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Mr. Miyagi

Free Cad Software And 3D Design

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I have an idea for a business and need to start looking at designing the product in 3D. I have absolutely no experience of design or using CAD software. Can anyone recommend any software or any web based resources that will help me progress the idea?

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There might also be the non-free but leased option of Adobe Creative Cloud for a fairly small fee per month, if one of the products can do what you're looking for?

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I am already a CAD, and I need no software!

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Google SketchUp.

Oh you star, thank you! I've been dicking about with various free apps for the Mac for a project I'm about to undertake, and all of them were either too complicated or just not user friendly enough for me to get anywhere with. I'll give this one a try and see.

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What do you need - a spot on toleranced 3D drawing ready for manufacturing, together with simulation to show operation of moving parts, a finite element analysis showing material behaviour / stresses or a nice 3D visual rendition that will allow you to get the idea across and other engineers to go away and provide production ready drawings? I'm no expert in CAD but it is deifnitely a market where its horses for courses and you generally get what you pay for and the learning curves with some programs are excruciating to say the least. How many parts / sections / surfaces as there are some free versions of high end packages out there too with cut down part count.

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I have an idea for a business and need to start looking at designing the product in 3D. I have absolutely no experience of design or using CAD software. Can anyone recommend any software or any web based resources that will help me progress the idea?

I believe that Solidworks and Autodesk Inventor can be used for a month for free before the temp licence expires and forces you to buy. Both are high level packages used by big industrial/engineering/high-tech outfits.

IMHO Solidworks is vastly easier to use (although I have no doubt others will swear by Inventor). It took me a weekend to be able to use it, as a complete and total CAD beginner, to get to a level where I could construct models of respectable complexity. IF you discipline yourself you might just get excellent value for money out of it in just a month as a one off job.

There are also a few interesting and quite well equipped free opens-source applications that could get the one off job done for you. One that comes to mind is called FreeCAD.

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What do you need - a spot on toleranced 3D drawing ready for manufacturing, together with simulation to show operation of moving parts, a finite element analysis showing material behaviour / stresses or a nice 3D visual rendition that will allow you to get the idea across and other engineers to go away and provide production ready drawings? I'm no expert in CAD but it is deifnitely a market where its horses for courses and you generally get what you pay for and the learning curves with some programs are excruciating to say the least. How many parts / sections / surfaces as there are some free versions of high end packages out there too with cut down part count.

This^

I don't want to give too much away at this stage as the business idea is very embryonic and its turning a hobby that I have into a feasible business. I would need to design the product(s) with a view to having manufactured in the far east and then assembled in the U.K with a long term goal of moving the manufacturing side of things back to the U.K eventually.

Having done some research today I've managed to install solidworks I going have a play around with it for the next few days to see if I can actually get past the first hurdle of designing the product it's all a bit intimidating at the moment. I'm probably going to start with a very basic form and develop it from that.

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I believe that Solidworks and Autodesk Inventor can be used for a month for free before the temp licence expires and forces you to buy. Both are high level packages used by big industrial/engineering/high-tech outfits.

IMHO Solidworks is vastly easier to use (although I have no doubt others will swear by Inventor). It took me a weekend to be able to use it, as a complete and total CAD beginner, to get to a level where I could construct models of respectable complexity. IF you discipline yourself you might just get excellent value for money out of it in just a month as a one off job.

There are also a few interesting and quite well equipped free opens-source applications that could get the one off job done for you. One that comes to mind is called FreeCAD.

Thanks

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This^

I don't want to give too much away at this stage as the business idea is very embryonic and its turning a hobby that I have into a feasible business. I would need to design the product(s) with a view to having manufactured in the far east and then assembled in the U.K with a long term goal of moving the manufacturing side of things back to the U.K eventually.

Having done some research today I've managed to install solidworks I going have a play around with it for the next few days to see if I can actually get past the first hurdle of designing the product it's all a bit intimidating at the moment. I'm probably going to start with a very basic form and develop it from that.

Soildworks should give you good data interchange with many other users. Certainly a professional package used by smaller companies.

Pro Engineer / Creo might be worth a look, there is a totally free non-expiring version Creo Elements that is limited in part count.

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