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tibi

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Hello,

I have been looking for decent 3D CAD software for hobbyist woodworker use.

I used to be a professional Autodesk Inventor user, so I already know 3D modelling at a professional level. However, there is no Autodesk Inventor version for hobbyists and paying 2500 EUR+ a year for a licence is rather challenging for a hobby user.

As a first choice, I have downloaded Autodesk Fusion 360, but they recently stripped down this software even more. You can only have 10 active projects, one drawing sheet per file, no BOM, many features are premium only and I hate that you cannot create parts and subassemblies in a traditional way, but you need to create bodies and components within one file. It is a mess for me. So for woodworking, I wanted to look for something else.

I have found that SOLID EDGE (3D) has a community edition. It is the same as the commercial edition, but you can only use it legally for non-commercial work and your drawings are watermarked as below. watermark is big but unobtrusive.

1634932467945.png



Some things are better than in Autodesk Inventor, some are worse, some are hair pulling, or too multistep for a simple task, but overall, it is a decent software that you can use free non commercially and I think it is much more robust than SketchUp.

However, if Autodesk created a version of Autodesk Inventor that would be free for hobbyists, and e.g. limited to 50 or 100 unique parts in the assembly, I would switch in a heartbeat. But I already know that they will not, as they already enabled the usage of Fusion 360 for that segment.
 

DBT85

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I've not found the (sometimes daft) limits they've placed on Fusion to get in my way really. But then I'm also not trying to make a sub component in one file and import it into a different drawing, I just do it all in one file. The things I've drawn for woodwork, hell for doing my entire workshop to be parametrically adjustable worked just fine. It bogged down more than a little toward the end but it was quite complex given the kinds of formulas I had it working out and the quantity of parts it needed to adjust every time.

I should try something else after using Sketchup for a while. I just find Fusion very easy to use and it does what I want, until they do something else daft.
 

Bodone

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There is an academic version of NX, not sure what the rules/limits are. I’ll try and find a link.
 

Spectric

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Do you really need 3D for woodwork, go back some years and just draw using projections, I know it is great to have a 3D model from which you can do many things with but I just use Qcad pro which allows me to produce components in a library and also blocks for a given drawing so does enough for me without being to heavy.
 

MikeK

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Do you really need 3D for woodwork, go back some years and just draw using projections, I know it is great to have a 3D model from which you can do many things with but I just use Qcad pro which allows me to produce components in a library and also blocks for a given drawing so does enough for me without being to heavy.
I started using SketchUp Make 2017 two years ago and can't imagine ever going back to 2D or paper drawings. Somewhere I have a Leroy lettering set that was well used but will never see the light of day again and my drafting table went to the skip years ago.
 

DBT85

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Do you really need 3D for woodwork, go back some years and just draw using projections, I know it is great to have a 3D model from which you can do many things with but I just use Qcad pro which allows me to produce components in a library and also blocks for a given drawing so does enough for me without being to heavy.
Do you really need a tracksaw for woodwork, go back some years and just use a hand saw.

New tools become available and some people take to them and some people don't. Some people see a use in their work flow and others don't. Many will use it for some projects and not at all for others. Many will poopoo it, learn it and go "oh wow I wish I'd tried years ago". Similarly many will try it in the hope that it clicks and they then feel they just want to stick to however they did things before.

To cap it all off. A pencil is of no use for using a 3d printer or a CNC.
 

northan

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There is onshape. Complete cloud solution. Made by the same creators of solidworks.
Free to use with all drawing features, you can only make public account though.
 

tibi

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There is an academic version of NX, not sure what the rules/limits are. I’ll try and find a link.
I will try NX as well and compare it to the solidedge -- they both belong to Siemens, so we will see which is more straightforward to me. NX has a field, where you can fill in other reason for usage, i.e private use, so it is not prohibited.
 

Cooper

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I believe in schools they use 2D design with laser cutters, its a very old program and when I taught, well before schools had lasers, we were teaching it. I suspect that an IT conversant user could get it to run any plotter type devise.
 

DanZ56

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Hello,

I have used Fusion 360, Sketchup and the open-source FreeCad. I found Fusion and Sketchup easy to use, but was disappointed when Fusion introduced their 10 file limit for personal use and still trying to save up for the 240 Euros / year for Sketchup (keep spending the money on new tools).

FreeCad is free, for all that it is open source, there is a wide community support and it offers powerful features that are found in other 3D CAD software. It also offers a tech drawing workbench to produce 2d drawings from your 3D model. A bit of a learning curve to begin with (as with all the others) but there are a number of youtube videoes out there to get you started. I have used it do models of my saw table, bench sander and new workbench (all waiting for my new workshop - coming soon). It also supports animations and exploded assembly models, well worth a look IMO.

Regards,
Dan
 

DBT85

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Dan there is no need to pay for Sketchup. The old version is still available and fully featured as far as I'm aware.
 

DanZ56

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Dan there is no need to pay for Sketchup. The old version is still available and fully featured as far as I'm aware.
Yes, I'm currently running the 2017 Make version of Sketchup (30 Day trial) I don't know what features the program will have after the trial period ends. I also tried the the new Pro trial, just some of the features were "nice to have", but I still have to weigh up if I really need those features.

Regards,

Dan
 

MikeK

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Yes, I'm currently running the 2017 Make version of Sketchup (30 Day trial) I don't know what features the program will have after the trial period ends. I also tried the the new Pro trial, just some of the features were "nice to have", but I still have to weigh up if I really need those features.

Regards,

Dan
During the 30-day trial, you have most, if not all, of the features in the Pro version. After the trial ends, you lose most of the features in the Pro version, such as importing and exporting drawing files from other applications. There are more features that go away at the end of the trial period, but in the past four years I've been using the Make 2017 version, I haven't missed or needed them.
 
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