View Full Version : honest question about cad sofware for a newbie

10-22-2008, 11:56 AM
I know it's been asked umpteen times about which software to use, but for the newbie, it's still very confusing.
knowing these facts, which cad program is best?

-for someone with absolutely no experience in cad or cnc machining
-this is for hobby
-it's for a 3 axis mill converetd to the mach 3
-must be easy to learn
-must have excellent tutorials

I've looked at Mastercam, Autocad etc..Any help would be appreciated.

10-22-2008, 12:39 PM
I learned on Design CAD. It might not be as complex as others, but the program cost me $50-60 and it does what I need it to.


10-22-2008, 12:51 PM
You didn't say, "Must be affordable." AutoCad is over 5k now unless its bootlegged. MasterCAM is over 11k now unless its bootlegged. Dolphin is affordable, intuitive enough to get started with a little playing around, and more than powerful enough for hobby and small business use. The best part is when you do end up developing something you can sell, you won't have to worry about loosing everything when the big boys want their cut over their bootlegged software.

10-22-2008, 01:54 PM
I agree with Mr. Wild. I use Dolphin myself and it is plenty powerful enough to do what most hobby users or small machine shops would use it for.

10-22-2008, 03:43 PM
Maybe I am confused?

Are you asking about CAD or CAM? You specifically said CAD but CAD has nothing whatsoever to do with making machine code.

10-22-2008, 03:45 PM
:wave:What you are talking about is CAM Computer Aided Manufacturing. For programming a CNC machine, you may need both if you are designing the part and machining it. Many of the programming systems are CADCAM, but “programming system: generally infers strong in the CAM part of it and light on the CAD ( it may even not have a CAM part, but most do today).
Some of the cheaper software’s are buggy and have problems but in general, they work fine.
What software to start look at? I would say start in the price range you can live with, $600 to $2000 as the cheaper ones with a few even lower.
I Bought one a few years back that didn’t work for me, I constantly was fighting it. Just recently I bought a new one, but only after using it for a 30 day free trial. Everyone of the ones that you will read about here in the forums will have a 30 day free trial period. Some even give you for free a lower version of their software. You might want to start with one of the freebee’s that you can upgrade later.
I have used only three out of dozens of CADCAM programs out there. EZCam (5k) works well but higher cost, BobCad ($600.) cheap. but very buggy and not my style but a number of people us it. Visual Mill ( around 1K) CAM strong CAD weak.
I currently use Alibre V10 Pro packaged with Visual Mill Pro. (about $2.6 to 3.6K).