Author Topic: Suggestions for 3D software  (Read 1312 times)

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voldemort

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Suggestions for 3D software
« on: November 14, 2021, 02:11:09 PM »
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I can see what I want to build in my mind.  But I've never progressed far with any 3D software.

I can do Computer thingies, and can use a 2D software.  I can do photoshop.

Any suggestions for which software would be the best to learn (easiest), cheap and has enough muscle to do some of the beautiful things I see on the board?

Thanks

GimpLizard

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Re: Suggestions for 3D software
« Reply #1 on: November 14, 2021, 05:56:54 PM »
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But I've never progressed far with any 3D software.

Any suggestions for which software would be the best to learn (easiest), cheap and has enough muscle to do some of the beautiful things I see on the board?

Thanks

Not sure how cheap you're looking for, but one very powerful program I've recently learned about is Alibre Atom3D (https://www.alibre.com/Atom3D/) currently on sale for $99.50.

I've brought a copy but haven't had time to play around with it yet. However, from what I read at the web site, and seen in their "training" videos, it appears to comparable to much more expensive, "pro-grade" software.

Chris333

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Re: Suggestions for 3D software
« Reply #2 on: November 14, 2021, 06:47:50 PM »
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Not sure how cheap you're looking for, but one very powerful program I've recently learned about is Alibre Atom3D (https://www.alibre.com/Atom3D/) currently on sale for $99.50.

I've brought a copy but haven't had time to play around with it yet. However, from what I read at the web site, and seen in their "training" videos, it appears to comparable to much more expensive, "pro-grade" software.

Questions:
Does it need the internet to work?
Do they bug you every year to upgrade to the newest version?
Do you need to create an account and sign in?

up1950s

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Re: Suggestions for 3D software
« Reply #3 on: November 14, 2021, 07:55:54 PM »
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How about software that can accept a photo to scan . We highlight 10 % width and 10 % height within an area as close to perpendicular with the camera angle. The software renders a drawing of the image which can be flexed like the Shapeways 3D thingy . We then can copy and resize and save for model making measurements , etc .

IronPenguin

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Re: Suggestions for 3D software
« Reply #4 on: November 14, 2021, 08:23:59 PM »
+1
Are you talking about software to create files for printing with 3d printers?
Tinkercad is probably the easiest (and free) program to learn and is powerful enough to do most things.
Mike Tennent
IronPenguin Electronics
https://tennentm.wixsite.com/ironpenguin

wcfn100

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Re: Suggestions for 3D software
« Reply #5 on: November 14, 2021, 08:35:11 PM »
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Fusion 360 is the best free software I've used but they keep changing subscription so I'm unsure how strongly to recommend it.

I always look for good rail and loft functions and prefer parametric modelers that will do assemblies.


Jason

peteski

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Re: Suggestions for 3D software
« Reply #6 on: November 14, 2021, 08:38:40 PM »
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Fusion 360 is the best free software I've used but they keep changing subscription so I'm unsure how strongly to recommend it.

I always look for good rail and loft functions and prefer parametric modelers that will do assemblies.


Jason

How many years did it take you to get really comfortable with the CAD software?  Nothing related to Fusion 360, but just a general question to get some insight about actually being able to design something other than very simple shapes that is worth printing.
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wcfn100

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Re: Suggestions for 3D software
« Reply #7 on: November 14, 2021, 09:01:13 PM »
+1
How many years did it take you to get really comfortable with the CAD software?  Nothing related to Fusion 360, but just a general question to get some insight about actually being able to design something other than very simple shapes that is worth printing.

My experience won't translate so I can't give a good answer.

I'm certain that the things people find simple and easy in their current program, they could also learn them in a more robust program.  All these programs are just a set of tools.  Once you're able to visualize how a tool works, that tool generally translates to other programs.  On the flip side however, if you use a simpler program, you're not getting access to all the tools and may have to spend a lot of time to try and draw something a different way and may successful.

That said, there can be different ideal work flows between the different programs and that may be a big determiner when selecting a program.

Jason




ncbqguy

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Re: Suggestions for 3D software
« Reply #8 on: November 14, 2021, 09:26:27 PM »
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Jason mentioned one of my top questions....
What programs can import files created in other programs and are there any common transport formats such as pdf is in graphics?
This will likely get kicked to 3D but some may have interest in the opening rounds of this topic that don’t frequent that corner.
Charlie Vlk

GimpLizard

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Re: Suggestions for 3D software
« Reply #9 on: November 14, 2021, 10:25:51 PM »
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Questions:
Does it need the internet to work?
Do they bug you every year to upgrade to the newest version?
Do you need to create an account and sign in?

1. To run the program? No. But you need web access to activate the license.
2. A year of upgrades is a $50 option, but not required.
3. No. You can order via CC, or you can call them and buy via a purchase order

What programs can import files created in other programs and are there any common transport formats such as pdf is in graphics?
Charlie Vlk

The "pro" level programs (Solidworks, CATIA, OnShape, Creo, etc.) can generally read native files from some, but not all other programs. Though, in my experience with Solidworks, it didn't do it very well. So the more common approach, for sharing files between programs, is to use a neutral format, such as STEP ar IGES. Which all higher end software can read/write. The only problem with doing that, however, is you loose the "history-tree". So modifying the models can become a bit of a hassle.

