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CAD Rant. Catch 22 situation.

  1. Nov 8, 2014 #1
    I guess this should go in this forum because I am out of school. Anyway I feel as I have a slight problem right now. I am 27 and have a BSME and a MSME but do not currently work in my field. I am lacking relevant work experience and didn't take advantage of certain things while in school. I am obviously looking to turn things around and really get into gear.

    So in the process of this I want to become familiar and proficient with some of the CAD programs available. Something more than a basic understanding. My problem is these programs are practically impossible to use when not at a university or job that has seats. Solidworks, AutoCAD Inventor, etc are thousands of dollars to buy. I have been looking into free programs but they are obviously either severely limited in use, not popular, or aren't actually free. I have been using rhinoceros but that is a 90 day trial before needing to buy a license.

    What am I supposed to do to get experience with these programs? I am not in school anymore and don't work at a job that uses them so I can't use them and learn them to get a job that uses them. Thanks
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 8, 2014 #2


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    Staff Emeritus
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    One would have to go to school (community college) and get access to a student version, and then ultimately buy a licensed copy. Otherwise, one has to be employed by a company, which purchases a licensed version, which is restricted to a given computer.

    There are cheap sketching type programs by SolidWorks, AutoCAD or Pro/Engineer are about the main commercial apps, and the professional versions are expensive. I think there are limited/cheap versions such as AutoCAD-Lite.

    Those who are interested in setting up solid models for FEA may bypass CAD programs and use something like FEMap

    No endorsement expressed or implied.
  4. Nov 18, 2014 #3
    You can download trial versions to play with for a month (3D Studio, Maya, Modo). My recommendation would be to download as many free Youtube tutorials as possible, watch them, figure out how to use them, and then try and build up a showreel. You can also pay for a monthly license, around £200.
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