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What do you model with?
April 23, 2013
6:00 pm
Cameron Naramore
Forum Posts: 8
Member Since:
August 29, 2012

What software do you use to create models for 3D printing?


If applicable, what were you modeling with before you started modeling for 3D printing?


What factors and features make modeling software appealing (for 3D printing)?

April 24, 2013
5:46 pm
Forum Posts: 2
Member Since:
April 24, 2013

I use Solidworks exclusively. I started with it, overcame the learning curve, and am now reaping the benefits. I do all modelling in it, not just 3DP – but also all the design work for the mill and the lathe, all the wiring, and all the plumbing work. I have a LOT to learn still about the product. I feel I only use about 10% of its capabilities, but even that has allowed me to design and build my own 3D printer. So I'm pretty sold on it.

If I couldn't use SW for some reason, I'd probably give Alibre a good going over. When I looked at it last, the straight modelling was great, but it didn't have wiring and plumbing, so I went with SW. If you don't need those, Alibre might be a good choice.

I've also looked at Inventor and Pro/E (back a few years ago – and they are great tools), but the other guy I work with on these projects was more comfortable with SW, so for commonality, we stuck with it.
Since that time, I've used TinkerCAD with my kids (7 & 9 yo) – and they did OK with it. Every once in a while, I've looked at Sketchup – but the lack of assembly capability makes it not very attractive for me.

Now if someone would just get Alibre working on a Linux desktop, I'd be all over it.

April 27, 2013
5:47 pm
Forum Posts: 1
Member Since:
April 27, 2013

I use Lightwave 3D and Blender. I've been using Lightwave for over 20 years so it's usually my 'go to' program when I need to get something modelled quickly.

May 2, 2013
3:42 pm
Forum Posts: 1
Member Since:
April 22, 2013

brt – If you go here, there's a list of linux-compatible CAD like programs. One of which, OpenSCAD, I use. I currently do not own a 3d printer so I'm not sure if these steps would work. Currently, I use Blender for primitive modeling, and Sculptris for final detail. I would think I'd need to import the mesh back into Blender for topology and export before it would be ready for slicing. Is there anyone like me who is using only free software? And if so, what software did you use?




Have you tried using Alibre with Wine?

May 3, 2013
3:36 pm
Forum Posts: 2
Member Since:
April 24, 2013

@bnaramore – I'm a pretty strong advocate of Open Systems – a long time Ubuntu desktop and server user & admin, grew up on Unix and Linux, still make a living deploying Open Source tools, and in general prefer Open Systems to closed one.

I dutifully look at Open CAD/CAM tools at least once per year. I've been following FreeCAD and OpenSCAD for a while. Alas, neither they, nor any other Open CAD/CAM tools I've tried are anywhere close to the likes of SW+Pro/E+Inventor+Alibre. Not even slightly close.

The complexity of designs I can model with the closed tools all by myself is limited by my imagination and creativity. I've created models containing hundreds of unique parts and integrated them into coherent assemblies with piping and electrical conduits. And then ran them through engineering analysis tools the like of which just don't exist in the Open world.

And I can do it quickly and efficiently, because the UIs of the closed tools are much more efficient. I can easily share the results with my colleagues. With Open CAD/CAM tools, I'm still severely limited, and very inefficient. I wish I weren't. And every year, I re-evaluate it. But for now, that's how I feel.


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