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ny_racer_xxx
03-04-2012, 05:10 PM
OK, i don't have a $1000 to throw at software. I've been using emachineshop for 2D drawings that are good enough for the waterjet guy. What I have are some 3D pieces that need to be turned, and I can create them on emachine, but the output file is not good enough for them to look at.

Thanks,
CR

txcncman
03-04-2012, 08:14 PM
For turning, you still only need 2D to draw the profile of the part.

ny_racer_xxx
03-04-2012, 08:34 PM
Drawing isn't the problem, it's the machine shop looking at the part and getting dimensions from it. The 2D DXF file I sent them didn't look so hot, and they couldn't import a IGS file either.

http://memberfiles.freewebs.com/04/27/67662704/photos/CAD-Drawings/Shift%20Knob-1.BMP

txcncman
03-04-2012, 08:51 PM
While 3D and solid models make the designer's job easier, they do not replace 2D orthographic projection drawings. To get a tool path for a lathe on all the CAM software I know of, all one needs is the 2D profile. If your shop is having trouble visualizing the finished part, sending a graphic, just like you did here is an acceptable way to relate that information. You already indicated your lack of funds to purchase software. The cheapest software I could recommend is free for 2D and minimum of over $2000 for 3D. So, there you have it. See if someone else can offer a better cheaper software. Or, come up with more money.

Take a look at some of these:

http://www.freebyte.com/cad/cad.htm

patriqq
03-05-2012, 09:00 AM
You can rent Ashlar Vellum programs by the month. Thats what I did until I could afford a purchase (and I did NOT purchase Ashlar Vellum).

dertsap
03-05-2012, 01:24 PM
dirt cheap and works well
ViaCAD 2D/3D | Consumer CAD Software | PunchCAD (http://www.punchcad.com/p-9-viacad-2d3d-v8.aspx)


.

ny_racer_xxx
03-05-2012, 06:47 PM
dirt cheap and works well
ViaCAD 2D/3D | Consumer CAD Software | PunchCAD (http://www.punchcad.com/p-9-viacad-2d3d-v8.aspx)


.

Dude, I just watched the video, that's the stuff!!! Looks like I could even import the 2D's that I have and export them to ACAD files...

CR

dertsap
03-05-2012, 08:17 PM
Dude, I just watched the video, that's the stuff!!! Looks like I could even import the 2D's that I have and export them to ACAD files...

CR

you can download a demo to give it a try , its very functional for what its worth and its worked great for anything that I've used it for so far .
as it is with anything it takes some time to get used to it



.

ny_racer_xxx
03-05-2012, 08:41 PM
I didn't see any direct link to a download or demo area on their site so I googled it and found it. You have to fill out a questioner, and they email you the link. It took the better part of an hour to download!!!

It's the V7 version, I guess close enough...

CR

dertsap
03-05-2012, 09:54 PM
an hour and a stupid questionnaire sounds like a pita
i don't think there is much difference between versions other than the odd bug fix or what not , i still use version 6 which seems fine ,

BurrMan
03-05-2012, 11:07 PM
Punch makes a very capable product...

Questionare??? Name-email address and a comment.

PunchCad Labs (http://www.punchcadlabs.com/)

The download is something like 500+ mb... I guess that speed will vary for different users.

The download links to demos, does only include the 2d/3d version 7 and the pro version 7.

The 2d/3d has been updated to version 8 and has some enhancments... It's only "$99.00"... It will do good solid modeling.. The pro version, $249 will add more advanced surfacing tools and rendering stuff and a multiple viewport.

ny_racer_xxx
03-06-2012, 07:26 AM
I tried it last night after it finished the download.... The import export features seem pretty good and that might be worth the price of admission right there...
I saw upgrades from older to newer versions, I didn't see upgrade from 2d/3d to pro, that would be nice...

CR

BurrMan
03-06-2012, 06:57 PM
I tried it last night after it finished the download.... The import export features seem pretty good and that might be worth the price of admission right there...
CR

Yeah, it makes great use of the ACIS kernel! It's Fillet engine is pretty good.


I saw upgrades from older to newer versions, I didn't see upgrade from 2d/3d to pro, that would be nice.


I was looking for that too. I'm not totally up on whats going on over there... The 2d/3d and pro were both at Version 7 and the 2d/3d was recently upgraded to ver.8. I dont know now the difference and where that leaves the pro 7 standing, whether it has all the latest features, WITH the newest developments, or whether it is the old package. I would like to call them about it. I would like the advanced modeling features added, but dont want the 2 different development cycles on same machine, if thats what it is, as I have Ver. 8 2d/3d. Puch was recently bought out and they seem to be in some transition with their information pipeline (Like the forum I joined when purchasing Ver.8, a newly created forum, has changed) I should probably re-join it and ask some questions over there. FWIW

ny_racer_xxx
03-06-2012, 08:48 PM
Thanks for the info Burr.

Do you think I could draw tubular structures with the 2d/3d? Like motorcycle or racecar frames?

It's funny, I was going to take an CAD class but then realized I wouldn't be able to afford the software!!! That's kind of why I was asking... I guess the other issue is every flavor of software is a little bit different....


CR

txcncman
03-06-2012, 08:50 PM
Some of the CAD classes actually include a student copy of the software. How far that will get you depends on the software I suppose.

