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Author Topic: CAD Recommendations?  (Read 2619 times)

Renegade

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CAD Recommendations?
« on: September 26, 2012, 10:36:36 AM »
Well, I'm looking for some CAD software to use. It needs to be free. I can't pay megabucks for AutoCAD. I'm just looking to create plans for myself to build a few things. (Physical stuff - my first project is greenhouse, aquaponic, and hydroponic systems -- all agricultural -- with motors for automation of course.)

Hopefully, it's sane to use and doesn't take hours to define what a PVC pipe is. I'd like to be able to have a library of things to pick from, and if needed, modify. Sanely.

Does anyone have any recommendations?
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joiwind

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Re: CAD Recommendations?
« Reply #1 on: September 26, 2012, 11:09:53 AM »
3D or 2D ?
.: I use K-Meleon - the browser you can control - but I love Pale Moon too :.

40hz

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Re: CAD Recommendations?
« Reply #2 on: September 26, 2012, 11:17:29 AM »
I'm not an engineer (you'll need to talk to superboyAC for that) but I've used Autodesk Sketchbook Pro and TurboCAD with good results for household projects. Neither are free. And I preferred Sketchbook to TurboCAD for no real reason other than I liked Sketchbook better.. But there's an offer for a free copy of TurboCAD Deluxe v12.5 (which I paid about $35 for) that's currently available. Details here if you're interested. Direct offer link is here.

Note: Both products take some getting used to if you've never used a CAD package before. But previous experience with an illustration (not paint) program helps. I'm also lucky to have real engineers in my social and family circles so whenever I really got stuck I just bugged them. Helped me recoup some of that free PC tech support I've given them over the years.  ;D

YMMV.

------------------------------

@ Ren - re: hydroponic

If you're not doing a huge system for a hydroponic garden, you can manage without a pump. Get two containers with handles and non-airtight lids and attach spigots to the bottom of each container. (You can also get them pre-made from places that supply homebrew equipment. Search for "bottling bucket" on Google.)

flow2.gifCAD Recommendations?

Attach the spigots with tubing to opposite sides of your tank or plant grid. When you want to flow nutrient solution, put one container on the floor and hang one on a hook above the tank like so.

bottling_bucket.jpg

Gravity will do the rest. Regulate the flow with the spigots.

When it comes time to feed again, remove the empty container from it's hook and put it on the floor. Take the one that collected the nutrient (and is now full) and hang that on a hook.

Voila! :Thmbsup: A pumpless hydroponic garden pump. 8) Doesn't get any greener than that!
« Last Edit: September 26, 2012, 11:40:33 AM by 40hz »

Renegade

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Re: CAD Recommendations?
« Reply #3 on: September 26, 2012, 11:39:36 AM »
Has to be 3D. I need it for physical designing, so it has to be 3D.

@40hz - Thanks! Downloading that TurboCAD now. I'll give that a spin & see. I already downloaded FreeCAD, but not so sure that I like it. (*Just* tried it out, and seem like the tool pallet is a bit to spartan for me - I don't like working in property grids if I can avoid it.)
Slow Down Music - Where I commit thought crimes...

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40hz

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Re: CAD Recommendations?
« Reply #4 on: September 26, 2012, 11:41:45 AM »
@R - thew an addendum to my post. It may be of interest for what you're doing.  :)

Renegade

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Re: CAD Recommendations?
« Reply #5 on: September 26, 2012, 12:32:01 PM »
@R - thew an addendum to my post. It may be of interest for what you're doing.  :)

Thanks for that, but it's not what I'm looking to do.

I won't be building the system for at least another year or more. I'm researching now into aquaponic systems, and checking out hydroponic systems, etc. etc. at the same time.

I want to design a commercial system and compare costs. Can I build it cheaper myself? Or does it make sense to simply buy a kit? The kinds of kits that I'm looking at are far from cheap, and in the ?,000's or ?0,000's of $$$'s.

I also want the system to be as automated as possible, and would like to run as much as I can off of Raspberry Pis and Arduinos, etc.

