we first talk about the criteria that are important for us when it comes to a CAD software for 3D Printing and CNC Drawing. then talk about some of the software solutions we are using and their advantages and challenges of using CAD software . At the end we will talk about what software we use for 3D printing.
CAD Software for 3D Printing and CNC Drawing
Fusion is perfect and comes with all the features CAD software for CNC drawing and 3D Printing you ever wanted. It is parametric, has an easy user interface, allows for sculpting, creates CAM paths for your CNC and can create renderings as well as technical drawing.
So why bother about any other solution? Well it’s this one sentence in the Fusion license terms: It’s vendor can change the license at any point in time. and afterwards can charge any amount of money.
Now you might argue that it is pure paranoia. Why would a respected company such as Autodesk offer a solution for free, build up a community, invest in the product just to discontinue it or charge money for it? The reason is pretty simple. They are driven by shareholder value.
If a solution of CAD software for CNC drawing and 3D Printing – such as 123d Catch, which used to be another free Autodesk software doesn’t contribute to the company’s profit targets it will no longer be offered for free. If you feel uncomfortable with putting all your eggs in one basket given that the rent for this basket might be a few hundred bucks going forward .
have a look at FreeCAD. As Blender and Inkscape, FreeCAD is open source CAD software for CNC drawing and 3D Printing. That means you can download and modify the source code of the software. Even if the website closes down you will always be able to use the software and adopt it to your needs. FreeCAD is still under heavy development but it comes with a fully parametric design system and is able to create G-code as well as technical drawings.
It is not that great for multipart assemblies but looking at the prototype fora new assembly system this could change quickly. It might be more difficult to get used to the cad software for CNC drawing and 3D Printing but for us the benefit of using an open source solution easily outweighs the more difficult learning curve.
important criteria of using cad software when 3d modelling
Is the cad software a 2d or a 3d system?
The first any maybe most important difference between CAD systems is if you are looking for a 2d model that could serve as a template to transfer to your material or that would enable you to create shapes for a for CNC drawing and 3D Printing or a vinyl plotter – so everything where we have no thickness but only 2 dimensions.
If 2 dimensions are not enough you are looking for a system that can model things in three dimensions so you can plan a woodworking projector create a shape for 3D printing.
Does the CAD software support the design of single parts in a good way?
If you work with a 3D program some are better designing a single part. if we are focus on the CNC drawing and 3D printing it is require to go with single part and avoid for go with multiple object.
Does the CAD software support artistic sculpting? Image same or require diffrent
In the examples so far, we looked at shapes that are square and based on precisely measured objects. You want to have a look at a different kind of CAD software if you plan to get creative and work with organic, sculpted shapes for 3d printing .
Does it output CAM?
After creating a model, we want to do something with it. If you designed something for the CNC you want to create G-code that the CNC drawing can execute to cut out the shape you designed. Some software solutions have a CAM integrated – others don’t.
Does it support drawings and cutlists?
For traditional furniture it is important to have a good drawing and ideally a cutlistthat helps you to cut everything to the right dimension.
Is the CAD software free?
All the software I talk about in this Article don’t cost you any money. There is however an important difference.
Some of the CAD software are free to use as long as the vendor of the software thinks it’s more beneficial to hook a lot of new users to its solution rather than getting money from those that are already using it. This could however change every day.
Other solutions are open source software where you do not only get a CAD system but also the source code – so to say the assembly instructions for the software and you will always be able to use it.
CAD Software CNC and 3D printing
For the CNC drawing and 3D printing we also moved from Fusion 360 to FreeCAD. we are not experts on the CNC drawing and while using Fusion never managed to wrap our heads around the more complex options of adaptive paths and all the other advanced CAM features.
A real expert on the CNC most likely doesn’t want to use the FreeCAD CAM module due to the lack of features. For us this lack of features is actually an advantage as it means we have less possibilities to mess things up.