BurrMan
03-06-2012, 09:50 PM
Do you think I could draw tubular structures with the 2d/3d? Like motorcycle or racecar frames?
CR

Yeah, it will do stuff like that.. It even has a "Tube Surface" command, which will create a tube out of a spline or various curves, with a diameter setting. There is a "Pipe" command which will give a good solid pipe with an outside and inside diameter and do good mitering of continuous line breaks..

Here's a quick video of them.

Pipes in ViaCad - YouTube (http://youtu.be/bqfMLaPJFIA)

It's a pretty amazing package for 99 bucks....

Talk later.

dertsap
03-06-2012, 10:48 PM
Like BurrMan said " it is amazing for 99 bucks "
they have a forum which could be of help ViaCAD, Concepts, Shark - Punch! Cad Forums (http://forum.punchcad.com/forumdisplay.php?f=1)
it does take a bit to get used to , I've gotten so used to using mastercam to design and model new parts , assemblies and fixturing that I can fly on it , viacad took some getting used to just because things are in different places or work different ways but overall is quite easy to pick up on .

ny_racer_xxx
03-07-2012, 07:57 AM
Thanks for the info guys, I did register on viacads website, it never sent me an email to confirm???

Thanks for the vid burr, I'm wondering if the pro version is worth it? I have to get a whole of them and see what the deal is....

CR

BurrMan
03-07-2012, 01:27 PM
Thanks for the info guys, I did register on viacads website, it never sent me an email to confirm???

Thanks for the vid burr, I'm wondering if the pro version is worth it? I have to get a whole of them and see what the deal is....

CR

Thats where I'm at.. On the forum, there is a sticky that states to email tim to have your account manually activated due to spammers jacking their forum. Log in to the forum and go to the general section and look at the sticky's at the top....

I had the same question, pertaining to 2d/3d v8 and if I am waiting for a v8 pro or not.

The pro version will be worth it if you do "patch modeling" with surfaces as a common method. (Much more advanced). It will have the tools for finishing up a solid with continuity which needs these specialized tools.

ny_racer_xxx
03-07-2012, 07:50 PM
Burr thanks for all your help, I got in touch with Tim, and he activated the account.

I ask about pro V8 and got this info:

"The latest version of ViaCAD Pro is V7. We should have a beta going for ViaCAD Pro V8 within the next week."

It looks like the best option for me is to buy the 2d3d v8 now, and worry about if I need the pro version later, hopefully they will offer an upgrade.

CR

Bob La Londe
03-07-2012, 07:55 PM
I've been using ViaCad 2d/3d for a while now and its not bad. Excellent for the price. It could certainly do a geometric part like the one you showed there. If you are a quick study you might be able to do that part for free. I think their demo is fully functional for seven (7) days.

Were ViaCad struggles is when you start making 3D parts with organic curves.

ny_racer_xxx
03-07-2012, 08:25 PM
I'm a welder/fabricator by trade, so I build lots of stuff. I try to take pictures and take notes for things so if need be, I can recreate them. That being said, I took on another project of building superkart chassis. I'm constantly designing and redesigning pieces, and having parts made, mostly 2d waterjet parts, but maybe more turned parts later.
I'd like to model the chassis it's self, a lot of parts like the bumpers and pedals that I have pencil drawings of. There's also parts and projects that I build on a daily basis that I'd like to model first, work out the kinks, then build.
I'm working on a project now for a customer, office desks. I've already changed his design several times, and I had to weld up a few coupons to show him what I meant, what a pain!
At some point I'd like to add some CNC machines to the shop, maybe a mill, or plasma...

check out my stuff at:

www.cr2fabrication.webs.com
www.cr2motorsports.webs.com

CR

Coxsteve
04-14-2012, 10:52 PM
I'll throw another on into the equation for 2D use Draughtsight given away free by the French company Dasault Industrie,The background of Dassault is Aerospace they manufactured the Mirage Jet fighter in the sixties amongst other things so I think it is safe to assume it is good enough for most uses even capable of opening earlier Autocad files that current Autocad struggles to do.
Worth a look after all it is Free and of a slightly older professional level it is none the less professional level Software many are not aware of.

novelistus
11-13-2013, 06:40 PM
I am the not so proud owner of a SHARK LT for OS X license (version 8). Just gotta get through in some generic feedback.
The Software is very unstable, other than some of the missing functions in the Version 9 beta (which you can download at punchcadlabs.com) the production versions are as buggy as the beta's. What works ont he SW, works great, but overall its not production stability. I've been on MAC for >10 years and Shark LT has been the most unstable piece of SW running on it so far. But not for much longer.

Their support forum hasn't been available at all for more than a week now, registering is impossible and my written requests to the support folks (incl. ticket number) have not been returned. Nor has there be any response on my request for a refund. They responded within the hour, exactly until they had my money.

I am currently evaluating Rhino for OS X, hoping it can do what I need and do it right. There is also Inventor Fusion for free on the Apple APP store and I have used it for various tasks with great success too. But I don't know if there will be a production version of that.

You better be very careful dealing with the PunchCAD company and their products. There are definitely major concerns about availability of support.

just my 2 cents

Ernie

Bob La Londe
11-13-2013, 06:56 PM
Sorry to hear about Shark. I have ViaCad and I put it in the not bad for the price category. I had some learning curve issues, but for the most part it works ok. I used Version 7 and found it was slightly unstable until I installed the first (and last I think) update. I recently found Version 8 on Amazon for about half price so I bought a copy, and have found it to be adequate. Equal to the updated version 7 with some added push pull tools.

