Basic 3D & CAD programs

Hi All
I am looking for a 3D or CAD program that is relatively simple to use. I’ve used 3D Max and obtain some good results, creating figures moving
camera positions etc.
However I want to design some simple machinery, a movable workbench for example. To make wheels and put a simple spindle through a hole in 3D Max is a complicated process and I am a bit rusty using it.
So can anyone recommend a 3D or CAD program to use?
Thanks
Chris
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Hi All
I am looking for a 3D or CAD program that is relatively simple to use. I’ve used 3D Max and obtain some good results, creating figures moving camera positions etc.
However I want to design some simple machinery, a movable workbench for example. To make wheels and put a simple spindle through a hole in 3D Max is a complicated process and I am a bit rusty using it.
So can anyone recommend a 3D or CAD program to use?
Thanks
Chris
========================================= I'm a big fan of Rhino, which I've used for years. It's a NURBS-based 3D modeler. It does have pretty accurate CAD capability, but if you're thinking eventual CAD/CAM, there are better choices.
Rhino is not the easiest or cheapest, but it is a very powerful modeler.
-- Ed Huntress
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Ed Huntress wrote:

I second Ed's vote for Rhino. http://www.rhino3d.com / It Just Works.
--Winston
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How does v3 compare to v4?
Wes
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wrote:

I haven't even tried the new features in v4. Otherwise, it's basically the same.
-- Ed Huntress
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Ed Huntress wrote:

Ed, I went straight from V2 to V4. I noticed that in V4, you can edit the contents of text blocks. Not so in V2. Could you do that in V3? That is a Very Desirable Feature for me.
--Winston
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wrote:

Aack! Winston, I don't think I've ever written a text block in Rhino. So I don't know. I don't think it's listed in the current new-features list, so maybe it was added in V.3.
Mostly I've used Rhino for two purposes: to draw things I want to build (mostly furniture, like the corner computer table and shelves I'm working at right now) and to create 3D images to go with my articles (I used it a lot when I was editing at _Machine Shop Guide_ and _Machining_ magazines).
I've also done a lot of experimenting with creating shapes of cars and airplanes and such. But I've never used it to produce a blueprint-type document. I know that lots of people do.
I *have* enterred text for architectural drawings with it, but I don't recall any problems with editing them. Maybe I got them right the first time. I just don't remember. That was years ago.
-- Ed Huntress
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Ed Huntress wrote:
(...Rhino3D text block editing...)

OK, thanks!
I guess no two people use a tool exactly the same way. I use Rhino very interactively, so I change the contents of text blocks very often.
--Winston
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I have v3 demo on one box and v4 demo, I installed on a faster box. Hard to figure out if v4 seems quicker. Gotta preserve my remainding saves ;)
Wes -- "Additionally as a security officer, I carry a gun to protect government officials but my life isn't worth protecting at home in their eyes." Dick Anthony Heller
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wrote:

Alibre, if you want a true parametric 3D modeler without spending the money on Solidworks, Inventor, etc.
http://www.alibre.com/products/xpress/xpress_for_me.asp
--
Ned Simmons

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On Wed, 28 May 2008 07:43:08 -0700 (PDT), Chris

============older technology, cad only, but lots of add-ins and standard [dxf/dwg] drawing formats. Can output pdf files with freeware printer drivers such as "cute".
Has pretty good rendering capabalities with the P and PE versions
see http://www.intellicadms.com / for pricing http://www.intellicadms.com/products/special-pricing.asp
Note that there are several flavors of IntelliCad, sold by other companies such as http://www.bricsys.com/en_INTL / http://www.cadopia.com / I have no experence with their versions, but these seem to be well regarded.
FWIW -- Intelicad works with all the AutoCAD lisp and vba addins I have tried.
Unka' George [George McDuffee] ------------------------------------------- He that will not apply new remedies, must expect new evils: for Time is the greatest innovator: and if Time, of course, alter things to the worse, and wisdom and counsel shall not alter them to the better, what shall be the end?
Francis Bacon (1561-1626), English philosopher, essayist, statesman. Essays, "Of Innovations" (1597-1625).
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Chris wrote:

