recommendation for mechanical design 3D modeler

Maybe this has been discussed before, if so I apologize, but I would like to ask those of you that use other software platforms to do mechanical 3D what
you prefer and why. I have used AutoCAD for many years, and I despise it's 3D capabilities. It is as user UN-friendly as they come. I spend 2/3 of my time keeping track of which viewport, whuch UCS, which plane I want, etc., and little time thinking about the model I'l trying to draw. I have used Pro E for about 3 years, and while I like what it does, I feel it is way too expensive to recommend to the boss. I have very limited experience with Solid Works, but enough to know that it seems to do a decent job of modeling.
I must have a modeler that is parametric, user friendly 3D, robust 2D and drawing/printing feature set, and under $5K. Any recommendations? TIA
babygrand
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Solidworks is the one I prefer but it's about $6,000 including the subscription for updates etc. $5,000 without. I'ts also very easy to learn. Another one you could look at which seems to be up and coming is Alibre. It runs under $2000 I believe. I am going to try a trial for 30 days.
Rudy
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Try Rhino, you can download a fully functional demo from their site. Take the tutorials under the help menu, and you will see that it is very user friendly and very reasonably priced. They have excellent tech support too.
http://www.rhino3d.com

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This subject is often discussed here, and if you do a newsgroub historical search you'll find opinions from experienced users of just about each one of the programs. You'll have to find the right answer based on your own needs.
What do you object to in AutoCad 3D? Personally, I find it easy to use, but not being parametric can be a problem in making changes - you may have to re-draw. Otherwise, it's not as bad as you seem to say.
Do you have to share files with other designers or firms? What are they using? One of my main reasons for using AutoCad for general drafting (2D)is that all the companies I work with are using it. No one has ever come to me and asked "Can you give this to me in CorelDraw?" Or PCDraft? On the other hand, for 3D parametric work, I use Mechanical Desktop, and love it, but I recognize I'm somewhat on the fringe and could effectively share files with only a minority of other companies here.
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Rhino is parametric?

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On Mon, 15 Aug 2005 13:57:55 -0500, "babygrand"

You might look into Autocad with the third party Autosolids add-on to give you the parametrics you require.
Relatively inexpensive, Autocad 2D, minimal learning curve if you are already using Autocad.
One downside is the inability to deal with surfaces and top-down design.
There are reviews of the product on-line.
jimB -------------------------------------------- JimB -------------------------------------------- my SPAM defense: Replace all the X's in email address with M
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Thanks for the comments. I don't think Rhino is parametric, but there may be an add-on.
Has anyone used AutoDesk Inventor? I understand it's a lot like Solidworks, fully parametric, about the same price, and I could stay in the AutoDesk family. Don't know much about it though. Any users out there with an opinion on Inventor?
babygrand
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Yes, I've used Inventor. I was doing mostly sheet metal but did do a few solids. You would do well with this software. First rate.
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Try SketchUp very advanced
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Try SketchUp very advanced. mostly for architecture
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I agree with Steve, I use Mechanical Desktop, ProE ( wildfire ) inventor and Autocad. but Sketchup a very simple program puts them all to shame in 3D. and the cost is under $500.00 here are some links if you don't beleive me..sit back and enjoy the tuturials..
http://download.sketchup.com/downloads/training/tutorials50/Sketchup%20Video%20Tutorials.html
http://www.sketchup.com / ===========================================================================
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