I have not been on their forum for several months, but I was able to logon just now with no problems. I have to admit that their forum is not as friendly and gungho to help people as the some other forums, but if you couch your questions carefully and avoid showing irritation at what seems like stupid things you usually get some help. It does not have the friendly user base that will jump to help you like CamBam, but you can usually get some help.

mmoe
11-13-2013, 07:47 PM
I am the not so proud owner of a SHARK LT for OS X license (version 8). Just gotta get through in some generic feedback.
The Software is very unstable, other than some of the missing functions in the Version 9 beta (which you can download at punchcadlabs.com) the production versions are as buggy as the beta's. What works ont he SW, works great, but overall its not production stability. I've been on MAC for >10 years and Shark LT has been the most unstable piece of SW running on it so far. But not for much longer.

Their support forum hasn't been available at all for more than a week now, registering is impossible and my written requests to the support folks (incl. ticket number) have not been returned. Nor has there be any response on my request for a refund. They responded within the hour, exactly until they had my money.

I am currently evaluating Rhino for OS X, hoping it can do what I need and do it right. There is also Inventor Fusion for free on the Apple APP store and I have used it for various tasks with great success too. But I don't know if there will be a production version of that.

You better be very careful dealing with the PunchCAD company and their products. There are definitely major concerns about availability of support.

just my 2 cents

Ernie

I would agree that it's not super stable, but it's generally not beta level either. I would call their production releases at the minimum end of stable. There are a few things you can do to increase the stability. First, the cleaner you do your work, the less likely it is that you'll have problems with crashing. It's great to use the push/pull features and a lot of the automated functions for generating geometry, but if you do your work by being more technical and conventional about methods, you'll not have the same problems (guessing since I haven't actually watched you use it of course). To put it another way, there are many shortcuts in the software that make it more user friendly, but those are typically what come at a cost in terms of stability. Rhino does not offer the same types of shortcuts, so if you're being fair, try modeling things in Rhino and then do the exact same procedure in Viacad (Shark, same thing). What you will find is that you rarely encounter issues when you compare like methods.

Without knowing exactly what you're trying to accomplish, you may also want to look into Bonzai 3d. It's a little less than Rhino, but incorporates the more user friendly approach to modeling that Viacad offers, but with the benefit of being a bit more stable. I've used a lot of software, and there is very little of it that I have not been able to crash, including Rhino. Again, the methodology used to create your geometry plays a significant role in stability for pretty much all modeling software. Doing things that are perhaps outside of the parameters that the software was designed for is what usually crashes it.

Another Viacad specific function that can increase stability is using the backup files and autosave function. I'm not entirely sure why, but before I set those features up, I had more crashes (when I could have used those backup files), while now I have fewer crashes and more limited need for the backups anyways. It could be that the automatic frequent saves keep the geometry defined better (as a guess) or it could be that I've developed what I've addressed earlier in terms of methodology. Maybe a bit of both. Either way, I would recommend setting up your backup files and autosave options as it does work. One of the things it completely eliminated is corrupting the working file, which used to be my biggest complaint before adding backups. For whatever reason, the files no longer corrupt on a crash like they did previously, even though I use the working file instead of the back up when there is a crash.

I've not had any problems calling Punchcad Tech support, and they have always been very responsive to even my more unusual requests. Punchcad Tech support is not linked to the forums, but they went through the trouble to contact whomever is in charge of the forums to activate my account, so I know they went through some effort there. The Punchcad forums are not that lively, though they can be helpful. I've suspected that most people just don't have that much trouble, or there would be a whole lot more internet presence of people looking for help with it. I guess that my experience is opposite of yours when it comes to tech support. They answer if I call and deal with any problem I have right away. Either I'm calling at the right time or you're calling a different number than I am. I've not had any problems getting on the forum once they finally activated my account. That seems to be the biggest challenge on the forums, not sure why it's so difficult to get activated (I requested several times before calling tech support about it). As tech support said, though, the forum is not operated by punchcad, but rather it's operated by the developer IIRC.

novelistus
11-13-2013, 09:05 PM
well, I think there are a couple of aspects of this problem.

1. Let me be very clear. There is absolutely no doubt, that Shark LT can do exactly what I need it to do. In regards of functionality this is one honking product. I used to design houses with 3D-home architect 10 years ago, felt right at home with many of the ways the product works. I think Shark is easier to operate (for me) than for example Rhino OS X which I also tested.
There is no doubt that this is NOT a functionality issue.
Also no doubt that I had good and professional communication with the PunchCAD support folks clarifying some pre-purchase. It was that professional help, provided in a very timely manner always within a couple of hours, which made me spend half a grand on Shark LT.
This is simply a support problem and a problem of inner PunchCAD communication of whether a product is stable enough to hit the road, or the customer ;-).

2. There is possibly little communication between sales and support at PunchCAD. And, with all due respect, I don't care who is operating the forums and who at PunchCAD or developer is in charge of support. Why would I as a customer have to know that ? Yes, I understand the trouble of logistics in the scenario of PunchCAD who's selling (and supporting?) a wide range of products which have originated from different developers. But fact is, that still as of now you can not register on the PunchCAD forum, but get a PERMISSION denied. So, while registered users are still able to access all the PRIVATE forums, I can not. Ergo, I don't get response from technical support, no forum access either.

