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Just thinking with my typing fingers, but a zoom workshop/tutorial on using one of the free packages would be really handy.

If participants could be taken through the end-to-end process of designing and laying out something simple like a fold-up box, adding tabs, etc. by following along step-by-step somebody who was sharing their screen.

I'm not the person to run such a session, but I would be an eager participant.

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1 hour ago, Nick Mitchell said:

Just thinking with my typing fingers, but a zoom workshop/tutorial on using one of the free packages would be really handy.

If participants could be taken through the end-to-end process of designing and laying out something simple like a fold-up box, adding tabs, etc. by following along step-by-step somebody who was sharing their screen.

I'm not the person to run such a session, but I would be an eager participant.

 

Something for me to consider maybe. It is as much, if not more, about how to lay out as it is how to use the tool to draw it. 

 

46 minutes ago, Ian Morgan said:

Jerry, I am not sure any of the available packages include a 'tap it with a hammer' function that you might want to use. ;)

 

 

:jester: Hammers are for proper engineering. The skill is in where to tap and how hard :wink_mini:

Edited by richbrummitt
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1 hour ago, Nick Mitchell said:

Just thinking with my typing fingers, but a zoom workshop/tutorial on using one of the free packages would be really handy.

If participants could be taken through the end-to-end process of designing and laying out something simple like a fold-up box, adding tabs, etc. by following along step-by-step somebody who was sharing their screen.

I'm not the person to run such a session, but I would be an eager participant.

 

I would happily participate to such "webinar". I would kindly ask the tutor(s) if they would choose a free (as in free beer) and cross-platform software (I am using Linux but I am sure there are Mac users around and even more Windows users). LibreCAD meets these requirements and more - it's also Open Source.

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1 hour ago, richbrummitt said:

Something for me to consider maybe. It is as much, if not more, about how to lay out as it is how to use the tool to draw it. 

Laying the parts out on a fret to make the most economical use of the space can take as long as drawing up the parts in my experience!  One of the benefits of CAD is that you can change things around as much as you want without having to re-draw it.  Likewise fitting the frets (or individual items) onto a sheet for the etchers.

 

Jim (who's currently doing exactly that with window and door artwork.)

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24 minutes ago, Caley Jim said:

Laying the parts out on a fret to make the most economical use of the space can take as long as drawing up the parts in my experience!  One of the benefits of CAD is that you can change things around as much as you want without having to re-draw it.  Likewise fitting the frets (or individual items) onto a sheet for the etchers.

 

Jim (who's currently doing exactly that with window and door artwork.)

 

That is the most tedious part of the process. Once you get to that point the interesting design work is complete. I was thinking about the deconstructing of the net / folds within a particular component when I wrote 'how to lay out'. 

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3 hours ago, Nick Mitchell said:

Just thinking with my typing fingers, but a zoom workshop/tutorial on using one of the free packages would be really handy.

If participants could be taken through the end-to-end process of designing and laying out something simple like a fold-up box, adding tabs, etc. by following along step-by-step somebody who was sharing their screen.

I'm not the person to run such a session, but I would be an eager participant.

 

It sounds as though there are two separate subjects to cover;

i) use of one of the free CAD software packages to generate a drawing.

ii) once you've mastered the above, use of the software to design a simple etches as per Nick's suggestion above.

 

I think leaping straight into designing etches in one Zoom tutorial with attendees who haven't used the software much previously might be pushing it a bit, and splitting the subjects up should make it more manageable for online tutorials of say 60 mins to 90 mins duration.

 

Andy

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2 hours ago, richbrummitt said:

 

Something for me to consider maybe. It is as much, if not more, about how to lay out as it is how to use the tool to draw it. 

 

 

:jester: Hammers are for proper engineering. The skill is in where to tap and how hard :wink_mini:

 

Not forgetting which type of hammer to use.

 

Adrian

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I've used QCAD in the past when doing my first real attempt at producing etch artwork.  Adrian Cherry did a few online turorials for QCAD which were linked from Western Thunder here :

https://www.westernthunder.co.uk/index.php?threads/qcad-getting-started-guides.3454/ (not sure if you need to be a member on WT to follow that link though, sorry if you do).

 

Hopefully that might be useful.

Ian

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26 minutes ago, Ian Smith said:

not sure if you need to be a member on WT to follow that link though

It works, thanks!

