View Full Version : auto cad info

04-04-2004, 07:31 PM

I was wondering if anyone is using autocad to design chassis or layout sheetmetal patterns. If so i would like some advice on what is the best way to go about learning the program. I also was wondering if anyone knows of any specific pluginns for frame design. To figure triangulation on Motorcycle frames and the such. This is kind of an open ended post but any direction or info would be helpful.

Thanks in advance
Chad (BattleCreek Mi)

04-04-2004, 08:48 PM
Chad, I had used Autocad to do some of my dragster stuff in. For 2D work it's a pretty nice tool.

Currently I am learning Pro Engineering WildFire - I like it WAY better than the previous stuff ProE had - at least for modeling and assembly - but for detail work it's BRUTAL.

Keep in mind - all these fancy CAD packages WILL NOT make your chassis any better - nor will it make YOU any better - BUT they WILL make it easier to make changes!!! And document your work. The skill is all in your HEAD!

Just like a Pullmax or Yoder will NOT make you a better metalshaper.

With all that said - I DON'T know of any specific plug-in's. :(

Like many others - I HAVE ocassionally used Auto Cad to lay out metal brackets - can be a real time saver!!!! I do it all manually - as far as adding in bend allowances. ProE has a "sheet metal" option - never saw it - I'm sure it's ridiculously expensive.

You may just want to start sketching what you're after - either paper or cad. AS you refine your design to something you're comfortable with you can take it to the next level - analysis.

Probably not the exact answer you were looking for but I tried.

Jacin in Ohio


04-05-2004, 12:06 PM
AutoCad's least expensive 2d package is the "LT" version and although it lists for $799.00, it can be purchased from $250.00 used to about $450.00 for a student version. I bought my copy to make it easy to convert simple drawings to .DXF format to have parts cut on a laser or plasma machine . If you want to have parts cut, it is fast and fairly inexpensive when you walk in with a ready to use disk. I also get to nest the parts to make full use of the sheet and minimize the scrap.
Best Regards.
George King

04-05-2004, 02:08 PM
You might look at "Visio" by Microsoft. With Visio you can draw in 2d and save it in DXF or DWG format. It is a lot easier to learn than Autocad

Mike O'Brien

04-10-2004, 08:05 PM
You might look at "Visio" by Microsoft. With Visio you can draw in 2d and save it in DXF or DWG format. It is a lot easier to learn than Autocad

Mike O'Brien

MIke, Will Visio let you scan in "Raster" from a drawing or sketch and convert to Vector for .DXF ?

Wray, how are you planning to generate "cut files" ?

Wray Schelin
04-10-2004, 10:57 PM
Hi George,

I'm still on the learning curve and gathering programs. :D I have been muddling through getting results using a less than ideal method. I want to learn Rhino, Corel Draw, and a few other programs. :shock: Needless to say it's a full plate. Tonight I just learned about a raster to vector convertor called Vextractor that looks easy to learn and exports DXF files.

I'm having fun exploring new stuff that I should have learned 10 years ago... :D


04-11-2004, 04:52 AM

Corel Draw comes with a built in Raster to vector converter and Turbo cad has licenced a copy bundled with it's software. They both use the same program.


04-11-2004, 06:16 AM
I use AutoCad and learned to us it myself. The best way to learn it would be to take a class at your local comunity college, but if you are going alone buy a book and simply get your self a project to draw. You will go a lot quicker if you actually have a real need. I tried to learn just drawing what ever came to mind and that just doesn't work as well. Give it a try. I have just completed designing a gear box for a factory, drew it, made all the parts and it worked great. Hope this helps. Remember it's difficult at first but a tool that's worth the effort.

Chuck Krueger
04-24-2004, 09:24 PM
Chad, I took a three month course in Autocad at a Community College two years ago. When it was over with, I'd rather draw on a restaurant napkin. Learning curve is too high. Help's was of on help. I have 3-4 manuals and they make the same assumption, you already know this stuff. Then I found Turbocad, night-n-day differance. User friendly, you use the mouse, easy to understand command lines, simple to understand manual, inexpensive to buy. There is also 10-15 day trial download.


05-04-2004, 01:49 PM
Has anyone taken a look at TurboCad?

I purchased a version a few years ago for $199 because i didn't want to pay for AutoCad LT. it worked great and it was compatible with my HP 4L and HP1000C printers. What was even better was that IMSI, the company that makes it offers me upgrades every few years for $99. I think the new price might be as high as $399 now, but that might be for the pro version, which I have. I also purchased a HP DesignJet plotter and it works fine with that.

TurboCad has some inexpensive tutorial books available, it was pretty easy to get started. it does 2-d and 3-d and I believe they have another component that will take your drawings right to cnc g-code or whatever the latest code is.


Richard K
05-04-2004, 07:49 PM
The current version of Turbocad is hands down the best CAD buy today. It is on special at $99 for the new version 10.

It has all the bells and whistles and although i am not an Autocad user some say it exceeds the capabilities. Yes it has a CNC add on.
the 3d and rendering is fantastic. It is easy to use has great print features ( modelspace and paper space)

Check out this site Need I say more.


