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View Poll Results: Which CAD program(s) do you use right now?
A9CAD (Free) 9 0.92%
Alibre Design 40 4.07%
Ashlar-Vellum (Argon, Cobalt) 9 0.92%
AutoCAD 2000 through 2009 159 16.17%
AutoCAD 2009 LT 24 2.44%
AutoCAD v.10 (DOS) 3 0.31%
AutoCAD v.12 (DOS & Windows) 8 0.81%
AutoCAD v.13 (Windows) 12 1.22%
AutoCAD v.14 (Windows) 46 4.68%
AutoDesk 3D Studio Max 5.0 11 1.12%
AutoDesk AutoSketch 9 7 0.71%
Autodesk Inventor 82 8.34%
Becker Cad 0 0%
Becker Cad Pro 0 0%
BobCAD 18 1.83%
CADKey / KeyCreator 9 0.92%
CADRA 1 0.10%
CadStd lite 8 0.81%
CadStd pro 2 0.20%
Caligary Truespace 1 0.10%
Catia 55 5.60%
CoCreate Modeling Personal Edition (Free) 7 0.71%
DesignCAD 2-D for DOS 3 0.31%
DesignCAD 2-D for Windows 8 0.81%
DesignCAD 3000 DesignCAD 3DMax v.17 12 1.22%
DesignCAD 3-D for DOS 1 0.10%
DesignCAD 97 for Windows 0 0%
devCAD 22 2.24%
DoubleCadXT (Free, emulates AutoCAD) 9 0.92%
Euclid 0 0%
FastCAD 3 0.31%
Flight Simulator Design Studio (FSDS) 0 0%
Generic CADD 4 0.41%
Modo 401 by Luxology 2 0.20%
MoI (Moment of Inspiration) 3D 4 0.41%
ProE 44 4.48%
progeCAD 8 0.81%
Qcad 18 1.83%
Rhino 3.0 22 2.24%
Rhino 4.0 100 10.17%
Sketchup (Free) 146 14.85%
Solid Edge 2D 7 0.71%
Solid Edge 20 2.03%
Solidworks 1997 through 2008 209 21.26%
Tsplines (Rhino plug-in) 7 0.71%
TurboCAD Deluxe 37 3.76%
TurboCAD Deluxe 10 12 1.22%
TurboCAD Designer 9 0.92%
Turbocad Designer V7 3 0.31%
TurboCAD Pro 30 3.05%
Turbocad Pro v. 14.2, with Mechanical pack 5 0.51%
Other 180 18.31%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 983. You may not vote on this poll

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Old Aug 20, 2014, 03:51 PM
Entropy is happening!
Jim.Thompson's Avatar
Bellingen NSW Australia
Joined Aug 2008
6,640 Posts
FreeCad

Quote:
Originally Posted by Quick61 View Post
Of course, and almost exclusively.

For those that don't know, The FreeCAD team has released a new production version for Linux, .................................................. )
The Linux version was the first free CAD program that I downloaded and started to work through. For some reason that I can't remember, I switched to LibreCad (probably due to it being easier as it is 2D).
I've found that LibreCad has done me good service as an introduction into CAD drawing and to do the more simple working drawings. However, it does have a few serious limitations. One of them is the inferior standard of the Snap functions; they just don't quite provide the necessary accuracy in some situations and can be just a bit clumsy compared to the more professional CAD programs. I've had the superiority of the Snap function in AutoCad demonstrated to me.

I notice that FreeCad has an Offset function which might be superior to the Parallel Lines function in LibreCad?

Which brings me to the question: What is the Snap function(s) like in FreeCad?
Is it possible to describe them?
I suppose I could just download the program again (I might still have it installed?) and give it a go. It would not take long to compare the Snap functions of it with the LibreCad Snaps.

edit:
I do have FreeCad still installed. So, I will have a look at it when I get the time. It is starting to rain here; good for indoor computer time, so might be able to get onto it!
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Old Aug 21, 2014, 11:19 AM
Just call me crash for short
Quick61's Avatar
United States, OH, The Plains
Joined Jan 2011
1,681 Posts
Quote:
Which brings me to the question: What is the Snap function(s) like in FreeCad?
Is it possible to describe them?
I suppose I could just download the program again (I might still have it installed?) and give it a go. It would not take long to compare the Snap functions of it with the LibreCad Snaps.

edit:
I do have FreeCad still installed. So, I will have a look at it when I get the time. It is starting to rain here; good for indoor computer time, so might be able to get onto it!
First, if you have any version that is older than the current release, you will be doing yourself a HUGE favor by removing it and installing the current release. If you have the old 0.13 release, there are over 1800 improvements, bug fixes and features added.

