Author Topic: Best 3D modeling software?  (Read 3398 times)

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Offline jman571Topic starter

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Best 3D modeling software?
« on: April 10, 2008, 03:09:48 PM »
Hey everyone,

I'm the guy from the Misc. forum who needed "guidance" but so far everything is going good, I've recieved 2 of my 3 shipments of parts, and what I wanted to do now is model all of my parts (except for transmitter..duh) and construct an accurate to-scale 3D model of what my assembled robot will look like. I am doing this for two reasons.

  • #1: I want to make sure that when I cut the material for the central chassis (prob. going with HDPE at this point) that all of my parts will fit inside neatly and that I won't be surprised by anything (i.e. no room for my battery...I can see it happening already.. :o)
  • and #2: So I might be able to print off, or send the CAD design to the place where they cut the HDPE for me so the pieces of HDPE are accurately cut.
  • oh and #3: I'm doing this all for a class project and my teacher wants this robot documented to hell, so when all's said and done, this 3D model should impress him, also, after all this documenting I may end up with something like a SoR tutorial out of this!
The only thing about #2, is that I'm not sure the store does that sort of thing, so I'm probably going to call them back, and ask if they accept certain CAD files to make the cuts I want.

My question being: what is the best 3D CAD software to achieve my goals? That being said, I already made some preliminary models of my robot (much earlier, even before parts selection) in Google SketchUp, but I feel like it may be hard to do #3, as the 3D model cannot simply be seperated into pieces that can be laid out into 2D (something that seems necessary in order to cut out 2D pieces, no?).

Thanks again for any assistance on this matter.

Offline airman00

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Offline BANE

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Re: Best 3D modeling software?
« Reply #2 on: April 10, 2008, 04:14:06 PM »
I suggest SolidWorks, its just about the best drafting program around if you can afford it :D.  I've built all my robots and things in it and have never been disappointed.
http://www.solidworks.com/
Bane

Offline jman571Topic starter

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Re: Best 3D modeling software?
« Reply #3 on: April 10, 2008, 05:04:50 PM »
Yeah, I did read that SketchUp tutorial, that's how I got started using the program ;D I did find this however: http://www.alibre.com/xpress/software/alibre-design-xpress.asp

Has anyone used this software before? The 30 day trial is more than enough time for me to design the entire bot, and even if that expires I can still use the Xpress software.

Offline ScorpIon

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Re: Best 3D modeling software?
« Reply #4 on: April 11, 2008, 06:05:51 AM »
Has anyone tried using Blender? It's 100% free, not intended for CAD though.
I think you could be able to make 2d images cadish-style with it, position the camera above the model, turn off ortho and change the material settings for the model to show wireframe only. Simple!

Offline bukowski

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Re: Best 3D modeling software?
« Reply #5 on: April 11, 2008, 10:29:34 AM »
You ask a question like this, you are bound to get dozens of different answers. The question is, how much are you willing to spend versus how much functionality you need. If you have lots of cash, time to learn, and the need for the functionality, then, sure, buy one of the really good programs like solidworks or autodesk inventor. If you're broke, busy, and dont need to run finite analysis on a part, then go with sketchup.

Offline paulstreats

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Re: Best 3D modeling software?
« Reply #6 on: April 11, 2008, 12:30:53 PM »
does google sketchup allow exporting of industry standard file formats like .dxf? if not then you wont be able to send your design off to be cnc'ed. This is the most important thing if you are thinking of getting parts made directly from the cad files

Offline airman00

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Re: Best 3D modeling software?
« Reply #7 on: April 11, 2008, 12:34:00 PM »
does google sketchup allow exporting of industry standard file formats like .dxf? if not then you wont be able to send your design off to be cnc'ed. This is the most important thing if you are thinking of getting parts made directly from the cad files

I have sketchup pro and it does allow it, i dunno about the free version
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Offline Asellith

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Re: Best 3D modeling software?
« Reply #8 on: April 11, 2008, 12:40:37 PM »
Well then we will all just send airman our stuff and he can export it all :)
Jonathan Bowen
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Offline michaelsane

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Re: Best 3D modeling software?
« Reply #9 on: April 12, 2008, 03:00:39 AM »
Solid works is a great way to go.  It is one of the most commonly used 3d cad tools along with Pro-E.  Learning how to use solidworks will help you greatly, and if you are going to use CNC machines or laser cutters, you will be able to do your CAM work very easily. 

Offline ScorpIon

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Re: Best 3D modeling software?
« Reply #10 on: April 12, 2008, 04:00:20 AM »
Hey I played around a little with Blender and it could work for cadding pretty well:

Now that model sucks, but you can easily cad for real if you have a model for every piece and put them together... You could even make an animation so you can see exactly which parts go where.

Offline bukowski

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Re: Best 3D modeling software?
« Reply #11 on: April 16, 2008, 09:59:00 AM »
hey paul,
dont you find that having things cnc'd in such short quantity really expensive? I wanted to have some parts run, but have been working with a mill and rotary table we have in the shop instead because of the cost. but it's taking me forever (not helped by the fact that I have such little experience on the thing).

Offline Ro-Bot-X

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Re: Best 3D modeling software?
« Reply #12 on: April 16, 2008, 10:07:28 AM »
Don't worry guys, I'll CNC short runs or one piece in a few months from now. Just for SoR members 10% discount. I just need to finish it and run a few tests.
Check out the uBotino robot controller!

Offline paulstreats

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Re: Best 3D modeling software?
« Reply #13 on: April 16, 2008, 01:30:44 PM »
Quote
hey paul,
dont you find that having things cnc'd in such short quantity really expensive? I wanted to have some parts run, but have been working with a mill and rotary table we have in the shop instead because of the cost. but it's taking me forever (not helped by the fact that I have such little experience on the thing).

It definately is too expensive.

Luckily I am getting a small rapid prototyping suite built for me at work (when the new budget starts next year), including small bed cnc mill, and pcb equipment (photo studio, acid copper etcching for via plating, enamel silkscreen etc...). My constant nagging finally paid off :D

Its all part of restructuring at work, we are moving into the commercial field(suggested by yours truly) and so need to do things cheaper (you dont get as much for your products as you do in the industrial sector). I am only being given a small budget to work with so Im thinking of offering a small prototype service, i'll have to see what quality pcb's etc.. can be produced.

Offline c02cutter

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Re: Best 3D modeling software?
« Reply #14 on: September 23, 2009, 07:46:02 AM »
Software aspect Solidworks is great for both development and assembly. The cost is high though. Alibre is not bad software, but they will bombart you with phone calls getting you to purchase their software. It got down right rude the amount of calls I recieved over it.

Small run prototype parts are always going to be expensive to have run. There is a lot of work on the CNC side that needs to be done to prep the run. This work is being performed by a skilled person that doesn't come cheap. I do 5+ axis laser programming, there is quit a bit of time involved in setting a job up. Short runs can have more set-up time involved than run time.

 


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