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"Budget" Cad prodgrams

Postby SoSo » December 11th, 2017, 7:03 am


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Hey all,
I just started working for a very small company (~5 employees) as the sole product designer/engineer, previously they've hired consultants to do the product development but now they want to bring it in-house. We need a CAD license for me to work in and unfortunately it looks like the big players are out of our price point (again, very small company).

So I'm looking into some of the cheaper programs out there and I wonder what's everyones experience is? One big problem for me right now is that I'm pretty fresh out of school so I don't have alot of experience working in CAD programs in a professional environment and I anticipate that there might be some differences compared to the school environment.

In short, what we need is 3d modelling capabilities, primarily solids but some surface modelling tools would be an welcome addition. I also need to create basic 2d drawings. I'm probably going to use Keyshot for renderings and I don't have to deal with large assemblies, huge product libraries, simulations or similar. Most products will be injection molded plastic parts and a few sheet metal parts.

Re: "Budget" Cad prodgrams

Postby 51 » December 11th, 2017, 8:17 am

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Link to one source summary for 'free/low cost' CAD programs.
https://www.sculpteo.com/blog/2017/04/05/top-19-of-the-best-free-cad-software/

SoSo wrote:...... previously they've hired consultants to do the product development but now they want to bring it in-house.

Don't discount an investment in the right software for the right job.
SoSo wrote:......... I'm pretty fresh out of school so I don't have a lot of experience working in CAD programs in a professional environment and I anticipate that there might be some differences compared to the school environment.

It may be 'cheaper' to invest in what already works for company (previous consultant software and outputs) than investing time evaluating, learning, or testing alternate options.

Good luck!

Re: "Budget" Cad prodgrams

Postby iab » December 11th, 2017, 8:54 am


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Rhino is only $800

Re: "Budget" Cad prodgrams

Postby MK19 » December 11th, 2017, 9:01 am


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What do you make? What manufacturing processes do you design for?
Also Autodesk will probably give you Fusion 360 for free for a while until you are ready to commit and even then it is cheap on subscription.
Rhino is ok but will not enable you to do sheet metal or box section cut lists or simulate injection moulding, CNC machining, etc.
I would also argue the investment in SolidWorks is worth it but that said I do not agree with their price structure. I think it is shocking they still charge £4000 up front.

Re: "Budget" Cad prodgrams

Postby MK19 » December 11th, 2017, 9:04 am


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Also Keyshot is not cheap so if you're paying the, what, £1500 for that then you should invest more than that in your CAD modelling package surely.

Re: "Budget" Cad prodgrams

Postby iab » December 11th, 2017, 9:11 am


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MK19 wrote:Rhino is ok but will not enable you to do sheet metal or box section cut lists or simulate injection moulding, CNC machining, etc.


Do you mean there is no CAM simulation in Rhino? The obvious answer is yes. How is that relevant?

As for bent metal and plastic parts (IM, VM, BM, CNC, etc), of course you can use Rhino. Saying otherwise is incorrect.

Re: "Budget" Cad prodgrams

Postby Cyberdemon » December 11th, 2017, 9:15 am

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You need to make an investment if you want to make money. Nobody ever started a restaurant and said "ugh I don't want to have to buy a real stove".

Creo Essentials starts at only $2200 now which is very reasonable but it is a subscription rate so that's only good for a year. Solidworks by comparison starts at $4K, but it's an indefinite license. Realistically either of those expenses would be small in the grand scheme of running a business. Solidworks is easier to learn IMO. Even with the new UI updates Creo still sucks.

Re: "Budget" Cad prodgrams

Postby AVClub » December 11th, 2017, 10:10 am


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Fusion 360 is $40/Mo $300/year. Not quite as robust as Creo or Solidworks but I believe it will get there, it's already came a really long way. Also, there are some really big companies starting to use Fusion. With that said, the one company I am thinking of also has employees who use solidworks, but from my understanding more and more people are using Fusion there.

Re: "Budget" Cad prodgrams

Postby WSMI » December 11th, 2017, 11:42 am


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A co-worker mentioned Onshape, from the original creators of Solidworks - if I heard correctly. Continuing with "what I heard" it's not at SW level yet but getting there. I have zero experience with it so can't comment in any detail.

https://www.onshape.com/

I took a quick look and there seems to be a "Free for hobbyist option" but didn't go any further, so research is up to you.

