CAD Software CAD software recommendations, for Mac?

Discussion in '3-D Printing and Related topics' started by georgegassaway, Sep 20, 2019.

Help Support The Rocketry Forum by donating:

  1. Sep 20, 2019 #1

    georgegassaway

    georgegassaway

    georgegassaway

    Lifetime Supporter TRF Lifetime Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2009
    Messages:
    4,432
    Likes Received:
    270
    I'm seriously thinking of getting a 3D printer by the end of the year, if finances allow. Leaning towards a Creality CR-10S.

    Anyway..... I need to find some suitable 3D software to use for creating 3D files. My past experience has been using 2D, specifically MacDraw and it's successor ClarisDraw (20-30 year old Mac Software). There has not even been any good modern 2D drawing software I have liked, so when I need to do drawings I go back to my old G5 desktop Mac running "Classic OS" on System 10.4 and run Clarisdraw or MacDraw Pro again.

    I am looking for some Mac-compatible 3D program. I can't afford multi-hundred dollar software, so my scope is pretty much limited to free 3D software.

    So, what may be the most practical of the free software packages? Something I can learn easily enough, not something so complex it has a crazy-steep learning curve that I might give up on. Something that has a good resource base for learning how to use it.

    Any good 3D drawing software forums?

    Same goes for slicer software.
     
    Doug Holverson likes this.
  2. Sep 20, 2019 #2

    BEC

    BEC

    BEC

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2009
    Messages:
    2,671
    Likes Received:
    85
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Auburn, WA
    I'm interested in these answers as well.
     
  3. Sep 20, 2019 #3

    spigalau

    spigalau

    spigalau

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 12, 2019
    Messages:
    450
    Likes Received:
    41
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Auckland, New Zealand
  4. Sep 20, 2019 #4

    Andrew_ASC

    Andrew_ASC

    Andrew_ASC

    UTC SEDS 2017 3rd/ SEDS 2018 1st

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2017
    Messages:
    3,543
    Likes Received:
    424
    Gender:
    Male
    Don’t know of anything Mac based off the top of my head. Mostly in engineering it’s a Microsoft world lol. I do know most free CAD softwares I’ve tried were absolute dogsh*t in “capabilities” precision wise and even in basic shape modeling context feature wise compared to professional Autodesk inventor I have access to at work and also Solidworks educational packages I’ve used in the past.

    I mean some of those free programs failed to let the users convert units within the program. Failed to let users define material properties for calculating mass off of volume based on density for complex shapes. Failed to let user define equations for curves (Revolving your own f-ing nosecone around an axis for example based on math equations not art duh). Failed to let user import airfoils off of coordinates. Failed to loft complex geometry. Failed to change save file formats of 3D models to easily printable file types. Model structure trees were borked and over complex. Editing features to complex after model already generated.

    By comparison Autodesk and Solidworks feel like Porsche of software and does whatever the **** I want it to... Yes the learning curve is steep. A few weeks to months depending on how serious you try. It’s worthwhile in my opinion. Drafting and engineering doors open. Once you experience a professional grade cad package you don’t want a free variant because you understand the limitations of free is mostly rubbish. Basically these higher prices softwares also make your job Way freaking easier as far as number of steps from sketch mode to actual part is significantly reduced. I tried picking up FreeCAD and rage quit after being spoiled on Solidworks and AutoCAD. It simply wouldn’t do a tenth of what the other programs do. AND doing simple tasks took longer. I was spoiled and ruined on nicer stuff.

    Not to mention the professional software packages offer powerful upgrades to do CFD,FEA, sheet metal fab, and thermal analysis. Basically a virtual wind tunnel, mechanics materials lab, and thermal lab. The physical lab testing equipment would cost tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars to do all the capabilities of an engineering software does on a pc.
    The coolest thing is once you learn one like Solidworks or Autodesk inventor picking up the other program only takes like three days or less of screwing with it.

    But hey I’m biased and use Autodesk inventor daily at work to do conveyor design as mech eng. I get loads of sheet metal tools options the company has lol. Even the work software won’t do airfoils by coordinates from
    Texts as Solidworks did at university.

    So my approach and answer to this is I’m saving my money about $5k towards a professional package like Solidworks.
     
  5. Sep 20, 2019 #5

    memcbride

    memcbride

    memcbride

    Lifetime Supporter TRF Lifetime Supporter

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2018
    Messages:
    84
    Likes Received:
    36
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Cincinnati
    OpenSCAD is free, multi platform, and runs on a Mac. A quick search will find rocket related OpenSCAD files. OpenSCAD has an old style feel to it as you “program” the object in a language, which I like personally. Mainly though I’ve been using Fusion 360 on my Mac and there use to be a non-commercial free license for it, but I don’t know if that’s still true (I have a full license).
     
