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What Softwares are you Using?

Posted by MarketingMike 
Re: What Softwares are you Using?
November 07, 2014 08:41AM
solidworks now.

Was using AutoCAD R14, then SDRC Ideas in the early nineties, then switched to ProE 18 and followed that till Creo, and now a SW12 fan.
Re: What Softwares are you Using?
November 12, 2014 11:37AM
I'm a design engineer who uses Creo; A very powerful professional bit of kit. If you can afford it's well worth it.
Re: What Softwares are you Using?
November 19, 2014 09:04AM
I'm experimenting with different solutions. Avoiding "the other OS" isn't so much an issue, so that leaves a few more options open, but it's likely that linux support would be a big plus.

I haven't loaded up FreeCAD yet, though from looking around, it seems to be a front-runner. Solidworks is kind of out of my price range (And in my profession, using the software without a documented license could cost me a lot more than the price tag, so that's out of the question.) I'm building my 3D printer (Just got my Prusa i3 kit yesterday, in fact) for hobby use, rather than professional, so I can't get work to cover software.

I did a little bit of playing around with Tinkercad. It's not very powerful, but with a bit of creativity, it has some potential. The biggest downside is that it requires Internet access, and if their server is down, or under maintenance, you can't get access to edit your drawings. I popped together some little projects for my car (A gauge pod to hold some extra instruments in my dash, and a part to install a 7" LCD to use a Raspberry Pi in place of some of the factory electronics) using it, which worked well. Nice parallel lines, rectangular openings and fixed screw positions weren't hard, but trying to get a complex curve like the instrument panel opening was rather maddening, and very difficult to get a good profile on. If I use this model, I'll basically have to trim the curve to fit after printing. Probably not TOO big a deal, as I'll probably want to do some sanding to get a smooth surface from the print once completed anyway, as all of the prints that I've seen have at least a bit of a rough surface to them.

I've worked with Sketchup before, though not for 3D printing, but for doing drawings for other projects, so I've never tried getting an STL file from it. I am kind of used to the interface, and I think that I could do MOST of the things that I want with it, including weird curves and shapes, but since I've basically only done wire-frame type work with it before, I'm not as sure that I will be able to predict what it will interpret as solid area vs. the open areas, particularly when I design in screw holes and slots to be open for multi-part projects which have to be assembled after printing. I also realized that I'm far more familiar with using a scale on Sketchup where 1mm resolution is tiny, since the smallest thing that I've used it for previously is a bed frame, but I imagine that it's got to scale... Right?

What I've seen so far seems to indicate that Slic3r is the way to go for taking the STL and turning it in to G-code. I haven't actually DONE it yet, so we'll have to see, and of course since I haven't assembled my printer yet, actually driving the printer is still a bit of an unknown.
Re: What Softwares are you Using?
November 19, 2014 01:08PM
A friend uses Cubify Design and says its pretty good: Cubify Design. I haven't tried the demo as I don't have time but I watched a few of the videos and it looks pretty good for sure.
Re: What Softwares are you Using?
November 20, 2014 08:16AM
While still in beta, FreeCAD is a very capable piece of software. Being a daily user of the program, ( and full disclosure, I'm an advocate and active member of the FreeCAD community smiling smiley), I find it to be the best there is in the open source arena. I have found it to be a perfect match for 3D printing, as one must work very hard to NOT produce a manifold .stl file. Being a parametric solid modeler, it is not as easy to learn as Sketchup, but it is also not hard to use. One of the great things FreeCAD has going for it is a very active and knowledgeable group of volunteers available on the FreeCAD forum. In other words, there is strong community support to help new and more advanced users alike. A new user can get up and running in no time using the written and video tutorials available. This is in large part due to the "Workbench" approach of the software. FreeCAD is broken down into a series of workbenches that are designed for specific tasks, so the user is not overloaded with functions that are not relevant. Give it a try, you may find out it's all the CAD you'll ever need, and if there is anything your not understanding or having trouble with, please do not hesitate signing up on the FreeCAD forum and asking for help.

