Cad for printing...?? Moving On?
October 10, 2019 07:28AM
I've been using Fusion 360, Autodesk have already upset me with a major change to the interface I'm new and was just getting use to the old desktop and now they are changing the licensing as well.

I'm familiar with FreeCad, OpenScad (not for me...) and the names of a few others, I've put some time into Fusion and it seems I may loose out as Autodesk may look for too many $ from me or reduce the functionality of the product.

I don't want to go to the effort of learning a package only to loose it for whatever reason. I don't need a Blender type modelling program at the moment.

FreeCad looks like the best supported and most complete alternative, but is it my best choice?

Thanks All.

Re: Cad for printing...?? Moving On?
October 10, 2019 08:14AM
AFAIK, Fusion360 is still free, but if you must change, look into OnShape- similar to solidworks.
You can get a solidworks license for free if you join the EAA for $40 per year dues.
If you need easy to use but not as powerful as Fusion360, look at DesignSpark Mechanical.
Whatever you do, stay the hell away from SketchUp. It's good for a lot of things, but designing for 3D printing isn't one of them.

Ultra MegaMax Dominator 3D printer: []
Re: Cad for printing...?? Moving On?
October 10, 2019 08:20AM
I renewed 360 a month ago so it's not urgent but.. I don't want to get so locked in that I can be ransomed.

Re: Cad for printing...?? Moving On?
October 10, 2019 06:31PM
+1 for OnShape... free for personal use, but your designs are publicly viewable/copyable. That seems to me to be a very reasonable trade-off, and I've used it a lot.
Re: Cad for printing...?? Moving On?
October 11, 2019 01:08AM
Ironcad...try the free trial then buy the student version(or even get it for free).


Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 10/12/2019 09:07PM by MechaBits.
Re: Cad for printing...?? Moving On?
October 13, 2019 03:14PM
its not advanced by any means, it does the basics its called open scad.
it is also a command driven tool. the custom setups such as curves and chamfers and bevels need to be done manually. as coded in with for loops or shapes in boolean operations
fusion360 does have a lot of time saving features, however i worry that they will lock it down to the point where we all will eventually need to pay. for me they have reduced functionality on my free renewal,
i don't know what they took away yet however... adobe does seem to change what it does every few years,
but openscad always will be free. and it does not need the cloud.]openscad web site

i like that solid works is free for eaa members. thanks for that bit of info from comments above.

Edited 5 time(s). Last edit at 10/13/2019 03:20PM by jamesdanielv.
Re: Cad for printing...?? Moving On?
October 13, 2019 05:05PM
Any free tool isn't guaranteed to be free forever. When you commit time and effort to one CAD program, there's always the risk that it will stop being free, the company will go out of business, or that some other program will become better than the one you chose. Fortunately, many of the concepts are similar from one program to another with changes mainly in the UI (except Open SCAD- that one is pretty unique). Once you've learned to use a couple CAD programs, the skills transfer to others pretty easily.

Ultra MegaMax Dominator 3D printer: []
Re: Cad for printing...?? Moving On?
October 14, 2019 03:08AM
The UI change takes about 15 minutes to get used to. There's even a doc that tells you where everything has been moved to. What makes you think the licensing has changed?
Re: Cad for printing...?? Moving On?
October 14, 2019 03:53AM
Solvespace is another open source option. It's very minimal and lightweight but can do a lot. I believe it's still missing a chamfer/fillet option though which I'm sure is a deal breaker for many. I found it easier to use than FreeCAD from both a computer requirements and UI point of view, but coming from openscad the lack of variables for constraints and chamfer tool leaves me wanting more.
Re: Cad for printing...?? Moving On?
October 17, 2019 08:24AM
you could just watch some ironcad video's if you cant be arsed downloading, though why anyone wouldnt bother to try to get a 5k package for free is beyond me. Ironcad Innovate is almost identical to Full Ironcad, which might be a little more suited, less clutter of features to bamboozle, composer a handy free app too.

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 10/18/2019 05:11AM by MechaBits.
Re: Cad for printing...?? Moving On?
December 18, 2019 03:25AM
So what did you end up doing?

Re: Cad for printing...?? Moving On?
December 18, 2019 04:24AM
I'm curious about the changes in 360 that are mentioned here. It used to be free even commercially if you earn under 100k per year. What has changed?