3. We always talk about whether a Software is "worth its money", referring to the purchase price. And this is of course very deceiving. For me the real cost in getting involved is with the time. There are multiple ours going into research. Then you gotta learn the Software. I have spend a full 10 days working through the Shark tutorials and other online resources and started creating first parts. If you just award minimum wages to these hours then just theres's $ 1000.-.
PunchCAD pushes ViaCAD licenses out for basically nothing. How can you build and maintain proper technical support if you give away your products in the first place.

4. I agree that we will have to disagree on our judgements on stability. What is referred to here as "not very stable, but surely not Beta", is absolutely UNACCEPTABLE stability in my view and what I am used to. I had more crashes in the lat ten days working with Shark than I had the rest of the ten years past.
I can only imagine you are talking about a different platform, correct ? So ymmv. I am working on OS X 10.9, on a quad core 2.4 ghz, 8 gb RAM - MBP.
I am completely Micro$oft Windows free, the only place in my shop where Windows may fit due to its inherent qualities, would be for dust control ;-). There is no doubt (IMHO) at all that the OS X version 8 of Shark LT is not stable in any regards.

5. In regards of never any problems to reach technical support. Looks like I am on a bad streak. And good for you, I am just a bit jealous ;-).
I can't reach anybody. The only number I have is 1-800-365-4832 and so far I haven't been getting through. Another number which was given to me for Canadian customers 1-763-450-2466 wasn't even ringing when I tried.
The frustration level with this company (not the product) has been pretty high for quite a while now and I hope they honor my request for a refund quickly so I can move on. I'll for sure not let them get away with this. I guess that happens when we think for $ 500 we could suddenly be important to a company while in the end they haven't even felt a brush of sunshine from your contribution ;-).

6. And of course I am also fully aware that some of this pain is self inflicted ;-), because the decision to keep the shop Window$ free made it a great deal more difficult to put the components together. There aren't many OS X solutions out there, same on the CAM and controller front.
But the OS X offerings are getting into place. I've settled on MeshCAM OS X for the CAM part and EazyCNC with a TOAD4 controller, running a KRMx02 which is just in the makes. And I had hoped to fill some of the cold and dark winter evenings with getting all the parts cleaned up in 3D and prepped for cutting.
I don't really have the $$$$ to go the Autodesk route, so for now it seems I have to watch Rhino OS X and see if Shark matures into a stable product.

I guess time will tell.

cheerio

novelistus
11-13-2013, 10:41 PM
I've been trying to send a message to Mr. Olson who runs the PunchCad forums. But ... if you are not registered, then you can's send messages. And his contact form has the same problem as the registration form. I think his Image verification plugin is causing the problem. If you are a registered forum member could you do me the favor and send him a message so he please check his registration process. He can reach me at novelistus ........ at ....... gmail.com if he can't see the problem.

No problem if not, its just I have no idea on how to reach him without being able to communicate with him ;-)

jm82792
11-13-2013, 10:55 PM
This thread is interesting as I've been using Blender for 5 years (so if I needed a model I can do it even though Blende4r is totally not CAD software) and until recently started with the somewhat interesting cambam but I've really wanted to use a "real" CAD program.
So when I have the money I'm going for ViaCad since I've heard it's great and not hard to use.

In regards to stability, I've used (err did a project with) alpha and beta builds of Blender when they were transitioning from 2.4x to 2.5x
When you are using something unstable the best idea is to take it slow, keep it clean, and when an issue comes up just attempt to avoid it along with reporting it :)
Saving frequently is key, and yes a non beta build should be rock solid but that's life....

mmoe
11-14-2013, 12:07 AM
Ernie,
The number I've called for tech support is 800-856-9601 and 312-470-1759. If I recall right, I had to go through a few button pushes to get to the correct support person, but it wasn't any different than any other support line.

If you tell me your username (PM me if you don't want it public), I'll email the guy that runs the forum and let him know that you are having problems (as I did) getting approved. I'm not sure what the issue is with the forum, and I totally agree that there is no excuse for how poorly it is run. That said, I did not expect to have great forum support for the software when I purchased it, so it's really more of a disappointment in something that I had hoped for after the fact. Funny thing is, by the time I got approved for it, I'd already pretty much figured everything out anyways. I was thinking of suggesting to CNCZone that a ViaCAD forum be created here, so that the CNCZone community can help support the product in a more open format. For many of the budget applications, this is a critical component of success.

In my opinion, you'll probably find the software to be fine once you've had more time with it and worked through some of the issues. You also can't go wrong with Rhino either, but keep in mind that they are very different applications. Rhino is a great modeling tool, but it's further from CAD than Viacad/Shark, so if you need 2d capabilities and drawings (prints), it might not be a satisfying purchase either. The learning curve for Rhino is much steeper, but there is a bit more of a support system in that more people use it. I consider Rhino to be a companion application to Viacad, not necessarily a replacement. IMHO, Bonzai 3d is a more suitable replacement for ViaCAD/Shark and provides more of the same capabilities (even better in many ways). It's also available for Mac OS. Rhino for Mac is also essentially a Beta, so if you're not enjoying that about ViaCAD, it seems a bit odd to choose another "unstable" software.

jm82792
11-14-2013, 12:27 AM
That reminds me of a sign company I'm helping with software.
They have a copy of Rhino just sitting there and they've never used it.
I find it painful since I've wanted to learn AutoCad, Solidworks, Rhino, or so forth since it's a skill others can appreciate and find useful.

mmoe
11-14-2013, 12:47 AM
That reminds me of a sign company I'm helping with software.
They have a copy of Rhino just sitting there and they've never used it.
I find it painful since I've wanted to learn AutoCad, Solidworks, Rhino, or so forth since it's a skill others can appreciate and find useful.