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1 hour ago, 2mm Andy said:

It sounds as though there are two separate subjects to cover;

i) use of one of the free CAD software packages to generate a drawing.

ii) once you've mastered the above, use of the software to design a simple etches as per Nick's suggestion above.

Indeed!  You can't do the second until you have reasonable competence in the first.  You also have to be able to do a certain degree of 'mental origami' to figure out how to create what you want, especially if your designing things with multiple layers to be folded over on one another.  Some experience of assembling other peoples designs is useful as it can not only show you how to do it, but in some cases how things could be done better, or at least for easier assembly.  I don't claim to have totally mastered the latter!

 

Jim

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I've downloaded nanoCAD and had a brief play with it this evening. It has two things that I really wanted in my current tool that are not available when I selected. Some odd (to me) behaviour but that may be down to options I have not set. A lot still to explore but I can see me doing future work here rather than with the software I have been using. What I don't know until I try is how well it would convert into an etch. I've only had two issues with files sent to PPD in the past that have not been my fault and that is my minimum thickness has been optimistic and overlaid objects have been interpreted differently to how I imagined they might.

 

 

Edited by richbrummitt
The issues were actually my fault.
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I am using Fusion 360 despite the Web meltdown about Autodesk changing the parameters for hobbyists using the free version.  It hasn't made that much of an impact.

 

For me it has been a challenge particularly since I barely scrapped a pass in high school for tech drawing.  But on the other hand I have been able to reasonably master the program.  

 

There is a thousand and one tutorials on Youtube ranging from reasonable to bloody awlful.  Many rattle through the topic at the speed of light clicking there, here and everywhere leaving one totally bamboozled.

 

Best tutorial I have come across is Arnold Rowntree at https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=arnold+rowntree

 

He is a university lecturer in Engineering so he understands the learning process and takes it at  moderate pace so even I can follow.  Further, you can download the drawings before the tutorials so you can follow on.

 

Kind regards

Geoff

 

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16 hours ago, richbrummitt said:

I've downloaded nanoCAD and had a brief play with it this evening. It has two things that I really wanted in my current tool that are not available when I selected. Some odd (to me) behaviour but that may be down to options I have not set. A lot still to explore but I can see me doing future work here rather than with the software I have been using. What I don't know until I try is how well it would convert into an etch. I've only had two issues with files sent to PPD in the past that have not been my fault and that is my minimum thickness has been optimistic and overlaid objects have been interpreted differently to how I imagined they might.

 

 

 

I've just downloaded the free version of nanoCAD too, and have opened a file that i've previously sent to PPD for etching. It all seems to display as I expected, and the user interface is very similar to older versions of AutoCAD and Draftsight (which I used to use until they removed the free version). It can save files in dwg or dxf format, both of which PPD can use. I'll have a more detailed exploration of it later but it seems at first glance to be very suitable for etch design.

 

I'm not sure about using Fusion 360 for etch design. Most of the projects i've seen it used for are 3d objects (eg. the new range of 2FS loco wheels) and the tutorials all seem to be aimed at 3d design. Has anyone used it to produce etches?

 

Andy

 

 

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I too have just downloaded the free version of NanoCAD and , as @richbrummitt and @2mm Andy have said, it appears very much like the 2007 version of AutoCAD which I am using, having the same combined command line and pointer input.  Displays slightly differently and I now find that it has put the NanoCAD icon in front of all of my .dwg files instead of the AutoCAD one!  They still open with AutoCAD as default, though.

 

Jim

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The Leeds MRS guys seem to be mainly using Turbo-cad v.15 or Auto-cad LT but these are not free and have been sourced via their various businesses.

 

My main problem is me as I'm a bit of a computer dinosaur these days, quite capable of using them but hate them with a passion, so don't ..... however creating something useful like etched kits might just bring me back into the fold. (Hmmmm.)

 

Thanks,

Ian.

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I've been lurking on this thread since it started, I have been coming to the conclusion over recent months that I need to learn how to design my own etches. There are a couple of things putting me off though.

 

I spend my working life on a computer (albeit driving spreadsheets) and enjoy the "hands on" aspect of the hobby as a welcome relief. I don't want to spend my hobby time back on the computer (the irony that I am doing just that at as I type this is not lost on me. :unsure:)

 

I have used CAD packages, I did an AutoCAD course at work over a decade ago now and taught myself TurboCAD to create the drawings to get planning permission on our last house (also over a decade ago). The problem, as with most things, is that everyone has their own software recommendation, methods and preference so for a newbie, threads like this become very confusing with lots of conflicting advice (all well meaning).  The worry is investing time and effort learning what turns out to be sub-optimal or short lived software and techniques.