I've used DesignCAD since the DOS days.
http://www.imsidesign.com/Products/DesignCADFamily/DesignCADv18/tabid/325/Default.aspx?gclid=CLW21_6DypMCFRUasgodlVouiw
It it probably the most useful and easiest to use with the right button "gravity click" feature.
But lately I've been rendering scenes for animation and have about hit the limits.
I've been looking at Rhino as a replacement.
http://www.rhino3d.com /
YMMV Richard
--
(remove the X to email)

Now just why the HELL do I have to press 1 for English?
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Hi
Thank you all for the Help, Rhino looks favorite.
Chris
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wrote:

You've received recommendations on a couple very different modelers. Which is a better fit depends on what sort of things you design. A first pass would be to look at the samples in Alibre's and Rhino's galleries. You'll see that Alibre is focused on mechanical design while Rhino excels at modelling parts with complex surfaces and generating presentations.
I don't have a dog in this fight -- I use Inventor and and have only heard generally positive reports on both Rhino and Alibre -- but want you to understand that there are significant differences between the two products beyond personal preferences.
--
Ned Simmons

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Ned Simmons writes:

So you're recommending Inventor, or not?
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On Thu, 29 May 2008 20:10:29 -0500, Richard J Kinch

I wouldn't recommend it for hobby or casual use, at least not before checking out the less expensive, and free, alternatives.
I'm happy with Inventor, though I may be dragged into switching to Solidworks at some point. One longtime customer is threatening to switch (for no particularly good reason, IMO), and another new customer runs Solidworks. So far neither has given me an ultimatum, but that time may come.
--
Ned Simmons

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N.A.M.E.S. this year featured a seminar by Mike Rhemus on Alibre. It seems to be pretty good and a lot more economical than some others. See www.Alibre.com
According to Mike, the beautiful drawings in his magazine, Model Engine Buuilder, are done with Alibre.
Bob Swinney
wrote:

Hi
Thank you all for the Help, Rhino looks favorite.
Chris
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I think Rhino is probably best for "industrial design" or "artsy" sorts of things, while a parametric modeller like Alibre, SoldWorks, etc is best for designing mechanical things that must fit together and work. One might use Rhino to design a sexy package with a few reference points, mounting points or surfaces, Alibre to design the mechanism or machine that goes inside.
I've not used Rhino. I do have Alibre and like it a lot. Alibre has half-price sales now and then. The last one was in Dec 07, extended to Jan 08. That's when I got my copy.
Plan to spend some time learning to use it, "thinking paremetrically". It's worth the investment. I highly recommended the set of tutorial CD's. Alibre comes with some "get started" tutorials but the extra-cost CD tutorials are much better and more comprehensive.
Higher buck programs (SolidWorks etc) have more features and probably are more productive for expert frequent users, but Alibre claims that it can do nearly anything that can be done in SolidWorks.
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I don't know Alibre but I've used CADKey, AutoCAD, and several other mechanically-oriented CAD programs. In general, people doing a lot of mechanical design work, particularly of families of parts that can exploit parametric features, will find Rhino slow -- although there are tons of plug-ins for it, including several very slick parametric add-ons.
But I don't think you'll have any trouble getting things modeled in Rhino to "fit together and work." It's quite accurate. This is not a facet modeler, but one of the most advanced NURBS modelers on the market. It has very good capabilities to project 3D curves onto a flat plane for sheet layout and so on; they've built in a lot of advanced features since the early versions.
I think that Rhino's focus on advanced 3D curves and its popularity with hobbyists (because the beta versions were free for several years) has led some people to misjudge what it can do. I've had access to almost anything I've wanted when I was a metalworking editor -- I had a $5,000 seat of Vellum on my machine for years -- but I find Rhino to be the one program that will do just about anything, especially if you need reliable modeling of sweeps, meshes, and other 2D/3D curves, solids, and wireframe capabilities all in the same package. Its import/export file handling is impressive.
If everything you do is a onesie, and if you sometimes have need for really advanced curve-handling, it's probably the most versatile program out there. But I wouldn't use it if my job was to design families of machineable parts all day long. You don't need all that curve/sweep/mesh capability for that, and you'll feel the lack of manufacturing-oriented features in Rhino.
-- Ed Huntress
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