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Need Low Cost Autocad Replacement

Discussion in 'DRAWING, LAYOUT & CAD' started by modela, Jan 4, 2016.

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  1. modela

    modela United States Active User Active Member

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    I have a background in AutoCAD and mechanical drawing. I dropped AutoCAD years ago as the cost of the upgrades increased extensively. I would like to get back into it without facing a massive learning curve.

    I am looking for a low-cost replacement that would have most of the AutoCAD features.
     
  2. sgisler

    sgisler United States Active User H-M Supporter-Premium

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    DraftSight= free. Basically a 'clone' of AutoCad. Have been using it several years now, having come from AutoCad myself. Minor if any learning curve.


    Stan,
    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
    fixit and maker of things like this.
  3. modela

    modela United States Active User Active Member

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    Thanks Stan, I will try it. It would be nice not to face another ugly learning curve.
     
  4. terrywerm

    terrywerm New Member Liaison Staff Member H-M Supporter-Premium

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    I've been using a similar product from Autodesk called AutoSketch. It is a 2D product, but does include some 3D effects, though it is not a full 3D package. Don't let the name fool you, it works very well for 2D prints. I am currently running version 9, but version 10 has been available for quite some time. It sells for about $250, so I don't really consider it to be 'low cost' but it does not have the high license maintenance costs like AutoCAD. I find it to be very versatile and worth every penny.

    There are other products out there, some of them free, but with a learning curve to consider.

    TurboCAD is a commercially available product that can be purchased for less money than AutoSketch. It is a little different than AutoCAD, but not too difficult to learn. I used it for a while about 15 years ago and it wasn't too bad.
     
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  5. modela

    modela United States Active User Active Member

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    Thanks, I will look into it.

    I like your old tool list. Mine includes old bridgeport mill, my dad's Logan lathe, 30 year old Unisaw, old Delta radial arm saw, old Craftsman belt/disk stander, JC Penny (Stanley) router and grinder, 20 plus year old Makita planer jointer, my grandfather's anvil, and many more tools still cranking out projects as well. I had an old Keller reciprocating hacksaw but gave it away to a friend.

    Jim
     
  6. RJSakowski

    RJSakowski H-M Supporter - Premium Content H-M Supporter-Premium

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    Take a look a Fusion 360. It is a 3D modeling product with integrated CAM from AutoDesk. It is free to students, educators, hobbyists, and startup businesses. There will be a learning curve transitioning from AutoCad but it has tremendous capability and it is well supported by AutoDesk.
     
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  7. John Hasler

    John Hasler United States Active User H-M Supporter-Premium

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  8. modela

    modela United States Active User Active Member

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    Could anyone elaborate on the difference between 3 dimensional CAD and modelling software. Advantages, difficulty to learn, functionality, etc.?

    Thanks,

    Jim
     
  9. joshua43214

    joshua43214 Active User Active Member

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    +1 on Fusion 360
    I recently switched to it. I have been using CAD since the 90's, and found the learning curve pretty painless.
    It is a pretty powerful program, and pretty intuitive.
    I generally prefer to start with a 2D sketch and extrude it to 3D, and it works very well for this. I have not played much with it starting from primitive solids, but what little I did was pretty simple and easy. It is certainly much easier to learn than 3DSMax.
     
  10. brav65

    brav65 Active User H-M Supporter-Premium

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    +2 on fusion 360 plus a full 12 month subscription is $80 tomorrow on Amazon for their daily deal. Onshape is another web based system that is free.
     
  11. modela

    modela United States Active User Active Member

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    Thanks for the heads up. I have a limited time to learn a conceptually different system but I will check it out.

    Jim
     
  12. RJSakowski

    RJSakowski H-M Supporter - Premium Content H-M Supporter-Premium

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    No need to buy Fusion 360! Here is a snip from their website. (http://www.autodesk.com/products/fusion-360/try-buy)
    upload_2016-1-4_17-38-50.png
     
  13. Wreck™Wreck

    Wreck™Wreck United States Active User H-M Supporter-Premium

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    It is exactly as the name implies, 2D is drafting in 2 dimensions and 3D is drafting in 3 dimensions, modeling will create solid surfaces on the 3D drawing when displayed (in a highend system this will also tell when the parts in an assembly will impede upon one another in the real world). If making simple 2 axis parts in a home shop a 2D cad system is a fine addition and is for the most part free and easy to learn, solid modeling takes more time to learn and more time to make the drawings.

    If however this is a hobby endeavor then by all means have at it, as mentioned Fusion 360 is excellent as well as the free Solid Edge package from Seimens. You will probably find that when you take the actual drawings to the machine to manually produce them that a 2D drawing in 3 views to be more useful.
    Good Luck
     
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  14. modela

    modela United States Active User Active Member

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    I downloaded Fusion 360 and went through the tutorial. It is amazing what they can do, but tutorials make it look so easy.
     
  15. modela

    modela United States Active User Active Member

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    Thanks to everyone for their posts. I think I am going to try Draftsight and Fusion 360. Earlier this year I posed the same question on another forum and it just died. It makes me appreciate The Hobby-Machinist all the more.

    Jim

    By the way, I am recording all these suggestions in case one of these things don't work out. Learning CAD is kind of like learning a foreign. When you are stumbling for a command you usually go back to a familiar one only to find it doesn't work.
     
