A few days ago I was lucky enough to be given a copy of the Cubify Invent 3D CAD software to try out.
I’m pretty familiar with a variety of CAD packages (Creo2, Inventor, 123D Design, Sketchup and some iPad apps too) so trying this out didn’t pose too many challenges.
The program size is pretty small to download so I wasn’t expecting too much sophistication in the program. But how wrong could I be?… having tinkered around a bit and created a few objects I’m pretty impressed. Ok it doesn’t have the full feature set of one of the full CAD packages but virtually everything you need to create objects for 3D printing can be found in it…. my only problems were with manipulating the objects on-screen, all the CAD packages behave slightly differently, so for example to “orbit” the object I have to remember to press both mouse buttons whilst moving it (in other programs it might be right drag, middle click and drag or shift and drag… or should that be ctrl???)
The whole feel of the program is clean and uncluttered and like so many programs involves a work area, a part/feature explorer or tree and dynamic ribbons/menus. Like most CAD programs objects are created by extruding, revolving, sweeping or lofting with similar features to remove material from the shapes… so again I found myself well along the learning curve.
OK, so I found that I could get along quite nicely with Cubify Invent but I did wonder how a complete novice or student might find it. I explored the built-in help file…. seemed to be a good starting place, but then I found the tutorials and found these to be excellent and pitched at just the right level. And the online videos on Cubify.com are excellent too. Anyone who has dabbled a bit with sketchup or 123D Design will be up and running very quickly.
I can’t help feeling that 3DS have just about got the balance right between the simplicity of use and the powerful features to create objects for 3D printing. As mentioned before there are some bits “missing” such as the ability to create “assemblies” of objects, but for the vast majority of school/home/small business users the program is absolutely ideal for pairing up with a RapMan, 3D Touch, Cube or Cubex 3D printer.
And at $49 (£31 approx) it looks to be fantastic value. If you don’t want to commit straight away you can download a 14 day trial.
More details click here