Any other engineers have trouble getting used to 123D design?

I'm wondering if anyone else who has experience with professional CAD software has tried 123D and finds it difficult to use. I have ~7 years of experience using Solidworks in a mechanical engineering and robotics context. I recently tried to pick up 123D for use with my home 3D printer and find it absolutely infuriating to use. It feels like working with oven mitts on. But, I see screenshots of very complex models people have made all over the place. So, I'm not sure if:

- I'm spoiled from the use of "professional" software and need to lower my expectations for free consumer software. For example, I'm very used to full control over creating reference geometry like axes and planes, and creating everything from 2D sketches that are then extruded/revolved/swept (as opposed to 3D shape primitives) and having direct control over all of the dimensions the entire time. In 123D I find it difficult to do something as simple as create two rectangular prisms and put them a fixed distance from each other, or create a rectangular prism and then put a hole in it a certain distance from one edge.
- If this is just a difference between Autodesk and Dassault software - e.g. if I was used to using Autodesk Inventor instead of Solidworks, maybe I'd have an easier time picking up 123D.
- If I'm just being lazy/impatient, and need to watch more tutorial videos and give myself more time to pick up the software.

So, just curious if anyone else has a similar experience coming from using professional software (as opposed to a maker/hobbyist who had never used 3D CAD at all before).

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i played with it for a bit, and had a similar experience, the novelty factor wore off very quickly. Ive used PTC prodesktop for years and have found it does 99% of what i what despite its age (10 years)
So somewhat disappointing.

I'm sure this being an old topic may not produce a response but ..... Back in the days of Floppy discs (ancient history here), I had access to AutoCad r13 at work. I loved it and learned as much as I could through a companion book (another ancient commodity) I bought at a book store. I studied the program and how to use it without knowing what I would do with the knowledge, but I loved it. Then I changed jobs. Fast forward many years to now being into retirement without the disposable income I used to have, I find myself wanting to get back into 3D modeling and making things with the invention of 3D printers. I too tried 123d but now have just switched to Tinkercad in hopes of finding a tool to design and make things.123d was for me to limiting in allowing me to design what I wanted to make. I looked up all the referenced programs above but all seem out of reach for a fixed income now.

Does anyone know of a free program that is worthy of creating or replicating items in 1:1 scale down to 1:24 in order to print them on a 3D printer?

Google Onshape, its a new program from the people who founded solidworks and then sold the compnay. Its free to use and you get 5gb of free storage (although the files are public)

Ben Finio (author)  Newoldbuilder 8 months ago
Hi - people seem to keep finding this topic even though it is almost three years old! I've recently tried Autodesk Fusion 360 and am MUCH happier with it. It "feels" more like a real CAD program and the interface is much more intuitive. It's free for hobbyists so I would give that a shot.

For the record though, I haven't used 123D Design for a couple years, so have no idea if it has improved.

Thanks for the tips. I tried Fusion on my iPad and it didn't seem to let me create from scratch. Maybe I need to try on the desktop.

BTW, this topic is as relevant today as it was a few years ago. So long as these two programs exist and nothing better comes along. But I will try out Pro desktop. Thansk

IMHO the problem comes down to usability vs real accuracy and the creation of files that you can use in other programs.
When 123D came out I thought this is the only program I ever need.
Shortly after models got more complex and I realised dealing with them for changes is a total pain.
Then came the problem of using them in other program, even if just for 3D printing.
Creating a complex solid that is "watertight" and correct in terms of having no errors is next to impossible within 123D.
If it just the look you are after like for a 3D presentation no problem, if you want to create something real from it you are lost IMHO.

I reverted back to using Sketchup and although nowhere near being perfect for the job either it at least allow far easier editing and corrections.
Tinkercad is used a lot by other people and same is true for Solidworks in the professional range.
But if you are good at math and like formulas Openscad might be the thing for you.
If you here create a complex gear the right way you don't have to edit anything manually to make changes.
You change the diameter of one sproket and the coresponding one(s) change too with the right number of teeth to make it work.
A lot of editable models on Thingiverse are made this way.

Yep Ive got to try 360, but my laptop is too old :-(

Have a go a Pro desktop you can check out this Ible


it shows you how to get started and how to activate the software it also has a link to down load it. Ive down a few instructables on how to use it also.

-chase-9 months ago

Coming from Pro grade 3D modeling apps to 123D or MeshMaker, there's no comparison. And anyone saying otherwise hadn't used pro grade.3D apps extensively.

Despite that, people do use them. Personally, I walked away from them after a very short time because quite honestly, they lack quite a bit, and are a pain in the butt to model with.

123D Design is very powerful and quite good even for professional grade software, let alone freeware.

However, it requires that you put thought into what you want to design and how you want to reach your goal in terms of shape.

Instead of having an interface that requires years and years to learn the interface but holds your hand and does everything for you in terms of geometry and actual modelling without you needing to bother hardly at all about geometry and geometry concepts, it has a sparse interface with a short learning halftime but requires that you think about almost everything you want to do and how you're going to do it.

For instance, it has no express functionality in its interface explicitly for making spirals *at all*. And yet you can make spirals with it just fine by using the circular pattern tool, the project tool, the move tool and the loft tool.

However, you actually have to think about how you're going to do it by manipulating geometry and using geometry concepts in your head instead of having the interface just do it for you without you needing to bother at all how you're going to subvert some other tool to actually make a spiral. The same with what you describe.

What you explain is quite easy to do with the software once you are aware of all the tools it provides and what they can each do.

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