Snap has had many improvements made to it that are included in this release. While the Draft workbench is not as advanced as some 2D CAD offerings are, what is there does work very well. Keep in mind that FreeCAD is first and foremost a 3D parametric solid modeler, and the main focus is on that aspect.

The snapping in FreeCAD Draft is very precise. When you snap to the end of a line, that snap is in the same exact 3D space as the end you are snapping to. The trick with the snap, and I have found this to be true with most any CAD snap tools, is to only turn on the snap features you actually need to use. That is to say, if you need to snap to the end of a line, don't have such snap features as passive, grid, perpendicular, etc., enabled.

In this post I used the Draft workbench and the snap tool to make the bucky-ball, and used the snap tool extensively. Note that if the snap was not dead on precise, I would not of been able to produce the faces on the ball because one needs a closed shape to make a face. Any gap in the connecting wires would of resulted in the face failing and not being formed.

Keep in mind that the Draft workbench is 3D, not 2D, and it includes working planes that can interact with and have an effect on the snapping behavior.

Edit - Attached is a screenshot of a part that was built entirely in the Draft Workbench. Starting out with bezier curves snapped end to end and resulting in a 3D part.
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Old Aug 21, 2014, 12:59 PM
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Joined Mar 2009
376 Posts
I had some issues downloading FreeCAD. All related to missing drivers in the notebook. It uses some
explicit attributes found readily in more recent Window...I am still using XT in this notebook. Acquiring
new systems shortly.

In all my previous software jump to aka snap to settings were an element of intiial set-up.
I was surprised to read you state your snap to grid did not permit close weigh points. Look to see what
your drawing grid matrix is set to. Then when increased & reduced virtual vert and horiz space is desired
it will permit that precision of snap-jump-to....I bet

Your XYZ attribute declaring the Z is extremely important to merge with lofting across a group of shapes
to form the 3D from simple formers. Lofting provides the 'tween shapes so you can place them on proper
centers to yield your 3D image for either milling or printing.

Is there a "lofting" function within FreeCAD? This is also called "railing".
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Old Aug 21, 2014, 02:21 PM
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Joined Mar 2009
376 Posts
A side query should probably parallel this poll. One asking if an RCG subscriber is a professional CAD person.
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Old Aug 21, 2014, 08:05 PM
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Joined Nov 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FliteMetal View Post
A side query should probably parallel this poll. One asking if an RCG subscriber is a professional CAD person.
Pro as in selling or using?

I consider myself a pro in Solidworks and NX, but you'd never know it by how I tried to tell one to do something. Learned the ropes of both by modeling crap on my desk for a couple weeks at the start of my internships.

From there it was all help button and the occasional call to the reseller. It's amazing how many people DON'T go to the help button. Even with basic documentation you can learn to do pretty much everything. I learned a lot because I could I fly through Solidworks, so coworkers would come ask me questions, If I didn't know straight away I'd tell them to hang on and then got the help button so I would learn first .

In a mechanical design engineer/manufacturing engineer, but not a “designer,” ie I pretty much never venture into complex surfaces/outside 3D contours. Cams and castings would be the exception, but with what I do they are still 2D surfaces extruded to 3D parts, giant milling machine and lathe castings are usually created from a parting plane and many offset planes with square geometry. It's actually taboo in the company to use any lofting or draft extrusions unless absolutely necessary. Always want to add draft angles and fillets last so they can be suppressed in the final production part because they are just too heavy in large assemblies. We always work with the foundry and their pattern makers to optimize the design anyway, and drafts/fillets early in the tree can make a model explode with a tiny change, then you're redoing the entire using

The absolute BIGGEST problem for us is ~100 engineers, whose modeling techniques range from abysmal to pretty damn good, and anyone of them could Rev your part, or you Rev any of their parts. If there was bomb shelter for exploding parts we would have a huge one. The absolute worst is the “one sketch part” that gets revisions with new sketches and new features, then the original sketch gets changed and blows everything else up.

