PDA

View Full Version : Free CAD Program for Students???


,4lex S.
03-02-2009, 06:10 PM
Before I ask this question, I should make it clear that I am aware of the free team related offerings of CAD programs. However, my computer is not able to handle the latest version of Inventor. My team is also finished with the design process for our season. I am looking for a free, or relatively inexpensive (< $50) CAD program to practice and design parts for my teams off-season activities on. I am experienced in Inventor and have dipped my big toe into Solidworks, but I can't find a near full version program I can download for free. I have considered Google Sketchup, but am unsure of its capabilities and would prefer SolidWorks or a similar program. Any guidance would be appreciated.

RyanCahoon
03-02-2009, 08:22 PM
Some members of my team who were finding it hard to run inventor had some luck running Alibre (http://www.alibre.com/). It's not free, there's only a 30 day free (but fully functional, iirc) trial. But maybe have your PR team can secure you a sponsorship ;)

--Ryan

Joe_Widen
03-02-2009, 08:25 PM
Al college students can get free versions of the latest inventor at students.autodesk.com Just sign up and then you can download for free. Otherwise, I used alibre until I got inventor. Alibre is basically inventor.

Cory
03-02-2009, 08:52 PM
You can get Solidworks for free as well, but if your computer can't handle Inventor it's not going to run Solidworks much better.

What are the specs on your computer? 6 or so years ago I was able to run Inventor 8 without much trouble on an 800 mhz P3 with 128 mb of RAM and integrated graphics without too much trouble (until I got into large assemblies).

Most relatively new computers should be able to handle light duty CAD work using Solidworks or Inventor.

Molten
03-03-2009, 01:35 AM
AutoCAD has some 3d modeling softwares out that you can buy for relatively cheap. Also, they generally have lower system requirements. However, it will probably be different then what you are used to. I'm told leans closer to solidworks then inventor but I really don't have any first hand experience. I might have to call a friend and see where he got his.

Cory
03-03-2009, 01:51 AM
AutoCAD has some 3d modeling softwares out that you can buy for relatively cheap. Also, they generally have lower system requirements. However, it will probably be different then what you are used to. I'm told leans closer to solidworks then inventor but I really don't have any first hand experience. I might have to call a friend and see where he got his.

AutoCAD and Inventor are both products of Autodesk. Inventor is their 3D modeling program. I'm not sure what other Autodesk program you've heard of (and none of their software is cheap).

AndyB
03-03-2009, 05:14 AM
I found this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_CAD_editors_for_AEC

Maybe it's of some help to you.

Molten
03-03-2009, 12:20 PM
AutoCAD and Inventor are both products of Autodesk. Inventor is their 3D modeling program. I'm not sure what other Autodesk program you've heard of (and none of their software is cheap).

AutoCAD does have 3d modeling features. Most people don't use them for many reasons. Including the lack of dynamic testing. This is one of the reasons that they generally have lower system requirements. I have a friend that has a cheap version of AutoCAD on his laptop that he bought for less then $100. Also, he has modeled a go kart on it without any prior experience with drafting software. I think he got it at Office Max. Though, I can't seem to find it on the site now. It was a couple of years ago when he bought it.

Please do not perpetuate the negative stereotypes of AutoCAD such as: It can't do 3d. Simply, it can. Sorry, just tired of people telling me that this awesome software can't do half the stuff it can do.

Cory
03-03-2009, 12:33 PM
AutoCAD does have 3d modeling features. Most people don't use them for many reasons. Including the lack of dynamic testing. This is one of the reasons that they generally have lower system requirements. I have a friend that has a cheap version of AutoCAD on his laptop that he bought for less then $100. Also, he has modeled a go kart on it without any prior experience with drafting software. I think he got it at Office Max. Though, I can't seem to find it on the site now. It was a couple of years ago when he bought it.

Please do not perpetuate the negative stereotypes of AutoCAD such as: It can't do 3d. Simply, it can. Sorry, just tired of people telling me that this awesome software can't do half the stuff it can do.

I never said it can't do 3D. It's pretty much indisputable that Inventor is marketed as Autodesk's 3D solution, regardless of whether AutoCAD has the capability to do 3D modeling. Your mention of it being more like Solidworks than Inventor made me think you were talking about some third software suite, as AutoCAD is nothing like Solidworks.

Tristan Lall
03-03-2009, 12:33 PM
Please do not perpetuate the negative stereotypes of AutoCAD such as: It can't do 3d. Simply, it can. Sorry, just tired of people telling me that this awesome software can't do half the stuff it can do.I'm similarly tired of people perpetuating the stereotype that you can't build a boat from reeds, pitch and hemp. Seriously, if it was good enough for Thor Heyerdahl, why shouldn't Cunard be using it too?

Molten
03-03-2009, 12:46 PM
I'm similarly tired of people perpetuating the stereotype that you can't build a boat from reeds, pitch and hemp. Seriously, if it was good enough for Thor Heyerdahl, why shouldn't Cunard be using it too?

Who says you can't build such a boat? Also, I think your trying to make a false analogy. We are nothing like Cunard. We are just trying to build a bot. NASA is more like Cunard in your analogy. We are more like Thor. We don't have always have the best tools in the world or the best funding, but we can certainly make do. I never said that AutoCAD had the best 3d. I'm just saying it has fully functioning 3d at a low cost.

