What do you guys do your modeling in?

What do you guys do your modeling in? I just wasted an entire day trying to model some things in FreeCAD I could have knocked out in about an hour and had printed by now in Creo.

I’d rather not use OpenSCAD because Im just not a programmer but have about 10 years of various cad systems for my background. Systems that are free and cross platform are a plus.

Edu license for AutoCad?

No educational licenses. I have access to all those because I am an adjunct prof at a community college. But I would like to be able to release the drawings I’m working on without the risk of someone coming back on me. I know it sounds crazy but with my job the risk is there.

Ahh, that’s why I asked. Totally understand. Have you tried Alibre?

I use MoI 3d. Simple, direct solid modeling.

Both of those are possibilities. How are assemblies in MoI?

A friend sent me an article about Alibre. Apprarently its changed hands in the last year and now is called Cubify and has some incorporation of MoI in it.

Ahh, I haven’t looked at it in years. I’m still trying to find a decent option between openscad and autocad. :-/


Is sketchup an option?

Autodesk Fusion 360 is perfect for my needs and has excellent export-to-STL. And works on a Mac. I highly recommend it.

And it is free for personal use or not-for-profit use and for students/educators.

What problems did you have with @FreeCAD ?

I primarily model in Autodesk Inventor (currently am a college student and am able to get it free), I find that it is a fantastic piece of software for modeling 3D printed parts, as well as mechanical assemblies. The simulation tools add a ton as well, and can make it possible to prototype in software first, saving steps in hardware. OpenScad is also pretty sweet, once you get the hang of the language, it can be immensely handy for parametric designs, and makes it really easy to do some pretty complicated patterns when you use pre-made open-source libraries

For simple projects i using:


I use Blender personally.

OpenSCAD depending on the sort of shapes you’re trying to model. I find this the easiest to work with. Essentially write scripts to generate shapes.

PTC Creo Parametric will obviously not compare to these listed so if you can manage to get a cheap license without FEA and such it may better to save for money rather see the time to learn less mature software

Re. Alibe - If you want assemblies, Cubify Invent might be ok. But it will make interchanging design data with others difficult. The problem is that it is very limited in the file that it will import and export, because they would otherwise cannibalize the professional GeoMagic licenses. Cubify and GeoMagic are all based off the same underlying Alibre codebase, just with different feature sets.

@Joseph_Chiu What about Cubify design? Thats more in the price range Im looking at.

Cubify design will not do assemblies. Ironically, it can import a lot more file formats, as long as you are not importing in assemblies. Cubify Invent will do assemblies, but only supports the Cubify file format. To have file interop AND assemblies, you have to go to the professional versions (GeoMagic)

@Daniel_Wood I had a few issues.

  1. I cant for the life of me figure out how to make datum planes.
  2. The constraints in sketcher are maddening. Add one and it conflicts with 45 other ones. Or to finish the sketch you need 1 more constraint but its like a puzzle to figure out what one its expecting you to do. And half the time its a redundant constraint.
  3. I had issues where it wouldn’t let me do sketches on faces sometimes and forced the sketching plane to the origin. The sketch would not do anything then because it didnt reference a face.
  4. assemblies are non-existent
  5. Constant freeze ups, (running a quad i7 with 16 gigs of ram and a quadro 1000) and occasional crashes

Some of these are just learning curve and Im find with that but some turn me off completely. Which is sad because its the best 3D modeler Ive found on linux yet.