Searching for alternative 3D CAD

Discussion in 'Software' started by baeckmo, Sep 30, 2013.

  1. baeckmo
    Joined: Jun 2009
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    Location: Sweden

    baeckmo Hydrodynamics

    Have been using CadKey for a loong time, 90 % of the time in 2D, but now it is time to go looking for a more modern setup, and try to get into 3D engineering. I really like the command structure of the CK in comparison to the Autocad and its clones (also use Intellicad for 2D, but reluctantly). Sadly, the CK is no longer compatible with the development(?) in Windows, and I have a feeling there are now better surface modelling available.

    I use this for general engineering (turbomachinery et c.) design purposes, not for hulls. No fancy animations needed, just sound, basic output for production purposes. With increasing age, I find my learning curve becoming more horizontal; (coming to computers, I fear it is starting to rise instead......), so it is important that the software has a logical and easily learned structure.

    I'd appreciate the input from you guys, what are your suggestions? FreeCad, Rhino, DraftSight, Scetchup, PolyCad, FastCad.....ouch, I don't even know where to begin looking!
     
  2. rwatson
    Joined: Aug 2007
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    rwatson Senior Member

    I found it useful to download and master the free, and relatively easy 3d Cad Package, Sketchup from Google.

    It successfully designed a boat trailer, a shed renovation and a few other things.

    I then got the evaluation version of Rhino, and went through their tutorials.

    I have since bought Rhino, and found out why it is so much better than Sketchup, but the concepts I learned from SU were very handy.
     
  3. SukiSolo
    Joined: Dec 2012
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    SukiSolo Senior Member

    I have used CadKey briefly, way back. You should definitely be looking at Rhino, the best relatively 'cheap' 3D package. Having used high end surface and solid modellers Pro-E, SolidWorks, Varimetrix etc and looked at lots of other packages it is the most capable with the best translators of anything for the price. Also importantly it is not owned by Autodesk who having been unable to make a 3D program in house have bought all the ones they now sell. This means you don't have to pay an annual license or similar nonsense. I liked Maya when Silicon Graphics owned it but they sold it. Good product though.

    Keep CadKey for 2D work, Rhino is not a drafter, but you can just import 2D geometry into Rhino and use it. Like wise going backwards for 2D detail drawings if required. The 3D IGES, and STEP translators + others in Rhino are very comprehensive. It is not too hard to learn and is very powerful. Great tools for dealing with imported 3D too. Do Not expect to master it in 3 months. Features are added to it and even though I have been using it since before commercial release, I am still finding new capabilities in it.
     
  4. Joe Petrich
    Joined: Jun 2008
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    Joe Petrich Designer

  5. liki
    Joined: Nov 2008
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    liki Senior Member

    ViaCAD Pro is one very affordable option.
     
  6. Steve Forest
    Joined: Oct 2013
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    Steve Forest New Member

    You might look at DesignSpark PCB its free so no harm in trying it. It does look little limited compared to Solidworks but heck the price is right.




    Steve
     
  7. baeckmo
    Joined: Jun 2009
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    Location: Sweden

    baeckmo Hydrodynamics

    Thanx all; starting to evaluate now.
     
  8. rwatson
    Joined: Aug 2007
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    Location: Tasmania,Australia

    rwatson Senior Member

    A quick PS - I have been using Delftship a bit more lately in preference to Freeship.

    The latest version is quite a bit more user friendly.
     
  9. yipster
    Joined: Oct 2002
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    Location: netherlands

    yipster designer

    "We dont stop playing becouse we get old
    We get old becouse we stop playing"
    Saw that today somewhere and its relevant
    Liked the article in the link Joe Petrich posted
    Dive in, get a book and a guy with a sharp pencil
    Like you may be playing a few 3d programs
    My advice: play with free or trials before buying
     
  10. Yellowjacket
    Joined: May 2009
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    Location: Landlocked...

    Yellowjacket Senior Member

    For a living I design turbomachinery and if you are designing blading you want and need a package that can create foil sections and blend them to create the airfoils (or waterfoils). I currently use Solid Edge, but it is a $5k program and costs $1500 a year for maintenance. We can design complete turbine engines with it so it has all of the features that you need.

    Before I got real (read expensive) CAD software I used "Design CAD Max 3D" and it was pretty easy to use and I did the preliminary design of a small turbine engine with it. I was pleased and surprised how well it lofted foil and inlet sections that I exported to CFD program so I am sure you could design waterjet inlets with it as well as blading and stators. That program is only around $100 so it's not expensive at all. I was frankly pretty surprised how well it worked for what I was doing with it.

    What you will find is that as you move up in CAD software what you get is more features, but lots of them are more of a convenience than they are necessary. If you are doing 3D modeling, most programs, even pretty inexpensive ones have the capability to do the modeling, they just don't have all the features that the upscale ones do. If you are making lots of drawings from CAD 3D models then you want and need a better CAD program. If not don't bother.

    I have used Inventor, Solid Works, Solid Edge, Unigraphics, ProE and CATIA as well as Design CAD. As far as the expensive programs go, Solid Edge is better than the others. The reason is, once you learn how to use it, it is much less cumbersome than the others. In CATIA and Solid Works, and some of the others they seem easier to use when they are showing you how to use them because they are more menu driven so you can find the commands easier at first, but more often than not you need to drive through several menus to get to the command you want, and once you have learned where stuff is, that approach just drags you down. With Solid Edge, it takes a bit more to learn it, but once you get the hang of it, it's far easier and faster to use, you are never more than one click away from any command, so it's much faster and less frustrating. As I have found the comment that sometimes Solid Works, and sometimes it doesn't is pretty much true...

    If you are just going to do some 3D design work and not use it every day for drafting lots of parts I'd just try the Design CAD Max 3D.
     

  11. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    Location: Eustis, FL

    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Ask forum member TANSL if he has a product you can use.
     
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