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Looking For Cad Software
09-27-2018, 05:01 PM,
Looking For Cad Software
So Im looking for a free and Easy to use (This is a big must) Cad software for designing things for 3d printing and CNC.

Another requirement, It has to be able to natively support Windows and Mac OS.
09-27-2018, 05:33 PM, (This post was last modified: 09-27-2018, 05:34 PM by david tremaine.)
RE: Looking For Cad Software
Free, easy to use: 123D Design, by Autodesk. Problem with this one is that Autodesk discontinued it this year; I don't think you can download it from their website. First google result for a downloadable copy looks okay, but I've never heard of the host site, so I'd check to make sure they've got a clean record before I installed something from them: https://autodesk-123d-design.en.lo4d.com/
Also noteworthy: this program has a hard time (at least, on my old laptop) handling complex models with, say, hundreds of lines.

Free, somewhat less easy to use, much more powerful and versatile: Fusion 360, also by Autodesk. If you choose a non-commercial license on installation, it's totally free, no limitations, no strings attached. It is a bit of a hybrid - mostly runs local, but stores your files in the cloud, and won't run without internet access. Autodesk has a series of short, easy-to-understand videos on the basics in the program, high quality instructional material. I've got maybe five hours experience with this program now. I feel pretty competent on the basics, and am excited to learn the more complex functions it offers. Highly recommended.

I use Windows to run these. Not sure if you'll be able to find a Mac-compatible copy of 123D Design. Fusion, though, no problem.

Some people, as I understand, use Sketchup or Tinkercad for easy 3d modeling. Both of those run on the cloud now, I believe.

My two cents Smile
- David
09-27-2018, 06:58 PM,
RE: Looking For Cad Software
Fusion 360 is great for engineering things.

Blender is another option that's completely offline and supports Windows, Mac, and Linux. It's a bit more art/animation oriented, but it will produce great STLs for printing and has limited organic/sculpting options similar to ZBrush.

Meshmixer and Sculptris are other options.
09-28-2018, 02:52 PM,
RE: Looking For Cad Software
Fusion 360 since it is Win and Mac compatible. Lots of tutorials on line.

We are using VCarve Pro Makerspace Edition for the design software on our CNC. You can download and install the trail edition of the software from the Vectric site. When visiting Spokane Create we will give you our makerspace license number so you'll be able to generate and save toolpaths for use on our CNC machine only. You can download the VCarve Pro Trail Edition here:

John Woj
IdeaMakers Designs, LLC
"I'm on the the verge of something" Breaking Bad

09-30-2018, 06:44 AM,
RE: Looking For Cad Software
I'd strongly suggest Fusion 360.  Solid CAD package, you can use the cloud to share your files with others to get feedback, etc.  You can use the cloud to do some simple FEA and design optimization.  It has a decent CAM package too (based on HSMWorks), just need the post processor for the machine you want to use.

I've used it for years to generate files and GCode for my CNC lathe, Shapeoko 2 and to create the STL's for my 3D Printer.

Good part is that it's free to students, hobbiests and startups less than 100k/year.

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