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View Poll Results: Which CAD program(s) do you use right now?
A9CAD (Free) 9 0.89%
Alibre Design 40 3.94%
Ashlar-Vellum (Argon, Cobalt) 9 0.89%
AutoCAD 2000 through 2009 163 16.06%
AutoCAD 2009 LT 24 2.36%
AutoCAD v.10 (DOS) 4 0.39%
AutoCAD v.12 (DOS & Windows) 9 0.89%
AutoCAD v.13 (Windows) 13 1.28%
AutoCAD v.14 (Windows) 51 5.02%
AutoDesk 3D Studio Max 5.0 12 1.18%
AutoDesk AutoSketch 9 7 0.69%
Autodesk Inventor 83 8.18%
Becker Cad 0 0%
Becker Cad Pro 0 0%
BobCAD 18 1.77%
CADKey / KeyCreator 9 0.89%
CADRA 1 0.10%
CadStd lite 8 0.79%
CadStd pro 2 0.20%
Caligary Truespace 1 0.10%
Catia 58 5.71%
CoCreate Modeling Personal Edition (Free) 7 0.69%
DesignCAD 2-D for DOS 3 0.30%
DesignCAD 2-D for Windows 8 0.79%
DesignCAD 3000 DesignCAD 3DMax v.17 13 1.28%
DesignCAD 3-D for DOS 1 0.10%
DesignCAD 97 for Windows 0 0%
devCAD 24 2.36%
DoubleCadXT (Free, emulates AutoCAD) 9 0.89%
Euclid 0 0%
FastCAD 3 0.30%
Flight Simulator Design Studio (FSDS) 0 0%
Generic CADD 4 0.39%
Modo 401 by Luxology 2 0.20%
MoI (Moment of Inspiration) 3D 4 0.39%
ProE 45 4.43%
progeCAD 9 0.89%
Qcad 18 1.77%
Rhino 3.0 22 2.17%
Rhino 4.0 104 10.25%
Sketchup (Free) 153 15.07%
Solid Edge 2D 7 0.69%
Solid Edge 20 1.97%
Solidworks 1997 through 2008 215 21.18%
Tsplines (Rhino plug-in) 8 0.79%
TurboCAD Deluxe 38 3.74%
TurboCAD Deluxe 10 12 1.18%
TurboCAD Designer 10 0.99%
Turbocad Designer V7 3 0.30%
TurboCAD Pro 31 3.05%
Turbocad Pro v. 14.2, with Mechanical pack 5 0.49%
Other 184 18.13%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 1015. You may not vote on this poll

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Old Aug 24, 2014, 11:56 PM
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Joined Nov 2008
186 Posts
Originally Posted by Jim.Thompson View Post
Or should that read: "big bang for the NO $"?
Hell yeah!!! Nothing beats a free a program that WORKS. Especially a parametric 3d solid modeling program.

For those that have some experience using it, has a model or assembly ever blown up on you when making a revision? Blown up as in crash the entire program for what seems like no apparent reason; see below.

I want to say Solidworks is worth the money in a professional setting for reliability, BUT:

In the company we lost a ton of man hours on parts that would crash the program and that = $$$$ lost. Nothing was immune: complex parts, simple parts, as well as assemblies. Simple parts were just tossed and remodeled from the print, complex parts that had a very significant original modeling time were usually sent in for troubleshooting. 95% came back with “there's a bug somewhere in the tree and we can't find/fix/explain/etc what's going on because we don't know.” This occurred with the most mundane revisions such as changing a hole size or position, adding a hole, making changes to the complex exterior shape/surface. So 95% of the time we ended up remodeling even the complex stuff. All because a bug was inserted somewhere in there original model.

I haven't tried FreeCAD because I have access to Solidworks and ONE seat of NX that is configured pretty well, it's nearly always available because nobody has taken the time to learn. Company got it after a drrraaaaaawwwwwnnn out competition of between Solidworks and NX (over a year), I had high hopes for NX as I had the pleasure of using Unigraphics during an internship so I knew the benefits of NX, especially for a high tech manufacturer of ~1000 CNC machines per month, but as soon as heard about this I knew NX was never coming. Just too expensive and the competition/investigation centered around being able to make an assembly of the most complex machine with probably 700 parts before adding fastelaptops. Major problem though: engineers were furnished with PC's MAYBE a 3 or 4 steps higher than a bare bones Dell engineering workstation. Basically a middle of the road Quadro video card, and a 64 bit machine with 4 gigs of RAM. Didn't matter what program was used because with those PC's it would half the day to load even if all but the most important parts were loaded as lightweight. The NX box was bought for one purpose: create a solid model of an extremely complex cam from laser point clouds. The process and CNC programs existed to make the part but there was no part in electronic form, the process and CNC code was just tweaked until a functional part was made.

