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Homebuilt Aircraft & Kit Plane Forum

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wsimpso1

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The time has arrived, I need to start doing some CAD on my flap and primary control stuff and the landing gear mounts so that I can get all of these parts made.

I am fluent in SolidWorks but do not have a seat available to me at work and it is way too pricey for me to even consider. I understand that Rhino is the way I should go for whole airplane design, but $800 to design and produce prints for the stuff I am doing seems extravagant.

I am looking for something that works like SolidWorks, allows you to create templates, works in inches, etc.Free CAD seems OK, but seems to be stillborn right now.

So, what would you recommend and why that program?

I appreciate your attention...

Billski
 

Jay Kempf

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Take a loot at Alibre. For what you are talking about it is a cheaper and fully functional version of solidworks built by solidworks and pro e people. But that is similar to Rhino in price.

Next one to look at is DesignCAD. This is a seriously underestimated package for casual users. Not too much of a learning curve and does most of the 3d stuff and all of the 2D stuff you need.

What are you trying to do? Create DXF outlines for CNC or 3D mechanism design?
 

Monty

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+1 on Alibre.

I have a full blown professional license and have used it to design plastic parts for years. They offer a hobby version for $200. I was surprised to see that it now contains the mechanism package and excel driven designs!!! That is new:

See Here.
 

Jay Kempf

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+1 on Alibre.

I have a full blown professional license and have used it to design plastic parts for years. They offer a hobby version for $200. I was surprised to see that it now contains the mechanism package and excel driven designs!!! That is new:

See Here.

Wow, Alibre has come a long way in a short period of time. There wasn't a $200 option a short while back and they have added a ton of functionality. Is there a basic fea module in the basic package?
 

Mac790

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I am looking for something that works like SolidWorks, allows you to create templates, works in inches, etc.

Take a look at Creo Elements/Pro previously known as Pro/E

Creo Elements/Pro 5.0 Student Edition includes the following full-functioning Creo Elements/Pro modules:
Interactive Surface Design
Advanced Assembly
Behavioral Modeling
Design Animation
Mechanism Dynamics
Simulation (Mechanica Structure & Thermal)
Advanced Rendering
Tolerance Analysis
New! Windows 7 and Vista Support
New! Manikin and Manikin Analysis
New! CAM Lite

You can buy it, even if you are not a student. From their site
If you are a professional interested in learning Creo Elements/Pro 5.0 and want to purchase the Student Edition for personal use, please see the Creo Elements/Pro 5.0 Student Edition - Personal Use.

Price 299$ here

Seb
 
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So, what would you recommend and why that program?


Billski

If you are fluent in Solidworks why not register at your local college for a night class, like basket weaving for 1 credit hour, and get a student license? The license only lasts a year and the student version watermarks the files with an educational stamp - but that doesn't effect the functionality in any way. If you are only making parts for your own plane from the files then it's not commercial use so there shouldn't be any problem getting a CNC shop to make parts from the watermarked files.

Rhino student is permanent, upgradeable and legal for commercial use after your student status expires at the end of the semester. Rhino 5 educational is only $195
 

Monty

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Wow, Alibre has come a long way in a short period of time. There wasn't a $200 option a short while back and they have added a ton of functionality. Is there a basic fea module in the basic package?

They have always had the hobby version for a low price, but it wouldn't do much. They have added a lot of functionality to it.

FEA-I doubt it. They had a deal with Algor-for a while it was packaged with the professional version. Pretty limited. Won't do body forces, forget composites. Crappy boundary conditions.

I have all the good stuff at work, so I haven't been keeping up with the latest.

I am dying to get my hands on a copy of Space Claim....check it out. Constraint/sketch based modeling is going the way of the do-do...and I can't wait. If I never see another reference plane or axis I will not shed a tear.
 

Dana

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I am dying to get my hands on a copy of Space Claim....check it out. Constraint/sketch based modeling is going the way of the do-do...and I can't wait. If I never see another reference plane or axis I will not shed a tear.

Check out KeyCreator (formerly Cadkey). It was doing dirct 3D modeling before Solidworks and all the others even existed, and they never jumped on the constraint / history bandwagon. I've been using it for around 20 years... though I'm curious to take a look at SpaceClaim; I know a former Cadkey dealer who's pushing me to look at it.