Mark


From FreeCAD To The Real World- Demo video using FreeCAD and featuring the Smartrap 3D Printer
Re: What Softwares are you Using?
November 21, 2014 05:51AM
Quote
markstephen
While still in beta, FreeCAD is a very capable piece of software. Being a daily user of the program, ( and full disclosure, I'm an advocate and active member of the FreeCAD community smiling smiley), I find it to be the best there is in the open source arena. I have found it to be a perfect match for 3D printing, as one must work very hard to NOT produce a manifold .stl file. Being a parametric solid modeler, it is not as easy to learn as Sketchup, but it is also not hard to use. One of the great things FreeCAD has going for it is a very active and knowledgeable group of volunteers available on the FreeCAD forum. In other words, there is strong community support to help new and more advanced users alike. A new user can get up and running in no time using the written and video tutorials available. This is in large part due to the "Workbench" approach of the software. FreeCAD is broken down into a series of workbenches that are designed for specific tasks, so the user is not overloaded with functions that are not relevant. Give it a try, you may find out it's all the CAD you'll ever need, and if there is anything your not understanding or having trouble with, please do not hesitate signing up on the FreeCAD forum and asking for help.

Mark

Mark,

Can the installation software be copied to a thumb drive and then installed on a stand-alone PC that has no internet connection?
Re: What Softwares are you Using?
November 21, 2014 07:06AM
I don't think I would "copy" it, but install it to a flash drive and try it that way. FreeCAD, being open source, uses some 3rd party software for some of it's functionality as that 3rd party software can not be bundled with the program due to licensing restrictions, and if the host PC does not have that software installed on it, it will be lacking that functionality. If your talking window$, you should also be accessing the FreeCAD install with an account that has admin privileges and not a restricted user account on the host machine. Under those conditions, it might work, but there are no promises here. winking smiley

Mark


From FreeCAD To The Real World- Demo video using FreeCAD and featuring the Smartrap 3D Printer
Re: What Softwares are you Using?
December 08, 2014 04:59AM
Autodesk Inventor product design suite 2015 for me. Use it for automation and 3D printing so gets plenty of use.


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Re: What Softwares are you Using?
January 05, 2015 10:31AM
I use www.MOI3D.com
It is a solid modeler, no meshes at design, just vectors, faces, solids.
Excellent capabilities, simple to use, good support.
J.
Re: What Softwares are you Using?
January 19, 2015 09:51PM
I like DesignSpark Mechanical. The UI is very easy and it is about 10X more powerful than the free version of Sketchup. Unlike Sketchup, circles are actually circles (not polygons), so it produces water tight STLs with a lot of control over the STL file resolution. You can easily do things like fillet or chamfer edges/corners, draw threads, draw lines, arcs, and circles that are tangent to other curves. If you like Sketchup, you'll love DesignSpark Mechanical. It works great with 3D mice, and you can do some minor but useful manipulation of imported STL files, too.

No, it can't do everything, but for a free package, it does a hell of a lot of useful stuff.

Negatives are windows only, and the native file format (rsdoc) isn't compatible with any other CAD software. If you're designing stuff to 3D print, and don't plan on going into mass production, DesignSpark is what you want.
Re: What Softwares are you Using?
January 20, 2015 07:14AM
Quote
the_digital_dentist
...Unlike Sketchup, circles are actually circles (not polygons), ....

whether or not they are circles in your software, they will be polygons in the STL file since an STL mesh is just made up of triangles. Also, they will also most likely be just polygons in the G Code.
Re: What Softwares are you Using?
January 20, 2015 01:34PM
Yes, they will be polygons in gcode, but the fact that circles are never circles in Sketchup leads to weird drawing problems and holes in stl files. For example, try to move two cylinders together so they touch. Once you're pretty sure you've got it, zoom into the contact area. Unless you happened to get lucky and accidentally connect polygon vertices together, the two won't be touching at a line, they'll either miss each other or be overlapping.. When you try to export an STL of the touching cylinders from Sketchup, you'll likely find holes in the surface or an overlap at the "contact" point. Both problems can cause a lot of slicing headaches. You won't have such problems in DSM and won't have to waste time trying to find and fix them.

Try to draw a tangent line to two "circles". The ends of the line have to connect at polygon vertexes, which means the line is very unlikely to actually be tangent to the circles. This sort of thing makes it hard to do precise work in Sketchup.

In DSM, curves are mathematical curves so drawing tangents is possible and easy. It is also easy to do things like fillet and chamfer complex and curved edges, something that is impossible (or only possible under very limited conditions) in Sketchup. It's also easy to do a helical revolve to draw threads and similar things.

