Best Scalable Program

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by wilsonspeaking, Feb 15, 2013.

  1. wilsonspeaking
    wilsonspeaking New Member
    Hello All. If there is another post like this on the forums please feel free to avoid posting and direct me elsewhere.

    I'm looking to design some smaller industrial parts (50mm and smaller) to ultimately be 3D printed. I've looked at AutoCAD, Inventor, Cheeta 3D, Blender and Rhino but am having a hard time deciding what direction go. I'm looking for something that is 1) highly support with either documentation, tutorials, or a big community and 2) Scalable. I can design about anything in it.

    Any recommendations or feedback is welcomed.
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2013
  2. Youknowwho4eva
    Youknowwho4eva Shapeways Employee Community Team
    That sounds like Blender, and it's free.
  3. Ray716
    Ray716 New Member
    Being a Blender user, I can attest that there is a HUGE community of users and tutorial makers. There is a learning curve to making things with Blender, but once you get past that period, things are VERY quick!

  4. Mhagan
    Mhagan New Member
    For industrial parts, it is hard to beat Inventor or Solidworks. With practice just about anything can be made and designs are easily changed and modified with these. They have a shallower learning curve than Blender but they are less capable for things like dynamic physics simulations and animation because they are focused on making mechanical parts.
  5. Twopounder
    Twopounder New Member
    Sketchup is also an option. It's extremely easy to learn, has tons of tutorials, and works for any hard surface modeling. While it's capable of organic modeling, it's not really designed for it, so the results won't be nearly as good as programs like zBrush.
  6. UniverseBecoming
    UniverseBecoming Well-Known Member
    The most amazing CAD software that I have yet seen is the new Geomagic Spark. It'll set you back ten thousand US dollars though! :laughing:

    I'd have to say that Solidworks is the most loved among CAD software. I tried a demo of it once and liked how it taught you how to use it AS YOU WERE USING IT! Autodesk products are popular cuz Autodesk has been around forever, I tried Mechanical Desktop once and didn't like it at all. By the way there is a watered down version of Autodesk Inventor you can get for free called 123D. I tried it out a little and I guess it's ok.

    Then there are the big names used by big corporations and government agencies, like SpaceClaim, Dassault Systèmes CATIA and PTC. Of these, PTC has a really great deal. They'll give you FOR FREE their Creo Elements Direct Modeling Express 4.0, which is a slightly limited version of their full software in the hopes that you will want to upgrade at some point in the future. Go here to get it. For doing engineering CAD, with lots of documentation, extremely capable, and scalable for if you want to do huge assemblies someday, it just can't be beat I think. I've used it and I liked it. The main limitations are, It's limited to 60 assemblies and you have to be connected to online to start it up.

    As for myself, I've mainly always done art stuff, so I've always used all of the free polygonal modelers. :)


    [EDIT] I meant to say Unigraphics, not Spaceclaim. :)

    Last edited: Feb 18, 2013