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Free CAD Software Wanted

 
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Macro_Cosmos



Joined: 15 Jan 2018
Posts: 116
Location: Sydney

PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2018 2:38 am    Post subject: Free CAD Software Wanted Reply with quote

Hi everyone!

My macrography setup is near completion, I just need some custom made adapter plates for the various stages I have.

I have access to Solidworks, since my university offers it for "free" (which I use loosely, since I pay uni fees). It seems like a massive learning curve however.

All I need to do is design some plates with threaded holes and unthreaded mounting holes, nothing overly convoluted. I'm thinking about the old pencil-paper route, but can't really be bothered. Software should be easier for quality control. Oh, I also have no compass to draw out smaller circles.

Before anyone mentions "DIY", I'm not going to use wooden planks. I also have no access to raw aluminium sheets, and I have no machining skills, neither do I have any hardware to get the plates made. Some of the plates I need require very small through holes, 4-40 threaded/unthreaded to be exact, being a rather clumsy person, I highly doubt I can reach such a precision in my garage.

I have a source that makes reliable adapter plates at a reasonable rate, happy to do business with them. They offer anodising as well... no clue how to do that in my own house.

Paid software would be ok as well, as long as it's not extremely costly.
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mjkzz



Joined: 01 Jul 2015
Posts: 946
Location: California/Shenzhen

PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2018 4:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Google SketchUp is pretty good. it was started by Google, now I think it is a separate entity.
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Macro_Cosmos



Joined: 15 Jan 2018
Posts: 116
Location: Sydney

PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2018 5:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

mjkzz wrote:
Google SketchUp is pretty good. it was started by Google, now I think it is a separate entity.


Thanks! I will check them out.
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Smokedaddy



Joined: 07 Oct 2006
Posts: 1163
Location: Phoenix, Arizona

PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2018 6:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fusion 360 ... it's free. Will do more than you'll ever need. Parametric designs too. Lot's of tutors on Youtube and forums to ask for help. There's also OpenSCAD if you're the programming type (parametric as well). Many others out there too.

https://www.autodesk.com/products/fusion-360/overview

http://www.openscad.org/

-JW:
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anoldsole



Joined: 27 Feb 2018
Posts: 24

PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2018 1:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fusion 360 for sure. I use it for all my simple macro adapter needs. Intuitive program, easy to pick up, and lots of tutorials on how to use it for when you run into trouble. All for the low price of $0.00 for a hobbyist!

I used sketchup prior to switching to 360, it was great but lacked some of the power I wanted which I found in fusion. For instance, making holes correctly is absurdly easy in 360. I took a run at solidworks but it felt too assuming and powerful for the simple things I was creating.
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Macro_Cosmos



Joined: 15 Jan 2018
Posts: 116
Location: Sydney

PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2018 11:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Smokedaddy wrote:
Fusion 360 ... it's free. Will do more than you'll ever need. Parametric designs too. Lot's of tutors on Youtube and forums to ask for help. There's also OpenSCAD if you're the programming type (parametric as well). Many others out there too.

https://www.autodesk.com/products/fusion-360/overview

http://www.openscad.org/

-JW:


anoldsole wrote:
Fusion 360 for sure. I use it for all my simple macro adapter needs. Intuitive program, easy to pick up, and lots of tutorials on how to use it for when you run into trouble. All for the low price of $0.00 for a hobbyist!

I used sketchup prior to switching to 360, it was great but lacked some of the power I wanted which I found in fusion. For instance, making holes correctly is absurdly easy in 360. I took a run at solidworks but it felt too assuming and powerful for the simple things I was creating.


Thanks! I will check Fusion 360 out as well, a cost of $0.00 is always great Smile
All I need is a rectangle with some holes.
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Chris S.
Site Admin


Joined: 05 Apr 2009
Posts: 3039
Location: Ohio, USA

PostPosted: Thu Jun 14, 2018 12:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Null data is rarely interesting, but here goes: A free CAD program I recently spent many hours trying, after reading positive reviews, was LibreCAD: A free, open-source 2D CAD application for Windows, Apple, and Linux. Last winter, I spent several days designing a 2D adapter in LibreCAD. While I did successfully design and fabricate the part using this program, I found LibreCAD buggy, poorly documented, and incredibly annoying. I spent so many hours puzzling out software problems that I'd have much preferred to pay for a CAD program that behaved predictably. Based on this experience, I neither recommend LibreCAD nor intend to use it again.