You can use Rhino indefinitely for free. It's only limit in demo format is that you can only save 25 times. If you just want to learn the software, you can do so for free by simply not saving your work. I'd highly recommend downloading it and then following tutorials (youtube, etc.) to teach yourself how to use it. Instead of saving your work as you are learning, you can just leave your work open with the computer on when it takes longer than you have time for.

Dan B
11-14-2013, 08:54 AM
You can use Rhino indefinitely for free. It's only limit in demo format is that you can only save 25 times. If you just want to learn the software, you can do so for free by simply not saving your work. I'd highly recommend downloading it and then following tutorials (youtube, etc.) to teach yourself how to use it. Instead of saving your work as you are learning, you can just leave your work open with the computer on when it takes longer than you have time for.

Back in 2000, I used this method to learn Rhino 1.1. I spent 6 months playing with it at home to see if it was a viable alternative to Cadkey, which was sinking faster than the Titanic at the time. We now run 40 seats of Rhino over the network with 107 users.

Dan

Bob La Londe
11-14-2013, 11:20 AM
We always talk about whether a Software is "worth its money", referring to the purchase price. And this is of course very deceiving. For me the real cost in getting involved is with the time. There are multiple ours going into research. Then you gotta learn the Software. I have spend a full 10 days working through the Shark tutorials and other online resources and started creating first parts. If you just award minimum wages to these hours then just theres's $ 1000.-.

Well, as I mentioned I don't have Shark. I have ViaCad. I also did not have a ton of experience with CAD as you did when I demoed it. I played with it for about 1 hour when I first downloaded the demo and gave up. I was evaluating dozens of free and low cost CAD options at the time looking for something easy and intuitive to use. I got back to it several weeks later after watching a demo and spent a day going through the demo videos learning how to use it. I loaded the demo on another computer, and ran the software on one monitor with the video on the other so I could follow along. By the end of that first day I had successfully made some 3D parts (that are in service) on my CNC mini mill from files generated with ViaCad V7. I know people's experiences and approaches vary, and I admit that my time in my day job is also worth just a wee bit more than minimum wage. (Also, wages cost considerabley more than the wage.) I think that the cost to benefit and time spent learning the software was very good in my case, and yes, I was quite frustrated with it at times. I also admit that I have had good luck over the years learning things as I need them. I certainly didn't master it that first day. I just learned what I needed to make the parts I needed. Its kind of funny. I don't actually care for the flow of the 2D tools all that much, and tend to design basic 2-2.5D cuttable parts parts directly in my CAM software.

As to the automatic backups.... I will try that. I rarely have catestrophic crashes, and I save often but if it helps and doesn't slow my computer down to much it just might save me. I never even thought of it. I wonder about the stability to. That could be intersting to learn more about.

And as to OS X. That might be part of your problem. A poor implementation of porting over to that operating system. I am certain its developed as a Windows native program first. I don't like Windows much either, but I have so much licensed Windows software that I just can't get away from it. The biggest is my accounting software. Otherwise I think I would convert all my computers to Linux. I already run my CAM software on both Windoze and Linux machines.

My biggest gripe with ViaCad is the inability to quickly and easily model natural organic shapes. Geometric defined shapes go quite fast. Perhaps the inability is mine. As I mentioned I did not have a ton of CAD experience or any CAD education when I started using it. All from tutorials and self taught.

mmoe
11-14-2013, 03:39 PM
Well, as I mentioned I don't have Shark. I have ViaCad. I also did not have a ton of experience with CAD as you did when I demoed it. I played with it for about 1 hour when I first downloaded the demo and gave up. I was evaluating dozens of free and low cost CAD options at the time looking for something easy and intuitive to use. I got back to it several weeks later after watching a demo and spent a day going through the demo videos learning how to use it. I loaded the demo on another computer, and ran the software on one monitor with the video on the other so I could follow along. By the end of that first day I had successfully made some 3D parts (that are in service) on my CNC mini mill from files generated with ViaCad V7. I know people's experiences and approaches vary, and I admit that my time in my day job is also worth just a wee bit more than minimum wage. (Also, wages cost considerabley more than the wage.) I think that the cost to benefit and time spent learning the software was very good in my case, and yes, I was quite frustrated with it at times. I also admit that I have had good luck over the years learning things as I need them. I certainly didn't master it that first day. I just learned what I needed to make the parts I needed. Its kind of funny. I don't actually care for the flow of the 2D tools all that much, and tend to design basic 2-2.5D cuttable parts parts directly in my CAM software.

As to the automatic backups.... I will try that. I rarely have catestrophic crashes, and I save often but if it helps and doesn't slow my computer down to much it just might save me. I never even thought of it. I wonder about the stability to. That could be intersting to learn more about.

