Can anyone recommend a very user friendly (preferably free or shareware) CAD program for MAC (10.5.8, non intel)?
December 23, 2010 1:24 PM   Subscribe

Can anyone recommend a very user friendly (preferably free or shareware) CAD program for MAC (10.5.8, non intel)?

I tried using BRL-CAD, but it's been years (ok, well over a decade) since I used command line interface, and I'd prefer not to spend 6 months re-learning the basics...

I need it to be able to create (or convert to) .STL files.

I will be creating simple 3-d models for short production runs.

I know how to use Illustrator, so if something had a similar interface, that would help my lower my learning curve.
posted by getupandgo to Computers & Internet (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
I know Google Sketchup can convert .stl files. I'm not sure if that's a plugin in the free version or full version though. Sketchup works on Mac right?
posted by sanka at 1:26 PM on December 23, 2010


If it's a one-off sort of thing, AutoCad 2011 for Mac has a free 30-day trial.
posted by Oktober at 1:32 PM on December 23, 2010


You'll need an Intel chip for AutoCAD for Mac.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:44 PM on December 23, 2010


Actual CAD, or basic 3d modeling? AC3D is pretty decent for it's cost.
posted by kaszeta at 1:58 PM on December 23, 2010


In addition to Sketchup, I know some people use 3D-graphics programs like Blender or Art of Illusion for things like reprap/makerbot modeling; if you're used to Illustrator, they might have a more familiar approach than BRLCAD? (I, otoh, haven't used Illustrator in a decade+, so…)
posted by hattifattener at 2:04 PM on December 23, 2010


Best answer: While they are developing, Rhino is offering OSX users free downloads of their works in progress.

http://mac.rhino3d.com/

I don't know if it suits your definition of user friendly, but it's a wonderful piece of CAD software; and there are tons of great tutorials and help on the web. Starting here: http://www.rhino3d.com/4/help/rhinov4.htm
posted by goodsignal at 2:13 PM on December 23, 2010


A bit of an off-beat suggestion, but Blender is open source (free), will import and export STL, and works on PPC Mac OS X. Tutorials and reference materials are available here.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:33 PM on December 23, 2010


Response by poster: It doesn't look like Blender can export an .STL file, unless I'm missing something.

Sketchup doesn't support PPC.

Rhino3d looks like it might be my answer... I'm going to fool around with it tonight a bit, but it seems to have all the functionality that I need, and the interface is pretty straight forward.
posted by getupandgo at 6:10 PM on December 23, 2010


Rhino is super powerful and easy to learn/use. And it has specific tools to check/fix potential STL errors.
posted by signal at 4:41 AM on December 24, 2010


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