What free CAD software do you love? Teaching a CAD class and would like to hear your thoughts.

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by lanceatkins, Mar 22, 2013.

  1. lanceatkins
    lanceatkins New Member
    Hi all,

    I'm going to be teaching a CAD+3d printing class. I'm a heavy solidworks user, but would like to teach the class with free or very affordable software so that people can keep making things.

    So... I guess this is a poll. What software do you like best that is a great stair-step for new learners?

  2. FabMeJewelry
    FabMeJewelry New Member
    Blender is a great piece of software that you can download for free, also got lots of toturials on youtube.
  3. denali3ddesign
    denali3ddesign New Member
    I teach Sketchup to newbies. I find they pick it up quickly and there are tons of tutorials online.
  4. Keymaker
    Keymaker Well-Known Member
    I "teach" blender and i don't think it is good idea (maybe it is only a local problem)
    And you can make model for 3d printing in blender but i never consider it as CAD software :)
  5. UniverseBecoming
    UniverseBecoming Well-Known Member
    I love Creo Elements/Direct Modeling Express 4.0 This amazing software is comparable to Solidworks, but FREE!

    Also, I love Truespace 7.6. For a free polygonal modeler it can't be beat. I actually started using Truespace way back when Truespace first came out. This is a commercial software that basically closed its doors and started allowing the software to be used for free.

    If your students are young, then Trimble Sketchup is the choice. Sketchup was recently purchased from Google by Trimble. A person like yourself with your Solidworks background can start using Sketchup in about 5 minutes. It's extremely easy to learn. At times when I'm away from using my various 3D related software for months at a time, rather than relearn what I've forgotten, I'll usually grab Sketchup cuz I know I can pick it up and start using it in a matter of minutes. Also, it has an amazing 3D simulation plugin called Sketchyphysics.

    As a side, look into MeshMixer and Sculptris too. These are used for digital sculpting and people love to play around with these just for fun.

    A very popular 2D vector software is Inkscape. I normally use CorelDraw for 2D stuff, but there are times when Inkscape is more robust for certain operations.
  6. stonysmith
    stonysmith Well-Known Member Moderator
    +1 for Truespace. I still love it.
    But, a close second is OpenSCAD. It's not a 'drawing' program, but rather you build models in "code".
  7. parrleu
    parrleu New Member
    A couple really cool free options that I don't see here yet are:

    [list type=circle]
    [*] 123d suite - this has a CAD program, a converter to turn 3d into 2d slices, a clay like program for tablets, and a couple of other neat pieces of software - easy to use
    [*] 3dtin - super easy to use, and web based - better than TinkerCAD was for the things I've played around with in it

    What a fun class to be teaching!