Toyman!
Toyman! MegaDork
6/7/22 10:24 a.m.

I'm looking for a cad program to learn. It will get used 1-3 times a year and spending $100+ a year for a subscription is out. 

Currently trying to design a teak swim platform and rear seat for the Shamrock.

Are there any reasonably priced cad programs that aren't online, and aren't subscription based. 

I was using Fusion 360. It no longer works on my office computer. 

 

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
6/7/22 10:41 a.m.

No longer works because the computer is too old? You can often buy obsolete software on disc on eBay, still shrinkwrapped. Maybe see if you can find an old version of (insert program name here) and it'll work as long as the computer does.

Tom1200
Tom1200 UltraDork
6/7/22 10:46 a.m.

In reply to Toyman! :

I would take Keith's recommendation.

Software companies have almost universally gone to subscription as a service.

ProDarwin
ProDarwin MegaDork
6/7/22 10:46 a.m.

Fusion 360 is heavily cloud-based and they recently changed the pricing model.

Toyman are you looking for 2d modelers? 3d?  Parametric?  Surface?  etc?

 

 

ProDarwin
ProDarwin MegaDork
6/7/22 10:52 a.m.

The best program I know of that would meet your needs is Rhino, but I,m not sure it qualifies as "reasonably priced" as its the equivalent of 10yrs of a subscription.

 

There are some totally free and offline programs (FreeCAD for example), but the last time I messed with them, the interface was terrible and as a result the learning curve was huge.  If I were doing anything with them myself it would be worth it to pay for professional level software just to avoid that mess.

RacetruckRon
RacetruckRon GRM+ Memberand Dork
6/7/22 11:01 a.m.

EAA membership is $40 a year and you can get a student license of Solidworks with it.  This is the best and cheapest option (thatI'm aware of) for a professional grade CAD software short of bootleg software.

Mr_Asa
Mr_Asa GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
6/7/22 11:08 a.m.
RacetruckRon said:

EAA membership is $40 a year and you can get a student license of Solidworks with it.  This is the best and cheapest option (thatI'm aware of) for a professional grade CAD software short of bootleg software.

There are a couple organizations that offer something similar.   It actually isn't that hard to get a Solidworks Student license.  Would be my recommendation as well.

Toyman!
Toyman! MegaDork
6/7/22 11:14 a.m.

The current project would be 2d but I do use some 3d for printing. 

The computer isn't that old, but Fusion 360 will no longer load. It could be they want money.  I have also seen it throw a message to update the graphics card. The current card is a Radeon R5 340 so powerful it isn't.

Rhino looks interesting. I wouldn't mind the cost as long as they don't come back with a "gotcha" every year or so. 

The free stuff I have looked at is worth exactly what you pay for it. 

 

 

 

 

ProDarwin
ProDarwin MegaDork
6/7/22 11:22 a.m.
Toyman! said:

The current project would be 2d but I do use some 3d for printing. 

The computer isn't that old, but Fusion 360 will no longer load. It could be they want money.  I have also seen it throw a message to update the graphics card. The current card is a Radeon R5 340 so powerful it isn't.

Rhino looks interesting. I wouldn't mind the cost as long as they don't come back with a "gotcha" every year or so. 

The free stuff I have looked at is worth exactly what you pay for it. 

 

 

 

 

Rhino generally releases a new version every few years and there is an update cost. 

Rhino 5 came out in 2012, Rhino 6 came out Feb 2018, Rhino 7 came out Dec 2020.  You can upgrade an old version to the newest for $600, but I'm not sure how many versions back you can go.

For most things Rhino 4 (released Feb. 2007) is still more than capable.  There is no cloud connection or anything locking out access to it that I know of.

 

That said, its an interesting modeler and depending on what you are doing you'd be better served with other stuff.

 

I agree that if you are only doing personal stuff, get the SW free license.

jharry3
jharry3 GRM+ Memberand Dork
6/7/22 11:27 a.m.

I had a cheap cad program, TurboCAD, I bought in the 90's and used it for years until computers could no longer run it. 

I think it was the switch to 64 bit machines.    The modern version of TurboCad goes for about $200.

Driven5
Driven5 UberDork
6/7/22 11:28 a.m.

I'd be troubleshooting to figure out exactly why your Fusion 360 stopped working before moving to something else.

