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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-21-2012, 11:53 AM Thread Starter
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What CAD software do you use???

Hey guys i have realized that in order to truly build some bad ass stuff i need to learn CAD. I will be teaching myself and i have ZERO experience, i am looking for a program that is easy to use and has lots of good how to style help available online. I want to be able to built common stuff bumper sliders etc, i also want to be able to perform stress analysis to ensure my parts will hold. Does anyone know which program might be good for me? Budget is pretty slim and i have really looked into solid-works but it seems expensive. Goggle sketchup seems common but i don't think its really what i am looking for.
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-21-2012, 12:17 PM
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I run autodesk inventor as my job. I'm hopping to buy the light version for personal use this summer (same use as you pretty much, sliders, bumpers, other hobbies. May make a DBA out of it). I learned the basics in one of my classes in college and gone from there. I don't know about stress analysis with the program. Last I checked I can get the LT version for $500-600. I don't know what solid works runs but these are the common 3d programs I'm aware of.

When u say you have ZERO CAD experience do u mean no 2d also? If so best advice I have is find a trade school and take some classes. I've been running just inventor for 3 years now and 2d before that through college for a couple years. I'm still constantly learning. It's great stuff to know just realize that it takes time to learn how to use it. If it was easy everybody would be doing it. Just my

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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-21-2012, 12:23 PM Thread Starter
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I have some 2D experience but probably not enough. I am in college right now so i was hoping to find a way to learn it on my free time.
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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-21-2012, 12:34 PM
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I took 3-4 classes with 2d from basics to housing design before taking my inventor class. 3d is more involved but it is where the manufacturing industry is at. You should be able to get a student version for little of nothing if not free. Check you college for any 3d design classes (Prolly inventor or solidworks is what they'll offer). I didn't even need mine for my degree but took the class my last semester just to fill my schedule and because I had all the prerequisites. Now I've turned that class into a career. If you get the student version and learn on your own your gona need a book to teach you what's what. I guess it could be done but I still like a professor for when u have a question.

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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-21-2012, 01:16 PM
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Solidworks hands down.

I would not spend much time on 2D stuff, 3D is where it is at. You should be able to score a student version of Solidworks for ~$500.

I have used all of the major CAD packages (I-Deas, Pro-E, Catia, Unigraphics, Solidworks) and Solidworks is by far the most user friendly and easiest to learn. There are hundreds of youtube videos and plenty of online training materials available.

I work in the Aviation and Aerospace industry. I would say that 75% of my vendors / customers use Solidworks. The only area that solidworks is lacking is surfacing. They have a few basic tools, but nothing like Catia. Other than that, it is a great package for solid modeling and mechanical design.

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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-21-2012, 01:44 PM
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^^ what he said ^^

Solidworks is industry standard in most engineering and science fields.

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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-21-2012, 02:43 PM Thread Starter
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okay i just got back from campus and messing with solid works. MAN i am in for a long journey, I tried to use the solid works how to but its less than detailed. I guess i will just wait till next semester and take a solid works class.
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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-21-2012, 02:49 PM
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the best way to learn SW is to play with it and go through its tutorials. Thats how I learned. Once you have the basics down you can figure out the more finite details of modeling pretty quickly

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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-21-2012, 03:12 PM
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I use Inventor and SW


I personally have both at home and I think both are 2010 versions... $$$$

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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-21-2012, 03:58 PM
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ive never touched any cad program before this semester, and we run autodesk here at school... its ok i guess

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post #11 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-22-2012, 10:40 AM
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Solidworks has a free 2d program called draftsight. It's pretty easy to use and they have a forum if you have questions. I made a set of beadlock rings in about 15 min the first time I used it.

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post #12 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-22-2012, 06:46 PM
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All autodesk software is FREE for students/faculty.

I personally use rhino 3d for most things. There is a work in progress license for mac that is free but does not have all of the features as the windows version.
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post #13 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-22-2012, 07:49 PM
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^^ what he said ^^

Solidworks is industry standard in most engineering and science fields.
I'd go ahead and argue that statistic. While solidworks may have a more friendly user interface, Autodesk Inventor is a very powerful program, especially now with Algor being acquired. I work for a fortune 500 company (#248)and we dabble in everything from aerospace to servo motors and we use Inventor and Fusion.

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post #14 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-24-2012, 12:51 AM
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I use Autocad for all my 2D stuff. Was taught it in college, so i'm just comfortable with it now.

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post #15 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-24-2012, 09:09 AM
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Solidworks and inventor.

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post #16 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-24-2012, 09:21 AM
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I use Autocad for all my 2D stuff. Was taught it in college, so i'm just comfortable with it now.
I did tons of 2din college before taking my inventor class. Haven't touched autocad since then. 3d is way better.

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okay i just got back from campus and messing with solid works. MAN i am in for a long journey, I tried to use the solid works how to but its less than detailed. I guess i will just wait till next semester and take a solid works class.
That's your best bet. You can try on your own but I prefer a class. Good luck. Solidworks and inventor are the best bet. As long as its one of them your good.

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post #17 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-24-2012, 10:19 AM
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Solidworks ftw. its expensive, but is extremley powerful. I have it at work so I dont have to worry about the price


i would argue that most engineering companies use soldworks.

if its a civil firm, they most likely use autocad

i know of several companies that use Pro-E, Boeing being one of them.

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post #18 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-24-2012, 10:59 AM
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I learned quite a few in school, AutoCAD, Inventor, Solid Edge, Solidworks, CATIA, MasterCAM X (CNC)...
Inventor is easiest to use... CATIA is by far the most powerful (and by far the most expensive)
Solidworks would be good.
AutoCAD has changed alot since i've used it, it's better for 3D now, but i liked the programs "made" for 3 more... you can draw your shape and then apply dimensions. With autocad, you have to draw your shape WITH your dimensions... more of a pain especially when learning.
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