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What Do You Use To Draw/design Projects?

uncle harry

Active User
Active Member
#92
Believe it or not, I use Microsoft Word. I made a size A template, then just paste in a shape or shapes. Then I type in the dimensions in inches or mm in the format box. If is a small part that fits in the paper at full scale, the 2D will be accurate to the 1/128". I have Turbocad, but I need help to learn it. The push for me to learn something that can be exported in a CAD file is starting to be felt.
I have used Microsoft Publisher between a temporary
seat on Mechanical Desktop & buying Autocad 8000. It has a lot more features than word and can be used for presentations to clients. I have since acquired Inventor light 1200 which gives me the ability to submit DXF files for plasma cutting etc. I might look into Fusion 360 since this thread was started.
 
Last edited:

hey-bear

Active Member
Active Member
#93
I used to use Autocad 2015, until I discovered Fusion 360. After a bit of a learning curve it fell in love with it. So easy to make parts with it. And for a hobbyist, it's FREE!
 

tmlesko

Swarf
Registered Member
#95
Depending on the design or the available materials when the ideas strike. I use several approaches. Most of my ideation starts in my head. For personal simple projects I use anything from white space on printed matter to restroom paper towling. <snip>
Most of my sketches are 3D, some are exploded assembly-like diagrams.
I agree with "Uncle Harry", graphic ideation on paper is a powerful tool that is a different way of thinking than working through a computer interface. We teach both. For programs, I use Vectorworks and Sketchup Pro.

Tom L.
 

lawlessman

Active User
Active Member
#96
Please be specific....
I use my tried and true EZCAM v6.xx to sketch up, refine and produce 2d prints and layouts. It is a lot easier to navigate than any other program I have tried (but, familiarity plays a big part), and does 99% of what I need. I have designed a 36 x 36 building, my garage, an entertainment center, dozens of parts and much more with this ol' program. I don't see any need to get anything new or more complicated. If a part I sketch out becomes a part I want to make, I can go right into EZCAM and write a machining program, save it, post it and run it. Sure, it doesn't produce "draftsman" quality blueprints, but I have used the drawings I made to purchase items I designed from other sources, including Chinese manufacturers, so they can't be all that bad.
 

Paul in OKC

Active Member
Active Member
#98
I use my tried and true EZCAM v6.xx to sketch up, refine and produce 2d prints and layouts. It is a lot easier to navigate than any other program I have tried (but, familiarity plays a big part), and does 99% of what I need. I have designed a 36 x 36 building, my garage, an entertainment center, dozens of parts and much more with this ol' program. I don't see any need to get anything new or more complicated. If a part I sketch out becomes a part I want to make, I can go right into EZCAM and write a machining program, save it, post it and run it. Sure, it doesn't produce "draftsman" quality blueprints, but I have used the drawings I made to purchase items I designed from other sources, including Chinese manufacturers, so they can't be all that bad.
Hey, another EZCAM user! Don't know what version I started with, but it was old and pre-1997! Can still run it off my thumb drive on an old enough OS. Have the current revision where I work, but I don't do much drawing in it. I use AutoCad 2015 at the moment to draw and design, then the EZCAM for programming.
 

Gorton mill

Swarf
Registered Member
Please be specific....
My sketches are usually on recycled paper. Seldom do I need (or have the time for) software to provide the drawings I need. A couple examples...added a support to raise the height of my argon bottle to make the flow meter-regulator more accessible. Support is made from mild steel square tubing and flat strap. Measuring took more time than the sketch and the combined time for the 2 tasks was about 15 minutes. Also designed a support to move my 3,500 lb milling machine around the shop during its rebuild. Design required multiple measurements of the mill's base. Between crawling around on the floor and behind the mill, the last thing I needed was to transfer this grime to my laptop or tablet. Time is lost when the final document from which the part will be built requires sketching, creating an electronic drawing, having that drawing revised multiple times, then finally having the part built.
I suspect this approach is driven because my career started as a draftsman, on a board, in the Maintenance department within an industrial setting. Time was precious and valuable. I needed to convince an operator to stop his machine so measurements could be taken. And going back a 2nd time because I didn't get all the info needed was not an option. I spent lots of time looking, watching, talking to the operators and maintenance craftsmen and doing rough sketches sans dimensions, prior to taking any measurements. When back in the office, there was little opportunity to do a drawing for a 2nd time once pencil met paper. This "restriction" (the time it took to create an assembly drawing plus the detail drawings) mandated that I think thru a design, evaluating risks early in the process. My job was to add value to the Maintenance Department. Having a couple 24 x 36 sheets of velum in the trash at the end of the shift could get you fired. The other benefit of the "restriction" is the end user made less changes and adjustments than are done today when electronic design utilized. Did I make mistakes - oh yes. Were some significant - you bet. Part of a young drafter/designer's learning curve.
Enough pontificating. The short answer - pencil & paper to capture the thought. At work - the sketch and lots of discussion with the designer before he/she starts the paper to software conversion.
 

