need CAD suggestions

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02 May 2018 02:48 #109992 by jmelson
need CAD suggestions was created by jmelson
Hello,

I've been looking for a new CAD system. I'd like to go with open source, if possible. I tried out the latest FreeCAD, and was not able to figure it out. Maybe I just need a good tutorial. Any pointers would be appreciated.

I've also looked at openScad (pretty good, but doesn't do toolpaths, as far as I know) and BRLCAD, which I am starting to learn.
If I could find something that can do both 3D-STL as well as conventional G-code subtractive machining, and make good 2D drawings, too, that would be great. FreeCAD looks like it could do that, if only I could get up to speed with it. I got version 0.17, which might just be too new to have to bugs worked out, yet.

Thanks much in advance,

Jon
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02 May 2018 08:57 #110005 by curtisa
Replied by curtisa on topic need CAD suggestions
Not free, but I quite like QCAD . Coming from an AutoCAD background, I find it has a similar look and feel. Recent releases of the CAD/CAM version also have the beginnings of a decent toolpath planner for 2D shapes and a dedicated LinuxCNC export function which works well.

I'm with you on FreeCAD. I really want to like it, but it's still a long way off being the fully-featured, stable one stop CAD/3D/CAM package it promises to be. That said, there are a few video tutorials for it here in this very subforum that show off its potential.
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02 May 2018 19:04 #110047 by jmelson
Replied by jmelson on topic need CAD suggestions
Qcad is 2D only, OK for sketches but maybe not good for 3D machining.
I watched Laurent's 30 minute video on FreeCad. At first I was put off by the French setting on the software, but he gives the lecture in English, and I took French in high school, so I was able to follow it. I'm going to try my first drawing over, I think I might do better now.

Thanks,

Jon
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02 May 2018 21:18 #110056 by curtisa
Replied by curtisa on topic need CAD suggestions
My (admittedly brief) experience with FreeCAD is that its true 3D profiling toolpaths are still a work in progress and it will struggle doing anything other than flat (2.5D) geometry and facing.

FWIW, the part that Laurent demonstrates in his tutorial videos can still be made in QCAD, or indeed any 2D CAD package. It's nothing more than a bunch of flat outlines stacked on top of each other.
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02 May 2018 21:45 #110058 by tommylight
Replied by tommylight on topic need CAD suggestions
blendercam.blogspot.com/p/download-and-installation.html

Do not follow the instructions, just go to google drive repository and download the BlenderCAM version, unzip and start it.
If after starting it you do not get the BlenderCAM menu in the middle upper side, read to the middle of the comments section, there are instructions on installing another 2 packages to have that work correctly.
It is a magnificent piece of software capable of many many things but it takes some getting used to.
It does 3D, animation, hell, even entire motion pictures.
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