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what CAD package/software do you use? Answered

Hi - I have been using SketchUp for a couple of years, and grown reasonably proficient in its use.  However, it's not very intuitive in terms of being useful when trying to sketch ideas, find correct proportions, squeeze or stretch items until they "look right".  Having always to think in terms of creating drawings from extrusion of 2d surfaces is not often helping creativity!

So, I am interested to learn and hear about anyone else's experience of using alternative CAD software in light of my comments about SketchUp - what do you use?



1 year ago

Personally, I'm not a huge fan of SketchUp.. I've tried it several times and just never took to it.

I've dabbled with both 3D and CAD softwares... Coming from 3D to CAD.

For strictly CAD either 2 or 3D. Design Spark is a good one. And it's free ware.

When choosing CAD software or any software for that matter, you have to really look for features you need, along with ease of use. Learning curves come into play.

It sounds like you like SketchUp but want something more robust. So look for a SketchUp style but with the feature set you're looking for.

Also file formats, export, import etc etc might make a difference depending on your need. My need for CAD was like others, for 3D printing. As well as mechanical design accuracy in 3D space... Forces etc.

Again, i come from 3D creation so i looked for something that would give me the best of both worlds and yes layout familiarity.

There's a lot of software to choose from... Both of 3D, CAD and a mix of the two. Extent robust software that can do both... Or one or the other, depending on your need, can also come with a rather robust price tag attached as well. And then there's a matter of whether or not your comp is robust enough to handle said robust software... And i mean really handle it. Otherwise, that'll limit is capabilities greatly.

It is fun trying them all though.



2 years ago

I use PTC prodesktop which is now getting very old but I like it because it is so simple to use and outputs DXF, and STL files realy easily. I also use Vcarve quite a bit.

I tried sketch up and it great for drawing pretty pictures, but I didn't like it for anything anything else like 3d printing or laser cutting etc.

Also sculptris is pretty cool but I don't use it for anything.

Anyway here is a some more software packages most of which I have not tried.


A few months ago, I got a copy of AutoCAD2017. You have to say you're using it as a student (or something like that) but I believe it's the full, legitimate version (I downloaded it from Autodesk). At my last job, I used CATIA V5, but the license is several thousands of dollars... AutoCAD is free. I've used it to make 2D drawings (for drawings of my house and property) but haven't tried much 3D stuff yet (at least nothing complicated).


2 years ago

I use SolidWorks and Fusion 360. I used 123d a bit as well. Solidworks is great but It has kind of a "microsoft" feel (packed full of obscure features, clunky interface, has to be customized to work comfortably), while Fusion has a bit of an "apple" feel (smoother, less features, more worthless cloud integration).


2 years ago

Most of my CAD work is for 3d printing and I tend to use TinkerCAD. I sometimes use 3DS Max, depending on the complexity of the design. 3DS takes some time to get your head around (I'm not that proficient with it, but I'm learning as I go).

I've never used SketchUp so I have no basis for comparison. I have also tried 123D and had a brief look at Fusion360 but always found myself hiding behind the familiarity of what I know.