Shapeways for Prototyping? Which CAD is best?

Discussion in 'Technologies and Hardware' started by ChaplainSunshine, Apr 27, 2009.

  1. ChaplainSunshine
    ChaplainSunshine New Member
    Hello all:

    I'm looking to get a prototype made, but I need to have a high degree of precision. (VERY small space) Most US prototyping (3D printing) companies don't have such capabilities or charge quite a bit for them. Five parts were $200 at eMachineShop.com and didn't have the precision I needed. So I like shapeways since they can handle 2mm walls and pretty reasonable prices!

    Here's my problem: I was good with Solidworks as an engineering student, but my student version license has expired. I did my Patent Drawings in Google Sketch Up and then traced them using InkScape with pretty darned good results. Sketch Up, however is not for the "real" world (or is it?)

    Should I

    1. Try to learn Blender to export to Shapeways?
    2. Bite the bullet and get Solidworks Pro?
    3. Split the difference and get the midrange CAD even though it would also make me learn a new CAD interface?

    Essentially, my question is WHICH CAD IS BEST FOR SHAPEWAYS IN DESIGNING A MECHANICAL PART?

    But to all you artists on shapeways, your work is beautiful and you have my eternal envy!

    Thanks
    Chaplain Sunshine
     
  2. frankbuss
    frankbuss New Member
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2009
  3. bvicarious
    bvicarious New Member
    I can't comment on CAD apps, but emachineshop.com is ridiculously expensive! Even something like a small metal plate with some tapped holes drilled into it was in the hundreds of dollars, to say nothing of their 3d printing. I know their mission is different from shapeways, but I imagine anyone looking for that kind of service could find it elsewhere at more reasonable prices. What I like about them is the app they've built, which lets you design, model, and get price estimates all in one.