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weldtoride 09-13-2019 10:22 AM

Solidworks for $40
I previously got Solidworks software by taking an evening course in it at my local community college. The student version was free to enrolled students in the SW class, and the instructor was excellent. I took all 3 SW classes offered, so I has SW for three years, then my home copy timed out for the last time.

The student version was a full-blown edition, except for the timing out after one year. Additionally any drawings outputted were tattooed with "student version, not for commercial use". This doesn't stop a shop from water or laser cutting, however.

Now through partnership with the EAA, I learned that SW is offering the student version free of charge to any EAA member, and there are multiple SW forums, tutorials, etc available thru EAA, in addition to the student forums offered by SW.

EAA basic membership starts at $40 a year, and there are other member benefits as well. I have attended the Oshkosh event multiple times where I have sat and watched welding instructors from Lincoln and Miller, as well as many great metalworkers present workshops, including Kent White.

It sounded too good to be true to me at first, but yesterday I downloaded the latest version of SW and it's running again on my machine.

mr.c 09-13-2019 12:53 PM

Mark: Is this a CAD only or CAD/CAM? That is, will it generate G-code.

weldtoride 09-13-2019 09:42 PM


The immediate answer to your question is above my pay grade.

I do know that SW is a CAD system. Since thousands of users do build things with it, it's just a matter of how they translate into CAM.

You can export drawings easily as dxf files:

3D models are a different entity.

I sent an email to a nephew who designs in SW, asking what they use where he works, but a response may take a while....

Solidworks has a partnership with SolidCam:

I do not know what the financials are regarding SolidCam and the student version of SW CAD. Whether or not it is available with the student version is a question for SW. I have downloaded additional SW free "libraries" and extras in the past from SW, but maybe this is a bigger add-on?

There are 3rd party programs, this is one that came up in a search, I cannot speak for it beyond that:

I'll let you know when I hear form my nephew.

Hope that helps.

Reno 09-14-2019 09:44 AM

Carey, I recently bought CamBam to use as a CAD/CAM program. It seems complicated at first, but the free download has a generous trial period and there are Utube videos that help with understanding the process.

billfunk29 09-14-2019 10:38 AM

g codes
Solidworks will not do G-code.

mr.c 09-14-2019 12:30 PM

Thank you.
I have found CAM programs to be "finicky". I test them trying to generate code for a TuckPuck. I haven't found one yet that will do that simple shallow internal taper. I wind up hand writing the code. I pull the coordinates off of my CAD drawings. Time consuming, but at least the cutter goes where I want it to go. I have seen some CAM generated files go some strange places.

The SolidWorks deal with EAA is tempting. Sometimes jumping from one cad- cad/cam program to another is harder if you are used to another product than if you were a complete newbie. Particularly for an old brain. I think that Will uses SW and Ben. Tempting. I have an old version of BobCad that I started out with,and a Yeager cad/cam that I seem to remember being DOS based, Vector 3D, an older Alibre 3D, and trying to get a handle on learning Fusion 360

Reno 09-14-2019 01:13 PM

Is it a conical taper, or a dish? What is the radius?
I agree with your comment about the different CAD programs. I was a legacy Alibre purchaser, but never got very good with it, and then when they upgraded I had to learn it again.

I drew a 3" puck in Alibre, and then generated G code with Mecsoft free mill. It is an easy to use CAM program, but in the free version it cuts full depth on the first pass and no finish pass that I could find.

weldtoride 09-14-2019 08:39 PM


Originally Posted by mr.c (Post 158048)
...Sometimes jumping from one cad- cad/cam program to another is harder if you are used to another product than if you were a complete newbie. Particularly for an old brain. ....

I hear you on the older brain. Nothing says "Mid-life crisis" like walking into a Social Security office to apply for Medicare. But I consider this brain exercise, my significant other does Sodokus and crosswords.

I learned to draft by hand on a basswood board in 1967 from a guy who drafted parts for the military for the "war to end all wars". Meanwhile my older HS classmates were being sent to the meat grinder by the thousands.. Sorry for the digression...

I was told going into SW study that it "thinks differently". I came from an older Autocad 2D background. Since 3D modeling was relatively new to me, and I was in an environment with an excellent instructor and a proven syllabus, I learned it quite comfortably. However, from what I have learned, it does "think differently" when generating a 3D model.

After my SW license timed out, I tried in vain to learn AutoDesk Fusion 360, which is a really good software with truly rave reviews. I personally was unable to make the transition from SW to the different way of thinking from the tutorials I watched. I was trying to learn at home on my computer, not in a class. I hasten to add that there are truly good tutorials out there both from Auto Desk and independents.

This was just me, your mileage may differ.

mr.c 09-14-2019 10:31 PM

Mark: Do I remember that you were a shop teacher at one time? Or was that someone else.I was a shop teacher starting in 1967. The job kept me out of VN where some of my college buddies didn't come back. Occupational deferment. I still have my old wood drafting board and instruments. I was pretty good at it. Descriptive geometry was interesting challenging but fun.

Unfortunately those days are easy to remember. Today , i struggle with where did I lay down my glasses. Did I lock the shop door that I just walked away from. Getting old isn't for sissies. Learn and forget, relearn and forget, relearn and forget.

Shoot, I still have blank drafting plates from Palm Beach Junior College from 63-64.
You surely couldn't do parametric editing with a pencil and eraser. What a blessing that feature is.

mr.c 11-14-2019 03:54 PM

Mark: Thanks for the "heads up" on the EAA SolidWorks deal. It is a very powerful program. I have made a couple of parts already. Steep learning curve but plenty of tutorials available. It is mind boggling what this program will do. I am sort of pecking away at it. Lots of apparent dead ends that put me in search of a tutorial.

I bought a 3d printer to make pieces parts and also patterns for aluminum castings. Fun stuff.

Guys, if you have the slightest interest or curiosity concerning 3d modeling, you need to take advantage of this opportunity. This is not a feature limited edition. This is the premium edition. FORTY BUCKS, plus you get the EAA magazine.

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