That's one of the reasons I like KeyCreator. It's a "direct" modeller, rather than a "parametric" (or "history-based") modeller. So, because it doesn't rely on the history-tree, it treats imported files as if they are native to KeyCreator.

Now, having said all that, few of the entry level programs I've seen will read STEP or IGES. That's why I was initially drawn to Alibre Atom3D. It will. I have a friend who, while working, was a KeyCreator user. He's now retired. And he can't afford to pay $3500+ for his own seat of KeyCreator. He asked me if I could recommend something else to him. So, knowing he and I would be sharing files, I went looking for a program that would read/write STEP files.

Another option would be TurboCAD. (https://www.turbocad.com/) Which has similar functionality as Alibre. But it's around $230 for the basic (they call it the "Deluxe") version.
« Last Edit: November 14, 2021, 10:59:59 PM by GimpLizard »

Chris333

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Re: Suggestions for 3D software
« Reply #10 on: November 14, 2021, 11:02:35 PM »
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Thanks I read their site while at work. I'll download it and give it a try.

It specifically  says once you pay you own it.

Chris333

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Re: Suggestions for 3D software
« Reply #11 on: November 15, 2021, 04:23:32 AM »
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Yeah I downloaded it then waited over an hour from my computer to load files it said I needed.

Opened a file with it an couldn't even pan around or select an object. It might be a good program, but needs way more than 30 days to try and figure out.

GimpLizard

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Re: Suggestions for 3D software
« Reply #12 on: November 15, 2021, 11:32:24 AM »
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Opened a file with it an couldn't even pan around or select an object. It might be a good program, but needs way more than 30 days to try and figure out.

They have tutorial videos on YouTube that might help you get up and running a lot quicker. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCpnwejhqfEvN2sv-LRV8row/videos

They also have a PDF that will take you through creating a few simple parts and making an assembly from them. https://www.alibre.com/atom3d-training/

I finally got around to playing with it last night. It's pretty much like any other parametric CAD. I was able to make the model below in just a couple of minutes. (But then, to be fair, I do have nearly 20 years of Solidworks experience.) From what I've seen so far, I like it. Well... as much as I like parametric CAD to begin with.

[ Guests cannot view attachments ]

As for panning; click and hold the left-mouse button to "slide" the model around. Clicking and holding both the left & right buttons allows you to rotate the model. Scrolling the middle button will zoom in/out.

Sumner

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Re: Suggestions for 3D software
« Reply #13 on: November 15, 2021, 01:27:27 PM »
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Strongly recommend trying Fusion 360.  What does one have to loose as it is free as long as you aren't using it commercially,  If you did end up wanting to use it to design prints to sell it would still be worth the yearly cost in that case in my opinion.  It has all the features one needs to design about anything and there are tons of YouTube videos to help with the learning process.  You will have to be committed to spending some time with it though.  I worried about the yearly re-registration to keep using it 'free'.  Shouldn't of as it took about 5 minutes to get another years use out of it.  Even if you switched at some point other programs with the same or less strengths would probably have similar commands.

As far as the time required to get up to speed that is going to vary widely from one user to another.  I had used SketchUp some in the 2 dimensional mode but not a lot and not much transferred to Fusion 360.  I bought an Ender 3 Pro in March of 2020 and also signed up with and download Fusion 360 late in the same month.  Looked at a couple YouTube videos then and as I needed them later.  This one helped the most to begin with ( 
).

I'm retired and love designing so spent a lot of hours learning/doing this past 18 months.  To give you an idea what I was able to accomplish using it here is a timeline of what I was able to do in the first year using it (there were also many smaller projects during that time).  I've seen some accomplish a lot more in the same time period and some less.

Late March 2020 downloaded Fusion 360 free as a hobbyist.

Mid April 2020 after designing simpler items ....



.... the White truck and commercial building.

June 2020...



... Water tower and pump house that can also be used as a standalone building.

Sept 2020...



.... Freight Transfer building with detailed interior.

Jan 2021...



... Roundhouse.

April 2021....



... Turntable.

Besides the items above I've got over 100 designs up on thingiverse.com (  https://www.thingiverse.com/sumner/designs  ).  One can see the timeline there for when I designed them and put them up.  I've also designed and printed a number of items that aren't up there but that I've used.

I'd strongly recommend trying Fusion 360.  I'm not aware of any other program with as much power that you can download for free and at this point if I had to buy it I would as I'm not sure I could even buy a better program for the same price.

Download it.  Stick with it for a couple weeks and then decide if it is for you,

Sumner
« Last Edit: November 16, 2021, 05:53:49 PM by Sumner »
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kornellred

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Re: Suggestions for 3D software
« Reply #14 on: November 16, 2021, 10:00:49 AM »
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Absolutely free, most likely forever.  Lots of tutorials on youtube.  Very popular in Europe.