I am a retired Aerospace Engineering Tech and machinist who worked for GE Astro Space and have been passing my time woodworking since retiring in '92 and find it very rewarding. Problem is I do not have adequate space and have decided to design and build a multi functional, vertical standing machine, made from a combination of custom fabricated and off the shelf parts that will allow the unit to use a minimum amount of space and do the jobs of several machines. I used Autosketch DOS many years ago and was quite proficient with it, but that was then and I admittedly am lost with all the software choices out there today. I'm sorry I didn’t stay on top of things and am now searching for a program which is not going to take me years to get up to speed on. Any help in my search will be greatly appreciated. Thank You, Michael DB.
Hi Michael, there are lots of 3D apps out there now. Some free, some will need a mortgage and others that are between the two. The best advice I can offer is to try each one, most of the ones that cost offer trial versions that usually run for thirty days and give you a chance to see if they fit your needs.
Blender is free but is a real handful to learn and is not a true CAD package. You tried AutoSketch in the past so might adapt easily to AutoCAD LT (light weight version), if you want easy to learn with good support then MoI3D is about as good as you can get, but it's a 32bit app that seriously restricts the size of the models you can produce. However, if you check my projects out, they are all done in MoI, it also exports in STEP and IGES formats which seems to be the most heavily supported formats these days.
Hope that helps
To this I would only add that if you want to learn 3D you could try Alibre Personal Edition. Last I looked it was about $200 to buy after a 30 day trial. It is fairly straight forward to use and has decent functionality for the price.
I recommend you a program T-Flex Parametric CAD 2D/3D
Program at an affordable price. Very intuitive.
Very quickly you are able to learn how to operate it.
For more information and help you get here http://tflex.pl/ and 30-day program.
You can also see videos on youtube
http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=t-flex cad&oq=t-flex &gs_l=youtube.18.104.22.1688068.922999.0.925922.214.171.124.126.96.36.1998.719.2j2j1.5.0...0.0...1ac.1.KrZu8eG53qY
I've had it for 3 years. My work in it (not all of course), you can see on my profile
File formats IGES, STEP, but also import SolidWorks and Autodesk Inventor
I will have to look into this one too!!