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Mark J

Solidworks?

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4 minutes ago, Chestnut said:

I wonder if i'll get in trouble if i download FreeCAD to my work computer.....

Most users at my work aren't even allowed to install applications. If you are, its not likely anyone will notice.

For a while, anyway.

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Just now, wtnhighlander said:

Most users at my work aren't even allowed to install applications. If you are, its not likely anyone will notice.

For a while, anyway.

That wouldn't work for me. I have to install programs quite often. There are a ton of public domain hydraulic modeling programs that get random updates.

I got FreeCAD installed I'm gonna see what this is all about.

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2 minutes ago, wtnhighlander said:

For the price, its hard to beat!

:D

Well it seems like they are really gunning after Fusion360, and well that is also free so....

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Well that's one frustration, when I find a written or video tutorial it generally doesn't say what version the tutorial is based on (or frequently with which tutorial in the sequence you're to begin with).  I did find this German guy with a complete and numbered set of v0.14 videos.  At first his slow manner of speaking English was annoying, but then I realized while he was searching for the next English words I could figure out what he'd just said.  So win win.  But maybe there is a significant version difference, because trying to follow his lead did not always work out.  

Honestly Bob Lang's book on SketchUp was so much better at teaching that program than anything I have yet found for FreeCAD.  I'm thinking of going back to Fusion, but no idea if there is any good instruction for that program either.  What I really wish for is a community college class or a nearby expert or some such.  Because I really just want to use these tools, learning them is only a means to that end and not a feather in my cap on it's own.  

(Had to vent a bit).

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Unfortunately, FreeCAD development and education material for it haven't grown hand-in-hand. The 'official' source for information seems to be at FreeCADweb.org

Regarding the 'freeness' of Fusion360: while you may obtain a no-cost educational license by claiming to be an educator, the program is most certainly not 'free'. Autodesk can require a paid license or subscription at any time. Much as Trimble did with Sketchup, users may one day find themselves stuck with a cloud-only, limited feature version, or none at all. For home & hobby users, this is my biggest arguement for learning FreeCAD.

Check the license for it here  to see the difference. Also, FreeCAD places more emphasis on function over eye-candy, so it rins smoother on older / less powerful computers.

That said, its still hard to wrap one's brain around. But parametric modeling has abilities far beyond drag and drop. Consider that dimensions of a part can be dependant on one another. Say a table leg, straight, tapered or curved, has its width & breadth dependant on its length by some ratio or formula, and restricted by limits you define.

Simply changing the length rescales the entire part accordingly. I'm sure other cad apps do this, but when I moved from Sketchup, this was a real eye-opener.

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11 hours ago, wtnhighlander said:

Regarding the 'freeness' of Fusion360: while you may obtain a no-cost educational license by claiming to be an educator, the program is most certainly not 'free'. Autodesk can require a paid license or subscription at any time. Much as Trimble did with Sketchup, users may one day find themselves stuck with a cloud-only, limited feature version, or none at all. For home & hobby users, this is my biggest arguement for learning FreeCAD.

https://www.autodesk.com/campaigns/fusion-360-for-hobbyists

Trimble never all of a sudden charged. They bought the software from google and then monetized it. Autodesk is a pretty decent company and will keep fusion free for startups under $100k and hobbyists and students. They know they can't make money off of the little fish at $400/year.

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@Mark J Have you tried https://f360ap.autodesk.com/courses

I'm not criticizing any of the software either. I'm just pointing out that Fusion360 is intended to be perpetually free for people that are using it for hobby use or commercial use that makes less than $100k/year. Autodesk, despite their other failings, is good at putting their products in the hands of individuals for free.

@wtnhighlander My comment may came off as critical at FreeCAD, wasn't my intention. From my first 100foot view of using it for about 2 min it seems awfully capable but appears to have a steep learning curve. I personally found fusion to be a little bit less steep (like 0.5%) but I've been using Autodesk products, much to my displeasure, for a large part of my life :(.

Personally i think strait up AutoCAD 3D is the easiest and fastest way to do what you want but I can't find a way to get you that software for cheap let alone free.

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I don't remember seeing that before when I first explored Fusion 360.  Maybe I missed it.  There's over a hundred lessons, but it's certainly a place to start and they have a clear "start here" beginning.  And I don't think everyone of the lessons is a must for me.  Also, maybe, if these lessons pan out for Fusion 360 I'll be in a better position to tackle FreeCAD.  There is also this book that I found, but I think I will prefer the video learning.

https://nostarch.com/cad

I'm shopping for another computer, too.  Even though FreeCAD is a bit easier on the CPU, both are a bit much for ye old laptop.  And the desktop, well if that were a kid, we'd be looking at colleges.  

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Interesting. Yeah videos are good. I like books tough as i can flip back to a specific tool or section quickly and i can get the information faster than some one can speak it.

A 2 min video showing me how a tool works would be good too. I can't focus for some of the 45 min + tutorials though. I end up playing around and figuring out most of the stuff and then have to endlessly search for the stuff i didn't find.

Just a warning, like Ross mentioned FreeCAD is free and will always be free. Fusion360 is on the whims of Autodesk. If they get bought out and the company that buys them decides they no longer want to provide storage for your files you are SOL.

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All good conversation! Let me say that I agree, these programs all have a steep learning curve, and the difference in Fusion360 "free" and FreeCAD "free" is probably more meaningful to software developers than us Joe's that just want to draw something.

@Mark J, the biggest hurdle for me was letting go of the click and drag mentality I learned in Sketchup. My experience with Autodesk products was entirely 2D, as electrical schematics have little use for the third dimension! ;)

I have a strong leaning toward Open-Source applications like FreeCAD, because I don't use a Windows or Mac at home. Linux all the way! So take my recommendations with a grain of salt. YMMV really applies.

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Just a little follow up.  I've spent 8 or 10 days working to learn Fusion 360 with that video series.  The video tutorial is based on an older version, but after some early frustration I was able to make headway.  I am in no way a master, but I have learned the program well enough to get it to draw what I'm trying to draw--well 3 times out of 5, anyway.

In SketchUp's favor there are some processes that it does better or more intuitively, but there are somethings Fusion can do in a click that just amaze me.  

I particularly like the parametric thing where I can go back to the 2D, make an adjustment, then have that propagate to any of the rest of the model based on the 2D drawing--well 3 times out of 5, anyway.

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