CAD Software

rawr

SFF Lingo Aficionado
Mar 1, 2015
137
10
I know Solidworks is the more popular software for case design, but would Blender work as well?
 

EdZ

Virtual Realist
Gold Supporter
May 11, 2015
1,578
2,107
Blender is a polygonal modelling program, rather than a solid modelling program. If you're familiar using it it may be a comfortable way to produce an initial design. but an actual CAD package would be very useful for refining it for production.
 

Lone

King of Cable Management
Lone Industries
Feb 25, 2015
709
1,193
loneindustries.com

Prim0

Minimal Tinkerer
May 18, 2015
3
1
Hi everyone. I haven't been on this forum for a while now but I just came across this sub forum at the perfect time actually. So I'm interested in building myself a custom case, not for consumer purchase but rather as something for myself only. The reason for this is that I sometimes find it really hard to get that perfect case and the only one that has ever blown me away is Project Nova by @Aibohphobia and @PlayfulPhoenix. I'm still really interested in purchasing the case however recently my country has come under a massive decline when our currency started trading at R17.99 to the dollar which is about $1.08 which might not seem like much but is absolutely absurd. The case which I have in mind is quite complex and although it might take a while I'm a student and this is personally for me only I have time to spare. Sorry about the babbling so to my reason for posting instead. I was wondering what would be the best CAD software to use in general. I'm thinking of starting with SolidWorks if that's a good idea. Also AutoDesk maybe but I'm finding it difficult to understand the difference between autodesk autostudio and autodesk inventor. Any help would be highly appreciated.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Cameron Protocase

Aibohphobia

aka James
Original poster
Gold Supporter
Feb 22, 2015
4,956
4,717
Just a tip, paragraphs makes things much easier to read :)

Autostudio looks to be for the auto industry. Modern cars have lots of complex curves so it requires specialized CAD programs to do well. That kind of thing is expensive to manufacture though so I don't think that type of software is useful for case design.

So of the Autodesk products Inventor is the best for designing something like the M1 or Nova.

However, SolidWorks is extremely common in small-medium size sheet metal shops so if you can get the student version then I'd recommend it. Some shops may discount the engineering fee if you can give them a SolidWorks file so they don't have to convert it from STEP.
 

Prim0

Minimal Tinkerer
May 18, 2015
3
1
Thank You for the help.

I think I'll use SolidWorks because it allows me to use my student access.
 

jtd871

SFF Guru
Jun 22, 2015
1,166
847
So I was poking around Autodesk's site today for work (doing research on pricing for additional seats of software) and came across a product called Fusion 360 - billed as 3D CAD/CAM for Product Design. The site claims that the software is free for startups, students, enthusiasts and hobbyists. I don't know the feature set, but thought that I would throw it out there for somebody more knowledgeable than myself to comment on.

http://www.autodesk.com/products/fusion-360/overview

@Aibohphobia, feel free to move this to Guides if you think appropriate.
 

QinX

Master of Cramming
kees
Mar 2, 2015
541
371
I've used the regular Fusion program and to me it feels like sketchup merged with CAD, you can do some easy push pull sort of designing, but I don't think it has proper sheetmetal support.

The page says so itself, it can be really useful for designer and sculpting project, CNC milling, Blow molds and 3D printing come to mind. But if you are looking for sheet metal fabrication or complex assemblies Fusion360 is not the way to go I think, it is the same as Sketchup in that regard, nice to flesh out ideas but not meant to replace CAD programs like Inventor and Solidworks.
 

iFreilicht

FlexATX Authority
Feb 28, 2015
3,241
2,355
freilite.com
This is very interesting, but I don't think I should try and learn a new CAD program a few weeks before exams start :D

I've used the regular Fusion program and to me it feels like sketchup merged with CAD, you can do some easy push pull sort of designing, but I don't think it has proper sheetmetal support.

Oh. Well then I'm clearly not in the market.
 

QinX

Master of Cramming
kees
Mar 2, 2015
541
371
I'm not 100% up to speed myself, but I have Fusion 2013(A 2012 product), so it isn't fully comparable to Fusion 360.

Below is the full interface I have available. You have all the basic 3D modeling stuff you'd have in Inventor or Solidworks, but you have more freedom using Press/Pull and Move. This software might work faster if you are more of a designer or looking into CNC Milling and 3D printing.

You can pull on corners and edges, something not possible in Inventor at least, you always need a sketch. You can see in the screenshot I've got a concave going on, that is because I rotated an edge 30 degrees.

 

GuilleAcoustic

Chief Procrastination Officer
Moderator
LOSIAS
Jun 29, 2015
2,298
3,396
guilleacoustic.wordpress.com
I have no CAD background, but I have been studying 3D Studio and Maya for 2 years at school (2 years 3D modeling cursus after a 3 years programming cursus). So I'm at ease with 3D softwares. I've recently started learning FreeCad and it is an interesting app. It is expandable through "workbenches" (pluggins) and they have a sheetmetal module. It is prolly basic compared to Autodesk product, but is can bend and unfold the model.

