Video: Selecting 3D Solid Modeling to Design and Fabricate your own prints

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  • QuarterMaster
    Rear Admiral
    • Sep 2015
    • 1206

    Video: Selecting 3D Solid Modeling to Design and Fabricate your own prints

    Stumbled across a YouTube Video the other day that I wished I had when I got my 3D printer and thought I‘d share it with my shipmates.

    Have you used solid modeling software yet?

    What do you use?

    What made you select it?

    What features do you like?

    Let's talk about choosing THAT.

    I wasn’t sure what the best software to use when I first started. FWIW, I actually attended College to become an ElectroMechanical Draftsman back in the day and I’m a classically trained Drafter/Designer in 2D Drafting. Back in the day when we used Tables, T-Squares, Parallel Rules, Drafting machines, Rosin bags, triangles and of course the pencil. Ahhhh the smell of the Blueprint machine in the morning….cleared one's sinuses!

    I did graduate to AutoCAD and other workstation software when the PC became more commonplace in the workplace. I even had a week's course in IDEAS Solid Modeling!

    But when I got my first 3D printer several years back, I had no idea what software to use! I’m lucky enough to have been exposed to Mechanical Engineers over half my career, whose work would flow into my work on the PCB Design, so we work closely together to fit 10 lbs of $#*! Into a 5 lb bag. I sorta absorbed through osmosis Parametric Models and kinda became familiar with Constraints.

    Now I admit, even with that exposure it was tough for me, maybe BECAUSE I’m used to 2D Orthographic Drawing, that moving into 3D modeling was tough. I’m used to my 3 views and putting it together THAT way.

    So I can understand why it’s REALLY tough for Joe Modeler off the street, having laid $2k USD down on that fancy new printer, becoming disappointed just to find the true total cost of ownership, learning 3D Cad. Unless of course you’re content to troll the internet hoping to find something close to what you want. I find my use of the printer the best for rapid prototyping and iterations of components I need for my builds.

    If you DO want to take it to the next level, I highly recommend taking a look at this video.

    Selecting a free 3D CAD option - 3D design for 3D printing pt1

    I happened to start with TinkerCAD (216 designs) and even made working Torpedoes. Now I stepped up to Fusion 360 (37 designs). Had FreeCaD, kept crashing. I do like what he says about ONSHAPE. It means you can model on an inexpensive Chromebook, or Tablet. These are discussed in his video.

    Look, it’s like he said, choosing the software will come down to YOUR needs and preferences, not someone else's. Again I wish I saw this at the beginning of my 3D journey.

    I also subscribed to his thread. He has excellent tutorials for the beginner. Though he uses ONSHAPE, the techniques he uses should work with any Parametric modeling tool. I find him easy to hear, understand, and make sense of. No, I have NO reason to promote him other than finding this channel to be worthy of sharing with you.

    Any honest thoughts out there, speak up. I want to hear what other software people like.

    The actual Torpedo system design in TinkerCAD

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    Here is the Dorsal rudder for PROTEUS completed in Fusion 360

    Click image for larger version

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    v/r "Sub" Ed

    Silent Service "Cold War" Veteran (The good years!)
    NEVER underestimate the power of a Sailor who served aboard a submarine.
  • Subculture
    • Feb 2009
    • 2168

    Fusion 360 is good, but its easy to get tied up in knots on more complex forms, one error early on can compromise the whole design, I call it confusion 360 at times.

    A little mentioned piece of free software is worth investigating. It's not parametric but direct modelling, and all the better for it when you want to do something straightforward. Lots of free online tutorials.

    Design and make things in 3D like never before. DesignSpark Mechanical is a free mechanical CAD software, which enables users to rapidly prototype or reverse engineer any physical object.


    • Sodamaexchen
      Lieutenant, Junior Grade
      • Jan 2023
      • 11

      I think it depends on what your goal is and how much you are willing to learn.

      Tinker CAD is great as an introduction but if want more complex designs and assemblies i would recommend Fusion 360 as a free and powerful option.

      Personally i use Solidworks because that what i use daily at work. After 20 years i now started to work with the surface features of it.


      • Marylandradiosailor
        Lieutenant, Junior Grade
        • Nov 2021
        • 35

        I have been using F360 for about 4 years designing many things including about a dozen boats and components and I like that I can design 3D, get decent 2D drawings, drive output for my CNC mill and 3D printer, and make electrical circuits and design printed circuit boards. In fact I am designing a new sub controller/sensor system with integrated 27/50/75 MHz radios embedded in F360, so I am deep enough into the software package to not look elsewhere and I am writing a hull design plugin for F360.

        That SAID, the learning curve was brutal (at least for this old grey bearded guy) and I spent months getting comfortable with this package and learning how to write a script, I still spend a couple of hours a week reviewing utube video trying to learn additional techniques ... so if you are not looking for this commitment and don't need many of F360 features there may be better or simpler options?


        • CC Clarke
          • Aug 2020
          • 255

          One of the first lessons in 3D modeling school concerned what constitutes the "ultimate 3D software."

          The best modeling software is whatever is easiest to use / learn that creates the model you want. The learning curve never ends as software is upgraded with new capabilities. As one acquires more modeling experience, it makes it easier to understand how a new tool can bring a powerful capability to a workflow. In the beginning, each app is just a slew of tools to learn. Using tool combinations to create an efficient workflow takes awhile. Having a well-organized UI with functional menu layouts that reconfgure to minimize screen clutter as the model progresses has always been important to me.

          The majority of those who do hobbyist-level modeling create hard surface models, which are the easiest to build, compared to organic models which use a very different workflow. Ive been modeling professionally for almost twenty years and I'm still learning new tool combinations to increase my productivity. Some models take a few minutes to build, others can take months. Any new technique that speeds up my workflow has my full attention.


          • TuptubBuilder
            Lieutenant, Junior Grade
            • Sep 2020
            • 39

            I use Autodesk Fusion 360 because I don’t know any better. I spent the last 10 years of my career using Autodesk Inventor. One of the perks using Fusion is that you can import McMaster-Carr parts as seen in the WTC rendering.