Discussion Learning CAD

jefflongo

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I've been thinking for my next portable I'd really like to create a fully custom case. With the amazing work I've seen by people like @Downing , @GingerOfOz , and @Bill Paxton , just to name a few, I've been pretty inspired. However, I do not own a 3d printer and have zero experience with 3d printing or 3d design.

That being said, I'm very interested and willing to invest time to learn but I don't know where to start. I will be attending UCSB this fall so there might be a 3d printer I can access there but perhaps in the future I'll invest into buying/building one if I did some research on what is quality to buy.

What software would be good for me to start with (hopefully free or at least free for students)? What are some tips that you guys have learned on the way that would be beneficial for me to know? How did you guys get started learning? Do you all own printers or do you print somewhere else? What are the pros and cons to 3d printing versus other methods? Where is a good place for me to start learning? And videos to watch/tutorials to follow?

Sorry for all the questions, I just have zero experience in this and am really interested in learning this not just for portablizing but for myself. I want to create something similar to @Air Conditioner 's Dolphin Boy 2 and it seems like it would be a lot of fun. I'm hoping this thread will help other people like me get introduced into CAD as well!
 
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GingerOfOz

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I like 3D printing because I suck at art-like things. I can't draw a circle to save my life. I know that anything I frankencase would turn out looking like trash, so I have a robot do it for me.

As for software, I use Autodesk Inventor, because I was taught it my Freshman year. It's not the easiest thing to learn and it looks super confusing, but in reality there are only like 6 tools I ever use. I could make a quick and basic guide on those things if you'd like.

Autodesk is free if you're a student, which is also really nice.
 

jefflongo

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I like 3D printing because I suck at art-like things. I can't draw a circle to save my life. I know that anything I frankencase would turn out looking like trash, so I have a robot do it for me.

As for software, I use Autodesk Inventor, because I was taught it my Freshman year. It's not the easiest thing to learn and it looks super confusing, but in reality there are only like 6 tools I ever use. I could make a quick and basic guide on those things if you'd like.

Autodesk is free if you're a student, which is also really nice.
Yeah I would very much appreciate a tutorial! I'll give it a download when I get home!
 

Doom

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TinkerCAD is free and has many picture and video tutorials
 

jefflongo

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So assuming I can figure out how to construct shapes and use the tools, what are some of the nuanced things I need to know? For example I read in different thread to print the screen bezel separately so there's a flat surface for the printer.
 

Matthew

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Tinkercad is a good tool to start in (it's what I started in) but if you are serious about mastering CAD, then I would recommend Solidworks ( Autodesk Inventor is very similar) IMO Solidworks has a nicer interface, much more intuitive than Inventor plus it's the industry standard for CAD. It can be pricey (150 a year for a license) but you can usually get a free license from your school.

So I would start off in Tinkercad to kinda get an idea of cad and the process of it and then turn to solidworks when you get to school.

That's just my thoughts though, there are plenty of resources out there for whatever you decide.
 

jefflongo

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Tinkercad is a good tool to start in (it's what I started in) but if you are serious about mastering CAD, then I would recommend Solidworks ( Autodesk Inventor is very similar) IMO Solidworks has a nicer interface, much more intuitive than Inventor plus it's the industry standard for CAD. It can be pricey (150 a year for a license) but you can usually get a free license from your school.

So I would start off in Tinkercad to kinda get an idea of cad and the process of it and then turn to solidworks when you get to school.

That's just my thoughts though, there are plenty of resources out there for whatever you decide.
I'm not too concerned about the software, I've seen some good recommendations and I'll try them out. What do I need to know to start designing a case (not in terms of using the software)?
 

Matthew

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The advice I would give is: Measure. Use Calipers so you can be really accurate. Also I really like to make models of everything that is going to go into my portable. That way I can see how it will all fit together and make sure that I have enough space for everything. The best part about doing this is that you can always reuse your models later. It's a bit more time in the beginning but can really pay off in the end. Not to mention that you are much more likely to have everything fit the first time so you don't have to print off a billion tests prints to get everything right.

Some other things about designing cases is understanding how a 3d printer is going to print it. You need to be careful of overhangs, gaps and thin walls, to name a few.

If you like, I'm willing to print it off for you, but I can also slice the model and see how a 3d printer would print it and give you some feedback on it.
 

jefflongo

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The advice I would give is: Measure. Use Calipers so you can be really accurate. Also I really like to make models of everything that is going to go into my portable. That way I can see how it will all fit together and make sure that I have enough space for everything. The best part about doing this is that you can always reuse your models later. It's a bit more time in the beginning but can really pay off in the end. Not to mention that you are much more likely to have everything fit the first time so you don't have to print off a billion tests prints to get everything right.

Some other things about designing cases is understanding how a 3d printer is going to print it. You need to be careful of overhangs, gaps and thin walls, to name a few.

If you like, I'm willing to print it off for you, but I can also slice the model and see how a 3d printer would print it and give you some feedback on it.
Really helpful answer. Thanks! When I start designing I'll ask for some feedback :)
 
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