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Offline LefterisTopic starter

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CAD software
« on: January 22, 2009, 04:00:47 PM »
Hey all,

I plan to move onto designing my own robot when I get finished with my exams and my job. Up to now I have been working on SRV-1 a robot already designed by someone else. So I want to see how it is to design your own robot.

From what I can see first you need to know how to use a CAD program. Some friend of mine from uni, told me to use AutoDesk Inventor. So I thought I would go with it. But then ... I noticed that most of the robots I knew and even the one I worked on (SRV-1) were designed in SolidWorks. To add to the dillema in this very same forums, a few topics below this one, there is mentioning of Google sketchup.

Since if I am to learn a program and become able to design with it, it will require time, I don't want to waste said time learning different CAD programs. Do you have one program to suggest? A program which would be ideal for any kind of robotic design?

Thanks in advance!

          -Lefteris

Offline HDL_CinC_Dragon

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Re: CAD software
« Reply #1 on: January 22, 2009, 04:33:24 PM »
In my experience, AutoDesk Inventor is an absolutely amazing CAD program. Its EXTREMELY powerful. Unfortunately with such awesomeness comes a HUGE price tag(Over 5,000USD)

For general robotics usage for the hobbyist I dont see much of an issue with using Google Sketchup. I use it all the time. Its quick, easy, and most importantly its free!
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Offline Canabots

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Re: CAD software
« Reply #2 on: January 22, 2009, 05:14:26 PM »
For general robotics usage for the hobbyist I dont see much of an issue with using Google Sketchup. I use it all the time. Its quick, easy, and most importantly its free!

I Can't disagree there. Also, with Google Sketch-Up, the 3D warehouse is an incredibly useful tool, for it allows you to use parts that were previously created by other Sketch-Up users. Much of the time, the robot designs I do on Google Sketch-Up use many parts from the Warehouse.
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Offline Admin

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Re: CAD software
« Reply #3 on: January 22, 2009, 08:37:29 PM »
I'm an Auto-Desk user, but only because my last employer paid for it. Its decent, but its definitely overpriced.

http://www.societyofrobots.com/robot_parts_list_software.shtml#cad

Offline LefterisTopic starter

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Re: CAD software
« Reply #4 on: January 23, 2009, 02:57:19 AM »
I see. Many different opinions, so I take it that there is no standard way to go. I will try them all, dig a little deeper and decide which fits my needs best.

I have another question which might not be ontopic but it is a question that would obviously come after this one. Never having designed a robot of my own, I of course have not made any plastic pieces and/or metal.

I understand that there are job shops where you can send the CAD files of your choice and they will make them for your. On the other hand you can make them yourself if you have the tools and/or experience.

For example, I saw the tutorial on vacuum forming in this site. Very nice! Moreover I saw a similar tutorial in The Robot Magazine (November-DEcember). I really think that trying to build things myself will give me one invaluable thing. Experience.

So my question is this. How do you make your parts? Yourself? Or order them from job shops? Or even .... how expensive are these shop's services if anyone has ever tried?
« Last Edit: January 23, 2009, 03:04:49 AM by Lefteris »

Offline Admin

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Re: CAD software
« Reply #5 on: January 23, 2009, 03:06:39 AM »
Its pretty much free to make stuff on your own, but a decent workshop will cost from $5k-$10k. You'd do better finding a workshop you can rent time in.

Getting stuff custom made by an outside company is pretty expensive too, depending on material, tolerances, and part size. Laser cutting is by far the cheapest, but only if your parts are thin plastic. I often get stuff 3D printed because labor costs for me are more expensive than manufacturing costs . . . usually spend ~$300 a prototype . . . and about 3 prototypes until I get it right.

As with all 'how much will it cost' questions, go here:
http://www.societyofrobots.com/robot_parts_list.shtml

Click the link that says 'manufacturing' and 'mechanical tools'

Offline LefterisTopic starter

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Re: CAD software
« Reply #6 on: January 23, 2009, 04:13:26 PM »
Thanks for the links. I had not noticed those tutorials before. I can't wait to get into all that.

Up to now I have only made modification to existing robots. But in making a robot from scratch the possibilities are literally endless and all the guidance I can find is invaluable. When the free time is found the fun will begin :)
« Last Edit: January 23, 2009, 04:15:09 PM by Lefteris »

Offline sprince09

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Re: CAD software
« Reply #7 on: February 03, 2009, 10:34:59 PM »
I'm a mechanical engineer by trade and I use freeCAD for a lot my home tinkering and concept generating:

http://www.freecad.com/

It's lightweight and renders fast, so I can use it on my laptop without noticing any real performance issues. It's got pretty good built-in help as well. If I didn't have to worry about money though, SolidWorks would be my weapon of choice. Probably beyond the scope of a hobby-robot, but you can do all sorts of simple FEA stress and fluid mechanics tests, which is just so nice to have :)


Offline Tomas

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Re: CAD software
« Reply #8 on: February 04, 2009, 02:46:57 AM »
I think solidworks is a pretty awesome cad application. You should try it.

 


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