3D Printing and CAD for Robotics

  • #1

Main Question or Discussion Point

Hello!

First post here at the forum. I am a member of the underwater robotics team at my school, and I have been put in charge of building the arm. I won't get too specific about the design of it, but it will include gears, motors, and stuff in between. Luckily enough, my school owns a 3D printer that I can use. My supervisor told me that a good place to start would be to design the arm in a CAD program, and then print each piece of that design with the printer. So I got Autodesk AutoCAD, which is the most complicated program I have ever used. Is it even the right program to use for this project? I also noticed an Autodesk program called "Inventor", and another called "AutoCAD Mechanical", both of which seem like they may also be able to do what I need. I am really lost here; should I be using any of these programs? And if so, could anyone maybe point me to a tutorial specific to my project? I tried a couple of more general tutorials, but they were either too simple (explaining the user interface) or too advanced (stuff I have never heard of and which do not apply to my needs). The reason why I don't want to simply use a 3D modeling program like Blender is because I know that many CAD programs can run simulations of your design, which would be of great use to me, as I need to know if the gears are placed correctly, are the right size, etc., before I go ahead and print all the pieces. Does anyone have any suggestions as to where I should start with this project? I don't even know what software to use. ANY help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
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I am not much of a CAD person myself but several of my friends use ProEngineer at my university. I have seen them do some pretty cool animations and stress analyses using this program. It might be something worth looking into.
 
  • #3
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ProE is good. Solidworks has some nice tools. Some of our engineers use Siemens/UGS software. Most of the better CAD companies make moduals for doing 3D modeling including animation and stress analysis. However, they are a lot more expensive than the basic software you are looking at right now. Definately worth looking into if you are looking to do this for a living.
 

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