A lot will be limited by the availability of some materials, but I've already checked on some, and there are some decent options. One of the problems is trying to avoid non-food-grade plastics, but that's a material consideration, and tangentially related to the actual "design".

As for being green, well, to be honest...

Off Topic and very ranty...
I LOATHE the green BS lies and nonsense. I'd rather shoot myself in the face than give in to that crap. However, I am very seriously concerned with actual, real, practical considerations like energy consumption, heating, the possibility of using solar power or wind power (geo-thermal maybe if I can figure that out), waste production/recycling, having the water-cycle as a closed loop (eliminates water consumption drastically), running the system without toxic chemicals or pesticides (there are natural pest control solutions available), eliminating the use of any kind of commercial chemical fertilizer, etc. etc. You know. The things that the greenies pretend to care about as they run around with their iPhones, SUVs, plastic water bottles, disposable cups filled with double-mocha cappuccinos flavoured with GMO (biological weapon) corn syrup, individually wrapped sugar-coated chocolate frosted sugar bomb clusters, and coloured ribbon of the month. I hate the religiosity of "green". I prefer the sanity and serenity of simply being reasonable and logical, and approaching problems with a degree of respect, rather than a degree of greed and sanctimonious...

Gotta stop there. ;)

Nothing against you there -- the whole "green" thing just sets me off. Badly. I've had to do work in the "green" industry, and it simply makes me want to puke when I read and write lies. Just because I get paid to do it... :(

And, I think that I did rather well at not running into a horribly obscene rant about "green" there. I think that may have something to do with running out of booze though. ;) :P



Anyways, I'm looking forward to giving that TurboCAD a spin! :) Thank you very much for the heads-up on the free v12 license there! :D (But since I still suffer from chronic gear lust (who doesn't?), my guess is that if I like it, I'll end up buying the upgrade for the newer version~! ;D Though I shall seriously try to resist! I already went out about bought myself a copy of "Pocket Ref" 4th edition, so I should just be happy with that!)
Slow Down Music - Where I commit thought crimes...

Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker

joiwind

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Re: CAD Recommendations?
« Reply #6 on: September 26, 2012, 12:54:22 PM »
Spoiler
Renegade : re your rant about greenies - over here they're called "bobo's" i.e. bourgeois bohemians, and I hate them too. They know nothing about the real concerns, they just jump on the wagon.
I started organic gardening in 1970, ran a self-sufficient small-holding for many years and have been a professional gardener ever since, so I can modestly say that I know a fair bit about vegetation and *culture - and what has been done to the world.


3D apps - there are some simple ones (not at all in the AutoCad or TurboCad league) to check out though none of which are in active development. However they might help to get familiar with some of the techniques :

ModelMagic3D
Art of Illusion
Misfit Model 3D
.: I use K-Meleon - the browser you can control - but I love Pale Moon too :.

superboyac

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Re: CAD Recommendations?
« Reply #7 on: September 26, 2012, 12:56:11 PM »
OK, this is totally my area.  I also am not aware of any decent free CAD packages.  I've tried a couple, but hated them (don't even remember the names...probably something like openCAD or something).  I use Autocad, it's one with me.
For free alternatives to do what you describe, I'd go with Sketchup all the way.  Here's something I'm currently working on, it's my ideal jazz combo gig layout:
TheClub_laptop.pngCAD Recommendations?

Very easy to do all that.  Sketchup is amazing for this sort of thing, I highly recommend it.  It's one of the very few software that can do technical things and have it feel like fun.

as for your green rant, yeah good points. I'm in the industry and always have to balance my cold-hearted, no-nonsense, socialism style practicality with my hippie leanings.  I've seen a lot of the green experiments by my peers from the other side of campus (Berkeley), meaning the hippie techies who are intelligent but not as in depth with their engineering knowledge.  They have good creative ideas and a mindset I appreciate, but they don't have the ability to really design an effective thing.  Then you have the other end (my coworkers) who can design down to every nut and bolt brilliantly, but have zero creativity or aesthetic appreciation of the end product.  One one hand, you'll get a 50-gallon algae tank that can barely power a light bulb.  On the other hand, you'll get 3-ton solid steel beautifully engineered generator that will power a pool (with a safety load factor of no less than 300%  :D), it will be loud as hell, it won't break...ever, will cost more than the pool, and probably also significantly alter the surrounding ecosystem within a 100-yard radius.