  6. Sep 20, 2019 #6

    jlabrasca

    jlabrasca

    jlabrasca

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2016
    Messages:
    1,191
    Likes Received:
    326
    Free Fusion 360 (CAD/CAM software)

    https://www.autodesk.com/campaigns/fusion-360-for-hobbyists

    Tutorials

    https://www.nyccnc.com/fusion-360/

    https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL40d7srwyc_Ob77ioP5314_klrB4E0W7x
     
  7. Sep 21, 2019 #7

    caveduck

    caveduck

    caveduck

    semi old rocketeer

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2011
    Messages:
    1,205
    Likes Received:
    59
    Hey George, for me the top two no-cost options are the startup/hobbyist license for Fusion360 (an installable app), and OnShape (a web app). Neither is crippleware, they both have full functionality. I run them both on MacBooks. Amazingly enough, OnShape is quite a bit snappier in the UI. A limitation common to both is that you can't use them when you are disconnected from the net. F360 has CAM features; OnShape does not, which matters for me for CNC milling but doesn't affect 3D printing. I like OnShape a lot because I can literally go anywhere and use it on any computer with a browser. It will work well on a much lower-spec computer than Fusion360.
     
  8. Sep 21, 2019 #8

    cwbullet

    cwbullet

    cwbullet

    Obsessed with Rocketry Staff Member Administrator TRF Lifetime Supporter Global Mod

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2009
    Messages:
    22,375
    Likes Received:
    1,330
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Glennville, GA
    Fusion 360 is best, but Blender is free. Tinkercad is online.

    I would mess around with tinkercad and graduate from there.
     
  9. Sep 21, 2019 #9

    jlabrasca

    jlabrasca

    jlabrasca

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2016
    Messages:
    1,191
    Likes Received:
    326
    Fusion 360 is available for free to hobbyists and small businesses.

    https://www.autodesk.com/campaigns/fusion-360-for-hobbyists

    Blender will export to .stl, but it is a 3D modeling and animation suite -- not a CAD application. And the learning curve for Blender is very steep.
     
  10. Sep 23, 2019 #10

    georgegassaway

    georgegassaway

    georgegassaway

    Lifetime Supporter TRF Lifetime Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2009
    Messages:
    4,432
    Likes Received:
    270
    Thanks everyone for the input.

    Has anyone using Fusion 360's free hobbyist/start-up license, been using it free for more than a year? I note it's good for a year, a renewal every 12 months. Have concerns about learning it, getting hooked on it, then they yank it 12 months later... I could never justify the cost of $500 software, even as a one-shot, never mind annually.

    That's the reason why I may not try that route until I am close to actually getting the printer (months away). So if the free license is not renewed after 12 months, I'll not have "wasted" a few months of that 12 (I have some other irons in the fire to get to this fall, anyway).
     
  11. Sep 23, 2019 #11

    jlabrasca

    jlabrasca

    jlabrasca

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2016
    Messages:
    1,191
    Likes Received:
    326
    Yes. I blush to admit that I have been using it as a hobbyist for about 30 months (I really should be much better with it by now). I have never had to do anything to renew, that I can recall. If I did, it was so quick and painless a process that it did not make an impression on me.

    As others have noted, it is cloud-based. You can work off-line, and you can save your files locally, but F360 does call home frequently. The updates get pushed, and there does not seem to be a way to opt out -- which is a little annoying when they change the UI. That said, they have -- so far -- given advance notice, and run parallel versions, before "deprecating" the legacy stuff away. They have not (yet) taken away a feature upon which I depended.
     
  12. Oct 9, 2019 #12

    Yukon@K-9 Rocket Tech

    Yukon@K-9 Rocket Tech

    Yukon@K-9 Rocket Tech

    Just a teen who likes building rockets

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2019
    Messages:
    143
    Likes Received:
    16
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Georgia, USA
    The startup one has more features for engineering applications, but the hobbyist version is plenty. I think the startup licenses had something like a 2 year limit, while i believe the hobbyist version is limitless. I may be wrong, but all my friends who had the free version for a few years now are still using it fine, and even if it expires, you can always easily renew it if you retain your auto desk account.
     
  13. Oct 9, 2019 #13

    cwbullet

    cwbullet

    cwbullet

    Obsessed with Rocketry Staff Member Administrator TRF Lifetime Supporter Global Mod

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2009
    Messages:
    22,375
    Likes Received:
    1,330
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Glennville, GA
    Fusion 360 and Tinkercad. One has a learning curve and the other is easy peasy.
     

Share This Page