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Hobby & Painting Town Square

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This group is all about sharing great pics of beautiful models and other cool hobby stuff.

Why not show of your latest tip, trick or colour scheme and lets all get inspired.

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Hobby, Painting, Terrain, Community Project, Community Feedback, Community Challenge, *Gamename

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Consumer CAD software? (19 posts)

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  • Avatar Image balthazaar17p said 5 months, 1 week ago:

    Hi all

    Does anybody know of any consumer level CAD software (free or otherwise, i dont mind paying) that they consider to be decent?

    Im looking to be able to design my own terrain for laser cutting (and at some point when i can afford to, 3d printing).

    My day job is a CAD designer for a yacht company in the UK, so i have experience with CAD, however the software i use at work is something along the lines of £10,000 a year, im looking for something similar, but a lot cheaper, (maybe no more than £300)

    Im looking for software that preferably is/has:

    -History based
    -Ability to do parts, assemblies and drafting
    -Compatible with 3d space navigators (i used them at work and im so used to them i find it impossible to not use one when doing CAD modelling)
    -Has part/assembly navigators

    and most importantly must be parametrically driven (driven by a sketch)

    The reasoning for these preferences is due to how im used to working with CAD software (both through my studies at uni, and how i use it at work).

    As said before, my plan is to start a forum topic, focused on designing my own laser cut terrain (and any suggestions from you guys as well) and sharing the designs, files with you guys as well. (and maybe selling some kits on ebay to make a bit extra cash if i feel like the kits are good enough :P )

    Does anybody have any suggestions for good CAD software? preferably anything with a demo so i can try before i buy


  • Avatar Image gaist103p said 5 months, 1 week ago:

    I’ve heard good things about, but haven’t tried it.

  • Avatar Image limburger1457p said 5 months, 1 week ago: has a ‘student version’ so that might be worth a shot.

    Google gave me this link :

    I’ve tried to use SketchUp when I wanted to plan my game table, but it was stupendously difficult to use when building stuff from scratch with any sort of accuracy. I think it’s only useful if you can base your designs on whatever templates are in the library for that program. The name ‘sketch up’ is to be taken literally I think.

    festina lente cauta fac omnia mente
  • Avatar Image itsuncertainwho12p said 5 months, 1 week ago:

    I would suggest Fusion 360. They have a free hobby/pro license as long as you don’t make a specified profit using the software. It ticks all the boxes you mentioned, although the 3d navigator support I am unsure about.

  • Avatar Image balthazaar17p said 5 months ago:

    Thanks for the suggestions so far.
    I have tried free cad, but i just couldnt get a long with it, may give it another go at some point if i dont find anything else

    as for fusion 360, i couldnt find the free hobby license you mentioned through the link given, did you mean the free trial? if so, how long does it last? or is it permanent software access but just limited tools. Or was i just being silly and unable to find it? (the way my weeks been going so far i suspect thats the case :P )

  • Avatar Image gaist103p said 5 months ago: Fusion 360 Trial. I think it’s full software for 30 days. It’s free for 3 years to students in relevant fields, I think. (I know AutoCAD is).

    It’s about 300£ a year.

  • Avatar Image itsuncertainwho12p said 5 months ago:

    It’s the “Startup” license found slightly down the page. They like to bury useful info like that.

    If you download and install the trial software it should be eligible for the “Startup” license after the trial period, 30 days I think.

  • Avatar Image balthazaar17p said 5 months ago:


    Thanks for the info, i have found that out now thankyou, so will definetely give this a go. I see it mentions that you can get the license for year, but renew as required. Do you know if this means that the start up licence can constantly be renewed every year?

  • Avatar Image limburger1457p said 5 months ago:

    lol … yeah, that page reads like the typical license crap for business software (= impossible to understand for us mere mortals).

