as far as cad goes, i love solidworks. its like legos.. im sure other solids modelers are also good. ive used pro e a bit.. go for SW personal learning edition.
Its FREE. It is for private learnign use, and i think it will output the right iges or stl files.
if you do the tutorials you will be able to get around within 4 or 8 hours of working.. i did tutorials while i built my first designs.. when i ran into a problem, id do a tutorial that helped, either from web or included.