-Dana

Be wary of strong drink. It can make you shoot at tax collectors-- and miss.
 

wsimpso1

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Thanks for all of the inputs.

Community college route is not really a good path for right now, but worth thinking about...

Checking Alibre out right now. Does Alibre put out .dxf files? That is the requirement of the folks who have agreed to help...

Billski
 
M

MyloHaba

I have a suggestion .... I used it for other designs but never for airplane .. it is the Sketchup from google .... anyone have any input???
 

Monty

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Thanks for all of the inputs.

Community college route is not really a good path for right now, but worth thinking about...

Checking Alibre out right now. Does Alibre put out .dxf files? That is the requirement of the folks who have agreed to help...

Billski

My school has some sort of deal with Rhino due to the architecture dept, you can get the CD for $99 at the bookstore. Hard to beat that.

According to the spec sheet for the hobby version of Alibre, it will import and export .dxf files. They won't let you export .step and .iges until you upgrade to pro.

You would probably be better off buying a copy of Rhino than upgrading to the pro version of Alibre. Then you could do surfacing, and use Rhino for file translation.

Hard to beat the combination of Alibre and Rhino for Bang for the buck. I'm going to have to check out KeyCreator......direct modeling is just so very nice.

Does anybody know what modeling kernel CadKey uses?
 

Jay Kempf

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My school has some sort of deal with Rhino due to the architecture dept, you can get the CD for $99 at the bookstore. Hard to beat that.

According to the spec sheet for the hobby version of Alibre, it will import and export .dxf files. They won't let you export .step and .iges until you upgrade to pro.

You would probably be better off buying a copy of Rhino than upgrading to the pro version of Alibre. Then you could do surfacing, and use Rhino for file translation.

Hard to beat the combination of Alibre and Rhino for Bang for the buck. I'm going to have to check out KeyCreator......direct modeling is just so very nice.

Does anybody know what modeling kernel CadKey uses?

I don't know what CadKey uses but if you try to do some of the stuff I do in Solidworks and others I know do in Pro e it gacks worse than the ACAD kernel! The ACAD kernel is my baseline low standard. Bottom of the range in other words. Others are willing to fight with it to make it work. I am not anymore. Used to be an expert, now I can't even remember how to use it :)

I am heading in the other direction from you Monty. I am a key profile snob. I want to know exactly what the key pieces of geometry are doing and how they affect the rest of the geometry. For me the key sketch and history thing is sort of what you have to have to have the parameter based functionality I want. Suits the way I work mainly because I am always working backwards from the way to manufacture the part. So having the sheet metal unfolder packed in as a part of the model or the FEA model recursive with the geometry and some math I have built in Excel or any other spreadsheet or program is important to me. One thing I like about insitu FEA is that you can run the FEA, collect a large deflection and then have two configurations of the same part to see how the deformed state affects the assembly. That is beyond most people's scope but useful to me. Doesn't keep you from cycling through hand or spreadsheet verifications but it is a great visualization tool. Imagine deflecting a control rod, putting it back in to the assembly and looking at clearances and binding at all degrees of freedom quickly. Try doing that without building a prototype and a lot of hand math and layout sketches.

Yes, I understand that most will never spend enough time to even learn how to do FEA but this cooperative programming environment open source modular stuff is getting more useful all the time at all levels. Just an example.
 

Monty

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I don't know what CadKey uses but if you try to do some of the stuff I do in Solidworks and others I know do in Pro e it gacks worse than the ACAD kernel! The ACAD kernel is my baseline low standard. Bottom of the range in other words. Others are willing to fight with it to make it work. I am not anymore. Used to be an expert, now I can't even remember how to use it :)

I am heading in the other direction from you Monty. I am a key profile snob. I want to know exactly what the key pieces of geometry are doing and how they affect the rest of the geometry. For me the key sketch and history thing is sort of what you have to have to have the parameter based functionality I want. Suits the way I work mainly because I am always working backwards from the way to manufacture the part. So having the sheet metal unfolder packed in as a part of the model or the FEA model recursive with the geometry and some math I have built in Excel or any other spreadsheet or program is important to me. One thing I like about insitu FEA is that you can run the FEA, collect a large deflection and then have two configurations of the same part to see how the deformed state affects the assembly. That is beyond most people's scope but useful to me. Doesn't keep you from cycling through hand or spreadsheet verifications but it is a great visualization tool. Imagine deflecting a control rod, putting it back in to the assembly and looking at clearances and binding at all degrees of freedom quickly. Try doing that without building a prototype and a lot of hand math and layout sketches.