Academic Prices

http://www.academicsuperstore.com/market/marketlist.html?qk_srch=turbocad&sourcecode=lcg&pr omocode=0D3003XX

Turbo cad Website

They will give the "Upgrade" $99 price to almost anyone who asks for it. Tell them you are now a __________ (whatever program cad user.

crazy larry
05-04-2004, 08:33 PM
check ebay for turbocad, that's where i just ordered mine........

at that price, i can afford to check it out. :?

06-27-2004, 02:12 PM
Here is a site that offers DWG/DXF AND raster to vector conversion programs. Haven't tried it myself but they may have something you want and it is fairly cheap.


06-28-2004, 02:57 AM
I saw Visio mentioned. Visio is decent, I use it for wiring diagrams at work (version 5). Not sure of the cost difference, but, for 2D work, it's really no better than CorelDraw. Sure it imports and exports .dxf files, but so does Paint Shop Pro.

Don't get me wrong, Visio does what it does well, but the versions I've used are not competition for AutoCad.

Tim D.

Envy Inc
08-29-2004, 09:46 AM
I currently use AutoCAD R14 and 2004, and find that they work great for my personal needs. Another option is Autodesk Quick CAD. I've heard several people say it's the best 2D CAD program they've used. It's only $49.95 at Staples. Unfortunately, Autodesk doesn't plan to support it after Sept. 30, but they've incorporated all of the necessary features into their AutoSketch line of software, and will allow upgrades to that program from QuickCAD8. If one were so inclined to buy AutoSketch, ver. 9 is about $110-130 at full retail, and about $75 academic price.


10-09-2004, 09:56 AM
Depending on your needs there are many free cad programs out there. Most main stream cad/cam 3d programs are expensive. They have come way down in price though in the last 10 years. I remember when Maya was $40,000 per seat. Ouch!

I've used almost every cad package at some point or other. You have to know if you want to visualize in 2D or 3D. Most 2D programs can be run on lowend systems. The new 3D programs can require new P4 computers running 2 gigs of ram and 256 meg video cards.

There is a great free 3D software called Blender 3D. It is opensource and has a great following and support structure through online forums.

If you would like to model your project in 3D first to see it and interact with it check out Blender. http://www.blender3d.com/

04-23-2005, 07:19 AM
Has anybody used designcad 3000? I have been strugling with it. The 3d is at best difficult. Anybody have any recomendations for a 3d program for working with tubing that will not break the bank

04-23-2005, 11:14 AM
I have had two semesters with autocad v.13. The book we used was "Engineering Graphics with AutoCAD Release 13" by James D. Bethune. It takes you through 2d drawings, converting them into 3d, and assemblies. The college I took AutoCAD at has recently converted to PRO-E. My instuctor says it is a lot like solidworks, but easier to use.

Where I work we use CADKey and Solidworks. Solidworks is by far the best of the three. You do all of your designing in 3d and convert to 2d for your piece part prints. It's spendy!
Here is where all of use get our student versions. http://www.journeyed.com/department.asp?DID=engineering&SKW=DPengineering

Many of the new softwares come with online tutorials, and online help.

I hope this helps a little.

James G. Peck
04-25-2005, 07:41 PM
I still use AutoCAD 2000 for electrical schematics.

04-25-2005, 10:18 PM
I use Surfcam. I've used Cad Key, Mastercam, Bobcad and Autocad. Surfcam was easiest to learn by far. I do not get along with Autocad at all.

04-26-2005, 03:54 AM
I agree, solid works is a great 3d tool. I use Unigraphics, One of the best.
3d solid modeling and parametric "smart models" is thew way to go.
Does anyone have Solidworks for the home?

04-26-2005, 05:24 AM
I use autocad every day. Since version eleven all the way up to version 2005 mechanical today. Its easy for me but i can see where things could be better for a new user. I would say take classes. Also, for makiin 2d drawing to generate code for my homemade cnc mill, i found a free program called intellicad that you can download. (i will try to find the link again). I cant imagin how thay can give this away because for the most part, it is autocad 2002. I use it and it works basically the same for all i can tell. The only autocad that i would even think of using (for 3d) would be Inventor and It has a very high price tag.For 3d i would also suggest one of these others that have been mentioned . No matter what version tho, 3 months of night school to learn the basics will save you a ton of aggravation down the road

04-26-2005, 05:55 AM
Here is the link to the intellicad. http://www.cadopia.com

06-24-2005, 02:10 PM
I have been using autocad for a few years (spent a couple years using it at work everyday) but I have moved on to using inventor from autodesk. since it is pretty much all that is used here at school I have picked up a bit. I am doing my sr design project on my fairlane and we are simply going to grid in the subframes to produce the existing frame shapes into 3D so that we can design around them.

06-24-2005, 04:57 PM
I'm with Richard K on this one. For the price, TurboCad is the hot ticket. I've got Ver 10.4, and the 3D rendering is unsurpassed. I don't have any experience with any other packages so I can't compare, but this was easy for a beginner to learn to use.