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  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by ShuttleSpace View Post
    Have a look at Autodesk 123D Apps, its easy to grasp for starting out. All free and no install required.
    Start tonite!
    123dapp.com
    Sketchup will be good to know because of all the free stuff and large community.
    Im also using 123d seems to be good but the best tutorials are on you tube if you search for the operation you want to perform.
    The 123d site gives you the basics of what it can do.

  2. #12
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    I'd like to join this thread. I am a retired Master Wood Pattern Maker for the foundry industries. I also have a degree in Machine Design and I've used Solid works for 3d modeling, and Auto CAD 200 for 2d drawing. Now that I'm almost finished building my 3d printer, I want to be able to do more,"organic" types. I mean things not mechanical in nature, more like sculpting and even human type figures, artsy stuff. Hard to explain! So, what is free, and doesn't have a steep learning curve?

  3. #13
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    I started with SketchUp but there were to many holes making it hard for 3D printing, nice for architectural renderings though.

    Then I went to Alibre (Geomagic Design) which was nice and powerful but too complicated.

    Now I am using MOI, real simple and inexpensive.

    Ralph

  4. #14
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    I assume you are a hobbyist like me and looking for inexpensive software. The following link includes brief tutorials on a variety of CAD packages you might want to look at.

    3D Printering: Making A Thing In FreeCAD, Part I

    Another to consider is Design Spark Mechanical (DesignSpark Mechanical ¬Ľ DesignSpark)

    I have tried several of the free/cheap programs. Many seemed too feature lacking or just didn't lend themselves to precision mechanical design. For me, the parametric constraint driven approach of FreeCAD (somewhat like Solid Works) just makes sense and I have used it quite a lot. It is buggy, as in it crashes from time to time, but I just save frequently and I have been able to design everything I have tried. Here is a link to a few things I've posted on Thingiverse all designed quickly and easily in FreeCAD. I believe it is in active development and expect it will continue to get better. About neuport - Thingiverse

    Good luck.

  5. #15
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    Note to original poster. Google Sketchup is no longer Google Sketchup. Google sold Sketchup to Trimble in 2012.

    The best and absolute easiest to learn is SpaceClaim's free limited function version known as DesignSpark Mechanical. Only the most advanced features are left out, so unless you're going to do something very advanced you're essentially using SpaceClaim. They released it with 3D printing in mind and so they did include one advanced feature of SpaceClaim and that is the Shell tool. The Shell tool lets one make their model hollow with a specified wall thickness. This then lets one save money on 3D printing material costs.

    Sketchup, also free, is a little more difficult to learn compared to DesignSpark Mechanical, but with Sketchup you can do a LOT more with all of the plugins that are available for it.

    Another good one, but only for organic forms, is Sculptris. It tops the list of free sculpting software. And if you like doing that kind of 3D modeling you can eventually work up to acquiring Zbrush.

    I've been using computers to make art and do 3D modeling of various types since personal computers first came out in the late 70s early 80s. Translation? I'm OLDDD!! HAHAHA!
    What will become of the world when 3D printers can print 3D printers?

  6. #16
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    Like James stated sketchup is no longer owned by Google but still has the name sketchup. I would also like to mention OpenSCAD, Tinkercad (web based). I have been part of testing a couple that are in Autodesk's labs that I think will be good. Especially for organic shapes. I personally think the professional software is over kill for what most people are modeling. Granted I use them just because the company I work for has them. I also use Autodesk Revit but its more geared for the AEC industry.
    Last edited by Nchapman; 02-12-2014 at 09:24 AM.

  7. #17
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    I started quite a few years back with no 3D design experience and got the Alibre free version when that did that, even though I am just a hobbyist and not rich I still find that the paid for versions are worth the money. The main thing is whatever software you use is that they have a good forum to get you over the bumps you are going to run into.

  8. #18
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    Wings 3D - it creates watertight models and exports to STL.

  9. #19
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    I would reccomend blender it also is free and quite good.

  10. #20
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    Thanks for the good advise 3D Accuracy, I will keep this in mind.

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