I've used both and I'd say DSM's UI is as easy to use as Sketchup's, but offers more choices. If you spend a few minutes with it you'll probably like it. Once you can do things like filleting edges, and actually draw arcs and circles that are tangent to each other, your part designs will start to look much more elegant and you won't want to go back to Sketchup.
Re: What Softwares are you Using?
February 04, 2015 05:42AM
I couldn't agree more with the_digital_dentist on his point about circles. It's like the old saying, garbage in, garbage out. I use a parametric modeler, for the exact same reason. (see sig for a hint on which onewinking smiley) I had used Sketchup until I started coming up against the "circle problem". Sketchup is good for making visual models of things and if that is all your going to use it for it's a great program, but it is found wanting when one wants or needs to do any serious mechanical modeling. Whether your using a direct modeler line DesignSpark or it's big brother SpaceClaim, or a parametric modeler like SolidWorks, SolidEdge, FreeCAD, etc., The level of accuracy and the amount of precision can never be matched by any mesh modeler no matter how well refined it may be. The very nature of a mesh will not allow it.

Yea, the "circle problem" was the second reason I left Sketchup behind, the first being, it runs like ADP, (Adulterated Dog Poo), under Wine.

Mark


From FreeCAD To The Real World- Demo video using FreeCAD and featuring the Smartrap 3D Printer
Re: What Softwares are you Using?
February 26, 2015 06:19AM
My mate's ordered a sophisticated 3D application at the company called Ortosoft. I was really amazed by how smoothly the software works and helps him do his job the way he wouldn't be able to even dream about without it.
Re: What Softwares are you Using?
March 02, 2015 02:05PM
Professionally I've used SolidWorks, Solid Edge, Inventor and AutoCAD but for home I'm mainly using the free version of Creo (Creo Elements/Direct Modeling Express). Aside from that I sometimes switch to other programs for specific actions like FreeCAD for STEP conversions, Blender for detailed mesh inspection, Sculptris for organic work and Meshmixer for all kinds of things. I've just started looking at Designspark Mechanical.
Re: What Softwares are you Using?
March 12, 2015 06:51PM
Punch/Encore's ViaCAD Pro and Shark FX CAD programs have a pretty neat plug-in called Power Pack Pro that's still in beta. Amongst its 3D printing-directed features is the capability to convert mesh/facet models back into NURB solids and surfaces and "analytic" shapes, planes/n-gons, cylindrical/conical surfaces and sections, and ellipsoidal surfaces. It's been done before by high-end stuff like Geomagic, but that's just way out of rational consideration for home or hobby use, VC/Shark is much more accessible. It's pretty amazing being able to import an .stl, convert it back into a featured CAD object, and have features like holes, spheres and cylinders, and their parameters recognized.
In answer to Gage, FreeCAD will run from a flash drive or SD card, the developers have been releasing the latest iterations of 0.15 developments as zipped downloads that can be unzipped onto a flash drive and run from that without Windows installation. That's how I'm using it on the SD card in a 32-bit 8" Win 8.1 tablet and on a Win 7 64-bit. With practice, FreeCAD's very powerful. Not as easy to use as commercial software, definitely not as pretty in some areas, and the capability of the kernel is more fragile and frustrating than commercial apps, but it's as powerful as some of the apps I was using commercially maybe five or six years ago. I've also found that some .stl meshing from NURB models is better in FreeCAD than in commercial programs.
Re: What Softwares are you Using?
July 13, 2015 05:00AM
IronCAD. Easiest and quickest way to design for me. It works the way I think and that is important in a CAD program.
OK, it is pricy, so I am still working on an old version that I bought long time ago, only supported in XP. But hey, it still works.
Re: What Softwares are you Using?
August 03, 2015 01:20PM
I use Blender, It makes sense for me to create a mesh using a tool made to create a mesh! I also like Rhino alot though but Blender is free.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/03/2015 01:20PM by jetsetrobot.
Re: What Softwares are you Using?
August 05, 2015 07:25PM
Is Autodesk 123D really that bad? I've not tried it,but a friend uses it and recommended it. I've also played with TinkerCAD, and while limited, it is quick and easy to use for some basic things.
Re: What Softwares are you Using?
August 07, 2015 03:54AM
I use onshape . It works on all OS and tablet but needs an Internet connection
Re: What Softwares are you Using?
August 13, 2015 01:23PM
FreeCAD is a very capable freeware option.