And as to OS X. That might be part of your problem. A poor implementation of porting over to that operating system. I am certain its developed as a Windows native program first. I don't like Windows much either, but I have so much licensed Windows software that I just can't get away from it. The biggest is my accounting software. Otherwise I think I would convert all my computers to Linux. I already run my CAM software on both Windoze and Linux machines.

My biggest gripe with ViaCad is the inability to quickly and easily model natural organic shapes. Geometric defined shapes go quite fast. Perhaps the inability is mine. As I mentioned I did not have a ton of CAD experience or any CAD education when I started using it. All from tutorials and self taught.


Here's how I've set up the autosave/backups. Go to "File" and "Preferences" to bring up this window.
http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2865/10858856943_ce82644cf3_o.jpg

I find the 2d interface to be among the best. The snaps are where the power of the system is, so if you haven't set your snaps up well, then you'll not get the benefit of perhaps the best snapping interface that exists. Also, inputting specific dimensions is very easy. For most operations, using the "Tab" button will bring you to the most relevant input box directly, so learning to use input boxes will also speed up your drawing. Let's say that you want to draw a line exactly 10.45mm long. You use a snap to select the start point, drag the cursor to the another snap (doesn't have to be a position, can be an angle or a tangent, etc.), then hit "Tab" and enter "10.45". This will create a ling exactly 10.45 units long along the path that you established with the cursor. If you want to change the angle or length of the line, simply select it, hit "Tab" and it will bring you to the length input again. Hit "Tab" again and you go to the next input parameter, which for a line happens to be the angle (probably the second most useful parameter needed following the length). If you're drawing in CamBam currently (I think that's what you said you use), you probably need to spend more time with Viacad. Eventually, you'll probably be much faster in ViaCAD for even the simple things.

Here's a quick video showing how to set up angle snaps in Viacad 2d/3d V8. As installed, it only snaps to the axis (0,90,270, and 360 degrees) or 45 degrees in any direction. I find that having additional common angles is a good thing, so I've added 30 and 60 degrees to the creation angles. There is also a way to add angles that are essentially alignments to existing geometry snaps. By adding more angles here, you can project multiple angles from existing geometry to establish a start position for a new geometry. I've used a lot of different cad systems, but few do this very well. This is really where ViaCAD outshines Rhino.

ViaCAD Custom Snap Angles - YouTube (http://youtu.be/HWLlHEuI2MY)

If you want to do more freeform organic modeling, ViaCAD is not really the right product. Rhino or Blender excel at that kind of work, but it's a steep learning curve to be able to do it well. There's also MoI (Moment of Inspiration), which is an excellent organic modeling program at a reasonable price. It's a bit more of an easy to learn application as well, so I'd recommend it for the beginner vs. Rhino or Blender. CAD systems are a bit like hammers. There are lots of different kinds and they all do specific things very well and aren't ideal for other things. The best case is to have a variety of hammers available and know which one to use when. If all you have is a sledge hammer, it'll be hard to tack a finish nail in. I can be done, but would be better to have a tack hammer instead. ViaCAD is like a medium sized ball peen. It can do a wide variety of things very well, just not the extremes. It can produce structured but shapely models that are bordering on organic or it can do simple 2d drafting. It can do pretty much everything in between as well. What it struggles with is larger files where the geometry is getting complex in sheer quantity (2d or 3d, doesn't matter much). What I think is it's strength is that it has a very minimal learning curve compared to other products with a similar range.

Also, the entry Shark product (LT) is basically identical to ViaCAD Pro, but costs almost double. From a practical standpoint, I can't find any difference between them and don't know why this is. Shark FX, the top of the line version of ViaCAD, has a few additional features that few of us would ever need. From ViaCAD 2d/3d all the way up to Shark FX, they all work about the same in terms of reliability. The difference is just in which functions are available and 2d/3d already has a very full set of features.

jm82792
11-14-2013, 03:42 PM
Blender is great for organics and is easier to use since 2.5
I've done scenes that have 15 million polygons with it
It's modifier system is excellent and makes modeling a treat.

Bob La Londe
11-14-2013, 04:53 PM
ViaCad: Yeah, I do use the snaps all the time, and it does have more snap options than CB. I am just so used to CB that I often just create one file, and carry the code over to the mill so fast that I spend more time doing the setup than programming or cutting. Particular on simple to moderately complex 2.5D parts.

MoI: I will have to look into it. I have heard of it before, but not as often so ViaCad or Blender or Rhino.

Blender: That software ate me up and spit me out last time around, but this is the second time I have heard that the user interface has gotten better recently. Maybe I'll give it another try.

jm82792
11-14-2013, 05:18 PM
It's a heck of a lot better Bob La Londa!
I was using it a long time ago and it just magically got easier with 2.5x series.
it's stable, and overall great.
It's hurt me though since I don't like CAD workflow because I don't see the polygons and so forth.
Here is a scene I did, it was rendered, and ran through a bunch of compositing nodes.
I used GIMP to fudge with the wave splashes just a bit since the SPH simulation could only do so much.
I did this project when i was like 18 I think.... And it's the last rendering I ever did since it's time consuming and I'm not creative enough.
(I like tweaking stuff but doing one thing gets old fast)
I had a lot of issues with contrast, the whole gamma standard thing, and so forth so it could be bad on your monitor. Overall it was good if it was managed correctly, but it got out of hand, and I might have a better color correct version lost at sea...
(erm the forum thumbnailed it, just click it for the large version)
208456

BurrMan
11-15-2013, 01:20 AM
I'm a little confused. Shark 8 "IS" a beta right now. It's not a release. "Betas" have varying levels between different software vendors, but I think ripping a vendor about the stability of a beta, especially if your not involved in the process, is kindof misguided?