Yes, I understand that most will never spend enough time to even learn how to do FEA but this cooperative programming environment open source modular stuff is getting more useful all the time at all levels. Just an example.

I'm not going away from what you are talking about, I just want it to be more user friendly. Check out some of the vids on the SpaceClaim website. It's not a surfacing package by any means, but it is parametric and it does have history.

It avoids many of the problems inherent in parametric modelers while keeping the good stuff. The guys developing it are the early developers of SolidWorks.....so they know what they are doing and why.
 

SVSUSteve

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Sketchup is a pain and not really a "CAD" system honestly. It works for general layout as I have in the past, but I would not use it for fine design work.
 

Jay Kempf

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I'm not going away from what you are talking about, I just want it to be more user friendly. Check out some of the vids on the SpaceClaim website. It's not a surfacing package by any means, but it is parametric and it does have history.

It avoids many of the problems inherent in parametric modelers while keeping the good stuff. The guys developing it are the early developers of SolidWorks.....so they know what they are doing and why.

I see this as repackaging the same old stuff. I know 3D illustrators like to drag things around with the mouse and they call that a feature or a speed enhancement. I don't. I need to know the numbers always. If I want to do something organic I can drag it around now and then go back and tweak the numbers later to learn about scale. I guess it depends on whether you can work as fast as you can think things up and I can. That is my benchmark for spending the time to learn something new. If I get limited by current and new gets me through the barrier than new is worth it. Faster isn't the issue, crashing isn't an issue anymore at least in my rig, feature rich isn't an issue anymore. For a newbie coming in the learning curve and cost is huge. So those become the drivers. They won't even know how to use the functionality you and I are expert in for a long time or maybe never.
 

Monty

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I see this as repackaging the same old stuff. I know 3D illustrators like to drag things around with the mouse and they call that a feature or a speed enhancement. I don't. I need to know the numbers always. If I want to do something organic I can drag it around now and then go back and tweak the numbers later to learn about scale. I guess it depends on whether you can work as fast as you can think things up and I can. That is my benchmark for spending the time to learn something new. If I get limited by current and new gets me through the barrier than new is worth it. Faster isn't the issue, crashing isn't an issue anymore at least in my rig, feature rich isn't an issue anymore. For a newbie coming in the learning curve and cost is huge. So those become the drivers. They won't even know how to use the functionality you and I are expert in for a long time or maybe never.

Part of the reason I am looking at the new stuff is because I have been teaching newbs, and it is painful!

One of the main headaches I deal with personally is orphaned geometry or sketches. Since I do so much clean sheet design there is a lot of rework, and nothing is more painful than having to recreate a complex sketch. It is also painful to have to wade through a bazzillion reference planes and axes. None of these are persistent in SpaceClaim. The sketch is simply transfered to the geometry, along with the dimensions. You can change them any time you like. The numbers are still there, just stored in a different more intuitive way. It's not perfect yet, but I think things are going to go more in that direction.

Usually I wind up reworking a file before archiving it, once the design is finished. This is just to make things easier on the people who have to use it down the line.
 

Jay Kempf

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Part of the reason I am looking at the new stuff is because I have been teaching newbs, and it is painful!

One of the main headaches I deal with personally is orphaned geometry or sketches. Since I do so much clean sheet design there is a lot of rework, and nothing is more painful than having to recreate a complex sketch. It is also painful to have to wade through a bazzillion reference planes and axes. None of these are persistent in SpaceClaim. The sketch is simply transfered to the geometry, along with the dimensions. You can change them any time you like. The numbers are still there, just stored in a different more intuitive way. It's not perfect yet, but I think things are going to go more in that direction.

Usually I wind up reworking a file before archiving it, once the design is finished. This is just to make things easier on the people who have to use it down the line.

I don't run into the orphaned stuff. I spent a ton of time figuring out how to rebuild everything from what's left if you change something. In the end you end up learning how to work the way you want to edit. Working with bodies and combining them is one way around blowing stuff up all the time.
 
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