CAD/CAM software recommendations?

Looking to get into CAD. I’ve got a tiny bit of experience with Inventor, but am not married to it. I’ve tried Freecad, didn’t like it that much… Specifically don’t want Fusion360 because of the way it handles saving files, not on your computer…

I would highly prefer something that has a native Linux runtime, but would also settle for something that runs with minimal error on Wine.

Anyone have any suggestions?

blender does pretty well… at least for designing 3d parts.

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Yeah I was just going to suggest blender also if you can live with something that’s more 3D modeling oriented rather than CAD specific.

I did a little googling a while ago for linux CAD software also, but didn’t really find much.

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Ideally I’d like something that can do stress analysis, but blender might be suitable.

I wonder if it can do that. It can do everything else…

I doubt any of the major CAD packages will run in wine. I tried to get SolidWork working in wine several years ago but it was so integrated into the Windows ecosystem it wasnt stable. It’s only more dependent on Windows now.

Only one I know that ever had native linux support was UniGraphics but they dropped linux support a few years back.

Edit: It was Solidworks 2008 I had running back in 2010.

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Hmmm, sounds like my best bet for 3d printing will probably be blender then. Thanks for the advice folks.

Just FYI, udemy has an intro to blender course which I picked up a while ago for $20 when it was on sale. Now I just need for shit to stop breaking so I can get back to learning it. :confused:

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Story of my life.

It’s probably still on sale lol

I honestly never used blender, but I thought it was more of an artistic 3D design software not a typical dimension driven CAD - though that might be fine for you depending on what you want out of your 3d printer. If I’m wrong about Blender, then I seriously need to check it out.

You might be able to get Solidworks working in WINE. I did it years ago by trial and error (and some glitches), but now there are better resources and WINE has improved.
If you are interested in trying, here is a link to what Solidworks is looking for from windows. (The page can be changed to whatever version you get/have access to).

I’ve gone the VFIO route - better performance and significantly less hassle.

The other problem with any of the major professional CAD packages is that they are spendy. If you a student you can get them for cheap - I think in the $100-150 range for Solidworks, but outside of that its ~$3k and up for a Solidworks License (plus support if you want it). Unigraphics/Inventor are in the same ballpark.

It makes FreeCAD and Fusion360 look a lot better…

I’ve tried to use FreeCAD multiple times and I find it frustrating. Version 0.19 with some Addons makes it usable. I’ve done a few small things for 3D printing with it, but it takes me 10 times as long as it would in Solidworks.

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I would do so, but I can’t put my spare GPU in my itx rig, so if I want to, I’d have to buy a big navi 6800 or higher card and put it on water, in order for the fittings to line up properly. :confused:

I might go that route in the end anyways, but right now, stock is a problem and I don’t want to take a GPU from someone who could otherwise use it.

That was my experience as well. The UI wasn’t super intuitive or user friendly. That might be partially because I’m not super familiar with it, and it’s changed a lot since most of the tutorials on youtube were uploaded. :confused:

I have access to an educational license, through the engineering program at the local high school. technically I’m a software mentor, but they’ll give me a solidworks or creo license regardless.

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Most CAD packages will perform a lot better with a professional card. Firepro or Quadro. I remember seeing testing one of the VAR’s did with Solidworks where the low end Quadro P3000 outperformed a 2080Ti by a significant margin. I’ve seen similar trends in practice too.

So you don’t need a big 2 slot GPU to make CAD software happy. I’m not sure if that helps your situation though.

There is an add-on that makes the UI much better - I can’t remember what it was called though. I just find that it editing features made early on will cause you to have to rebuild the whole model. Dependencies don’t seem to work right, so if you change design half way through you might as well start with a new file.


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If you have access to an educational package or are willing to just torrent, I’m currently using solidworks in uni. It’s a windows only CAD application so if you’re running linux, i’m sure running it in a windows VM would probably work.

It certainly takes a whole to get a hang of, but it has very rigorous rules on how to construct 3D models, which is useful for engineering.

For me, standard design and build runs just fine on my UHD 620 graphics on my i5 laptop, however it will chug under heavy simulation or stress analysis. If that’s what you’re looking to get into, you can check out sites like Puget systems to see how much difference using a Quadro/Radeon pro can really make compared to a consumer gpu. Given the gpu market instability, I imagine lower end quadros, like the RTX 4000 probably cost the same as their gaming counterparts.

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This is true, but my system won’t accommodate a card of that form factor. In order to actually fit another GPU in, it will have to be the same form factor as my existing GPU and will have to be on water to fit. I know it sounds strange to say I can’t fit a smaller one, but it’s about PCIE Power fitment and power cable routing for that aspect. everything in this case has been measured down to the MM and only just barely fits. I’ll probably be posting a showcase soon.

I’ll have to look for this!

Yeah, I noticed this. When making bolt holes in one part, I wanted to go back and move them after 10 or 15 more modifications and I basically had to undo all the other merge/cuts I’d made to separate them, then go back and redo it all again. Extremely frustrating.

There has to be a way to fix this.

That’s one of the reasons I like CAD over 3d modeling applications for prints.

It takes very specifically defined dimensions and makes you really think about the shape.

I was wondering if that was the case when you said ITX. Are you running a integrated GPU in it now or do you have a waterblocked GPU in there now?


It can be installed directly from freeCAD.

I’m sure there is, but its probably a question of time available for the people contributing to the project. The professional CAD packages that have a way to handle this problem have had years of development and a lot of income from support subscription services. Even then Solidworks has features that only work about 95% as good as they should (try modeling complicated piping with routing or make a large weldment with a big 3D sketch, it will start telling you things are over defined when they are not and then crash).

That’s probably more the CPU than the GPU (Solidworks is mostly single threaded). Most casual users won’t notice the graphics load much. When you start to see a significant difference in GPU is high part count assemblies, large multi-body parts, or high surface area parts. Try modeling a CPU air cooler exactly. All those fin surfaces will load most computers down just trying to rebuild and rotate the model.

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3900x and 6900xt. It’s an absolutely wild combo! Wanted the 6800xt but I saw the 6900xt in stock and just yoloed.

I’ve used a mix of Blender for 3D and LibreCAD. There are CUDA specific tools for simulations from air/fluid dynamics and other stuff… simulations do run nicely on a Jetson Xavier AGX. For noise level simulations there are some acoustic simulation toolkits out there too.

Professional CAD software have varying levels of stress testing simulation but from a cost angle its not ideal for hobbyist tasks as a subscription or license far exceeds your needs/cost ratio. (you can get by with developing your own opensource toolset)

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Yeah, that’s been my experience with their licensing. Luckily I have access to some licensing, but I’m still not sure if I’ll take advantage of it.