Dad1279
03-03-2009, 12:55 PM
A9 Cad is free, but 2 dimensional.
http://www.a9tech.com/

SuperBK
03-03-2009, 02:10 PM
I have been on the lookout for some free or low cost Cad programs and here is what I have found

CadStd - they have a free version and the paid version is only $37 cadstd.com (http://cadstd.com)

TurboCad
http://www.turbocad.com/TurboCAD/TurboCAD15/TurboCADDesigner15/tabid/860/Default.aspx
Check Amazon and Newegg for prices

DoubleCad, but the same company as TurboCad (IMSI).
2D edition is free
http://www.doublecad.com/Products/DoubleCADXT/tabid/1100/Default.aspx


Deltacad - cost around $40. supposed to be easy to learn and use. I don't have a url.

Brian

MCahoon
03-03-2009, 02:25 PM
As Ryan pointed out above, Alibre is a capable tool. It is parametric 3D. On download of the Express verison, you get 30 day evaluation upgrade to the professional level tool. After 30 days, you have use of the Express version tool for unlimited time (free).

It will import STEP files, etc.

pmax
03-03-2009, 02:30 PM
Before I ask this question, I should make it clear that I am aware of the free team related offerings of CAD programs. However, my computer is not able to handle the latest version of Inventor. My team is also finished with the design process for our season. I am looking for a free, or relatively inexpensive (< $50) CAD program to practice and design parts for my teams off-season activities on. I am experienced in Inventor and have dipped my big toe into Solidworks, but I can't find a near full version program I can download for free. I have considered Google Sketchup, but am unsure of its capabilities and would prefer SolidWorks or a similar program. Any guidance would be appreciated.

It would be good to know your basic hardware specs (RAM and graphics card in particular) to understand the limitations with Inventor. The latest release should run fairly well on 1 Gb memory, especially if you turn of several of the default Add-ins.

Regards,
Pete
Autodesk Product Design

,4lex S.
03-03-2009, 06:50 PM
Thanks for the help.

I have been asked for hardware specs, so:
256 Mb Ram
1.7 GHz Celeron Processer
20 Gb Remaining Storage
Terrible Video Card... (From 2000)
Makes me cry, I have to give it a kick to start sometimes... :D
I should be upgrading to a new computer this summer though.

I guess I forgot about Alibre, a member of our CAD team used to use it. Does the Express version have the modelling ability of Inventor (I don't really need all the flashy features, like rendering and dynamic simulation)? AutoCad is expensive too, and the free version has no 3D in my experience. I don't really know which Free programs to trust, but Alibre seems alright.

artdutra04
03-03-2009, 07:24 PM
Thanks for the help.

I have been asked for hardware specs, so:
256 Mb Ram
1.7 GHz Celeron Processer
20 Gb Remaining Storage
Terrible Video Card... (From 2000)
Makes me cry, I have to give it a kick to start sometimes... :D
I should be upgrading to a new computer this summer though.

I guess I forgot about Alibre, a member of our CAD team used to use it. Does the Express version have the modelling ability of Inventor (I don't really need all the flashy features, like rendering and dynamic simulation)? AutoCad is expensive too, and the free version has no 3D in my experience. I don't really know which Free programs to trust, but Alibre seems alright.If you upgrade the RAM to at least 1Gb, you should at least be able to model parts, although modeling assemblies with more than a few dozen parts will be more or less impossible. If you are getting a new computer in a few months, I'd suggest just waiting until then and then taking advantage of the free SolidWorks, Inventor, or similar student free/discount software.

Also, it's probably better to stick with the student versions of some of the better known software names out there, such as SolidWorks, Pro/E, Inventor, CATIA, Unigraphics (NX), or SolidEdge, or in other words CAD applications used in industry. That way, you gain experience in software that you will use in college and beyond, as opposed to some random CAD software that no one has ever really heard of.

If you are looking for SolidWorks, you can pick up a two year student license (without COSMOS) for $60-$80, and with COSMOS for about $140.
http://www.gradware.com/product/view/917379?sourcecode=gwce&promocode=ce02&utm_source=GoogleBase&utm_medium=CompEngine&utm_campaign=ce02

R.C.
03-03-2009, 08:16 PM
Contact Marie, she should be able to hook you up with a copy or something for solidworks.

PTC_FRC
03-05-2009, 12:51 PM
As discussed in other posts, all FIRST teams can download free seats of Pro/ENGINEER.

To access the free seats of Pro/ENGINEER would require your team lead to register for a project space. The project space is a virtual folder for teams to manage their design, documents, meetings, etc. It becomes the master copy of all things related to the team. Available via the web, teams have access to this info 24/7 via the internet. From the project, you can also download Pro/ENGINEER and Mathcad for your team use. The license of Pro/ENGINEER is perpetual and does not expire.

To register for your team project, please have the team lead fill out the following form www.ptc.com/go/frcregistration

As for hardware requirements, here is a link to the Pro/ENGINEER Schools Edition requirements

http://www.ptc.com/appserver/wcms/standards/textoimgothumb.jsp?&im_dbkey=67025&icg_dbkey=841

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to send me an email at mfischer@ptc.com.

Regards,
Mark Fischer

mplanchard
03-06-2009, 06:21 AM
You can get a copy of SolidWorks - just go to www.solidworks.com/SponsoredDesignContest and fill out the form on the right side. We do not do a download for robot teams - we ship a DVD.
If you want to perform stress analysis or motion analysis on your robot please say so. We will have a 64bit student version this summer.

There are many FIRST teams that use SolidWorks - more importantly there are many companies that use SolidWorks. SolidWorks skills are good to have in your background as an design engineer. Marie