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Auggie
(@auggie)
Active Member
Recommended OS X 3D Design

Just finished assembling my new MK3S+ kit but now I need a good 3D program for designing my own projects.

What are the recommended programs for OS X?

TIA!

Posted : 03/01/2021 3:09 pm
Bill Marcy
(@bill-marcy)
Trusted Member
RE: Recommended OS X 3D Design

Looking forward to the answers myself.  In 40 years of computing, I have never had anything but Apple computers.    

Whatcha all got?

Posted : 03/01/2021 4:05 pm
bobstro
(@bobstro)
Illustrious Member
RE: Recommended OS X 3D Design

These days, the best software tends to be cross platform.

If you're designing functional objects, Fusion 360 is hard to beat. A personal license is free. You are restricted to a sunset of capabilities compared to a paid license, but it's still very powerful. It's excellent for parametric designs.

If you're designing organic objects, Blender is a 3D powerhouse that can be used for 3D rendering for films and animation, to modeling detailed minutes for 3D printing. 100% open source and free.

There are others such as FreeCAD that may be suitable for your needs as well. Lots of excellent options on Windows, MacOS, and Linux these days.

My notes and disclaimers on 3D printing and miscellaneous other tech projects
He is intelligent, but not experienced. His pattern indicates two dimensional thinking. -- Spock in Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan...
Posted : 03/01/2021 4:27 pm
Auggie
(@auggie)
Active Member
Topic starter answered:
RE: Recommended OS X 3D Design

Been an Apple guy since my parents got me a brand new Apple ][+ with lower case mod from a local authorized computer shop (no Apple Stores back then); I even have the original receipt from back in 1982, with the mind-boggling price (back then) of $1,902.70 for the ][+ with 48k RAM, 16k Language Card, 5-1/4" Disk ][ Drive, Apple Monitor III, Apple Writer II dot matrix printer, Monitor Stand, and AppleCare.

My brother was the first Mac-head in our household when he got a brand new Mac SE while in college.  I shortly followed with a Mac II and haven't looked back.

I currently have a pair of 2012 dual 3.46 cMP's (5,1, one standard Mac Pro and one original Mac Pro Server) and a 2015 MBP 15" Retina 11,5.

Been eye-balling the new 2019 7,1's but not sure if I'm ready to pull the trigger on that just yet...

I know SolidWorks on the Windows is the go-to standard for machine/laser-cutting shops and had to use that for my custom metal projects, but I want to stick to OS X for my personal 3D printing if possible...

Posted : 03/01/2021 4:34 pm
Nikolai
(@nikolai)
Noble Member
RE: Recommended OS X 3D Design

Blender can be also used for functional parts. Maker Tales is doing a great tutorial series:   https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PL6Fiih6ItYsXzUbBNz7-IvV7UJYHZzCdF

Also would like to add OpenSCAD.

Often linked posts:
Going small with MMU2
Real Multi Material
My prints on Instagram...
Posted : 03/01/2021 4:36 pm
Auggie
(@auggie)
Active Member
Topic starter answered:
RE: Recommended OS X 3D Design
Posted by: @bobstro

These days, the best software tends to be cross platform.

If you're designing functional objects, Fusion 360 is hard to beat. A personal license is free. You are restricted to a sunset of capabilities compared to a paid license, but it's still very powerful. It's excellent for parametric designs.

If you're designing organic objects, Blender is a 3D powerhouse that can be used for 3D rendering for films and animation, to modeling detailed minutes for 3D printing. 100% open source and free.

There are others such as FreeCAD that may be suitable for your needs as well. Lots of excellent options on Windows, MacOS, and Linux these days.

My initial purpose for delving into 3D printing is definitely in the functional department as I'm building custom automotive components for several projects of mine.  But afterwards, anything is possible.

I'll look into Fusion as a start.

I did dabble a little bit with FreeCAD when I was trying to do some initial conversions from SketchUp .skp files to SolidWorks .stl files, but found it... wanting.  SolidWorks is definitely a powerhouse with incredible tools for designing custom automotive parts; alas, only available for Windows.

Posted : 03/01/2021 4:47 pm
Auggie
(@auggie)
Active Member
Topic starter answered:
RE: Recommended OS X 3D Design
Posted by: @nikolai-3

Blender can be also used for functional parts. Maker Tales is doing a great tutorial series:   https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PL6Fiih6ItYsXzUbBNz7-IvV7UJYHZzCdF

Also would like to add OpenSCAD.

I've come across many references to Blender, so if this would be just as good for functional projects, then this may be the one I should look into...

Posted : 03/01/2021 4:54 pm
Diem
 Diem
(@diem)
Noble Member
RE: Recommended OS X 3D Design

@auggie

My go-to for custom marine components is OpenSCAD, it is a little daunting for a beginner but if you start with relatively simple shapes you'll quickly build expertise.  Open SCAD has a poor reputation with purist programmers but a couple of simple, pragmatic, workarounds make it a good tool.

Cheerio,

Posted : 03/01/2021 5:28 pm
Auggie
(@auggie)
Active Member
Topic starter answered:
RE: Recommended OS X 3D Design
Posted by: @diem

Open SCAD has a poor reputation with purist programmers but a couple of simple, pragmatic, workarounds make it a good tool.

Care to elaborate  on those pragmatic "workarounds" and in which context they would be utilized?  Nice to know in advance instead of learning the hardway and only after endless head-bashing moments discover one of those workarounds is in order! 😀

Posted : 03/01/2021 6:56 pm
bobstro
(@bobstro)
Illustrious Member
RE: Recommended OS X 3D Design
Posted by: @nikolai-3

Blender can be also used for functional parts. Maker Tales is doing a great tutorial series:   https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PL6Fiih6ItYsXzUbBNz7-IvV7UJYHZzCdF

I'm early in the process of teaching myself Blender. While I know you can do functional designs in Blender, I haven't seen anything equivalent to Fusion 360's parametric feature that allows me to type in a single change in a design's parameters (wall thickness for example) and have everything else automatically adjust. I'd be delighted to find out such a feature does exist in Blender, but for now, I'm assuming I'll want to keep both programs handy.