Afterward, I installed AutoCAD on my computer. Have played with this software only a bit, but have so far been impressed with its lack of bugs and wealth of tutorials and support. This said, AutoCAD is expensive. I've not had occasion (though I soon will) to use this program to design a part for fabrication. Based on discussion in this thread, Fusion 360 seems a strong candidate due to its price (free to hobbyists). I have zero experience with Fusion 360.

But for anyone who values time, I'd suggest also looking at AutoCAD.

--Chris S.
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Macro_Cosmos



Joined: 15 Jan 2018
Posts: 116
Location: Sydney

PostPosted: Thu Jun 14, 2018 5:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Chris S. wrote:
Null data is rarely interesting, but here goes: A free CAD program I recently spent many hours trying, after reading positive reviews, was LibreCAD: A free, open-source 2D CAD application for Windows, Apple, and Linux. Last winter, I spent several days designing a 2D adapter in LibreCAD. While I did successfully design and fabricate the part using this program, I found LibreCAD buggy, poorly documented, and incredibly annoying. I spent so many hours puzzling out software problems that I'd have much preferred to pay for a CAD program that behaved predictably. Based on this experience, I neither recommend LibreCAD nor intend to use it again.

Afterward, I installed AutoCAD on my computer. Have played with this software only a bit, but have so far been impressed with its lack of bugs and wealth of tutorials and support. This said, AutoCAD is expensive. I've not had occasion (though I soon will) to use this program to design a part for fabrication. Based on discussion in this thread, Fusion 360 seems a strong candidate due to its price (free to hobbyists). I have zero experience with Fusion 360.

But for anyone who values time, I'd suggest also looking at AutoCAD.

--Chris S.


I have the same feeling after fiddling with some well rated freeware. I mean, it's free, which is good enough. Can't expect too much. There are good freeware but those are loaded with ads. and bundled with other junk which pisses people off, but the labour isn't free.

My uni offers many CAD software for download. I guess I should just learn them at this point. It could also be a useful asset after I graduate, since I'm in a similar field anyway.
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Smokedaddy



Joined: 07 Oct 2006
Posts: 1163
Location: Phoenix, Arizona

PostPosted: Thu Jun 14, 2018 7:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

... since your project is rather simple, a pencil and paper drawing at 1:1 seems a lot more logical than learning a CAD program unless your discipline eventually utilizes it 'or' you have a need for learning it for other purposes (modeling, 3D printing etc.). BTW all software, CAD or otherwise, are substantially discounted for students and in some cases free. I started using AutoCAD back in the 80's, excellent program. It's a industry standard in my field. All you have to do is register online, enter all the data Autodesk is asking for, university url etc., and you're all set. The license should be good for 3 years.
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Macro_Cosmos



Joined: 15 Jan 2018
Posts: 116
Location: Sydney

PostPosted: Thu Jun 14, 2018 9:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Smokedaddy wrote:
... since your project is rather simple, a pencil and paper drawing at 1:1 seems a lot more logical than learning a CAD program unless your discipline eventually utilizes it 'or' you have a need for learning it for other purposes (modeling, 3D printing etc.). BTW all software, CAD or otherwise, are substantially discounted for students and in some cases free. I started using AutoCAD back in the 80's, excellent program. It's a industry standard in my field. All you have to do is register online, enter all the data Autodesk is asking for, university url etc., and you're all set. The license should be good for 3 years.

The problem with pencil and paper is pencil 404, I do not use pencils... in fact I kind of really hate pencils. I do electrical engineering and have mathematics as a submajor, learning these software should be useful in the future. I'd like to work in the field of industrial cameras and automation. Seeing each component listed on thorlabs and Newport includes CAD files, I guess I should just learn it. I struggled with even reading them when I picked up this (extremely expensive) hobby. Very Happy
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Smokedaddy



Joined: 07 Oct 2006
Posts: 1163
Location: Phoenix, Arizona

PostPosted: Thu Jun 14, 2018 9:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

... check this out (in case you're not aware).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JHfe_b_vyG0

-JW:
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ray_parkhurst



Joined: 20 Nov 2010
Posts: 1641
Location: Santa Clara, CA, USA

PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2018 12:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I use PowerPoint for all my cad work. It's actually a nice little cad package. Of course you need to have it installed, and it's not free, unless you have access (no pun intended).
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