3D software

I am beginning my freelance career and find myself in need of 3D software. I had experience with Solid Edge 11 at school but now use a Mac OSX. Could someone please point me toward reasonably priced programs to get me started? Thanks

hey I’m in a similar situation - I very much need a good 3d app thats intuitive but suitable for cad output (for furniture, small object prototyping). I learnt microstation at uni (what a dog!) but many of my friend rave about rhinoceros, but I’m loathe to use a pc. Is solidworks the go or what?

The general understanding is that Rhino is good for complex nurbs surfaces and Solidworks for complex part assemblies. I use Rhino in a design department of one and it imports and exports very well with vendors’ software like Pro/E, SW, and AutoCAD. If money is tight, a dual-core PC with Rhino (and all it’s plug-ins) installed is about the same cost as any of the other softwares alone.

Hate the PC’s if you like, but Apple made a mistake by not catering to the AEC market. Sure, there’s Alias, but try campaigning for that in a budget meeting.


You’d have to go with Ashlar Vellum’s “Cobalt”. That would be the closest you can get to covering your Rhino/Solidworks needs. There is also another program that I think the original programmers of cobalt did that’s supposed to be very similar, can’t think of it off the top of my head and don’t know anybody that uses it. You can get good results with cobalt, I’ve run into a couple of people that use it, it’s just nowhere near as popular as the pc apps. But if you’re working on your own it’s fine, should do the same stuff. The tools are good and easy to understand, I just don’t like navigating in the vellum environments, that trackball is shite, it really needs rhino type navigation.

Concepts Unlimited, Cobalt, SolidThinking, nurbs/subbdivision surfaces in Maya. perhaps Cinema4D.

Or you can do what Apple does- get a Linux station with Alias and Unigraphics…

sorry I said the woring thing! I don’t hate pc’s… I just find windows and microsoft kind of annoying! :laughing: That said it seems linux has come a long way since I first played around with it 6 or so years ago, so that seems like a good low cost option. Can any of you comment on some of these new open source modellers I’ve been hearing about i.e blender, k3d, sharpconstruct-- are they totally unsuitable for cad output?

Almost all of those software packages are polygon modelling software. Making it essentially useless for any kind of real world output.

Cobalt is whats taught at my school and personally I abhor it. It lacks some of the most basic and IMO essential features for working in 3d. You are unable to have a 4 panel viewport which means many times you’ll put a point of a curve where it looks correct in 3d only to find out its in the complete wrong spot. The trackball interface is useless.

It also loves to throw errors that give very little to the imagination on what is going wrong.

I would suggest getting some trials of software to determine what you like and can use before purchasing it.

Nobody works on their own. At some point, the design must be transferred from designer to rapid prototype to factory etc… the reason many softwares are beginning to work with NURB math.