What CAD Program for Personal Projects
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  1. #1
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    Default What CAD Program for Personal Projects

    Hey all,

    If you do personal projects what design software do you use and why?

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    The ones I am comfortable and fast with like AutoCAD (older, non-cloud), solidworks, mastercam (why use 2 programs?). Also if I'm in a pinch I'll use some of the free linux stuff but not often.

    Why? Because I don't have a manual drafting board anymore and CAD is faster haha.

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    If all you need is 2D DraftSight is very good and has almost the same command line shortcuts as older versions of AutoCAD.

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    Fusion 360, for me, because that is pretty much all I have. But I think it is hands down the best free program out there, free for what you describe.

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    I use Onshape (https://www.onshape.com/) for projects for our local makerspace. Browser-based. Lightweight. Can export DXF for our laser cutter. Can share live project files with others to view/edit/etc. Only catch is that for personal use, your projects are public, not private.

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    anyone ever use QCAD?

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    I like fusion but draftsight is easier for me to control what is printed out. It may be I just haven't figured it out but fusion prints out all the dimensions to the same decimal place set. I would prefer to switch from 2,3 and 4 places on the same page.

    Dave

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    For just basic 2D cad? Deltacad or Turbocad. Stupid simple to use and you're not expecting Jesus to come back before it finishes opening.

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    Quote Originally Posted by moto367 View Post
    anyone ever use QCAD?
    Built it for Unix a while back because I wanted something simple for simple stuff.

    It was a waste of time. Unless it's made tremendous progress, don't waste your efforts.

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    Fusioin 360. It's free for hobbyist, very powerful and there are a lot of resources for learning it.

    Ted

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    I recently upgraded my linux distribution to Debian 10 (Buster) and in the process realized the FreeCAD (of which ver 16 had been the standard) was not included in the new distribution. I grabbed the latest from their site (Ver 18) and it is miles ahead of version 16. After a recent problem with Fusion 360 (which has yet to be addressed by AutoDesk), I've been taking a new look at FreeCAD. It is certainly in the running now for general CAD, but the CAM has a ways to go.

    FreeCAD: Your own 3D parametric modeler

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    I've been using the free version of DraftSight for a number of years. I've been very happy with it, but they recently announced that they are going to eliminate the free version and start charging a subscription fee of $100/year. This prompted me to try a number of the free/low cost options (freecad, qcad, librecad, etc) and they were terrible to use compared to Draftsight(may be familiarity bias, though). They were also very poor on compatibility with a complex drawing. I have a topographic survey of my property with a lot of layers, and none of them would open the drawing properly, while DraftSight opened, modified, and saved it perfectly.

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    Visual CADD is a great program that grew out of the old Generic CADD. If one took advantage of a trade-in deal or otherwise got in early, it's a bargain, but IMO it's too expensive for the hobbyist if you have to pay full boat. I like it because it handles presentation tasks well and I can make a drawing look exactly the way I want in terms of line widths, text and photo insertion. You can also customize the interface to a great extent (as shipped isn't the best) and run macros to plot data from Excel. They give good access to the lower level engine. TriTools.com You can download a demo to play with.

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    I'm looking for something that will where I can do 3D designs and prints. Solid works has a nice student program, but the full program is costly. I have no problem paying for a good program, but under $500 is best. There's lots of free stuff out there as well.
    I should also state, this is being used on a laptop - 16GB RAM, 2.2ghz processor - pretty good but half of what Solidworks requires.

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    Interesting fact: you can get the student edition of SolidWorks as a member of the EAA (Experimental Aircraft Association) and an EAA membership is only $40/year.

    Member Benefits & Discounts

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    really hard to beat fusion 360 for personal stuff. its free, there are MILLIONS of how-to videos on youtube and the forum community is pretty good with help. and its super easy/intuitive to use.

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    I recently downloaded LibreCad free version. It seems very AutoCad 13-14 like. I didn't have too much trouble doing simple drawings with it. But I've too little experience with it to give a qualified opinion.

    Anyone here have experience with it? What are your thoughts?

    Best Regards,
    Bob

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    Quote Originally Posted by GenePoole View Post
    Interesting fact: you can get the student edition of SolidWorks as a member of the EAA (Experimental Aircraft Association) and an EAA membership is only $40/year.

    Member Benefits & Discounts
    They also have a program for FIRST robotics teams (they only list FRC but they will support at least FTC as well).

    FIRST Student Robotics Contest SOLIDWORKS

    This is probably of limited use, as you have to be a mentor/coach for a FIRST team.

    Personally, I pay for Solidworks and HSMWorks (comes with a paid Fusion360 license).

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    Shark or viacad pro. super clean models, feature based, clean interface without the acad window hogging, snappy with opengl tuned cards. Catia kernel, and cheap.
    without video card 3d cad programs kinda do not work well, acad is directx, desault is opengl - it helps to know when picking graphics card. Acad on my laptop with firepro card and an older i5 hurts, solidworks and shark never a hesitation. I have viacad 2d (sub 100 dollars) on my tablet, which is fine. Also direct imports illustrator which I import my paper (fun) drawings into first.
    viacad 3d was sub 500, but doesn't import sldprt, catia, or dstv and does not have g3 surface functions. The auto cut bill function in all of them does not work...rendering on any level is not so grand...

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    Quote Originally Posted by memphisjed View Post
    Shark or viacad pro. super clean models, feature based, clean interface without the acad window hogging, snappy with opengl tuned cards. Catia kernel, and cheap.
    without video card 3d cad programs kinda do not work well, acad is directx, desault is opengl - it helps to know when picking graphics card. Acad on my laptop with firepro card and an older i5 hurts, solidworks and shark never a hesitation. I have viacad 2d (sub 100 dollars) on my tablet, which is fine. Also direct imports illustrator which I import my paper (fun) drawings into first.
    viacad 3d was sub 500, but doesn't import sldprt, catia, or dstv and does not have g3 surface functions. The auto cut bill function in all of them does not work...rendering on any level is not so grand...
    That's the first time I've seen Shark mentioned here- I've been using it for years, anyone I've mentioned it to have never heard of it including folks I know who work for Autodesk here. It's definitely fast and easy, couple of the young guys who've been through the shop would use it over the Inventor that's on the other computers to spit something out quickly to feed the CNC.


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