Potential replacement for SketchUp after sale to Trimble?

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Txoof

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Apr 26, 2012, 3:42:03 PM4/26/12
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I have only had my TOM for about 4 months and I've grown quite attached to it.  I've also grown quite fond of SketchUP though I find the lack of boolean tools in the free version aggravating.  I haven't managed to make the leap over to OpenSCAD or any of the other modeling software.  This is mostly because when I have an idea in my head, I want it to just come out and I have been too impatient to learn OpenSCAD.  
I know the day is coming when I'll have to make the jump.  I fear that day is near with the sale of SU to Trimble.  I've tried Blender, but found it to be more targeted to designers and the UI to be super clunky compared to SU.  I've doodled around in OpenSCAD and followed some tutorials, but I think I'll wait for the O'Reilly book before I really jump in.  In the mean time, what software would you recommend as a replacement to SU that isn't quite as front-end learning intensive as OpenSCAD?

Travis

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Apr 27, 2012, 1:20:34 AM4/27/12
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Nothing I've seen is as intuitive as SketchUp-- except for how it handles solids.  I'm currently coming up to speed on blender solid handling, which I heard has improved recently.  Sure it has a steep curve, but it's the most serious/supported tool out there-- that's free.   

I won't afford an industry penultimate solution, like solidworks.  I'd spend a few hundred if I thought it would get me much better than free.  There are usually mediocre offerings in that space, but my past purchases have left me with buyer's remorse, like with Poser.

Eric Palmer

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Apr 27, 2012, 1:53:26 PM4/27/12
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openScad and SUP are very different but oth server a purpose.  I don't think one could replace openScad for SUP or the other way around.

But at leaast for now trimble is saying the free version will remain free
http://ww2.trimble.com/3d/
http://sketchupdate.blogspot.com/2012/04/new-home-for-sketchup.html

I'm one of the minority that don't find SUP easy to use. I use openScad mostly but have just gotten a solidworks license so I will be learning that tool.

Eric

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jmkdouglas

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Apr 27, 2012, 1:58:19 PM4/27/12
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Alibre is a good entry-level CAD package. $199 will get you the basic version, which exports STL files. We used this as our initial CAD package at my company, until we could justify the cost of Solidworks. In fact, I would have stuck with Alibre, but the other folks were all used to Solidworks and were much faster on it. It's a standard sketch and extrusion style parametric modeler. It may take some learning to get used to it if moving from SU (I had the opposite problem learning SU after working with Solidworks).

makerman

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Apr 27, 2012, 5:52:47 PM4/27/12
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I use Heekscad. Simple to learn and use.

Travis

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Apr 27, 2012, 6:06:49 PM4/27/12
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I checked them out.  It looks like the project has been abandoned, and the author is endorsing freeCAD.  I tried freeCAD, but I found the interface really awkward and hard to understand.

AKron

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Apr 27, 2012, 6:11:25 PM4/27/12
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There's a *free* version of Creo from PTC is you'd like a professional
"SolidWorks-Like" environment. I was able to make a Lego type brick
and save it as an .stl in about 1 minute, or less.
http://www.ptc.com/products/creo-elements-direct/modeling-express/

There's Hexagon from Daz3D you can download. That's sort of like
Sketchup maybe, or Blender, and you can save in popular formats
including .stl.
http://www.daz3d.com/i/shop/itemdetails/?item=4222

People mentioned HeeksCAD and that's good. How about Autodesk's 123D?
I want to learn Blender myself, but for now I'm fine with logging iono
my desktop at work via VPN, and using SolidWorks.

Gerald Orban

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Apr 27, 2012, 6:21:07 PM4/27/12
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I've been using the Autodesk 123D beta program. It seems to be Autodesk's answer to Sketchup: it's quite the performance hog and rife with bugs but if you can get around that it's pretty handy. You can find it at:  http://www.123dapp.com/ 

Herón Ordóñez Guillén

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Apr 27, 2012, 7:59:33 PM4/27/12
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Someone in this forum mentioned ViaCAD a while ago and I've been using and am happy.

