Author Topic: Free/cheap easy to use CAD software  (Read 448 times)

Free/cheap easy to use CAD software
« on: February 14, 2020, 07:36:04 pm »
I want to start building a new recumbent, and I'd like to actually design this one as opposed to sticking bits of hot metal together and working it all out afterwards! I've seen various pictures online of 2d bike drawings - I can create something to scale on squared paper if I try but it would be nice to do it on my PC.
Can anyone recommend a package that will allow me to make scale frame diagrams in 2 d without having to spend ages watching youtube and experimenting just to draw a few simple lines? If it doesn't exist, then an idiots guide to a good CAD package would be awesome. I tried sketchup but I couldn't even get it to draw a circle representing a BB shell to the right size!
Thanks
PS Windows for preference - could probably do some flavour of Linux if absolutely necessary.

Re: Free/cheap easy to use CAD software
« Reply #1 on: February 14, 2020, 08:23:15 pm »
Fusion360 is easy to learn & free for hobbyists

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Free/cheap easy to use CAD software
« Reply #2 on: February 14, 2020, 08:24:48 pm »
Isn't there some rule that learning a piece of CAD software requires at least the same amount of effort as the project you want to use it for?
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

WOT

Re: Free/cheap easy to use CAD software
« Reply #3 on: February 14, 2020, 11:44:09 pm »

Re: Free/cheap easy to use CAD software
« Reply #4 on: February 15, 2020, 02:07:32 pm »
Isn't there some rule that learning a piece of CAD software requires at least the same amount of effort as the project you want to use it for?
That seems about right - so long as you include the entire project, from concept to realisation.

Fusion 360 seems to be free for students/educational institutions, but £55pm otherwise. Onshape looks interesting, and one of their courses looks like it's designing a bike frame, so I'll definitely follow that up...

Re: Free/cheap easy to use CAD software
« Reply #5 on: February 15, 2020, 02:41:27 pm »
Fusion369 is free for personal use too

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Free/cheap easy to use CAD software
« Reply #6 on: February 15, 2020, 03:53:41 pm »
Isn't there some rule that learning a piece of CAD software requires at least the same amount of effort as the project you want to use it for?
That seems about right - so long as you include the entire project, from concept to realisation.

This is why I end up fighting with Eagle on the odd occasion I want to do a proper PCB.  It's got a UI straight out of the 1990s, but so is all my CAD knowledge, which makes it marginally less painful that learning one of the saner alternatives.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Re: Free/cheap easy to use CAD software
« Reply #7 on: February 15, 2020, 07:07:00 pm »
Last time I had to do something like this I used SolveSpace.

It’s parametric CAD, which may or may not be to your liking.

TheLurker

  • Goes well with magnolia.
Re: Free/cheap easy to use CAD software
« Reply #8 on: February 15, 2020, 09:05:15 pm »
I use Inkscape for my aeromodelling plans which is just a simple 2-D SVG drawing tool. It gives you Bezier curves, straight lines, standard shapes (quadrilaterals, circles, ellipses) and most importantly for me scaling and rotation of shapes in 1/100th of one degree steps.  It has quite a few output formats, including dxf which is handy if you want to drive any kind of cutting machine including laser cutters or CNC*.  It's dead easy to get to grips with, an hour or two tops.  The Bezier tool is especially handy for tracing from existing plans/images.

If you need "proper" CAD features have a look at LibreCAD.  Understands most of the common CAD file formats including dxf.

I don't usually use it because the font support isn't good (it has a poor selection of baked in fonts - very 1980s ) and it can't import PDFs which is a pain as there are a lot of tatty old plans that I've been able to tidy up in Inkscape because it can.

Both are properly free and run on Windows, *nix.  Inkscape also runs on OS-X.

Lurk.

*I have a set of aluminium French curves CN cut for me from my Inkscape source DXFs.
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Re: Free/cheap easy to use CAD software
« Reply #9 on: February 15, 2020, 09:37:29 pm »
I have been using QCad for many years, mostly for architectural drawings, and I am 100% satisfied. They have a free version, and a very reasonably priced pro version.  If 2d drawing is your thing, I see no reason for paying more for AutoCad or something alike.

Regarding the ease of use, if you are already fluent with AutoCad, there is nearly nothing new to be learned.

A