 

Picking up @Nick Mitchell point a series of tutorials would be very useful, it would create a cohort of new users who could support one another through the learning process and ultimately benefit the scale as more etches would become available for other modellers.

I would be happy to support such an initiative financially if required, maybe Missenden Abbey style course would be appropriate?

Edited by Argos
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13 hours ago, 03060 said:

The Leeds MRS guys seem to be mainly using Turbo-cad v.15 or Auto-cad LT but these are not free and have been sourced via their various businesses.

 

My main problem is me as I'm a bit of a computer dinosaur these days, quite capable of using them but hate them with a passion, so don't ..... however creating something useful like etched kits might just bring me back into the fold. (Hmmmm.)

 

Thanks,

Ian.

Turbocad seems to be about £40-£50 these days, not exactly expensive. I still mainly use v4 from the 1990s though.

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21 hours ago, 2mm Andy said:

 

I've just downloaded the free version of nanoCAD too, and have opened a file that i've previously sent to PPD for etching. It all seems to display as I expected, and the user interface is very similar to older versions of AutoCAD and Draftsight (which I used to use until they removed the free version). It can save files in dwg or dxf format, both of which PPD can use. I'll have a more detailed exploration of it later but it seems at first glance to be very suitable for etch design.

 

I'm not sure about using Fusion 360 for etch design. Most of the projects i've seen it used for are 3d objects (eg. the new range of 2FS loco wheels) and the tutorials all seem to be aimed at 3d design. Has anyone used it to produce etches?

 

Andy

 

 

 

I'm sure Fusion 360 can do 2D-CAD fine. And it can store parts and use parameters, both of which could be handy.

 

My main issue with it is that on my aged (but high quality) personal laptop it runs as slow as sin. It takes an age to start.

 

Chris

 

 

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19 hours ago, Chris Higgs said:

 

I'm sure Fusion 360 can do 2D-CAD fine. And it can store parts and use parameters, both of which could be handy.

 

My main issue with it is that on my aged (but high quality) personal laptop it runs as slow as sin. It takes an age to start.

 

Chris

 

 

 

I agree, I am no expert in Fusion 360 but I find it very slow. I once timed it at 5 1/2 minutes pause while it thought about creating an ellipse. Could be my computer I suppose, but I don't get anything like that in other programs I use (Designspark Mechanical, Blender and DoubleCAD). As far as 2D CAD is concerned, you doi seem to be able to export dxf files, but I have not found any way of creating layers within the drawing. Maybe it is hiding there somewhere..

 

Bill

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22 minutes ago, bill-lobb said:

 

I agree, I am no expert in Fusion 360 but I find it very slow. I once timed it at 5 1/2 minutes pause while it thought about creating an ellipse. Could be my computer I suppose, but I don't get anything like that in other programs I use (Designspark Mechanical, Blender and DoubleCAD). As far as 2D CAD is concerned, you doi seem to be able to export dxf files, but I have not found any way of creating layers within the drawing. Maybe it is hiding there somewhere..

 

Bill

I'd say its the computer!  I know a bloke out here who tried it, but found it far too slow on his computer - then a new computer and presto!

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2 hours ago, Sithlord75 said:

I'd say its the computer!  I know a bloke out here who tried it, but found it far too slow on his computer - then a new computer and presto!

 

If the software is free, but I have to purchase a new computer to run it, then it's not really free, is it?

 

Gonna stick with TurboCAD, which is still as quick as a spring chicken on my machine.

 

Chris

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I too found Fusion slow on my machine and will be sticking with AutoCAD meantime.  I have dipped my toe into 3D with it, but a lot of steep learning still to do there!

 

Jim

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1 hour ago, Chris Higgs said:

 

If the software is free, but I have to purchase a new computer to run it, then it's not really free, is it?

 

Gonna stick with TurboCAD, which is still as quick as a spring chicken on my machine.

 

Chris

That's fair - although in the example I referenced the computer was pretty old!  I needed to get a new one this year (the previous one being I think 5 years) and went for one which I could run AutoDesk Inventor on.  If I didn't need a new computer, I would have had to stick with doing it all at work as the old computer wasn't quick enough!

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