I'm also very impressed with OnShape, as long as you have an active internet connection - especially as it will run in the browser on any computer (Windows, Mac, Linux, Chromebook...) without needing to install any software - and there are even native apps for Android and iOS. (Put the finishing touches on your design while you're on the bus to work! smiling smiley )


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Re: What Softwares are you Using?
August 14, 2015 10:15AM
Onshape. Love it! Free for hobby use.
Re: What Softwares are you Using?
August 15, 2015 04:52PM
Before retiring I used “Solidworks”for a number of years, Alas far too expensive now,
A couple of years back I purchased a limited edition of “Alibre Design” which works well but is nowhere near as powerful as the tried and proven Solidworks.
Tried “FreeCAD” but not all that impressed
Now using “Oneshape” which seems to be very powerful. Highly recommend it although you need to be online to use it. Incidentally the original designers of “Solidworks” seem to be responsible for “Oneshape”
Re: What Softwares are you Using?
August 28, 2015 02:03AM
SolidWorks and Simplify3D, which seems logical as SolidWorks is quasi industry standard and my employer is one of Germany`s largest supplier of SolidWorks and 3D printers. ;-)

Regards,
Marco


Webmaster von MB CAD GmbH, Vertrieb von SolidWorks und 3D Druckern von German RepRap.
Re: What Softwares are you Using?
October 10, 2015 05:35AM
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Re: What Softwares are you Using?
November 10, 2015 05:53AM
Hello Everyone, I'm relatively new to the 3D scene, and don't come from a designer/engineering background. I found that DesignSpark Mechanical is pretty good for a new comer to get use to, to make small quick parts. I'll probably try FreeCAD next, as that seems to be a favourite amongst quite a few of you.
Re: What Softwares are you Using?
November 10, 2015 01:24PM
I do have a cad background, and still haven't been able to make myself like working in FreeCAD. It is just so clumsy to use. My favorite free tools are OnShape, Autodesk Fusion 360, and DesignSpark Mechanical. Honestly, for quick and easy, DesignSpark is certainly good enough, and probably has a quicker-to-use interface. As an experiment, I designed the same, simple box for a circuit, in each, and it was quickest and easiest in DesignSpark, although OnShape was a close second. Also, Fusion360 is only free for non-commercial use, and you have to register it every year. This rules it out if you are wanting a free commercial tool. It is clearly a polished and professional tool, and can be customized to allow for a faster workflow than what you get out of the box. Requiring multiple clicks to pick each sketch tool, and things like that, are what slow you down. Using keystroke shortcuts speed things up quite a bit.

OnShape is entirely online and runs in the browser. Being written in javascript and running in the browser puts something of an upper cap on performance, but it still works very well - better than I would expect, and perfectly usable.
Fusion360 runs as a local app on your computer, and saves to the cloud.
DesignSpark runs locally, and saves files to your local drive, although you could save to an online drive like google drive or onedrive if you really want cloud. I prefer to save locally, and have an automated process back up to the cloud, if I want. DesignSpark does look a bit less "up to date" in the interface and appearance. Others have better shading and an overall more modern appearance. This really has no effect on usability, and is purely aesthetic.

The only annoying limitation I've run into with DesignSpark is that it doesn't have any way to place and extrude text. There are workarounds, but the other two have text as a built in sketch function. I expected that I would hate that it wasn't as parametric as I'm used to, and that it doesn't support history, but for what I've done in it, that wasn't the issue I expected it to be. It is just a bit of a different way of working, but I could still get the job done, and I'm sure it would be easier for those with less of a parametric/history CAD background.


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Re: What Softwares are you Using?
November 10, 2015 05:02PM
Just backing up Bert3D's comments... I DON'T have much of a CAD background. I used FreeCAD for quite a while, and have now switched to OnShape. It's about as fast as FreeCAD, which surprised me. FreeCAD seems to crash a lot (possibly my unskilled thrashing about has meant that I run into bugs that a skilled CAD user wouldn't). My only use for FreeCAD now is to convert files into a CAD format that OnShape can understand... OnShape can only import/export a handful of formats.

I haven't tried DesignSpark or Fusion360.
Re: What Softwares are you Using?
November 12, 2015 05:12AM
Are there any free softwares that are generally easy for new comers to learn, but also have an assembly like feature, so you can see how things will move once put together? An example of software that I'm talking about is Cubify Design, except that one you have to pay for. Any that are free that can do somewhat close to Design? I'd like to one day design my own printer, and being able to see how all the parts will move together would help a lot.

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 11/13/2015 08:41AM by Captain_Tim.

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Re: What Softwares are you Using?
December 28, 2015 12:27PM
ImplicitCAD! It's like OpenSCAD but with a Haskell interface and a really cool way of representing geometry (function with three arguments, surface is where it equals 0).
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