Have you checked your computer specs against the Fusion 360 requirements?

When did you last renew your (free) 'hobbyist' Fusion 360 license?

Schmidlap
Schmidlap Dork
6/7/22 12:33 p.m.
Mr_Asa said:
RacetruckRon said:

EAA membership is $40 a year and you can get a student license of Solidworks with it.  This is the best and cheapest option (thatI'm aware of) for a professional grade CAD software short of bootleg software.

There are a couple organizations that offer something similar.   It actually isn't that hard to get a Solidworks Student license.  Would be my recommendation as well.

Solidworks changed things this year, you no longer get a Student License, you now get a subscription to "Solidworks 3D Experience", their cloud based CAD package for $50/year (half price from what the general public pay). It lacks a lot of features compared to the Student License like FEA, electrical routing and things like that (which a lot of hobbyists wouldn't use), but the 3D design is still Solidworks. They are also trying to add in missing features, they've recently added a CNC package to the cloud based version, I've only used it once for a simple test piece on my 3d router but it worked adequately.

Despite the changes, I still prefer it to Fusion 360.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
6/7/22 1:26 p.m.

It's important to note that while the free Fusion 360 license is only for a year, you can get another one with the same account every year. It's a weird re-up procedure but it's 100% legit and they'll tell you how to do it.

Indy - Guy
Indy - Guy UltimaDork
6/7/22 1:54 p.m.

NanoCAD is a free .dwg (2D) editor program.

 

Driven5
Driven5 UberDork
6/7/22 2:05 p.m.

Solidworks also has even higher system requirements than Fusion 360. So if your Fusion 360 problems are hardware related, then there will be no benefit in changing to a low-end Solidworks subscription.

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard GRM+ Memberand Director of Marketing & Digital Assets
6/7/22 2:28 p.m.

I hate to say it, but I'll put in another vote for Fusion 360. You can use it for free forever, but I pay for a license since I'm technically using it for work. Worth every penny.

mainlandboy
mainlandboy Reader
6/7/22 2:58 p.m.

I've been using Alibre for over 10 years and it has been an excellent CAD software for hobby use, especially for the price. If you can wait, it usually goes on sale for $99 during Black Friday.

https://www.alibre.com/atom3d/

I really like that it does not require a subscription, which most other software packages do. Here are some screen shots of my scratch built car project which I modeled using Alibre: 

https://midixsportscar.wordpress.com/cad-renderings/

If you just need 2D, the free version of NanoCAD is great:

https://nanocad.com/products/nanocad-free/

GaryC83
GaryC83 Reader
6/7/22 4:11 p.m.
RacetruckRon said:

EAA membership is $40 a year and you can get a student license of Solidworks with it.  This is the best and cheapest option (thatI'm aware of) for a professional grade CAD software short of bootleg software.

EAA has changed how that works. Now it's a 50% discount on Soldiworks for Makers. So, $50, in addition to the EAA dues. Still well worth it, but like everything...the times, they are a changing. 

https://www.eaa.org/eaa/eaa-membership/eaa-member-benefits/solidworks-resource-center/eaa-solidworks-standard

Shavarsh
Shavarsh Reader
6/7/22 6:19 p.m.

You might check out OnShape. It's browser based but there are ways to use it for free. 

OHSCrifle
OHSCrifle GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
6/7/22 6:38 p.m.

I can add 1/2 of a vote for nanocad.

I have not used it but my dad recently downloaded it and says it is a great substitute for AutoCAD LT (2d only)

therieldeal
therieldeal Reader
6/8/22 1:44 p.m.
Shavarsh said:

You might check out OnShape. It's browser based but there are ways to use it for free. 

I came here to suggest this.  If you can live with the fact that it's web/browser based, it really works quite well.  It's completely free as long as you don't mind your designs being publicly visible - i.e. anybody with an account theoretically has read-only access to your files.

I design with Solidworks during the day at work, but often use OnShape to whip up quick designs at home.

californiamilleghia
californiamilleghia UltraDork
6/8/22 1:53 p.m.

You also need to make sure that whatever program you use has a file output for what machine you will be using the file with , 

many times the free programs have a limited amount of file types....

Gcode is what most  3D printers and routers use , but there are some special code types for special machines.

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