I feel it's pretty much like Sketchup except that it handles solids better. The mac version is somewhat slow but it works. for USD$99 it is cheap and they usually have discounts. I got my license for USD$69


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Clive Munday

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Apr 27, 2012, 8:05:28 PM4/27/12
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Hi,

 

I add my support for Alibre. I started with no experience and used their trial software, they even extended the trial by an extra month for me while I was evaluating. Support has been great and very helpful. The basic program does everything I need to design for my TOM and is a reasonable price. I am still going through a learning curve as I have no design background but it is not that hard to pick up how to use it.

 

Best regards,

Clive

 


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Joseph Chiu

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Apr 27, 2012, 8:49:20 PM4/27/12
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Alibre has gotten much better in recent times, but it still has its
rough edges and its occasional frustrating moments.

I was fortunate enough to license the program when SolidWorks
importing was included in the pro version (New customrs must go up to
the expert edition). Having worked with coworkers in the past that
used SolidWorks, I think I can do most of their everyday common tasks
in Alibre.

I have designed a number of parts in Alibre and the export to STL's
have worked well.

One of the most satisfying experience with the ToM so far has been
printing my CAD-modeled parts to test out/validate ideas; then being
able to make tweaks and re-test the new design a few hours later.
Once I was satisfied with the part design, the STEP file was uploaded
to a rapid-machining service, and after a few more days, I had a
*batch* of *real* parts made, exactly the way I wanted. Nearly $500
of parts that were right the first time!

Txoof

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Apr 28, 2012, 12:35:50 PM4/28/12
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Thanks for the tips everybody. I'm on OS X, so I think I'll try Alibre and possibly buy a copy of Solidworks.  I can get the educators price.  It looks like it's probably worth it for the EUR 109.  
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Travis

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Apr 28, 2012, 1:38:13 PM4/28/12
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Does anyone know what the "hobbyists" / individual learning price is, or if there is such a thing?  Otherwise, what's the straight up individual licence price?

Andrew Plumb

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Apr 28, 2012, 1:51:12 PM4/28/12
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Check the System Requirements for SolidWorks before you buy. The high end CAD packages are picky; running a VM or even Bootcamp may not be enough to take advantage of hardware accelerated hooks on Mac hardware.

Andrew

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Aaron Double

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Apr 28, 2012, 3:07:12 PM4/28/12
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Bootcamp with solidworks works fine. That's how I run it with work.

I wouldn't run it through VM though, not enough graphic card support to the windows side.

Aaron

Jeremy Green

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Apr 28, 2012, 4:12:53 PM4/28/12
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There is also viacad. It's available for the Mac and windows. I haven't used it much so can't really speak to how good it is. I mostly use alibre. 

    -Jeremy
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g. wygonik

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Apr 28, 2012, 9:19:17 PM4/28/12
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I've been looking at Bonzai3D for a while now (http://www.formz.com/products/bonzai3d.html). The interface is very similar to SU, the feature set is really good for what I do (and would eliminate a lot of what I use Blender for like booleans and NURBS), and it has a good amount of online video tutorials. It's about half the price of SketchUp Pro, but more than twice the price of Alibre (at least according to the few places online I could find a price). I haven't pulled down the trial version yet as I've been busy with other things, but at least there is one; should give enough time to see if it's worth it.

I've gotten so spoiled using free software that I'm on edge about spending that much on something that is, for me, a research experiment and "hobby" rather than anything I'll make money from. I figured my Makerbot would be the only pricey investment.

g.


On Thursday, April 26, 2012 2:42:03 PM UTC-5, Txoof wrote:

Richard

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Apr 29, 2012, 12:29:26 PM4/29/12
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Wow, first I heard of this, but I see that it is true. Seems really
train since Trimble is known mostly as a GPS company to me.

g. wygonik

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May 13, 2012, 10:27:16 PM5/13/12
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I had a chance to play with Bonzai 3D and wrote up a small blurb in case anyone is still thinking about alternatives:

http://wp.me/p2hTaI-fh

It's not a comprehensive review, but some pros and cons compared to SketchUp Pro.

Cheers,
g.
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