of WS21.5 from 2002, which I think was one of the first new revisions that came out after Kubotek bought Cadkey. It was pretty impressive, and fixed a lot of the issues in the older Cadkey versions. At the time I had a regular job so wasn't going to spend the $'s required to catch up on maintenance as I wasn't using it to make money at the time.

    The WS21.5 trial version still works if I set the PC clock to 2002. Once in a blue moon I use it to explode text into machineable geometry.

    I might give the latest Keycreator a whirl.

    Yeah, the real nice thing is you buy it and that's it. No maintenance, no cloud, no worrying about if it's going to run tomorrow or next year. I'm biased. It's what I learned CAD on. Very powerful and did many things Autocad could only dream about. I designed many plastic injection molds with Cadkey until we switched to Unigraphics(NX).

    Paul

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    While we're talking about the good stuff ... anyone got an old O2 around with a copy of Varimetrix ? 4-ish or better ?

    Meet me behind the gym after class


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