Design Tools


Jim Watson
September 23, 2008, 10:26 AM
A possible approach for posters wanting to design their own guns, ammo, etc without the cost of AutoCAD. I am not a design engineer, evaluate for yourself. I do not see the computer capacity requirements, although there are Windows, Mac, and Linux versions.

From Jerry Pournelle's site:

CNU Update: Bricks 'N Mortar AutoCAD 2008; A Second Derivative Ripoff

I spent 15 minutes of break time looking at BRL-CAD some more. Still being supported by the US Army Ballistic Research Laboratory , professional level documentation and programming continuing to be done under government contract.

Started circa 1977. Supports many more file formats for import and export than AutoCad does. Full 3D, rendering capabilities, advanced simulation and signal processing modules to merge into finite element analysis...

100% free to the public in fully functional form. Download, install, learn, use indefinitely.

otoh we have AutoCAD 2008. Student materials were the semi-standard $200. And that provides a time limited student license that also watermarks printed drawings as "Educational". Following graduation, pony up several thou$and more to license one seat with a commercial version.

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September 23, 2008, 10:30 AM
Most excellent Mr. Watson, thanks for posting that!


September 23, 2008, 10:34 AM
Look at SolidWorks Professional. It will do modeling, animation, FEA. It's not free, but the student version works for 180 days.

I use SolidWorks here at work and trained with it in engineering school. I like it plenty.

Jim Watson
September 23, 2008, 12:08 PM
Heck, Nolo has been dreaming for longer than that.

September 23, 2008, 12:10 PM
Autocad is, at best, third tier for mechanical design.

If you wanna do architecture, OTOH...

September 23, 2008, 12:15 PM
A single seat of Solidworks Professional is going to run you roughly $7500 (includes a 1 year service agreement - software updates, phone support, etc).

September 23, 2008, 01:45 PM
true, but the student edition is available for free from pretty much any local college. Also, it might not be a bad idea to sign up for a class at a community college, then obtain the software through the class. In terms of development costs for a new weapon, I would think that $7500 would be a drop in the bucket, and easily jutifiable as a business expense.

For the home user, do this; email and request a student copy, just make sure to state that you're a student and would like to try Solidworks.

September 24, 2008, 09:42 AM
ok, I downloaded BRL-CAD and played with it for a few minutes. It's basically a Boolean solid modeler, driven by command line. (i.e. rather than dragging, dropping and stretching a sphere, you type "sphere, radius 5, x 0, y 0, z 0" )

it doesn't generate prints, but it does seem to have a pretty capable ray tracer.

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