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novastar

Advice about wchich CAD program

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Hi everyone !

I would to have some advice about which (freeware) CAD program is the best to learn and use wenn you are relative new to design with CAD programs. I can already use Sketchup at beginner skill. I also downloaded autocad 123D, which also seems nice. Many people also use Blender, but i don't know if thats good for a beginner.

I have a david scanner and i would like to transform/design my scans (*.obj) to nice 3d models and print it with my Ultimaker !

Anyone can give some beginner advice ??

Greetz Novastar

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I think you just summed up the 2 freeware programs that I would recommend. Besides sketchup I can work with Rhino3D, which is actually a bit of a pain-in-the-ass if you have never worked with 3d before, but they gave it to me in school and still using it for the more tricky builds.

When you just want to make some simple prints (for example a cup) then I would recommend sketchup, but if you want to get more into 3d I would really recommend blender, unless you want to spend X000 dollar on software.

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Blender is not really a CAD program, it's more a 3D modeler. Sketchup is a bit in between.

If you want to design mechanical parts then a CAD program is easier, if you want to create pretty things, then a 3D modeler is better.

Al these tools can be quite tricky to learn, and tutorials help a lot (also for sketchup)

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I have to agree with Daid here. With CAD programs you are going to be looking at very precise models as their intended use is generally for engineering purposes. 3D modelers such as blender tend to be more freeform. Primarily I've worked with maya, mudbox, blender, sculptris, and zbrush for modeling. In my opinion If you want to do organics you aren't going to beat something like sculptris (the free version of zbrush) or zbrush in price or performance. If i remember correctly sculptris can export objs which is a standard object file type consistent with most 3d modeling programs. With that file you can load it into a program able to generate .stl. Blender is a bit of a doozy to learn, I had the benefit of coming from maya which is also advanced.

I have heard decent things about the freeware Meshlab. I haven't used it myself but it might be worth taking a look at.

While I am still fairly new to blender I can say its feature set is extensive and in many ways comparable to maya. Many features I prefer actually. I would probably use blender for hard surface modeling, and sculptris for organics. You'll find that many programs have their strengths and weaknesses and you'll get the best results when you have a workflow between them.

Just my 2 cents, not worth much :)

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I have never used this package but all the more sophisticated packages are similar and take time to master. You can get training packages with these now, often sold separately. All I would say is that you should seek a full demonstration before you buy it to make sure that it does what your want and what you expect from it.

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Anyone using or used TurboCAD?

Thanks,

Steve Greenfield AE7HD

Is "never heard of it" also an option?

Really? Hm. I suppose it is an option. It wasn't terribly expensive, under $200 including 3D and two training DVDs and books (one for 2D, one for 3D). I'd like to find out if anyone else is using it for this sort of thing.

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I've been using Sketchup for a few months now, just long enough to be super frustrated with it. There are too many limitations, the lines love to move all by themselves when another line is too close, and intersecting models with a lot of detail always just turns into a giant mess. I'm not wasting my time with it any more, so good timing on this thread.

I am going to try 123D, will report in a future update of how things went.

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Alright, so maybe I just needed to complain about it. I scaled my models up by 10x, and magically the holes disappeared when intersecting. I did read somewhere that sketchup did not like working with small mm dimensions, and lo and behold it is true. I have no idea why the program thinks it matters what the "actual" size something is, it's just numbers in virtual space. Not sure if this fixes the lines moving by themselves problem as well, I also disabled line snapping and I am hopeful.

Also, the camera "control" in sketchup is maddening, it seems like the camera is always getting caught on something and refuses to zoom, then suddenly breaks through and ends up so far away that your model is just a speck in the distance. Also when you rotate the view it doesn't rotate in one spot as you would expect, it swivels your perspective along some imaginary track that is centred around ??? I don't know what, some arbitarty distance in front of you. Really fun when trying to manoeuvre inside tight quarters and your camera keeps getting kicked out sideways.

