Mechanical CAD, Special Deals, and Me
When I look at my traffic stats, I see there’s a lot of interest in affordable mechanical CAD.Â I think that interest is good: I do not believe in pirating software, and I believe there is a place for affordable MCAD (and affordable CAM for desktop CNC machines), especially for personal use and as a tool for people who aren’t primarily mechanical designers.
I mainly plan on using Alibre and VX Innovator, and reporting my experiences here.Â They are somewhat complimentary; Alibre is a pretty standard history-based parametric modeler (with some nice features such as Acrobat 3D output), and VX is a hybrid modeler (solid and surface).
DoubleCAD looks very capable for 2D CAD, but I don’t expect to use it a lot.Â I mainly use it for viewing and experimenting with DXF files created by Eagle PCB.
I do like CoCreate PE, but don’t plan on using it much now that I have Alibre Design and VX Innovator.Â It’s limited to 60 parts per assembly, which I could easily exceed when modeling a PCB, and cannot export STEP files.Â PTC has offered some very big discounts in the past to upgrade to the full version, but the annual maintenanceÂ cost is way too high for my budget.
However, this is not a MCAD blog; my interest in still primarily in automation software and system integration (including PCBs).Â OK, I do plan on writing more, but mostly I want to write about my experiences with affordable MCAD.Â I do not have the time or interest to keep up with all the latest deals.Â But I still might mention deals or MCAD news occasionally.
If you want to keep up on the latest special offers, you should visit MCAD sites such as Deelip.com and World CAD Access.Â Also, if you register for the free versions (e.g. Alibre Design Xpress, CoCreate PE, DoubleCAD XT) you will receive e-mail offers.
Alibre has had a lot of good deals (maybe too many).Â I’m currently sticking with V11 because I haven’t used it enough, and the improvements in V12 aren’t compelling for my uses.
VX had another sale on VX Innovator around Christmas, but they aren’t as good at marketing as Alibre; if you’re interested in a deal on VX, you should check their web store frequently.
Kubotek has had some sales, too, such as Kubotek Spectrum for $99; current deals include $700 off KeyCreator.
My latest MCAD news is here.