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time to go racing yet ?
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Discussion Starter #1
years ago , like 12 ... i used solid works and autocad i was actually pretty darn good at it ,but i have forgot all about how to use them . but im looking at purchasing a CAD system so i dont need to farm things out anymore . what would you recommend that is some what easy to learn and can do 2d drawings ? im looking for something that wont cost an arm and a leg ..... ill be doing drawings and then sending them to the shop that does my laser cutting . what can you recommend ?
 

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If you are just wanting to do 2D drawings get the AutoCAD 2012 Lite version, its a lot less expensive than the full version. I use it about everyday at work and it works great for what we do. The down fall is it will only do a limited amount of 3D if any. I think it will still set you back about $750 though.
 

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well, i'm not a cad guy but i'd start with alibre design. i was using
this a couple of years ago and i was fairly easy to learn. they have
a lot of tutorials on youtube.

they have a personal edition for $200. you can also get a free trial of
the software (link at the top of the page).

http://www.alibre.com/products/hobby/

good luck.
-dave
 

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If you only want to draw part profiles to be cut you should find a free program the gives a .dxf output. If your not making dimensioned drawings, you'll never use half the features of most cad programs.
 

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A Fine Example For Others
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well, i'm not a cad guy but i'd start with alibre design. i was using
this a couple of years ago and i was fairly easy to learn. they have
a lot of tutorials on youtube.

they have a personal edition for $200. you can also get a free trial of
the software (link at the top of the page).

http://www.alibre.com/products/hobby/

good luck.
-dave
Good link. Thanks for sharing.
 

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time to go racing yet ?
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Discussion Starter #7
If you only want to draw part profiles to be cut you should find a free program the gives a .dxf output. If your not making dimensioned drawings, you'll never use half the features of most cad programs.
ill be making parts that will need to be spot on so when i send them to the laser cutter they got the proper sizes .... would there be a difference between a free program and a better program ?
 

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time to go racing yet ?
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Discussion Starter #8
If you are just wanting to do 2D drawings get the AutoCAD 2012 Lite version, its a lot less expensive than the full version. I use it about everyday at work and it works great for what we do. The down fall is it will only do a limited amount of 3D if any. I think it will still set you back about $750 though.
if i went autocad , would i be able to download a plug in later on if i wanted to get into 3d ? just so i wouldnt need to buy the whole copy ?
 

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Message In Blood
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Visual cad is cheaper but the commands and shortcuts are the same as autocad. I don't think there is a 3d version though.
 

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Message In Blood
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time to go racing yet ?
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Discussion Starter #12
Ask the shop what they use. A CAM software like Mastercam may be better for you.

im asking them tommorrow . how hard would it be to learn ? i learn pretty quick so it shouldnt be an issue , but at the same time if it got to much stuff going on ill be lost ...
 

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I have had real good luck with "Viacad, only $99.00:
http://www.punchsoftware.com/p-35-viacad-2d3d-v8.aspx

the same company has a range of products that get fancier.

They have decent video demos, and an active forum which really helps when you can't figure stuff out:
http://forum.punchcad.com/

I use it mainly 3d, because believe it or not it is much faster and most places can work with "step" .stp files that the program can export.

It does do decent 2d if you need to do it that way.

The main limitation that it has is, as I understand it, at the consumer price point, it is not built on a multi threaded kernal, so when you get real big models and need to render them or do a model to sheet, it can take hours as it will only use one core of your processor.

I guess the licensing of a multi threaded kernal are why pro 3d programs cost several thousand or more dollars.
 

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The shop may give you a version or there is google sketchup, and alibre free versions, I use autocad 2000 and in the shop we have the newest version plus prosteel 3d software.
 

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Ask the shop what they use. A CAM software like Mastercam may be better for you.

depending on the machine it may be it,s own software , i have a flow jet at work and it does not care what software was used to draw the part as long as it is a dxf. format .

and i have not heard of Mastercam for laser cutting
 

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ill be making parts that will need to be spot on so when i send them to the laser cutter they got the proper sizes .... would there be a difference between a free program and a better program ?
No difference when it comes to 2D. A .dxf is the most minimum amout of data. Getting the laser to cut propper size has more to do with machine setup than the cad data. Any cad software will take dimensions at are much finer than the accuracy of the laser.
 

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if i went autocad , would i be able to download a plug in later on if i wanted to get into 3d ? just so i wouldnt need to buy the whole copy ?

No there is no plug in for 3d. You would need the Autodesk Inventor which is 3d solid model. Extremely powerful software and very pricey. Also does not resemble acad commands in any way shape or form. You can draw in 2d acad then import drawing file into Inventor to have some 3d fun.
 

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