What is your designer/CAD of choice?

I agree with you,

Most of the time I do not like using cloud based services for that exact reason, you have little control over what happens to your file after you upload it.

For me I do not have anything that would be even worth stealing or that I care about in terms of copyright. I am really not very good at 3d modeling, so usually If I get a part that works in the end it is a win for me! Most of my parts are just quick fixes for things, or hotend mounts, etc. so nothing really worth stealing.

I do export all of my files locally when I am done modeling, this way if something was to happen I always have a local backup. If this was not an option like in the case of onshape I just wouldn’t use it.

I mostly use TinkerCAD because I can understand it… I have downloaded FreeCAD, and I find it hard to learn, even with help from the many videos… The problem with any of the CAD programs is that if you don’t use it often enough you forget how…


agreed, I originally used google sketchup for most items until I finally got onto the 360 bandwagon. Was doing some addativite manufacturing courses and they used solidworks. because both are parametric modeling based the transition was not difficult. Keyboard shortcuts were different and the like but operations were done almost the same way.

Some might consider me to be old-school but I still back up all my major projects to a memory stick, when I was in school they paid for us to have a Microsoft OneDrive account, I would however back all my documents to a memory stick and it paid off as at one point there was server problems and I was able to get an extra class of work because I could still access my work while everyone couldn’t do anything and the teacher opted to add another class to allow everyone the expected time to complete allowing myself more time to edit and improve

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I was using F360 but they shifted the rules and I’ve not forked out for a license. I don’t do enough design work as yet. For a few of the things I’ve designed from scratch, MS Windows 3D Builder has been sufficient oddly enough. Neither Cura, Creality’s take on that, or Prusa Slicer have had issues. I was eyeing OpenSCAD and FreeCAD, but have had to shelve that due to other demands on my time, but maybe on my next mid winter staycation???

Love it @dkerrivan I missed another one from the list above. Updated it to show the 3D builder as well. Had no clue there were this many out there.

Compare Fusion 360 vs Fusion 360 for Personal Use | Autodesk try this link for Fusion 360 it is what I use, it is free and if you are a hobbyist like me it does everything I need. At present I am designing and printing an excavator that I hope to make remote controlled and it has all been designed using the above program. I do nothing for payment.

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In the past, I have used OpenSCAD, but it is a strong limitation for complex designs. I looked for something that I could learn quickly (I was under the gun to product a very complex design), and found Shapr3D. It promised I could learn it in a few days, and was “intuitive.” It had a 14 day free trial and a “free” mode. So, I downloaded it and took a test drive following their video on how to make a very complex (for me) item, with curves, rounded edges, counter-sunk screws, all the stuff hard to do in OpenSCAD. WOW, it was beautiful, and it only took me 20 minutes to do! I was amazed!

Of course, I knew I did not remember all of the steps I used to make the model, but I got the idea. So I set out to start the design - I had 14 days, after all, and so far, I only used an hour.

Well, turns out I get a lot of the design done easily in 14 days. Of course there was NO WAY I was going to not purchase the yearly fee - it is not cheap at $299 or $399 (I forgot which), but well worth the price if you are a business.

Since then, I have learned a lot more and have been able to refine my model, add metal hinges for a lid, add snaps to hold the lid closed, with rapid release buttons, and much more. It is almost production ready. Ran into a lot of issues with a Prusa XL that got a damaged (bent) print bed during shipping - still waiting to get that fixed. So I bought a Creality K1 MAX - just big enough for my model. WOW, and fast and accurate!

Anyway, I love Shapr3D - it is getting better all the time (the yearly payments makes it possible for them to add and improve features), so I would recommend it to anyone as a very intuitive interface for creating complex models!

No CAD package of any worth can be learned in a few days.

I’d challenge that assertion. I’ve done a number of classes with kids over the years with TinkerCad and I’ve seen some really remarkable designs being produced after just two or three classes - once somebody gets the concept of adding and deleting objects is mastered, many people can extend that to very sophisticated models.