  16. RJSakowski

    RJSakowski H-M Supporter - Premium Content H-M Supporter-Premium

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    With the 3D modeling software that I have experienced, 2D drawings can easily be made. They have an advantage in that the drawing is linked to the model so if the model is changed, the drawing updates automatically. My experience with AutoCad goes back to 2000 where if you wanted to change the drawing, you had to move the lines in the drawing or redraw them and to update a dimension, you had to move the anchor point.
     
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  17. 4gsr

    4gsr Global Moderator Staff Member H-M Supporter-Premium

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    For 2D drawings, you can't beat Draftsight, I think you will like it. I've been a Draftsight user ever since they started. I have two professional seats in use for the work I do. As for 3D, I can't help you there. But AutoCAD 360 looks like a winner, too! I'll have to give it a try.
     
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  18. modela

    modela United States Active User Active Member

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    It is hard to make the big time commitment when a learning curve looms in the background. If only giving it a try was an easy prospect. The Fusion 360 makes it seem really easy and the upside looks much less limited. In addition, they offer it free for students and hobbyists. Glad to see users adding their experiences.

    Jim
     
  19. maker of things

    maker of things United States Hermit H-M Supporter-Premium

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    For the price, you may want both. I regularly use Draftsight and AutoCad 2d then jump over to parametric modelling software Inventor and Geomagic Design. Depends on what you need drawn. I have been an AutoCad guy since it ran on (2) 5 1/4" floppies on a 386 with math co-processor, I type most of my commands with my left hand as a result and have no problem jumping back and forth with Draftsight (though I wish they would add spell check like Autodesk finally did).

    I would have a slight concern about file durability with fusion 360 long term, just because .f3d looks to be the native format. Not likely to be supported by other companies and if the free period expires on fusion you might be trapped into paying. YMMV
     
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  20. modela

    modela United States Active User Active Member

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    Good Point. I still have a few of the old floppies with DWG files hanging around. Are we dating ourselves?:) When I was building commercial building I used to use CAD to work with the architect and engineers. Then the yearly changes and higher prices started slowly making me obsolete. It was nice to have the old drafting and engineering skills to fall back on. I will pursue Draftsight and flirt with AutoCAD who left me years ago for other richer suitors.
     
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  21. maker of things

    maker of things United States Hermit H-M Supporter-Premium

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    I think there is value in learning parametric modelling, and Fusion 360 is the right price. AutoDesk only rents software as of this year, so if you want AutoCad you will have to subscribe. Draftsight is every bit as capable as autocad 2d from a few years ago and it behaves properly. I tried a few other 2d cad packages that were "autocad compatible" but they behaved totally different. Draftsight is the only clone that "feels right" to me.
     
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  22. modela

    modela United States Active User Active Member

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    Thank you. Nice to benefit from other's experience. That is where forums like this come in handy.
     
  23. 4gsr

    4gsr Global Moderator Staff Member H-M Supporter-Premium

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    Just like Maker of Things, Jon said, I've been using AutoCAD since release 9 on a 286 with math co processor! Man, that was the days!
    When I integrated over to Draftsight, It was like I never left AutoCAD. Pretty much any keystrokes you used in AutoCAD, they are usable in Draftsight. It does have a few things that are different, no doubt, but to me are far much better than AutoCAD had then when I changed over.
     
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  24. joebiplane

    joebiplane United States Active User H-M Supporter-Premium

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    Doing the Looking for easy 3D cad.... Like most of you , I just came across " Design Spark Mechanical 2.0"
    I was recommended to it by a Tech Guy at Solid works. It is a close match to Solid works. it runs with an operations guide right in front of you. It seems to have a VERY simple dash board. AND IT IS AVAILABLE FREE
    I JUST DOWN LOADED IT AND ONLY HAVE ABOUT THREE HOURS INTO IT BUT IT APPEARS TO BE "JUST WHAT I WAS LOOKING FOR !
    I also have Fusion 360 ( free as a hobbyist ) but it isn't proving to be the easy program that I thought it might be. I never figured out Auto Sketch Must have been me " Overthinking" it
    TurboCad was awaaaaay tooo buggy for me. I guess I'm just hard to please
     
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  25. modela

    modela United States Active User Active Member

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    I Tried TurboCad way back and had the same reaction. I am too insecure with CAD to like a "buggy" program. Don't you just love those demos. They should realize that they can scare the ordinary guy.
     
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  26. maker of things

    maker of things United States Hermit H-M Supporter-Premium

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    I think it was turbocad that automatically joins all the lines in an object, but there is no explode command so it seemed practically impossible to do anything quickly.
    Now if we could just get the fingers to hit the correct keys we would be all set! walking-stick.gif
     

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  27. PocoJoe

    PocoJoe Iron Registered Member

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    A question... Does Fusion360 produce output that will drive 3D printers? It would be nice to learn a tool that works in addition as well as subtraction...
     
  28. JimDawson

    JimDawson Global Moderator Staff Member Director

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    I just asked my resident AutoDesk expert, he says ''Yes, STL files'' Apparently this is what most 3D printers use.
     
  29. maker of things

    maker of things United States Hermit H-M Supporter-Premium

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    Yes .stl is the de facto standard. However it is available only via "cloud export". (grouchy old man sick of cloud this cloud that) Fusion was built with additive machining as a major focus probably to go along with their new 3d printer, Ember. More importantly fusion outputs locally .stp which is the standard modelling interchange format so any 3d cad or cam software can import your parts. Also exports .dxf locally fwiw.
     
  30. Smithdoor

    Smithdoor United States Active User Active Member

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    Do you still have your old AutoCAD
    If so you can get to work on Windows 10
    The AutoCAD I have today is from 2000 and got to work on Windows 10

    Dave

     

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