superboyac

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Re: CAD Recommendations?
« Reply #8 on: September 26, 2012, 01:00:17 PM »
Also, sorry I have to brag a little here, i don't get to show this one off often...
I designed this sword below using plain ol' vanilla Autocad.  I'm proud of it for that reason, because when i started I had no idea you can end up with that nice of an end product with just autocad.  I was initially planning on roughing it out there first, and then taking it into 3ds max or something, but it wasn't necessary.  I had more than one person ask, after I had it printed and framed, if it was a real sword.  yes!!
durindal-test-6-50%.pngCAD Recommendations?

40hz

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Re: CAD Recommendations?
« Reply #9 on: September 26, 2012, 01:59:08 PM »
@R/@J - Just a few minor points and then I'll drop it. Promise!

1. I have a real problem with "ranting" in any way, shape, or form. It's easy to fly off the handle. But it doesn't actually accomplish much if anything. And lately, a few things have become pretty clear to me: (a) You can get what you want. Or (b) you can say whatever you want. But it's not too often that (c) you get to do both.

Because once you go off the wall at somebody, all dialog ceases. Something that those who benefit most from the status quo understand all too well. Which is why I think there's so much "baiting" (and conditioning people to bait each other) going on these days.

As long as you have hundreds of people yelling at each other and bickering (on cue) over trifles, they will continue to fail to see that little group, sitting in the eye of the storm, calmly and quietly getting things done their way. So the last thing this group will ever want to see is a general consensus about anything.

2. When I say "green" I mean "low energy requirement" and "minimally polluting." I don't know what some of the eco-headbangers or their opponents mean by it. But I think we're talking about completely different things.

3. There are no honest passengers on this boat. Especially when it comes to 'eco' issues. Most people freely twist reality to suit their own agendas. It's become a political topic rather than a scientific one. Even among people who really should know better.

Hmm...did anybody notice that little group in the middle I mentioned previously? How come they're smiling every time somebody goes off the wall about "green" - no matter what side of the table the person is sitting on? Think they might possibly know something the politicians, activists, pundits, and ranters don't? (Hint: Count on it!)

And that's about all I have to say about that. :)
« Last Edit: September 26, 2012, 02:04:59 PM by 40hz »

DerekHal

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Re: CAD Recommendations?
« Reply #10 on: September 26, 2012, 02:40:23 PM »
Searching for FreeCad on alternativeto.net gave three more 3D-Cad open source options: 3DVIA Shape, gCAD3D, and AutoQ3D.


Renegade

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Re: CAD Recommendations?
« Reply #11 on: September 26, 2012, 10:23:05 PM »
Well, it is apparently clear that I'm not used to the CAD UI and tools, and am finding them a bit frustrating.

But, Sketch seems to be pretty much what I'm looking for. The best thing is that I can search for existing designs, and there are lots of them out there. So, most of the work is done, and I don't need to mess around so much starting from scratch. I'm more interested in producing a final design than in playing with the software. :) Copy, paste, and edit. Perfect!
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Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker

NigelH

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Re: CAD Recommendations?
« Reply #12 on: October 06, 2012, 07:42:13 AM »
Didn't see Autodesk's 123d apps  mentioned http://www.123dapp.com/create
Not a user though - just saw it mentioned in Wired mag.

Renegade

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Re: CAD Recommendations?
« Reply #13 on: October 06, 2012, 07:50:32 AM »
Didn't see Autodesk's 123d apps  mentioned http://www.123dapp.com/create
Not a user though - just saw it mentioned in Wired mag.

Thanks for posting that! :)
Slow Down Music - Where I commit thought crimes...

Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker