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Old 12-28-2019, 11:40 PM
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mikes82GT mikes82GT is offline
Junior Fabricator
Join Date: Jun 2019
Posts: 12
Free 3d cad programs?

Looking for some free or very low priced 3d cad modeling programs.

It will be used by the home hobbyist (me ).

Looking for the best bang for my buck. Going to tinker around, building small brackets and such for my cars and truck.
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Old 12-30-2019, 10:27 AM
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Maxx Levell Maxx Levell is offline
Join Date: Jun 2017
Location: Henderson KY
Posts: 32
I'd just get Bend-Tech Pro...if you're fabricating anything you draw...it's simply the best bang for your buck that you're going to find. It's as easy as anything else you're going to have to try to learn, but with a CAD program, all you're doing is visualizing your idea in your head. Bend-Tech does the same thing as the CAD programs, but then gives you all of your bending and cutting info as well. You simply aren't going to find that anywhere else. And if you get the Motorsports module, there are a ton of brackets and such included in that already.

If you're serious about actually ever building anything...spend the money and get the right tool for the job...and for the hobbyist fabricating their own stuff...that tool is BT.

Just 2 cents worth of advice from a former CAD guy who actually enjoys trying to build my own stuff too...
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Old 03-21-2020, 12:03 AM
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R3Fab. R3Fab. is offline
Join Date: Feb 2020
Location: No. Nevada
Posts: 38
Bend Tech is not really a CAD program in any conventional sense.
It has some CAD features but is missing many others.
Great for configuring tube, and I suppose that if you spend the $$ for the sheetmetal module it comes closer to being true CAD.
Then spend more $$ for another module and you may as well have just bought SE to begin with.
And it still will not have many of the capabilities of a genuine CAD program.

On the plus side, very few, if any CAD programs are capable of doing tube as smoothly and easily as Bend Tech.

I have a couple of CAD programs available to me, $$$$!

But if you are new to CAD, Free-Cad is FREE!
It will not be so frustrating to you as it is to anyone who has used conventional CAD programs.
There is also Bob-Cad, not free but pretty cheap.
You can get a free demo version to try it out, but beware, the sales team will HOUND you to buy.

Just like Bend Tech, CAD is similar to learning a new language, one that requires a lot of hand gestures.
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Old 03-25-2020, 07:47 PM
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Ladderbar Ladderbar is offline
Master Fabricator
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: 6 burgh Go Steelers
Posts: 611
the HOME SHOP MACHANIST mag just had an article on this with some free programs listed.
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Old 03-30-2020, 01:20 PM
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R.DesJardin R.DesJardin is offline
Designer & Builder
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Spokane, WA
Posts: 477
Fusion 360 was free to hobbyists, not sue if it still is. Alibre has a very low cost CAD that is really pretty good. Onshape started out free and now has a cost, check it out.
Need, Design, Build, Use, repeat........
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Old 12-27-2020, 03:28 AM
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GeoTracker90 GeoTracker90 is offline
Master Fabricator
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 134
Here's an out of the box solution. Join the EAA. Yes, the Experimental Aircraft Association. Why you ask? One of the member benefits is a free license for Solid Works to use for your own personal non-commercial use.


A one year membership is $40 and they'll send you an aircraft magazine in the mail each month too. $40 per year to access Solid Works is about as close to free as you are going to get.
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Old 01-08-2021, 07:51 AM
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redidbull redidbull is offline
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 56
tinkercad.com or google sketchup. I use tinkercad for making 3d stuff to print. Jim
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