On the other end of the scale, I’ve worked with a number of professional designers over the years that move to new CAD systems effortlessly in just a couple of days. Interfaces may be different as are how to add library models (and other file functions including model sharing and release processes) but the basic operation is generally the same.

Personally, I use FreeCAD simply because I know there are no exorbitant or hidden licensing fees as well as commercial restrictions on design or included resources usage. If things changed and I had to go with a different system, I feel pretty comfortable that I could work productively with another package with a minimum amount of transition time.

My current design of a CoreXY toolhead with a Micro Swiss NG REVO toolhead with EBB42 toolhead controller on linear rails:

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I too stand by my comment, Uhh going full Alpha male.

Tinkercad is a simplistic cad package that was designed for children but is used by many others because it is simple and easy to use. It does not compare to Solidworks, Inventor or Solidedge for example. If someone is competent with any of the mainstream cad packages then it will be easy for them to switch over to a new one since it is mostly a matter of learning the new interface. The underlying cad basics are pretty well standardized under the hood.

If you give someone without any cad experience a package (not tinkercad or equivalent) and say learn it that is another thing all together. It will take them a considerable time to master it. Taking proper cad training at a school/college with take several semesters to be fully qualified at it

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when i first started with onshape I took about a week or 2 of probably 2 hours a day to work through there provided tutorials that the teacher had me do, and I am still learning. However that got me decently competent to do what I needed for a grade 9 level course

Just to be clear, several days - I think Friday, Saturday, Sunday to be exact, and spending at least 8 hours for the first 2 days, and 4 hours on Sunday so 20 hours. I went from having zero experience with a graphical user interface approach to 3D modeling to having build the entire base, sides, and top panels of the product. Many changes later, we have a corrected and greatly improved version with hinges for the lid, snap holders for lowering it and holding it, simple press to release, posts for circuit boards and support for the keyboard, and a lot of other details. I would never have moved forward on the platform, except it was intuitive to use. I wish they allowed images to be uploaded… Some of the details I always hated with OpenSCAD were as simple as clicking on an intersection and typing in the radius, for example. The interface is quite amazing, actually.

So I stand by my claim of “a few days” because I did it. You don’t believe it? Try it - it’s free to try. After that, come back and tell me YOU can’t do it. But I betcha you can.

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I’ve been using cad for 30 years so there isn’t any point to it. I have tried Openscad and didn’t like it, I stick to parametric modellers that use a mouse.

The reason I liked OpenSCAD was - after my experience with TinkerCAD - I wanted to make a change in something I put in place much earlier in the design. Maybe I was missing something, but I saw no way to do that in TinkerCAD - you had to undo all the steps back to where the change was desired, and then you had to redo all the steps. With OpenSCAD, I could just change the program.

That works fairly well if you are a programmer, and if your design is mostly rectangular, or at least uses simple angles, like 45°. But then it gets hard. Too hard.

It’s not me saying I learned ALL of Shapr3D in 3 days. I learned enough to get a great start on my model and its various pieced so I felt confident I could complete it. I am still learning on some of the more esoteric techniques that seldom come up. I am sure many other platforms also work well and can be learned - maybe as easily as Shapr3D, for all I know. I did not try them all… :slight_smile:

If Sharpr3d works for you then that is all that matters. There are several CAD packages that are free and of good quality that you could check out.

Solidedge is a good, free 3d parametric modeller without any restrictions other then it is in a different format then their commercial product.

Freecad is a free, open source 3d modeller that has quite a following

Hi all. New user here.

I guess I’ll be the odd guy out here. I use SketchUp to model for 3D printing. I’ve been using it for more than 20 years for other 3D modeling so it was just a natural for me to stick with it. It works great for me. Here’s a link to some images if anyone wants to see some of the stuff I’ve printed. Some of the early stuff isn’t great but I was still getting the printer tuned up. FWIW, all the screw threads work just fine straight off the printer.

The green stuff is nGen which a friend recommended. I’m still struggling with it, though.

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