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  1. #13
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    Mar 2004
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    356

    Re: CADs for free comparison

    Remember these words.... Whatever "FREE" cad offering your seeing or currently using that are offered by non-open source companies will very much so become NOT FREE, right about when you get really invested in their world. And, it wouldn't be the first time. It's the old Bait and Switch.

    In the past, some of these scams were "Free" as long as you stopped by and "filled up" the license tank on the software you installed. Problem was, the day came when their gas pumps went dry as well as their web pages. You can not pay developers and give away their work for free for long.

    And the whole "Cloud" concept is an absolute joke. For one, that plug can be yanked at any second for any number of reasons, any of which will affect YOU. Second, any legit company who thinks their propriety concepts are "safe" in the cloud is truly mind boggling as there is absolutely NOTHING to stop various administrators of that cloud from viewing your work (even live as your drawing it), Browsing YOUR on-line file folders or even sharing your concepts with potential enemies.

    You or your company are the ones that would be required to foot any costs in attempt to prove that THEY breached your data... good luck with that !

    What you should do is just invest in something you can install local to your PC..... something a smaller development company has a good track record with... something that is not completely stuck in a propriety format AND still is rather affordable. They are still out there !

    If you could get by with SimplyCAD for example, what a bargain ! It's kind of interesting that they tossed in a GRBL panel if you ask me. Another, and say what you wish about it, but the small company that flies under the ViaCad label offers and incredible amount of capability for very little money. I'd rather use their $99 program than Fusion360 any day of the week. Vectric's VCarve platform is hands down a fantastic deal. While not free, it is pretty affordable given what it is capable of. And while not exactly a CAD program in the traditional sense, you can get settled with it, and it is yours forever essentially.

    So IMO, don't get too invested in "Free" from non-open source companies.... it will not last. It never has because it just can't. Spend a little now and you'll bypass the grief others will eventually have.
    Chris L

  2. #14

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    Jun 2018
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    279

    Re: CADs for free comparison

    datac (Chris?),

    Well said. I started using "SimplyCam" (Spelling) about 10 years ago and stopped for a long time for various reasons while at the version I had at that time. The very inexpensive license I purchased all those years ago, is still valid for the current version (along with updates, my bug reports and fixes and several enhancement suggestions made recently and some implemented and released a few weeks ago as requested) - all included with the current offering.

    Beat that!

    :-)

  3. #15
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    May 2005
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    1403

    Re: CADs for free comparison

    Quote Originally Posted by blue_luke View Post
    Autocad 360 is also cloud based, it is good in a way, but like someone mentionned, I realy don't like the idea of not having my files with me
    Fusion isn't useless in offline mode but it does depend on the cloud for a lot of it's function. Google 'fusion 360 offline'
    and the fact that autodesk can pull the plug any day, or start charging indecent prices for it... .
    Possible and maybe even likely. On the other hand I've invested many hours in open source or free software that ran it's course. I haven't tried FreeCad, is the CAM plug-in okay ?
    Fusion's CAM is well integrated and going back to separate CAM or a clunky plug-in would feel like a real step backwards. For me the CAM is the main thing, the CAD is just a means to the end.
    my internet connection is very slow in the country when I go there
    That could be a real problem depending on your definition of slow.
    Anyone who says "It only goes together one way" has no imagination.

  4. #16
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    Jan 2005
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    Re: CADs for free comparison

    People predicted the Fusion free license would go away a long time ago and it hasn't yet. Personally as a hobbyist it provides a great platform that works well, is updated, features integrated CAM that works, and is free. I can see the argument that they are using the free license to suck you in, but they (Autodesk) also know that by providing Fusion free to start ups and hobbyists they create brand loyalty and the likelihood that if you do start making more money that you will stick with them. That isn't a bad business model. I can say from my own point of view that if I did start a business and started making more than $100k/year, I would have no problem sticking with Fusion. See, they have created that brand loyalty in me, and I am someone who used to work in industry running CATIA, and SolidWorks.

    As far as if/when/whether they pull the plug on free use, I won't argue how likely that is except to say it is a possibility. That said, I will continue to use it until then. I save my models offline in step format so that if they ever do pull the plug I still have them and can import them into another cad software.

    In terms of cloud based, not cloud based, I have what is considered a slow internet service because I live in a rural area and cannot get cable or DSL service. My internet runs through a directional antenna mounted on the side of my house pointing to a tower 3 miles away. I get about 5 MBPS download. I have no problem running Fusion for my needs. I have what I consider some pretty complicated assemblies with moving joints and hundreds of parts and haven't been bothered by Fusions speed.

    I can understand that some people may not be able to use the cloud based due to contractural reasons. This is a shortcoming of Fusion, but not for me or many who don't have this limitation.

  5. #17
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    Dec 2003
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    302

    Re: CADs for free comparison

    Quote Originally Posted by cyclestart View Post
    Fusion isn't useless in offline mode but it does depend on the cloud for a lot of it's function. Google 'fusion 360 offline'

    Possible and maybe even likely. On the other hand I've invested many hours in open source or free software that ran it's course. I haven't tried FreeCad, is the CAM plug-in okay ?
    Fusion's CAM is well integrated and going back to separate CAM or a clunky plug-in would feel like a real step backwards. For me the CAM is the main thing, the CAD is just a means to the end.

