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CAD Recommendations for Mac?

CalgaryPT

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#1
I've always been terrible at drawing. I can visualize things in my head really well, but can never translate them to paper. So most of what I do is from the image in my head. When I had my CNC plasma I used the 2D software to do a lot of drawing and did find this useful.

I don't do CNC stuff anymore, and I don't do any machining really—other than the odd bit of shaft turning and facing. I don't machine small parts.

What I do a lot of is metal fabrication and mechanical stuff: working with angle iron, pipe and tubing. I do hydraulic bending, ironworking and welding. I also do a lot of artistic stuff. Typical projects for me might be a ramp for a house or truck, an artistic trellis, a hydraulic lift, mounting brackets for equipment, or even a sluice box for gold mining.

I'm looking for an easy to learn 3D CAD program for Mac. I don't want a monthly fee that's through the roof (like AutoCAD). I'd prefer a one time cost. My goal isn't to output DXF or G Code anymore, just render something and play with design and dimensions so I can see it on the screen. I do a lot of patent work too, but the cost of Inventor is too much for me and overkill. I've used things like EazyDraw but I want to be able to spin an object in 3D to help me visualize it better. And I don't want the hassle or expense of running a Windows emulator again, so it must be Mac native.

Does anyone have any suggestions for native iOS?
 
#2
A freebie that is really quite powerful and has quite a few features, is used a tonne in the 3D printer world, as well as other places, is one made by AutoDesk, the makers of AutoCad, Fusion360 and so on. The link is HERE. Name is TinkerCad. It is one that if one ever gets to want to move on to something "bigger and better" will have helped develop the right kind of thought process and layout training to use further down the road.

Have fun!!!!
 

CalgaryPT

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Premium Member
#3
A freebie that is really quite powerful and has quite a few features, is used a tonne in the 3D printer world, as well as other places, is one made by AutoDesk, the makers of AutoCad, Fusion360 and so on. The link is HERE. Name is TinkerCad. It is one that if one ever gets to want to move on to something "bigger and better" will have helped develop the right kind of thought process and layout training to use further down the road.

Have fun!!!!
I will look at this. Thanks :)
 

CalgaryPT

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#6
Fusion 360 Peter. Cheap like borscht (free probably for you - read the terms). Pretty capable. Mac Native. Here's a screenshot of my desktop... you can see the stuff I've been drawing on the left.
Hummm. Will look at tonight. Thanks John.
 
#7
f
Fusion 360 Peter. Cheap like borscht (free probably for you - read the terms). Pretty capable. Mac Native. Here's a screenshot of my desktop... you can see the stuff I've been drawing on the left.
+1 That is actually what I use. There are a tonne of youtubers that are always posting tips and how to's on it and I can always find out how to do whatever it is that I'm wanted to do with it. I've used it to draw out my plans for several of my projects. I actually drew up a spinning top that I made and then thought, "wonder if I could 3D print this as well?" With a few tiny modifications it printed up really nice!!! It was really cool to have some tops made of aluminum & brass as well as an exact replica in PLA!!!! And..........I'm one of the lucky ones to be in education and thus get a free licence for personal use.
 

CalgaryPT

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#8
f

+1 That is actually what I use. There are a tonne of youtubers that are always posting tips and how to's on it and I can always find out how to do whatever it is that I'm wanted to do with it. I've used it to draw out my plans for several of my projects. I actually drew up a spinning top that I made and then thought, "wonder if I could 3D print this as well?" With a few tiny modifications it printed up really nice!!! It was really cool to have some tops made of aluminum & brass as well as an exact replica in PLA!!!! And..........I'm one of the lucky ones to be in education and thus get a free licence for personal use.
Thanks. Looking good :)
 

PeterT

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Premium Member
#13
So you guys who are happily running hobby/freebee version of Fusion, whats the bottom line when it comes to files? Initially I thought I understood 'cloud based' which, beyond some marketing speak was kind of code word for 'not resident on your local drive'. But variations of paid subscriptions allowed offline saving & retrieving without issues. Have things changed or maybe I never really understood correctly? Not judging, just wondering.
 
#14
Thanks John - I may take you up on that.

BTW do yo have any experience with Google Sketch-up???
I've played with it in the past - but decided that it was more architecture centric (sure, you can still use it for anything!). I could be wrong, that's just my opinion of it. The support for Fusion (like Lars) seems to be much larger. Again, just IMHO.
 

