Affordable 3D CAD Application?

Discussion in 'Software' started by Steve S, Apr 10, 2014.

  1. Steve S

    Steve S Pen Pro - Senior Member Super Moderator

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    I'm looking for recommendations for an affordable 3D CAD application to run on Windows 8 / 8.1. I've worked on industrial CAD systems and have used CadKey & KeyCreator at home, but I'm fed up with paying for expensive applications that stop working as soon as a new version of Windows appears (and yes, I've done the VM thing to maintain compatibility, too).

    I've been looking at "low cost" CAD apps ($500 and below) and I'm curious to know what experiences others have had. It would be nice to have solid modeling capability, but that doesn't seem very common at this price point. TurboCAD looks like a reasonable compromise between features and cost, but there are a lot of other apps out there in this category, and most of them are unfamiliar. Anyone have a favorite they'd like to recommend?

    (Note that I'm looking for 3D apps. Not 2D and not 2.5D)
     
  2. AmbiDextrose

    AmbiDextrose Scribbler - Standard Member

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    MoI3D (Moment of Inspiration) is one of the CAD world's best-kept secret. Check it out at:

    MoI, 3D modeling for designers and artists

    Also, check out their forums:

    MoI discussion forum

    The application is being developed by an individual (Michael Gibson of Rhino3D fame) who also has time to interact personally with the forum members. The best part about MoI3D is that the interface is optimized for tablet users.
     
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  3. CAD_Monkey

    CAD_Monkey Pen Pal - Newbie

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    ProgeCAD is fairly cost effective. $500 for the full pack progeCAD Professional - - progeCAD Professional

    I used to run the free version and it was very similar to Autodesk ACAD, it had 3D modeling capabilities as well as 2D drawing.

    There is Autodesk 123D which is either a browser interface or downloadable app.
     
  4. ChrisRS

    ChrisRS Scribbler - Standard Member

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    Check out IntelliCAD.org
    2D and 3D - AutoCAD compatibility.

    IntelliCAD is the engine for a number of products, Including ProgeCad. Different. product, different focus.
    Also check out BricSys.com. This used to be based on IntelliCAD but apparently now uses its own cad engine.

    I have not used any of these.
     
  5. Steve S

    Steve S Pen Pro - Senior Member Super Moderator

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    Ambi, CAD and Chris: Thanks for your suggestions. I will look into them. In particular, MoI looks particularly interesting.

    Anyone else have any recommendations...?
     
  6. stoneseeker

    stoneseeker Animator and Art Director Senior Member

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    Blender is free, but is mostly used for 3D modeling and animation. I have no idea how many people use it for CAD or if they do, but hey, open source and FREE is kinda hard to beat.
     
  7. Steve S

    Steve S Pen Pro - Senior Member Super Moderator

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    stone: Thanks for the recommendation. I'll look at Blender, but I need something that will allow me to establish precise dimensions (i.e., an engineering tool). If Blender will allow that, then great! If not, I thank you anyway!
     
  8. stoneseeker

    stoneseeker Animator and Art Director Senior Member

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    You might be in luck!
    Following a quick search it seems others have tried creating CAD add-ons (its open source) for precision engineering using Blender . Here is the links:

    cadtools

    BlenderCAD | Free software downloads at SourceForge.net

    SOURCE: Is Blender good as a CAD tool? - Ask Ubuntu
     
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  9. Steve S

    Steve S Pen Pro - Senior Member Super Moderator

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    <<...MoI3D (Moment of Inspiration) is one of the CAD world's best-kept secret...>>

    ...After a fairly extensive amount of research and many e-mails, I've finally decided to try Moment of Inspiration, a tool that supports both wire-frame and solid modeling. I'll be spending a fair amount if time learning the interface, but after only a few hours of use, I'm pretty encouraged; this tool seems to have everything I was looking for and thensome! Very good price, too, at $295.

    MoI is on Version 2 now, and it looks like Version 3 will be available in a month or two.

    I'll come back and update this thread when I've developed some proficiency, but so far I like what I'm seeing...!
     
  10. Steve S

    Steve S Pen Pro - Senior Member Super Moderator

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    Good news! It sounds like MoI Version 3.0 will be available soon (a few weeks or less). I'm continuing to unlearn my old CAD habits and learn MoI's UI and it's going pretty smoothly. I'm still very impressed with MoI; for capability and value, it really can't be beat!
     

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