 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: Lone

iFreilicht

FlexATX Authority
Feb 28, 2015
3,241
2,355
freilite.com
I have to say, after actually learning what sort of functionality the Inventor sheet metal tools offer, I don't want to miss them any more. I guess there is other software that offers the same sort of thing, but from what I've read so far, Fusion really is made for CNC milling and 3D printing, maybe it would work for woodworking as well.
FreeCAD seems to be worth a try, but if you've started using something else and have grown accustomed to that, there's not really a reason to switch to it.
 

QinX

Master of Cramming
kees
Mar 2, 2015
541
371
My father actually has an engineering degree and has gone all the way from pen and paper to 3D CAD. He always tells me, once you know 1 software package you know them all. It's mostly the UI that is different, and having tried Solidworks for 1 month after using Inventor 2 years before it I have to agree with him, once you know the UI all of it feels kind of the same, with the exception of software specific features/plugins.
 

GuilleAcoustic

Chief Procrastination Officer
Moderator
LOSIAS
Jun 29, 2015
2,298
3,396
guilleacoustic.wordpress.com
I agree with Qinx, a software is nothing more than a tool. This is just like programming language, wood chisel or any other tool. Once you know the mechanics you can just switch to another one with minimal effort.

I am a proud Linux user and the choice is limited. Autodesk has several Linux offer but my funding are limited. I also want to support the open source effort and if paper and pen is the best I can have ... let be it ! Pen, paper and cardboard are enough to build awesome things. Humanity has been able to build pyramids with not much more. It just takes longer XD
 

Lone

King of Cable Management
Lone Industries
Feb 25, 2015
709
1,193
loneindustries.com
I'm another happy Linux user. It was a sad day when I had to setup dual booting for Windows CAD software. I wasn't aware that Autodesk had Linux offerings.
 
Last edited:

jtd871

SFF Guru
Jun 22, 2015
1,166
847
Just for information, which version of Inventor is the best for this sort of thing?

EDIT: NVM, it looks like the base level has the sheet metal capability.
 

CC Ricers

Shrink Way Wielder
Bronze Supporter
Nov 1, 2015
2,057
2,209
Man, I've used AutoCAD 14 and 2000-02 in my high school years and now I feel left in the dust with these newer CAD programs lol. I like being able to create plan views from different angles and then having the 3D model naturally extrapolate from those views. I can work okay with Maya and Blender, but I feel my workflow would go faster with technical drawings. That's how I've done it before, anyways. Seeing two of my school's computers installed with 3DS Max was a mind blow back then.
 

Aibohphobia

aka James
Original poster
Gold Supporter
Feb 22, 2015
4,956
4,717
Huh, I guess it's just a difference in how you learned. My experience has only been with 3D modelers so the idea of working primarily from 2D drawings is strange.

Maya and Blender aren't really good comparisons though since they're not CAD programs. You'd probably be more comfortable in a CAD program since the starting point for new geometry and features is often a 2D sketch.
 

EdZ

Virtual Realist
Gold Supporter
May 11, 2015
1,578
2,107
I guess that's down to polygonal/nurbs surface modellers (Maya/Blender/3DSMax/etc) and CSG (Computational Solid Geometry) modellers like Solidworks/etc being only vaguely related other than dealing with 3D representations of things.
 

CC Ricers

Shrink Way Wielder
Bronze Supporter
Nov 1, 2015
2,057
2,209
Huh, I guess it's just a difference in how you learned. My experience has only been with 3D modelers so the idea of working primarily from 2D drawings is strange.

Maya and Blender aren't really good comparisons though since they're not CAD programs. You'd probably be more comfortable in a CAD program since the starting point for new geometry and features is often a 2D sketch.

I'm actually more used to 3D modelers now since it's been so long since I have used CAD software. I have recently started thinking of making my own interactive web 3D modeler that supports real-time path tracing for more realistic images. I'm a web developer by profession but on the side I also have an interest in graphics programming.

I haven't seen anything online that combines a 3D modeling web app with more realistic rendering. But I know there is open source code for path tracing/ray tracing that can be adopted to WebGL so it takes advantage of your graphics hardware. Most of the code I found is only useful for rendering basic geometric shapes like cubes, spheres and rectangles, but perhaps that's all I need. Make it a bit like Sketchup but also (if I can manage) tools to add and subtract shapes from each other to make the more complex shapes. And also other helpful tools like selecting a group of shapes so you can quickly get the volume of the space at a glance ;)
 
  • Like
Reactions: Soul_Est and QinX