Enough ranting though, I feel kind of bad moving to a new program after spending so long learning the tricks in sketchup. I don't think I will abandon it altogether, but I do want to give 123d a fair try.

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Yes, sketchup doesn't like mm scale. It's designed for drawing buildings. So the trick is to work at m scale (x1000) and scale it down after you made the STL file.

I think if you go into preferences and select "Product Design and Woodworking - Millimeters" as your Template it behaves much nicer. I think the initial default uses Meters as the default Unit which is more suitable for Architects designing buildings or landscapes etc.

It makes it easier too when typing in values as you do not have to follow your number with "mm"

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Yes, sketchup doesn't like mm scale. It's designed for drawing buildings. So the trick is to work at m scale (x1000) and scale it down after you made the STL file.

I think if you go into preferences and select "Product Design and Woodworking - Millimeters" as your Template it behaves much nicer. I think the initial default uses Meters as the default Unit which is more suitable for Architects designing buildings or landscapes etc.

It makes it easier too when typing in values as you do not have to follow your number with "mm"

Even with the millimeters "profile" it behaves quite bad at the sub mm level. Sadly enough, as this gives a false sense that it would work.

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I've been putting in figures of 0.1mm accuracy with no probs. At the moment I've been making a Bike Phone Mount and I move the lid to 0.1mm away from the base so I can line things up between pieces but avoid the pieces from joining. These have not joined each other etc. I think this accuracy is enough for our printers. I seem to be able to use numbers down to 0.05mm and it seems to place those things right. It just reports back the distance to the nearest .1mm. For example I type in 3.45mm it will place the point there but if I measured it later it would show as ~3.5mm. One thing I find it does if you do your circles and curves above 36 sides it will join some of them sides into a smooth surface and some not. The part where it makes it curved is hard to work with as it no longer has end points to snap too etc. So I just use 32 sides or less. Sometimes when moving things attached to other things your lines of the other thing move in funny undesirable ways. I just finish the move, delete these lines and redo them. Sometimes A big surface that disappears and reappears when you do a finishing line the holes on that surface may fill in and not be selectable in order to cut them out again. All you have to do here is redraw one line of that hole and then you can select it's surface separately again to remove it. I do find the more I use it, the less frustrating it gets. I use the hide feature to hide things which get in the way often and this helps too. Using lots of measuring marks with tape measure and protractor helps and always have the instructor window open to good tips on how to use the current tool I'm using. I'm bagging it heaps less these days. It can definitely do some stuff fast.

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Ownen, if you go into window>model info you can change the displayed precision, so instead of ~3.4 it will actually show 3.45 or even 3.454.

I know there are instances where it "works" when you have lines close together, but I have encountered many reproducable instances where it does not, (under the Architechtural Millimetres template anyway, have not been using any others)

The smooth surface you see on a many-sided sided polygon is actually an illusion. You can go to view>show hidden geometry to see the individual lines that make up the polygon. I have found that when selecting a "circle" to draw, the geometry is hidden by default, whereas the same shape when selecting draw>polygon the geometry will be visible no matter how many sides.

One more useful tool is the "K" keyboard shortcut (view>edge style>back edges) which shows backfaces, basically gives you a see-thru version of your model. :)

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Also, the camera "control" in sketchup is maddening, it seems like the camera is always getting caught on something and refuses to zoom, then suddenly breaks through and ends up so far away that your model is just a speck in the distance. Also when you rotate the view it doesn't rotate in one spot as you would expect, it swivels your perspective along some imaginary track that is centred around ??? I don't know what, some arbitarty distance in front of you. Really fun when trying to manoeuvre inside tight quarters and your camera keeps getting kicked out sideways.

quote]

Hello MM-build. Try using "look around" in stead of the orbit tool when navigating in tight quarters. This way you can turn the camera around from your standpoint. You can find it in the tool set.

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