Worked elsewhere that made the most basic stuff and we had dual Xeon processors so we had 8 cores and a ton more memory. THAT'S how you equip your employees for the best chance of success and innovation.

Little humor: using Unigraphics during my internship I opened 7 or 8 instances of Unigraphics to show my prototypes during a design review. I had no clue that all the different facilities across the country checked out licenses from a single main server. My bosses/mentors didn't know until after the review. They laughed pretty hard over it and said I probably made some people go crazy because they couldn't run the program LOL.

Apologies for the long posts. Just trying to illustrate all the issues encountered with CAD on the corporate sector.

Got an old Dell d620 laptop that is about to lose its larger hard drive to a precision m6300. Of I hear/find more good stuff regarding FreeCAD I'll install it and play around before wiping that drive.
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Old Aug 25, 2014, 12:21 AM
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United States, CA, Lancaster
Joined Jan 2009
1,283 Posts
But how much do you need to spend for designing RC planes for a hobby. My last job I used Autocad 2000 and Solidworks but both of these programs cost thousands. Right now I am using Turbocad Deluxe 22 and cannot do lofting and many other operations that Solidworks can do. For quick prototypes I use DevFus but it cannot do some of the internal structure or fuselage shapes that I need. So I struggle making 3D parts with Turbocad and often go to AC3D or DesignCAD 3D MAX for this . I can DXF export objects into TurboCad if needed.
I did loose some programs with them crashing but the programs I use do have a recovery option. Another safety measure is that I often back up a copy in a portable drive.
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Old Aug 25, 2014, 01:48 AM
Just call me crash for short
Quick61's Avatar
United States, OH, The Plains
Joined Jan 2011
1,693 Posts
For those using about any parametric solid modeler program, below is a video that may help you out.

Originally Posted by Iceberg86300 View Post
For those that have some experience using it, has a model or assembly ever blown up on you when making a revision? Blown up as in crash the entire program for what seems like no apparent reason; see below.
I have seen this happen sometimes when the geometric solver develops an unsolvable error. This can come from constructing a brittle model, or to say, a model that is not resilient.

While the video uses Solidworks for the example and there are some operations that most other programs don't have, both commercial and FOSS, the basic principles laid out are good to follow no mater what your using or designing.

Introduction to the Resilient Modeling Strategy (20 min 59 sec)
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Old Aug 27, 2014, 11:21 AM
Gaui X3, RTF Mini Quad
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United States, MO, KC
Joined Jun 2011
3,525 Posts
AutoCAD 2014
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Old Aug 27, 2014, 02:39 PM
InJamNoOneCanHearYouScrea m
United States, NH, Nashua
Joined Jun 2009
17 Posts
CamBam 0.9.N
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Old Aug 27, 2014, 04:16 PM
yank and bank!!
Joined May 2013
2,321 Posts
Thanks for the replies folks.
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Old Sep 07, 2014, 05:08 PM
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United States, MI, Grand Ledge
Joined Jan 2013
146 Posts
I use DraftSight by Dessault Systemes. It is 2 D, Autocad file compatible, in Beta. Runs on my Linux and is free for the single user.
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Old Sep 07, 2014, 05:14 PM
Gaui X3, RTF Mini Quad
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United States, MO, KC
Joined Jun 2011
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now I am using Inventor since I'm getting into 3D printing quad frames
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Old Sep 07, 2014, 07:52 PM
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Joined Nov 2008
186 Posts
Originally Posted by FliteMetal View Post
Absolutely wonderful response to the diversity of CAD being used by RC Groups subscribers.

Obviously the majority of the current users are working "alone". It would be good to ask who is working with someone else sharing data, if not the actual virtual drawing space but perhaps on a different layer...

Where am I headed with this? Well it has more to do with what you personally do with your CAD data. Do you own a CNC mill, CNC laser cutter, CNC multiple axis hot wire? If you do own one or more of these, which and what is the file format utilized to drive your data from virtual drawing to physical-hold-in-your-hand modeling component?
Totally missed this one. I have the luxury of being in the business of designing CNC, and we work in Solidworks so everything stays in the Solidworks format. As we make CNC, we have a crap load of CNC machines at our disposal. The biggest and coolest are reserved for “pro” work obviously, but there are usually 5-6 test bed machines of various sizes/configurations that can be used to make personal parts, but that practice has become discouraged, and practically impossible unless you're making a part that advances your professional knowledge or something to show off capabilities. Unless you're a manager LOL. Basically, if you're clocked out you can't do crap anymore, so whatever you're doing has to be worth the $$$ you're getting paid.