SNAPS:

For snaps I find programs differ quite a bit. Like Solidworks 5 years or so ago it was impossible to snap a construction line to 45* on a hole or circle and have the relation added. You had to snap to the circle, add a dimension, and if you needed a tangent at the 45* point you had to create a tangent and perpendicular relation. Unigraphics (old NX) was much more friendly in this respect.

For snaps in lighter weight or free CAD / regular old AutoCAD, do you have the option of just throwing a line down and then snapping? That is one of the biggest advantages in a higher end CAD program. Pretty much my main modeling technique after creating the first feature, when you don't get the snap you want it's almost always just a right click away. Just hover near the snap you want and after one is highlighted you can just right click and cycle through the snaps until you get the one you want. If not for anything else I would go to a solid modeling program that has this feature.

When working on something that requires simple/medium complexity hard relations between geometry/features, there is nothing better than a program that allows relation & dimension driven sketches for “simple” 2D work or when working with solids and operation wizards. With relations you don't need to dimension every single line and point to completely constrain the sketch. I haven't used AutoCAD in years, but I absolutely hated it. Without the ability to just drag points around and the fact that you define geometry when creating it, then having the dimensions be driven was a nightmare. Might be different now, don't know. But I used one sketch in Solidworks to layout our kitchen by drawing the rough outline and then going back in to add and change dimensions until it was constrained, and my dad, who used AutoCAD at work for laying out building facilities said holy $h!7 I wish it was that easy to modify stuff like that in AutoCAD. Only problem is that although you can create a purely 2D drawing in Solidworks it really isn't made for that, and as installed doesn't have any architectural symbols.

Anyway, for anyone using 2D software I strongly suggest you try out a solid modeling program. Go through some tutorials if available, then model some stuff around the house. When you have a solid model it's pretty trivial (depending on the program) to drag that model into a drawing and get 2D representations of the model. If you're using drawings as templates you can easily use cross sections to slice the model into an ∞ # of sections.

One more thing, of whatever using has 3D mouse support do yourself a favor and pick up a 3dconnexion product. As with new software you probably won't like it at first, but if you put in a bit of work to learn you'll wonder how you lived without it. Everyone I gave mine to that didn't dismiss it in 5 minutes put in a req to get one. Kinda pricy, but you can get a very good discount of you're a student, or you know a student that will let you use their student status. I was able to “buy one as a gift” for my girlfriend, who was a student. So no money needs to change hands, and you also don't need to play the ship it to a friend and pick it up game.
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Old Aug 21, 2014, 10:03 PM
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Joined Mar 2009
376 Posts
Thank you Iceberg!

The fastest way to making 3D CAD and milling the file is 1/2 formers down the fuse centerline left, then
right half. Hot wiring foam yield's a rapid prototype on the cheap. Two halves make the whole...

One step at a time...Every program I ever used had its snap-to~jump-to spec in the initial program set up.
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Old Yesterday, 01:04 AM
Just call me crash for short
Quick61's Avatar
United States, OH, The Plains
Joined Jan 2011
1,681 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by FliteMetal View Post
I had some issues downloading FreeCAD. All related to missing drivers in the notebook. It uses some
explicit attributes found readily in more recent Window...I am still using XT in this notebook. Acquiring
new systems shortly.

In all my previous software jump to aka snap to settings were an element of intiial set-up.
I was surprised to read you state your snap to grid did not permit close weigh points. Look to see what
your drawing grid matrix is set to. Then when increased & reduced virtual vert and horiz space is desired
it will permit that precision of snap-jump-to....I bet

Your XYZ attribute declaring the Z is extremely important to merge with lofting across a group of shapes
to form the 3D from simple formers. Lofting provides the 'tween shapes so you can place them on proper
centers to yield your 3D image for either milling or printing.

Is there a "lofting" function within FreeCAD? This is also called "railing".
Sure there is Lofting, as well as Sweep and Extrude. The example I posted was a simple one and was made into a 3D object by simply using the Trinex Draft tool to extend (extrude) the face. There are a lot of advanced tools for 3D work in the Part Workbench which is more CSG based, (Constructive Solid Geometry), and the Part Design Workbench which is Sketch Feature based, (like Solidworks / CATIA), though the underlying CAD kernel, OCC/OCE is not as advanced as those commercial offerings.
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