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Best freeware 3D design software that can be used offline?

Posted by Suitable 
Best freeware 3D design software that can be used offline?
May 15, 2016 03:35PM
Hi all,

Hope this finds you all well.

I am trying to find 3D "CAD" modelling software, for Mac OS X, that has a free version and can be used offline so my files aren't saved on the "cloud" or owned by the software company etc. so I can work on my prototypes safely offline and save only to my offline computer. I am a hobbyist at the moment and only doing this in my spare time which is why I want freeware, if I get some good designs happening I will then look at buying a program (like rhino or something like that) as I am hopeing to turn this into a business eventually, but that is just a dream at the moment... So...

I have SketchUp Make which is easy as to use and great for designing things that I am not going to print in 3D or CNC etc. I use it for designing timber and steel designs (furniture, guitars, speaker cabinets, work benches/tables, etc) and just use it to make the plan of every piece/component I need to make by hand and fit them together, ie using it to make a plan only. It won't how ever allow me to make "perfect circles for 3D printing and or CNC so isn't good for my designs I now am designing. For "square" straight edge stuff it will be fine but not for circles or round objects. AFAIK?

I have looked a Fusion 360 but I believe this is a online software only and is not free to use either? Is this true?

Through my searches I have stumbled upon Designspark Mechanical free version, but I believe this will only work on Windows only, not Mac OS X? Is there another program I can download or similar to get it working on my Mac? Or does it work on Mac already? (I've found most Mac programs can export to Windows based file formats etc.

I've downloaded Blender, but it's not very user friendly at all and still doesn't allow to design "cleaner" or "perfect" circles/round objects. Basically takes me 20 hours to design one thing that I can design in SketchUp Make in 60 seconds... It probably has a lot to do with myself not knowing the software that well though.

Are there any other programs that can be used on a Mac and offline? I switched to Mac after loosing 3 Windows laptops to viruses (no, it wasn't from looking at porn!
Re: Best freeware 3D design software that can be used offline?
May 15, 2016 03:36PM
) and loosing tonnes of documents and files in the process. I could by a cheap Windows based computer that will only be used offline if that's my only option, but getting the freeware will mean I have to go online to download it unless I download the file to my Mac then burn the file onto a DVD or CD then upload it to the Windows based computer that way I guess.

So what do people suggest as good 3D modelling freeware that can be used on a Mac to make more organic objects etc?

Thanks in advance for the help and info you can provide!

Kind regards

Steve
Re: Best freeware 3D design software that can be used offline?
May 19, 2016 06:35AM
Won't touch best, but some options are listed at: [www.shapeoko.com]

- K3D
- OpenSCAD (not really organic)
- FormZ Free (not opensource)
- Antimony

If you're willing to consider commercial, [moi3d.com] is supposed to be quite good.
Re: Best freeware 3D design software that can be used offline?
May 22, 2016 07:48PM
Quote
WillAdams
Won't touch best, but some options are listed at: [www.shapeoko.com]

- K3D
- OpenSCAD (not really organic)
- FormZ Free (not opensource)
- Antimony

If you're willing to consider commercial, [moi3d.com] is supposed to be quite good.

Hi WillAdams! Awesome! Thanks for the tips and advise! Yeah I know freeware isn't going to be great but as long as I can get it pretty close to what I need, it's all good for the time being. The tolerances of what I am designing don't need to be that tight yet so can get away with a bit. I'm also thinking of printing them out as close as I can then running the part in the drill press with a lathe surfacing tool clamped down to the bed in a vice then slowly "shave" the printed parts to be more "round" (not that the drill press has awesome zero backlash/runout but it'll do for the beginning). I've downloaded OpenSCAD and it seems to be doing what I want ok smiling smiley thanks for the tips! Am still yet to check out moi3D and FormZ Free, they all have their own pros and cons!

Designing the bulk of something with one program first then dumping the file across to another to "smooth it out" seems to be working great so far! Just need to finish my FT Kossel Build so I can get printing!!! Need to build an enclosure for it too for ABS... Parts are only 180mm OD (X, Y axis') and 16-25mm thick (Z axis) so printing with ABS should be OK without a full enclosure for that height/size parts I'm hoping... The room I have for printing is fully draft fee and climatised apart from breathing (I use it for reloading ammo) so I'm hoping that as heat rises and with no drafts, it'll keep the part warm enough until it's finished.

Thanks again for the help! I'm going to check out FormZ Free and moi3D this arvo when I get home!

Re: Best freeware 3D design software that can be used offline?
May 25, 2016 07:03PM
Hello Suitable,

If you're interested in parametric CAD, you may want to look at FreeCAD. It is not only free, it's also open source. In other words, you can be sure there are no strings attached, and it's not intentionally crippled like many free CAD software out there. There is no EULA, no online registration like free proprietary (commercial) software.

It's a different paradigm (think SolidWorks or CATIA), if you are not familiar with parametric modelling you may find its learning curve steep (although I'd wager it would be not as steep as Blender). Yet some people with no prior CAD experience manage to pick it up quickly.

FreeCAD is developed by volunteers, so it is not as polished or complete as commercial software. The lack of learning material is offset by a small but quite active community. Questions on the FreeCAD forum are answered quickly.

Quote
Suitable
I've downloaded Blender, but it's not very user friendly at all and still doesn't allow to design "cleaner" or "perfect" circles/round objects.

This is because Blender, just like Sketchup, is a polygonal modeller which produces polygon mesh. Purists (like myself winking smiley ) don't consider polygonal modellers as CAD software. Modern CAD software are based on boundary representation (B-rep). B-rep describes mathematically precise models. [en.wikipedia.org]

But don't forget that for 3D printing, you need STL files - and an STL file is actually a polygonal mesh. So even if you use a CAD software that generates perfect cylindrical surfaces, they will be reduced to polygon faces when exported to STL. Still, you can control the smoothness of the mesh by setting a higher resolution that produces a higher count of smaller polygons.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/25/2016 07:04PM by NormandC.
Re: Best freeware 3D design software that can be used offline?
January 02, 2017 08:02AM
I use 123D Design for most everything, it's free, works on MAC and will work completely offline. [www.123dapp.com]
Also OpenSCAD for parametric modeling. [www.openscad.org]
-- VAXHeadroom
Re: Best freeware 3D design software that can be used offline?
January 14, 2017 12:52AM
I am not using a Mac, but a linux-pc, and have made some tests with design software. I have made some tests with Freecad, and blender.
For my hobby (i want to create rc-pplanes), freecad is not useable. I need to import 2D-files for the airfoils and create wings from it.

Blender is much more useable for this, but needs some experimentation.
Blender is a polygonal system, but it has some boolean functions that can deal with parts almost beeing volumes, when you take care how to design them.

I don't have a printer at the time, but the things produced in blender and sliced via Kiss-Slicer look good.





Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/14/2017 12:54AM by Minihawk.
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