    That could be a real problem depending on your definition of slow.
    It seems I didn't describe the manner in which Freecad works well enough.Once you have installed the software you automatically have access to a number of different workbenches for different aspects of computer aided engineering.This means you can design architectural items,engineering components and even ships all with the same piece of software.You can even perform finite element analysis on your design as well as creating toolpaths.While I readily admit that the design element of the software is as challenging as any other parametric modeller,you don't absolutely have to use it as you can import a good range of file types which may have been produced using other software.Having imported your item it isn't too hard to generate toolpaths for cutting outlines,pockets and drilling.If your machine controller is of one of the types that are included it is very easy to post process those toolpaths and generate a file to send to your machine.I highly recommend spending an hour or two watching the sliptonic video tutorials on youtube to get some good information.

  6. #18
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    May 2015
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    Re: CADs for free comparison

    When I switched from Creo to Fusion I'll admit it felt clunky, particularly in the sketching tool. But the CAM in Fusion is first rate. I'm nervously waiting for the other shoe to drop and hoping that, when it does, it'll either remain affordable or at least I'll have time to export a bunch of stuff to master re-modelling in something else.

    I need to take another look at FreeCAD - the last time I used it (admittedly a few years ago) it promised the world but was buggy and quite limited in functionality. By the sounds of things it's come a long way since then.

  7. #19
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    Re: CADs for free comparison

    I did an exercise to improve my CAM skill level with Freecad.I created a rectangular block with a pocket containing an island.Then I added corner fillets to the pocket.I went through the sequence of facing the block,cutting the pocket and cleaning the periphery of the pocket and the island.

    The attached screenshot shows the item with the toolpaths as green lines.The nice part is that should I decide to alter any of the features,all I have to do is go back into the model tree and change something and then click apply and the toolpath will update too.No need for exporting iges or step files and recalculating in a sperate CAM system.As I mentioned in an earlier post it isn't the easiest software to learn,but then no parametric modeller is easy and I remember fighting with Pro-Engineer around the time it became Wildfire and before transitioning to Creo.For more basic 2D drafting there is a Draft module.Since it costs nothing you can only lose your time by giving it a try.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails machining test.jpg  

  8. #20
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    Re: CADs for free comparison

    Quote Originally Posted by 109jb View Post
    I live in a rural area and cannot get cable or DSL service.... I get about 5 MBPS download. I have no problem running Fusion for my needs.
    Same speed here and being lumpy DSL the upload speed is only 10% of that. Yeah really, DSL and it's the best available. The joys of rural living.

    The CAM part of FreeCad looks familiar from using Heekscnc. The thing with YouTube videos is they often show what software can do and avoid mentioning what it can't do.
    For example Fusion 360 4th axis videos mostly don't warn that Fusion doesn't post simultaneous 4 axis tool paths. I expect the limitations in FreeCad show up well before
    getting into that type of tool path. Despite sounding negative I will test drive FreeCad as it can run on linux.
    Anyone who says "It only goes together one way" has no imagination.

  9. #21
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    Jun 2015
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    Re: CADs for free comparison

    Hi,
    As part of FreeCAD testing, I prepared a tutorial.
    https://youtu.be/T8Z_imCbk34
    https://cadcamlessons.com/freecad-tutorial-quick-start/

    FreeCAD is not bad, but I have access to Fusion 360 and SolidWorks. So I will stay with these programs for now.
    FreeCAD can be a good solution for people who mainly use CAM systems, and the CAD system is only needed from time to time.
    Additionally, FreeCAD can be a good solution for someone who exceeds $100k per year and does not want to spend money on a CAD system license. FreeCAD is completely free and we will not have any problems related to the legality of the license.

  10. #22
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    Jun 2012
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    102

    Re: CADs for free comparison

    FreeCAD is getting better , though I wonder about the wisdom of starting something that calculation intensive in python .

    Last year I played with the Assembly3 fork of FreeCAD which allows modelling assemblies of more basic parts. It went quite well up to a point but then got unusably slow as complexity increased. The developer was pretty helpful but could only suggest moving to SSD to get around the performance issues. Stacking assemblies of assemblies up to about three levels deep worked pretty well.

    I was able to make some quite complex shapes without compromising what I wanted to do to make it fit what the software wanted to do!

    Like any parametric CAD software it takes a while to learn how to drive but it did seem to live up to what was on the box.

    Since I do not have a working machine I did not try to generate tool paths. When I have working h/w ( and reconfigure my Linux box to run off SSD ) I will give it another look.

  11. #23

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    Jan 2019
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    7

    Re: CADs for free comparison

    Without the same precision as true CAD you also have 3d art software. Blender 3d (Free) is a monster to learn but has amazing capabilities for making STL, OBJ and bas relief depth map/gray scale images that can be ported to cnc software. I've been using it for 6 years and really enjoy making cnc patterns with it.

  12. #24
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    Jun 2012
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    Re: CADs for free comparison

    Quote Originally Posted by OLG View Post
    Without the same precision as true CAD you also have 3d art software. Blender 3d (Free) is a monster to learn but has amazing capabilities for making STL, OBJ and bas relief depth map/gray scale images that can be ported to cnc software. I've been using it for 6 years and really enjoy making cnc patterns with it.
    Yeah, Blender is a monster to learn, but ultimately probably worth the effort.

    There are a few guides on this site which show you how to model involute gears ( properly ) and even hypoid bevel gears. They are more attuned to 3D printing them but I guess once you have the 3D model you program it to GCODE too. Though some of those hypoids would probably need a 4th axis to cut.

    In any case the renditions are outstanding.

    Otvinta.com -- Involute Gear Calculator

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