Although you made a post about wanting to get on the forum? I'm sure you can get help from someone here, if you really want to use your product, instead of rip and demand a refund.


Why would I care about the forum and who runs it?

Well, the forum is run by the guy actually coding the software. I'm also pretty sure he is using a mac. That's a huge reason to want to have that knowledge, if your really after results.

The company was recently bought out, and the developer stayed on. Some things were shuffled around and created some pains for customers. I know they are aware, and it certainly isn't intentional, or anything like is described here.

Rhino is by FAR the more advanced geometry/surface creation tool. Workflows are different though. ViaCad has some huge advantages is some areas, that are prevalent. "Filleting" is one. ViaCads access to the acis kernel is a huge bonus for it.

MoI is being written by the guy who wrote Rhino. He is correcting all his perceived mistakes in Rhino (The complexity/steep learning is a major reversal). MoI is a fantastic modeler, though still in it's infancy with the modeling tools being created. There is not yet drafting and communication tools, and various advanced things. It is however a great companion (It runs on a usb stick :eek: ) It's total installer is like 15 mb. Amazing.

Bonzai3d looks to be a great tool. It's basically Form-Z light. I tried to get along in the beta process but it didn't really jive with me for some reason. If the UI and workflow can click with you, it looks to be an amazing tool. I have almost bought it a few times just for some of the functions it has that are so impressive.

Trotline
11-15-2013, 02:27 AM
Re: Blender. When I started using it, I found tutorial videos to be enormously helpful. Blender does so much that you need to narrow down your focus to just the things you need to do. The folks at CG Cookie have some top-notch tutorials Blender Cookie | Great Blender tutorials and training (http://cgcookie.com/blender/) The free ones will get you started, and the membership to unlock the rest is incredibly cheap for what you get. ($18/month, with discounts for longer periods). Watching an expert talk you through the process of modeling a human figure in its entirety is just one example, among many.

I wouldn't call the UI user-friendly, but with a little perseverance, it does become familiar, and the software is a real beast, when you get it under control.

Luke

Bob La Londe
11-15-2013, 12:29 PM
I'm a little confused. Shark 8 "IS" a beta right now. It's not a release. "

Yes I think you are. I didn't re-read every post, but I read Shark LT. Not Shark 8. I have ViaCad 8. As far as I know ViaCad 8 is NOT in beta. They were even selling it on Amazon.

Oops! My mistake. I just saw where he said, "Shark LT (version 8)." I guess I was the one who was confused. If your comments are correct however I find it odd that they would SELL a beta version.

To the OP re: Shark. This has been my experience. You have to be patiently subservient to get good help, and never ever raise a negative criticizm. Even "room for improvement criticizms" often need to be couched in carfeul terms. LOL. Maybe, not that extreme, but I've found that some people get all worked up if they perceive your comments as a put down. With very few pleasant exceptions I've found this to be true about a large percentage of this field.

Form the other side though. If you have a problem that is not addressed raising a stink often gets attention. After you get attention you need to mitigate the stink and focus on the problem. Unfortunately, once you have gotten people's attention they often insist on ruminating on the stench rather than clearing the air and fixing the problem. You have to be the one to say, "Ok, now that I have your attenton how do we fix this problem." The person you need help from almost never has the understanding to skip the garbage first and get down to business. They want you to apologize first for HAVING TO get their attention. LOL. Its an odd thing, because in other aspects they are often very intelligent and more capable in many areas than the person needing help.

BurrMan
11-15-2013, 12:56 PM
Yes I think you are. I didn't re-read every post, but I read Shark LT. Not Shark 8. I have ViaCad 8. As far as I know ViaCad 8 is NOT in beta. They were even selling it on Amazon.

Oops! My mistake. I just saw where he said, "Shark LT (version 8)." I guess I was the one who was confused. If your comments are correct however I find it odd that they would SELL a beta version.
.

Looks like you figured that one out all by yourself. I have ViaCad Pro 8 and it works great, no crashing, although, the op was talking about the Shark Version 8 and "mac build". I didn't jump on the beta because they started with the mac and only recently opened up the windows version. Pretty sure you "purchase" 7 and then get offered the 8 beta...........

To the OP. If your interested in help, there are plenty of people who will help. If you enter a public area and just spew rubbish and want to be harsh, don't be so offended if the responses you get are not all fluffy and catering, like you would get from a salesman or some guy that wants something from you...... Treat others how ye would like to be treated. (Eh?)

Bob La Londe
11-16-2013, 08:20 PM
Just to be fair I have gotten a lot better help with ViaCad from other ViaCad users on the CamBam forum than I have on the ViaCad forum.

dertsap
11-16-2013, 09:04 PM
Looks like you figured that one out all by yourself. I have ViaCad Pro 8 and it works great, no crashing)

I've managed to crash pro 8 a few times but that's due to my pushing it to some extremes .
One thing that I have found to be buggy is in the translate function . If the model is a bunch of 3d peices which are added (merged) together , then sometimes when translating it'll multiply or breakup the model and create that as a single model . Picture the model ripped apart , scattered (no longer touching) , multiplied then created as one part at which deleting on piece will delete all , an undue becomes even more devastating . then it's back to starting over . Now I keep the models pieces separate until nearer to the end , also compressing the file seems to have improved the problem . That's the only real issue that I've ever really had with the software
Aside from that I have to say that the very first model I've made has paid off the software a few times over . It's not high end software nor is shark but they also don't have the high end price attached . I bought 2d/3d on sale for $69 , then upgraded to pro at $99 . It's cheap for the quality and functionality of the software

BurrMan
11-17-2013, 02:27 PM
I've managed to crash pro 8 a few times.