Janger

(John)
Administrator
Premium Member
#15
I used to use Sketchup for everything. It's good. I agree it is more architecture centred it seems but I've designed lots of things with it. Furniture, decks, renovations, some parts. It does not have CAM which is part of why I've adopted Fusion.

PeterT asked about the files - you can put store them local if you prefer but I find the cloud is handy and decided not to worry about the storage location. Some people freak out about that I understand. Alex, John, and I have been sharing some files on the cloud and that is very convenient.

Here's some stuff I've done with Sketchup.
 

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PeterT

Ultra Member
Premium Member
#16
John, so you are saying you can build parts & assemblies, save them on your own device & there is no risk of them becoming 'read only' lock-down by not having a commercial/paid version of F360? I get the cloud for collaboration & storage, but it seemed to me (at least once upon a time) they were touting the advantages of cloud, but not really spelling out the fine print. Who knows, maybe it was once this way & no longer. Or I heard it from an unreliable source. Even some of the semi-commercial F360 pricing models they were advertising didn't seem so bad compared to full fledged 3D modelers. What little I've seen certainly looks like the industrial strength modelers although I've heard certain aspects are still a bit glitchy. Heck even Microsoft Office 365 is subscription based if you want to get technical about subscriptions & renewals which are not just confined to the apps themselves, it encompasses the 'data files' as well. Its the way of the world now I'm afraid, at least for the big boy developers including Adobe.

If it were me starting out I would certainly bite the bullet & go to Fusion. I've run several CAD systems over the years dating back to Autocad & several clones. The bottom line is in the 2D world, they are all similar, so may as well focus your valuable 'learning' time to one you can easily transition into 3D. Plus you are getting the CAM for free which is mind boggling. I feel like I wrote a more detailed explanation on this theme (maybe a few times now) in the forum, so I'll just leave it at that to search it out if you want.
 

Janger

(John)
Administrator
Premium Member
#17
Fusion does save your drawings in their own format - only makes sense I think. You can export to various other formats and you would have to keep on top of that. F360 could of course change their licensing model but you run that risk with anything I think. Sketchup same thing - Adobe - yup I agree - you've got vendor lock in regardless of who you pick. But really I think a monthly subscription makes so much more sense than buying a multi thousand dollar package and then facing expensive upgrades and compatibility issues. There's no free lunch. These tools are spectacularly expensive, many million, to build and I worry Fusion is going to put everyone else out of business. I was looking at John O's Bobcad program the other day - looks good & powerful. A few thousand $ as you would expect. How can they stay in business with Fusion eating all their business with Autodesk essentially subsidizing the small guys like me? Everybody soon will have to adopt a monthly fee approach I think.
 

CalgaryPT

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#18
I will download Fusion tomorrow and try it out. I think you are right John...certainly in the case of Google it looks more structure- oriented.
 

CalgaryPT

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#19
Fusion looks like they copied the Adobe model on Photoshop and Illustrator years ago -- free to students. Brilliant idea for obvious reasons. But it appears that they also extend it to hobby guys and cottage industries. Again, brilliant.

Looking forward to learning it....kinda. Learning curves can be both fun and scary. I remember the curve for the Torchmate software. Once I got into it, I loved sitting down with a coffee and playing with it. I'm hoping Fusion will be the same.
 
#20
I really really like Fusion 360, especially as I get more acquainted with what it's able to do. And one o the things I like most about becoming more acquainted is the plethora of Youtube videos available to show how to do anything I've wanted to learn to do. I have started drawing up the things after I've made the one, and worked out the adjustments needed, so that I can just pulpit up should I want to make another sometime. Here are a couple photos of ones that I've drawn up.

Fire Piston......... got the original dimensions from Clickspring (YouTuber) and then adjusted them to make a more efficient design with better ratio of compression to stroke length. Screen Shot 2019-05-30 at 8.43.21 AM.png

Here is a spinning top that I made up as a custom project for a co-worker to give as gifts last Christmas. I did them out of brass and aluminum and made 1/2 dozen of them for him.
Screen Shot 2019-05-29 at 3.34.11 PM.png
Screen Shot 2019-05-28 at 5.25.35 PM.png

I then got the bright idea a few months later that I could probably 3D print that and make a fun, cheap toy for the kiddies. I made a few modifications and it printed out and spins really quite well!!
Screen Shot 2019-05-29 at 3.33.39 PM.png

Anyway, I really recommend Fusion as an easy-ish to learn modelling software, with the easily available resources to find out how to do about anything you want to do with it.