As MK19 mentioned and from my recent, but very, very limited experience, Autodesk appears to be supportive and willing to listen to requests for software.

And as others have mentioned, honestly consider all the options to get the job done 'right'. Both in private and professional experiences more often than not 'spending the money' has proven the better route. It can be easy to underestimating the time, energy, and amount of torn out hair, to get the results needed with a "Should be good enough...".

-Peter

Re: "Budget" Cad prodgrams

Postby Cyberdemon » December 11th, 2017, 1:19 pm

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WSMI wrote:And as others have mentioned, honestly consider all the options to get the job done 'right'. Both in private and professional experiences more often than not 'spending the money' has proven the better route. It can be easy to underestimating the time, energy, and amount of torn out hair, to get the results needed with a "Should be good enough...".


Like when you decide to model your entire project in CAD software A, but the vendor you chose uses CAD software B and you think "Step files will be fine" until they crash on import and no one can understand why so you have to re-model the whole thing. :evil:

Re: "Budget" Cad prodgrams

Postby lychee » December 11th, 2017, 1:55 pm

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I learned Rhino in school, but I modeled in Solidworks at my first design job. The past month I modeled entirely in Fusion360 for personal projects. Solidworks experience is transferable to Fusion, but I am unsure what it's like to transition from a Fusion workflow to either Rhino or Solidworks.

I love Fusion360 and can rave about it all day, but I think it'd benefit you and your company more to invest in a current industry standard. It'd suck to come across a problem and there's no solution online or you get a reply "currently you can't do that in Fusion, but it's in the pipeline." In my first consultancy job I was mostly alone in learning Solidworks, and google was a tremendous resource because you have a huge history of solutions and tutorials. Also, there are no jobs that are asking for a Fusion360 expert, a least not that I know of. They either mention Solidworks or Rhino. Something to consider for yourself.

Re: "Budget" Cad prodgrams

Postby Mrog » December 11th, 2017, 2:29 pm


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Don't forget Inventor. Quite reasonably priced for what it offers. It's like the older, uglier, but more capable brother of Fusion.

Re: "Budget" Cad prodgrams

Postby MK19 » December 11th, 2017, 2:33 pm


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iab wrote:
MK19 wrote:Rhino is ok but will not enable you to do sheet metal or box section cut lists or simulate injection moulding, CNC machining, etc.


Do you mean there is no CAM simulation in Rhino? The obvious answer is yes. How is that relevant?

As for bent metal and plastic parts (IM, VM, BM, CNC, etc), of course you can use Rhino. Saying otherwise is incorrect.

For Sheet Metal I mean you cannot make flat patterns of parts which account for bend deduction etc.
For Weldments you cannot use profiles and make cut and weld lists.
For plastic part design you can design parts in any program if you're already an expert (though it would be slower and more painful in Rhino over a proper CAD program and from the OP's post I am sure he is not) but using the dedicated plastic design tools and the injection moulding simulation in SolidWorks or Fusion or Creo etc. are very useful.
I am talking design. Design for Manufacture, for actually getting things manufactured to real world limitations and not just making pretty 3-D geometry. I teach Rhino at University level (College in US terms) but it is not a proper CAD program for anyone that knows a mechanical/parametric modeller.

Re: "Budget" Cad prodgrams

Postby Dan Lewis » December 11th, 2017, 4:04 pm

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SoSo wrote:In short, what we need is 3d modelling capabilities, primarily solids but some surface modelling tools would be an welcome addition. I also need to create basic 2d drawings. I'm probably going to use Keyshot for renderings and I don't have to deal with large assemblies, huge product libraries, simulations or similar. Most products will be injection molded plastic parts and a few sheet metal parts.


I'm not a big fan but you can get most of this in Autodesk Fusion 360. Free if you're small enough or $25 per month for a yearly subscription. You need a fast internet connection as it's cloud-based.

Re: "Budget" Cad prodgrams

Postby mas » December 11th, 2017, 5:56 pm


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Anyone else see the huge opportunity for a CAD program that is similar to Solidworks but has 20% of the functionality? I just feel that the first program that does this will have everyone jump ship.

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