lightweight cost-efficient CAD software ?

Hello everyone.
I am looking for some cost effective CAD or drawing software to make some assembly drawings for simple parts, like extrusions, etc. Nothing really fancy. Just asking what everyone's favorite software is ? ( Windows XP platform )
I don't need to do photo-realistic modelling or anything like that, just some decent 3-d drawings to show how some parts go together. Mostly because sometimes drawings are better than actual photos.
I am considering TurboCad for the moment. It would also be nice if I could use the same software late on to generate input files to control a Sherline CNC setup --- but that is waaaaay down the road.
Open Source or free is good. My absolute top budget is about $130 or so. Would prefer much less for the amount I expect to actually use it. Thanks for any suggestions, as always ! JCD
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Pogo wrote:

the same software late on to generate input files to control a Sherline CNC setup --- but that is waaaaay down the road.
The consumer version should be fine. I have the pro version, and an older consumer 2D-only version (version 6) that I use with my CNC rig, and both output DFX files. That's all you really need. Any decent CNC software should be able to read a DXF file.
You can save extra money buy purchasing it with your ed discount. Way under $130, in any case.
-- Gordon
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Thanks! Great advice, as always! JCD
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Pogo wrote:

assembly drawings for simple parts, like extrusions, etc. Nothing really fancy. Just asking what everyone's favorite software is ? ( Windows XP platform )

decent 3-d drawings to show how some parts go together. Mostly because sometimes drawings are better than actual photos.

the same software late on to generate input files to control a Sherline CNC setup --- but that is waaaaay down the road.

Take a look on VariCAD: http://www.varicad.com / It is true 3D tool; educational version cost $99, and you can download free full featured (one-month) trial version.
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On Thu, 15 Feb 2007 14:46:00 -0500, "Pogo"
assembly drawings for simple parts, like extrusions, etc. Nothing really fancy. Just asking what everyone's favorite software is ? ( Windows XP platform )
Google Sketchup is not a CAD program, but, as the name suggests, a program for drawing sketches. It is very easy to use and it allows you to draw with any precision and detail you like.
The free version is very capable and lacks almost no features, compared to the pay version (which costs an impressive USD 500).
Even if it does not fulfill your needs for a CAD program you will probably like it enough to keep it for other uses.
--
RoRo


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Alibre has a light version of their 3-d parametric modeling package. It it complete free, and is quite a capable program. It includes an associative 2-d drafting feature. One limit is that you can only use 10 parts in an assembly (if you have a more complex assembly you can make sub-assemblies and convert them into a single part). Of courrse they are baiting you for the $1,000 upgrade.
However, you said "lightweight". A complex program like this is not as quick to learn or use as a one without the parametrics.
They have paid supplemental programs, but I don't know if any of them will help you with CNC machining. The free program will export STEP, IGES, and SAT models.
Joe Dunfee
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Yeah I downloaded this last night. Haven't tried it yet.
Thanks to everyone! (including Nick & Robert Roland !)
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