bbutcher

Iron
Registered Member
Please be specific....
I usually use either AutoCAD 2000 or Autodesk Inventor 2008, mainly because I have access to them. For a CNC conversion, I usually use Inventor and save the 3D part as an IGES, STEP, ot SAT image, then import that image into BobCadCam V26. All three of these programs have a fairly long learning curve, at least for me. BobCadCam does have a drawing capability, but the methods used to draw parts are not similar to AutoCAD, so I have not bothered to learn how to use it, other than real simple features, like a line or circle perhaps.
 

lawlessman

Active User
Active Member
Hey, another EZCAM user! Don't know what version I started with, but it was old and pre-1997! Can still run it off my thumb drive on an old enough OS. Have the current revision where I work, but I don't do much drawing in it. I use AutoCad 2015 at the moment to draw and design, then the EZCAM for programming.
I run my EZCAM program under multiple versions of Windows on several different computers. Nothing newer than XP, however. It has stayed with me thru many computer replacements. One nice thing about it is that it is totally portable. I just download the files and startup the program. It doesn't have to be installed like so many newer programs. I keep backups on thumb drives because it is a relatively small program. I even have the "SURF", TURN" and even "EDM" modules, but never used them. I do wish it did engraving, though.
 

Paul in OKC

Active Member
Active Member
There is a text thing on the newer versions. I don't think I have ever used it though. Still have an old DOS based version of an engraving software that does really well. Only problem is there isn't an old enough OS in the shop to run it from any more :(.
 

lawlessman

Active User
Active Member
There is a text thing on the newer versions. I don't think I have ever used it though. Still have an old DOS based version of an engraving software that does really well. Only problem is there isn't an old enough OS in the shop to run it from any more :(.
I am running XP on most of my computers, but have a CNC running a Machine Master controller with Ah-Ha! based (aka Slo-Motion Controls) software on a pentium/ Windows 98 platform and another CNC running a Centroid controller with PC-DOS 6 on a 486 computer. Two questions: Do you have the later versions of EZ-Cam (which I would certainly like to try), and would you share that DOS-based engraving program?
I have successfully run several old DOS programs on my Windows computers. Up to a few months ago, I was running EZ-CAM 6 on a 486-66 computer under Windows 3.11 (Windows for Workgroups) and Dos 6.22. Until the hardware gave out, the software was rock-solid. Unlike the newer versions, I didn't have 6 redundant copies of every file I never needed in the first place taking up most of my hard drive.
 

Paul in OKC

Active Member
Active Member
Be glad to share the engraving. Yes, we have the latest EZCAM version. It requires a dongle to run. I think you can download and get a trial run. Wont do much code, but will let you play with the rest. PM me with your email for the engraving and will see if it works sending it to you.
 

intjonmiller

Active Member
Active Member
I'm sure it's already been mentioned, but I'm a firm believer in CAD - Cardboard Aided Design. I have lots of card stock from various things, most particularly one 4"x36" piece came in every box of flooring when I redid my mother's floor. I treat it like sheet metal and bend and cut and tape it together. When something needs more support I use MDF or wood for the same purpose. I build a mockup with my woodworking tools (I'm a bit better outfitted for wood than metal) before taking on the real thing. I often mount actual bearings and shafts and such in the mockup.


Sent from my iPod touch using Tapatalk
 

zuhnc

Swarf
Registered Member
Pencil and Paper, mostly, then the cardboard mockup. I see a lot of individuals use the Fusion 360. Sounds like an excellent application; alas, my OS is Linux, so I can't use it :-(. Does anyone use Linux, and if so, is there a favorite 2D/3D application?
 

Cheeseking

Active User
Active Member
Don't know for sure but probably any system that outputs in .dxf format. (Autocad)
The choice of CAD system should not have direct bearing on machine compatibility. I think it's the CAM system in the middle that needs to work well with both.
 

JimDawson

Global Moderator
Staff member
Director
I have a question, of all the CAD programs you are using which is the most common and compatible with your CNC machines. Thank you,
Pretty much any CAD program that will output a .DXF, .STL. or .3DS file will work with most CAM programs. I like AutoCAD, but only because I have been using it for years. I am transitioning to Fusion 360 which is nice because it has integrated CAM. As long as you can edit the post processor in the CAM program to be compatible with your CNC software then life is good. Most CAM programs have posts for all of the common CNC systems.
 

Wireaddict

Active User
Active Member
I still use AutoCAD LT98 that I bought when I took an AutoCAD class though mainly for electrical & electronic schematics. For mechanical work I just make sketches showing all the pieces & dimensions & work from them. If I ever need to permanently document any mechanical projects I'll draw them up on LT98 also although that's not likely since I only use it as a hobby. Because of the age of my CAD software I'm not sure if it'll work with the newer versions of Windows plus I only use Linux [Mint v17.2] on my internet-capable computers so I run A'CAD on an old Win XP computer that runs totally offline & serves me well as a glorified typewriter.
 

n3480h

Active User
H-M Supporter-Premium
CorelDraw v9. Orthographic only, but it can save files as DXF, AutoCAD, and a lot of other formats if I ever decided to CNC. Not likely, because I seldom make more than one of anything.

Tom