You are correct, sir.... But I do make a distinction between "functional crashing" and "software crashing".......... I mean, I can crash any software in just a few short minutes.

But the crashing op was describing a "mac version" that is unusable, unstable and worthless! Pretty sure he has some issues on his end. He can get help with that if he wants it. It kind of comes down to "what's his point".

dertsap
11-17-2013, 02:52 PM
it's pretty stable , Ive got shark v5 and aside from that same translate issue that I get with every version that I've got it's perfectly stable .
I've been using punch for quite some time and have 2d/3d v5 ,6 , 8 , pro 8 as well as shark 5 , and they all perform . I run windows and can't speak for mac
Right now they've got 2d/3d on for 64.99 , there's nothing beating that

mmoe
11-17-2013, 08:37 PM
You can reduce the problems you encounter by creating parametric geometry (extruding along curves, etc.) that is separate from your actual model. What I mean by that is that if you translate, rotate or scale objects that have parametric characteristics (shown in the "Features" tab of the "Concept Explorer" window as a parent/child tree), the chances increase that you'll have a problem with that geometry down the road. What I think is best practices for parametric objects in Viacad is to create them in a scratch area, either a different file or a separate area of the drawing space, then copy them (Ctrl+Rightclick+drag in selection mode) and locate the copy for use in your model. The difference is that when you make a copy of a parametric object, it will become simplified in the copy and won't retain any of the parametric data. At that point, its the same as if you just created the solid directly while a parametric object will always be dependent on changes to the parent/child data and is never really finalized in that state. I think it's best to just create all of the component geometries needed, copy them, assemble them and then do boolean add/subtract/differenc and chamfer/radiusing operations. At that point, I then create yet another copy of the finalized solid which I either export as a new file or continue working on.

It would be nice to be able to maintain the parametric properties for revisions, but my experience is that Viacad (and Shark) just doesn't really allow for the level of parametric changes that you'd expect from a program like Solidworks or Geomagic anyways, so simplifying the geometries before modifying them into more complex parts is just a better approach for Viacad. I just keep the parametric portions available in scratch areas in case I need to rebuild a modification in design, which keeps design revisions pretty manageable in terms of time spent. It's not as nice as a full on professional level parametric modeler, but it's a good hybrid between direct modeling and parametric modeling if you understand the difference between the two.

Really, the main thing I've found to crash Viacad/Shark has been tremendous amounts of data where you push it past the memory limits any 32bit application might struggle with. I don't think Viacad manages memory as well as other applications might, but it's at least middle of the road that way and my experience is with a 64 bit OS. In a 32 bit environment, it may be less prone to memory issues. The other cause of most crashes is the use of "Undo", which is particularly likely to cause a problem if you've just used the Push/Pull feature. For most things, Undo is fine, but Undo while in the Push/Pull feature causes a crash as much as 20% of the time (as a best estimate). My recommendation is to exit the Push/Pull feature first by going into the selection mode, then use "Undo" whether through the menu or via CTRL+Z.

The only other thing that I've found in the stable releases of Viacad and Shark that I think are bugs (in Windows) is that the trim function does not deselect properly and you have to leave the tool in order to reset it, or Shift+rightclick the current selections to deselect them. I've become used to it however, and now just select everything in the area I'm working in and view the trim function as more of a "Quick Trim", where it will trim at any joint really because I've selected everything. It's not the way I prefer to do it, but it's the fastest way in Viacad that I've found. No matter what I do, I have not been able to set up a default for deselecting in the trim function, so I view that as a legitimate bug, albeit a somewhat small one. Curious if anyone else has noticed that as well.

dertsap
11-17-2013, 09:25 PM
I don't usually have trouble with the trim , I just right click on the screen and use deselect (if I'm following what your saying correctly) .

mmoe
11-17-2013, 11:21 PM
I don't usually have trouble with the trim , I just right click on the screen and use deselect (if I'm following what your saying correctly) .

You are correct and that does work for me as well, so I should have qualified that to be a bit more specific. For some reason "Deselect All" does not when accessed either via the shortcut Ctrl+Shift+A or the Edit menu. If you go to select another line to trim against, you have to hold shift down or you get an error message even though there is nothing selected. There is no listing in the shortcuts for a simple "Deselect" instead of "Deselect All", so there is some sort of difference between the two and no apparent access to "Deselect" except via the left click drop down menu, which means that you can't add another shortcut to perform the same function and this makes the process of using trim quite slow if the only option is the drop down menu (though admittedly it does exist at least). I do intend to submit this as a feature request/report in the V9 beta testing to try and get this adjusted. You can assign a shortcut for almost everything in the system, except that, and I think it's an oversight. That's what I meant by not being able to set up a default way to deselect in the Trim function since it's the only function that "Deselect All" does not work with that I've found (though I haven't tried everything).