But if you're proactive like I was, and learned the ropes of machining, you usually get the direction to make simple parts for prototype machines that need to be in shipping in 1-2 days to make the trade show deadline. Manufacturing/engineering is sperate, so if you need an aluminum spacer plate it's much faster to make it your self, especially if the layout fits in one of the standard aluminum test cut blocks used for smaller machines. There are probably a 1000 3" x 5" x 1" blocks in the small verticals final assembly area at any one time depending on what's left in a crate. Being an engineer has its perks though, there are “cutting tool vending machines” all over the manufacturing side of the house, and if you've been set up correctly a swipe and a pin # can get you $500 cutting tools, but that doesn't happen often, personally I don't want that crap on me. I once had to stress test a machine that was basically a duplicate of a production model with a enclosure, that meant putting together a standard test cut tooling package of ~$3k. With the way tooling disappeared from the proto area I almost set up cameras!

Anyway, more to file formats. Being a manufacture we pretty much has our pick of CAM software as companies threw their programs at us, but Mastercam was standard. We just imported Solidworks files and went to work. As I was the head of the plasma cutter development (that ended up in house only) I had engineers jumping on me to make their parts, which were usually given to me in 3d Solidworks format. As plasma is 2d, I took our standard 3 axis mill post processor and modified it to take all z axis motion and spindle start and stop M codes and translate them into M codes programmed into the plasma for start and stop cutting.

We bought a couple garage CNC plasma cutters for research, and while usable, the part had to be drawn with the software on the computer running the machine. You could import vector drawings, but there was always a75% chance you would cut your part in half accidentally.

We work with a lot of casting houses, sheet metal companies, etc, and they all got Solidworks eDrawings, Solidworks prints, and the Solidworks part file. Print and part files were read only if they got them, and eDrawings were mainly used for design optimization as they could be marked up. Pretty much every commercial vendor we worked with had pro level software to run their machines, and I don't think any of them are missing the capability of importing a 3d Solidworks part. In the rare cases an iges or step file would be exported and sent. These are pure 3d files with zero design trees when imported.

My first task during my internship around ~03 after learning the basics of Unigraphics was to take imported featureless parts from what I assumed was Solidworks for a large machine whose design was farmed out was to take t those solids and create native Unigraphics drawings that matched the originals.

Let me give you a tip, if you or your company uses a consultant or design firm, make sure they use your native program, even if you need to buy them a seat or pay extra. We ended up with native drawings, but that's it. ALL design intent in the solid was lost, and there was no editing of features because they didn't exist. It was like getting a finished part in your hand. You can look at holes and complex pockets, but you can't change them. In this case if you wanted to edit it was best practice to project a sketch, fill in the feature, then start over. This way you at least have a fully defined feature that is easy to edit in the future.

Hope this helps some.

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Old Nov 10, 2014, 09:34 PM
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Old Nov 10, 2014, 10:31 PM
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Hobby Vs. Professional Discussions

[QUOTE=Iceberg86300;29382575]Totally missed this one. I have the luxury of being in the business
of designing CNC, and we work in Solidworks so... (end)


What, under a singular protocol, would be an absolute disaster, can and often is recoverable. During
our long term project this occured no less than eight times as people claimed they had this or that
skill set...only to in the end come up very short. We struck out to find a project management software.

We ended up very pleased with the Ashler-Vellum Argon-Cobalt family of 3D software. Tucked in with
Sketch-Up (with its .STL add-on), Cut-3D, AutoCAD2003, MS Image Composer, Up3D ABS Printer,
BlackToe CNC Mill (24" x 48"), and shortly a new Next Engine scanner.

Typical .STL's have no point values so no internal solid geometry, only a differential point between Z
Max and your .0000. Nothing in-between. Its a 2.5 D file format found in many of the programs listed
above. As long as there is a flat base, an .STL will mill down to it. Cut 3D works the 2.5 D image as if
it were a true solid and cleanly slices and dices as required to achieve proper shape.

Typically we are working up a plug or a to-be-vested laminated Styrofoam shape into which we insert
an internal two tier crutch to which all stress related issues are attached, not the airplane's shape. In
our applications there are a minimum of true mechanical issues to work through. Everything is virtual
analog in digital form since our work-ups utilize traditional modeling protocols and formulas.

The magic of Ashler-Vellum has been in our ability to edit whatever format to an end as an .STL. This is
an end result driven process. If you want a scale replica of an X @ Y size this will permit you to do so. It
is relatively inexpensive as an end family of tools and software to "getter done".

I appreciate the years people put into a single protocol if you are a design engineer, however as a modeler
my projects are in the three decimal point range, not the five or even six as was the case with a recent
Russian WJM entry.
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