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/18/2019 04:24AM by Ohmarinus.
Re: Cad for printing...?? Moving On?
December 18, 2019 09:00AM

Ultra MegaMax Dominator 3D printer: []
Re: Cad for printing...?? Moving On?
December 18, 2019 09:09AM
+1 vote for FreeCAD. The project is really coming along now. You still need to be aware of it's peculiarities to get the best of it, but it is at least stable for me now, and open source. With that at least the version I am using now can never become anything but free of charge to use.

All that said it is notably slow in some situations and not as easy to use as some commercial offerings.
Re: Cad for printing...?? Moving On?
December 18, 2019 09:37AM

Nothing has changed in my experience.

"Approval is required for renewal."

It is indeed a bit sketchy, we have no rights. But the software is good. And they have it at work so I can use it there anyway (educational).
Re: Cad for printing...?? Moving On?
December 18, 2019 11:38PM
are there any primitives in 360? or do you have to always draw a 2D shape first?
Re: Cad for printing...?? Moving On?
December 19, 2019 08:38AM
Yes, there are primitives and much more. Jeez, it's free. Load it and take a look at it. If you don't like it you can delete it.

Ultra MegaMax Dominator 3D printer: []
Re: Cad for printing...?? Moving On?
December 19, 2019 09:25AM

Its not that easy.. It requires windows!! So for some of us you had to install that windows crap first..
Re: Cad for printing...?? Moving On?
December 19, 2019 10:13AM
@DD I would only be interested in the CAM side of things, so wasnt going to try it till I needed to do that, I spent years on 3DSMax but have avoided it for years, it's an effort to work that way, so didnt fancy another autodesk app. At one time I did want to start using inventor, but today would prefer 360 over that, one day i'll give it a go but try to avoid wasting more time on new apps until it's really needed, and I'm starting to think I'll never get into the Cam side of things.

@Dust are you on Linux, there's another i'll never get around to, & i'll never use a Mac again, but still will never have enough time to use/master all the new DCC tools & workflows, many of the old sw I used to use is becoming redundant, knowledge I thought might be worth passing on is also fading into Dust.

Though I really didnt want to go to Windows 10 but some stuff needs it.

Thought you had to be online to use 360, not that i'm ever offline

Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 12/19/2019 10:52AM by MechaBits.
Re: Cad for printing...?? Moving On?
December 19, 2019 10:51AM
I hate windows as much as anyone, but the unfortunate truth is, the best consumer/hobbyist/semipro-grade CAD programs run under windows, and maybe Mac, but never linux. If I could get my 3D mouse to work in linux I'd probably switch to OnShape and dump windows forever.

OnShape, if it still has a free option, might be a good choice if you want to avoid windows completely. It runs in your browser with most of the work done "in the cloud", so you can even do 3D CAD via your phone if you want or need to (it should be very popular with the octoprint crowd). Its UI is similar to Solidworks because it was written by ex Solidworks people.

Until things change, I'll stick with windows and Fusion360. I am not concerned about it one day "going away" or suddenly requiring an expensive subscription. If that day comes I'll switch to another program.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/19/2019 10:53AM by the_digital_dentist.

Ultra MegaMax Dominator 3D printer: []
Re: Cad for printing...?? Moving On?
December 19, 2019 11:06AM
@DD Have you used the cam side of it? I dont like the idea of cloud based apps(especially if your trying to do something new) so will avoid as much as possible.
Re: Cad for printing...?? Moving On?
December 19, 2019 12:51PM
No I haven't used it.

Fusion360 is largely cloud based, too. You can still work on your stuff if your internet connection is down, but when it comes back up, Fusion360 is going to call home. That is the way almost everything is going. "Free" isn't really free.

You have to choose if you want the latest, best stuff or you can live with more difficult to use, or even buggy stuff with limited support. In the end, if you're going to do something on a computer, and the computer is on a network, someone's going to be able to get at your data and/or see what you're doing.

I can live with it in exchange for having good software to use. In most cases, data that's gathered is used to target advertising, and in most cases that can be blocked with appropriate software (uBlock Origin seems pretty good right now). But can you trust the ad blocking software people?

In the end, you have to give up control and hope that things won't get too bad. Or you can just stop using computers...

Ultra MegaMax Dominator 3D printer: []
Re: Cad for printing...?? Moving On?
December 20, 2019 04:59PM
I have ended up using OpenSCAD for everything I do these days. It's free, very powerful, but there are down-sides.

First, a background in some form of programming is a major advantage to get the structure of the code correct. This includes stuff like matching parentheses, variable scope, etc. I have written some form of code all my working life, from LaTeX word processing, HTML, Pascal, C, C++, C# and so on, so it all comes naturally to me. Solving code problems would be very difficult without this background, as the IDE isn't overly helpful (it's good, but not that good).

