Computer-aided design and manufacturing
CAD and CAM are the central elements of digital design and fabrication. This short page mainly includes software links.
“Computer-aided design (CAD) is the use of computer technology for the design of objects, real or virtual. The design of geometric models for object shapes, in particular, is often called computer-aided geometric design (CAGD).” (Wikipedia, retrieved 16:43, 24 June 2009 (UTC)).
“Computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) is the use of computer-based software tools that assist engineers and machinists in manufacturing or prototyping product components. Its primary purpose is to create a faster production process and components with more precise dimensions and material consistency, which in some cases, uses only the required amount of raw material (thus minimizing waste), while simultaneously reducing energy consumption. CAM is a programming tool that makes it possible to manufacture physical models using computer-aided design (CAD) programs” Wikipedia, retrieved 16:43, 24 June 2009 (UTC).
- Fab labs (machines that build designs). The purpose of this entry is provide some background information about CAD/CAM formats and software that could be useful for building things in a (larger) educational context with fabbers (low cost 3D printers).
- 3D printing, an overview of "home" printing with cheap opensource or commercial additive printers.
- RapMan, a cheap low-end 3D printer
- 3D modeling
- Computer-controlled embroidery and sewing
2 File formats
See 3D file formats for a more systematic list of 3D modeling and CAD file formats.
- 3D Computer Modeling
- Models can be built in various formats, such as RIB, DXF, 3DM, 3DMF, OBJ, X3D. For many fabbers, they then must be exported as .STL file,
- The .STL format
- The STL format is an interchange format for 3D models. It describes a raw unstructured triangulated surface of an object and is widely used for rapid prototyping and computer-aided manufacturing.
- Polygon File Format or the Stanford Triangle Format. (.PLY)
- CAD standards
- See CAD standards (Wikipedia).
3.1 Free CAD software
- OpenScad is a programming language' for creating solid 3D CAD objects. It is free software and available for Linux/UNIX, MS Windows and Apples OS X. Something like a 3D-compiler that reads in a script file that describes the object and renders the 3D model from this script file. See also OpenScad beginners tutorial
- Open Cascade
- CoCreate Modeling Personal Edition. This program has amazing features and is (probably) fairly easy to learn. The software includes built-in tutorials that you can also download. Also get the 2-page quickreference card. (ok oct. 2010)
- FreeCAD is a general purpose 3D CAD modeler.
- FreeCAD (Wikipedia)
- Autodesk 123 as of oct. 2011/july 2012 is public beta and free and it targets the "home/hobby" user market. As of July 2012 it includes 4 software packages:
- 123D: 3D CAD modeling tool
- 123D Catch: Transform 2D pictures into a 3D model
- 123D Sculpt: A sculpting tool for the iPad.
- 123D Make: Transforms 3D models into a pattern for assembly (e.g. use it with a laser cutter)
- DesignSpark (Mechanical). Free software with commercial add-ons. Seems to be popular in some Fablab communities. Claims to be easy to use (not yet tested).
- GravitySketch is a 3D sketching software. As of April 2016 available as IOS application. Android and Desktop versions are in the making.
- Free 2D CAD Software
3.2 Online CAD design services
- Tinkercad allows to create 3D printable objects online. Exports to the STL file format. Needs WebGL (recent browsers!). Requires to take an Autodesk login plus some sort of OpenID login (Facebook, Google, ...)
- Vectary. Similar to Tinkercad.
- ShapeSmith allows to create 3D printable objects online. Editing objects is fairly difficult (unpredictable) as of oct. 2014. This software is opensource and can be installed on your own server.
- 3DTin allows to create 3D printable objects online. Exports to the STL file format Needs WebGL (recent browsers!)
3.3 Free multi-purpose modelling software
- Ayam,a free 3D modelling environment for the RenderMan interface.
- Blender, a free open source 3D content creation suite.
- Caligary, is a free 3D computer graphics and animation software.
- Art of Illusion is a free, open source 3D modelling and rendering studio.
- SolidView light is a free program with support for SFX, STL, SolidWorks, VRML, and OBJ CAD files. I.e. it can be used to look at STL files.
- Pleasant3D Visualization of STL plus minor editing in order to be printable on MakerBots/Rapmans: Move, rotate, resize.
3.5 Cheap CAD software
- Cubify software: Invent, design and sculpt. Specially made for home 3D printing.
- Alibre Design ($97 for the standard edition, free trial)
3.6 3D modelers (like Blender, Art of Illusion, etc.)
- See 3D modeling.
See 3D assets
- General and links of links
- Useful Software Packages (RepRap Wiki)
- Computer-aided design (Wikipedia)
- Computer-aided manufacturing (Wikipedia)
- CAD standards (Wikipedia)
- 3D computer graphics software (Wikipedia)
- Comparison of 3D computer graphics software (Wikipedia)
- Electronic design automation (Wikipedia)
- Comparison of CAD editors for CAM
- computer numerical control (CNC), CNC Concepts, Inc., see e.g. the links section.
- Fab@Home Design Tools Page