    You’d think they don’t want people to know that you can rent their stuff for ‘cheap’.
    It kind of reads like the ‘starter’ license doesn’t exist, so it is weird.
    One also has to wonder how they’re going to check if you make less than $100k / year. (then again … if you’re a business then you will be making more than 100$k / year with ease, unless they meant net profit …)

    And definitely pay attention to the license details when you do pay, because you are paying for access to their software instead of buying it (which is pretty standard for this kind of stuff, but it does suck).

    The legalese in their terms of service and license restrictions makes my head spin.

    One thing to keep in mind is that they do appear to make this an on-line only service.
    It’s carefully worded (“… That said, there will be instances where Autodesk will leverage cloud to improve existing workflows (e.g. speed up rendering) or bring innovative new workflows (e.g. shape optimization algorithms). …”) which you may be paying for for each use (the ‘cloud credits’ thing that’s mentioned). Adobe did try this in the past ran into issues with their existing user base, but you can be damned sure that companies will try to switch to that business model as it will allow them to hold your work hostage.

    This probably isn’t an issue for most users, but the ‘unlimited’ access to those cloud-based services for their ‘starter’ license is granted based on what appears to be a ‘fair usage’ basis.
    ie : as long as nobody abuses the service (and it hasn’t reached critical mass …) it will be ‘free’ as it is free advertising for their ‘ultimate’ license.

    @balthazaar : it might be worth checking if you can use your company’s license at home.
    Altough there may be copyright/IP ownership issues with the stuff you create using that software (they might claim theyown everything you make so check your contract).
    It could be a win/win for everyone.
    Asking for legal expertise (= a lawyer specializing in IP/copyright and business issues) may be useful.

  • Avatar Image balthazaar17p said 5 months ago:


    the software we use it work is a £10,000+ a year software for each license the need/want, so i wouldnt be able to get home access to it, which is a shame as its really good software

  • Avatar Image itsuncertainwho12p said 5 months ago:

    @balthazaar said:

    … Do you know if this means that the start up licence can constantly be renewed every year?

    That is my understanding. The reasoning that I see is they can get a broad user base that will, when they start making money, convert to a full paid license. That user base will also potentially push other businesses to look at their software for future use.

    They also have a nifty viewer that allows you to access any 3D files stored on your cloud account and view them on your phone.

    There are also a lot of good video tutorials on their website and Youtube.

  • Avatar Image balthazaar17p said 5 months ago:


    yeah it does make sense to do so when put like that, will be giving it a try this weekend so will let you guys know.

    also if anybody else still has ideas feel free to post them, as the more i try out the better :)

  • Avatar Image limburger1457p said 5 months ago:

    @balthazaar said:

    the software we use it work is a £10,000+ a year software for each license the need/want, so i wouldnt be able to get home access to it, which is a shame as its really good software

    We had software at work that also had such a high license cost with no options for home use.
    it sucks that there’s no good entry level software for these things, doesn’t it ?
    It’s either stupendously expensive or too basic.
    Although that Freecad thing looked a lot better than sketchup, but the interface looked far too complex. I don’t recall autocad being that alien, but then the last time I saw that program was when the 80286 was the most powerful cpu one could buy …

  • Avatar Image balthazaar17p said 5 months ago:


    It is a shame, we use Siemens Nx at work, which, despite it being quite buggy sometimes (ive had so many problems with it this week causing it to be the worst week ive had in the 5 months ive been working there) but its still the best software ive used, meaning i know have high standards when looking for software to use at home, as im used to working in a certain way which requires the software to have certain features, so most things that are affordable for home use, so far havent managed to meet them haha

  • Avatar Image itsuncertainwho12p said 5 months ago:

    My background being from the art side of things (Max, Softimage, Power Animator/Maya), makes me wonder how the hell CAD people get anything accomplished. Fusion 360 is the first engineering software that I’ve been able to put up with. Not to say that I don’t still yell at the screen when it refuses to do what I want because some engineer somewhere is an idiot and requires either numeric or some other form of constraint on manipulating an object.