Second, It pays to have the ability to visualise shapes in your head while you're coding. I seem to have a natural talent for this, being able to picture where elements will go while I write the code - not false modesty, it's something I have been able to do, even when filing metal, or turning in my lathe.

I have tried an early version of FreeCAD but gave it up after a while, as I found it difficult to change components created earlier in a design - I worked through a design, realise that some basic part was wrong and try to alter it, only to find that all subsequent components failed horribly. I have no idea if this has improved in later versions.
Re: Cad for printing...?? Moving On?
December 20, 2019 09:24PM
I have been using Onshape for a while now and I love it. I just hope it will stay free for public projects...
Re: Cad for printing...?? Moving On?
December 21, 2019 05:46AM
I think it depends what you want to do. The underlying concept of a lot of CAD is that, the process of building models simulates the act of machining. So you can cut extrude to simulate milling, rotate helical extrude for threadcutting, or rotate extrude for turning. I think that's kind of the spirit of it, so in Solidworks for instance you end up with something approximating an ordered list of actions to be performed by a machinist. Of course to take SW as an example it does a lot more if you got the dough, simulate physics and do GD&T etc. At its best a lot of CAD is a way for an engineering designer to communicate with the craftsman who actually makes the part. Using a few of them I think they're built to that in mind.

So if that's the problem you need to solve then there are a lot of options, but if you are doing anything else or more: consider OpenSCAD. For instance, I'm sure deep in the help this is possible with others but if you want to build for instance a parametric model with calculated part geometries, because you are doing kinematic force & path calculations, and you want to solve your free body matrix within the code, and update the colors of force vector arrows based on force magnitudes, and quickly iterate thru contact geometries: there are two options, drafting it in pen with a straight edge and a notebook's worth of hand calculations, or OpenSCAD. OpenSCAD can do everything, it just is not very specialized, like commercial CAD. David J noted it helps to be able to visualize where things will be translated & rotated in OpenSCAD: I think that's a great engineering skill, which the program enforces. Other CADs, that help you to 'automate' the visualization task away, OpenSCAD, which kind of has it both ways, and drafting, kind of form a spectrum, of how much you need to think about your device.

OpenSCAD can do a lot, for instance, in the model I'm working on now, I took lathe gcode and made it a polygon, with quick G2, G3 functions, then rotate_extrude. Now the physical part I'm testing is in the model, and the model can inform design, then it can CAM back to the lathe an improved part. There are a half-dozen packages for this, Solidworks to EdgeCAM or etc, just giving an example. Since OpenSCAD is just a language, it can do it too -- it is just unspecialized, it's not a CAM or slice button, it's a 10-line function you write (or borrow). Would not recommend trying this in more than 2 axes. But maybe you could minkowski a milling tool head over a spline path, and difference that from stock geometry. Hell!

I also like the language, but I never did much professional coding except Excel and hand gcode. It's just a bunch of sets and functions. You can do really elaborate stuff with ordered, nested lists, applied to functions. That's basically what math is, at the end of the day, just an assload of sets and functions. I'm glad for all our options.
Re: Cad for printing...?? Moving On?
December 21, 2019 11:28AM
I've been using a front-end application for Openscad called Graphscad. It's free and uses 'nodes'. For example, put a cube node into the editor, adjust the sizes as needed, press the 'Openscad' button. It writes the OpenScad code so there's no coding, matching braces etc.You can chain nodes together with 'connection' lines and the Openscad generated code is correct. All 'nodes' are written in Python, and the Python source is provided. I've also created a number of new nodes. The downside, the application itself isn't open source and seems to be abandoned. Editing the Openscad generated code isn't for the faint of heart, but is rarely needed. It's much easier to edit the 'node' based code in Graphscad. Another great feature, if you have a complex model that doesn't look right, double clicking a node will generate the parts of the model up to the clicked node.
Re: Cad for printing...?? Moving On?
December 22, 2019 03:57AM
I like coding OpenSCAD! grinning smiley
Re: Cad for printing...?? Moving On?
December 23, 2019 03:43AM
I downloaded Graphscad onto linux mint (a derivative of Ubuntu) and when I tried to run it I immediately got a core dump. I'll stick to writing code...
Re: Cad for printing...?? Moving On?
December 23, 2019 04:49AM
OpenSCAD module in FreeCAD


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/23/2019 04:50AM by WesBrooks.
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