Thanks for the link. I've subscribed to the Maker Tales channel now.

My notes and disclaimers on 3D printing and miscellaneous other tech projects
He is intelligent, but not experienced. His pattern indicates two dimensional thinking. -- Spock in Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan...
Posted : 03/01/2021 7:04 pm
Nikolai
(@nikolai)
Noble Member
RE: Recommended OS X 3D Design

@bobstro

There are modifiers which gives you a little bit of non destructive options. But in general you‘re right. It‘s not parametric like Solidworks or F360.

Anyway after couple years with F360 it was never that easy like it sounds. Once one parameter is changed, it still broke something because one of the constraints was missing, or the angle was not right anymore. That‘s why I don‘t really miss this feature in Blender. My work flow is incremental anyway. I design, print, adjust and repeat. If you follow some rules, using modifiers (wall thickness can be done with Solidify for example ). Moving stuff is sometimes even easier in Blender because nothing else breaks.

After one year with Blender it does work for me. All the stuff I‘ve designed in F360, I can do in Blender now as fast as in F360. It‘s a different world which requires completely different thinking. But there are a lot of tutorials out there and it‘s still improving a lot (for example the boolean modifier most recently)

Often linked posts:
Going small with MMU2
Real Multi Material
My prints on Instagram...
Posted : 03/01/2021 8:16 pm
bobstro
(@bobstro)
Illustrious Member
RE: Recommended OS X 3D Design
Posted by: @nikolai-3

[...] Anyway after couple years with F360 it was never that easy like it sounds. Once one parameter is changed, it still broke something because one of the constraints was missing, or the angle was not right anymore.

Oh, agreed it's not trivial. I've learned that those lines in the drawing really do need to be black and everything constrained before getting too fancy. I keep trying to do too much in one sketch or component. I'm designing things like birdfeeders and storage solutions, so the ability to print, test, and tweak basic parameters is a big help. The threading tools are also excellent and I make a lot of use of those. Not that I couldn't do these in Blender, but I've got the hand of Fusion 360 for my needs.

That‘s why I don‘t really miss this feature in Blender. My work flow is incremental anyway. I design, print, adjust and repeat. If you follow some rules, using modifiers (wall thickness can be done with Solidify for example ). Moving stuff is sometimes even easier in Blender because nothing else breaks.

That's the appeal of Blender to me. It's more of a sculpting tool, so I'm hoping to just move things around until they look right -- no constraints to fuss with -- which makes a lot more sense for things like miniatures and sculpts. I used to draw and kitbash models incessantly as a kid, and I'm hoping to bring some of those old ideas to life now 45 years later!

After one year with Blender it does work for me. All the stuff I‘ve designed in F360, I can do in Blender now as fast as in F360. It‘s a different world which requires completely different thinking. But there are a lot of tutorials out there and it‘s still improving a lot (for example the boolean modifier most recently)

Thanks for that link. I hadn't seen Maker Tales before, and he seems to be focused on what I'm after. Watching part 4 now!

 

My notes and disclaimers on 3D printing and miscellaneous other tech projects
He is intelligent, but not experienced. His pattern indicates two dimensional thinking. -- Spock in Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan...
Posted : 03/01/2021 8:45 pm
Nikolai liked
Diem
 Diem
(@diem)
Noble Member
RE: Recommended OS X 3D Design

@auggie

Care to elaborate on those pragmatic "workarounds" and in which context they would be utilized?

The main in-OpenSCAD issue arises when computed differences (one shape cutting bits out of another) come to values that differ in the umpteenth decimal place leaving an impossible to print micro-thin, invisible, remnant. The workaround when this happens is to make the cut-out bigger than it needs to be so that it fully penetrates.

The other problem arises when you need to calculate iteratively, reassigning a value to a parameter.  OpenSCAD doesn't permit this.  Either recode as a function, or, my preference, use another programming language to do the calcs and then spit out the resulting OpenSCAD script; I use perl but any will do.

Cheerio,

Posted : 04/01/2021 1:09 am
raymate
(@raymate)
Estimable Member
RE: Recommended OS X 3D Design

I like to keep it simple I have been using TinkerCAD for almost two years

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Prusa Mini+ (Ordered Dec 19,2020 - Arrived Feb 21,2021) stated clicking Mar 2nd / MP Select Mini V2...
Posted : 10/01/2021 7:23 pm
Bill Marcy
(@bill-marcy)
Trusted Member
RE: Recommended OS X 3D Design

@raymate

Have you run into an 'showstopper' limitations with Tinkercad?

Posted : 10/01/2021 9:01 pm
raymate liked
raymate
(@raymate)
Estimable Member
RE: Recommended OS X 3D Design
Posted by: @bill-marcy

@raymate

Have you run into an 'showstopper' limitations with Tinkercad?

For me no, but Im sure more advanced users will be very quickly. The only thing I once tried to do but wasn't able to was make some gears. The only real limitation I found on one design it was very complex maybe 50+ objects making up the design and it was a little slow manipulating it. But for 95% of what I do its fine.

I was prepared to go Fusion 360 this year and even with the limitation the free version would be fine for me but they are going to make it 10.14 the minimum OS soon and I don't have any Mac hardware that can run above 10.13 so I would be screwed.  So until I get new Mac hardware im staying with TinkerCAD

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Prusa Mini+ (Ordered Dec 19,2020 - Arrived Feb 21,2021) stated clicking Mar 2nd / MP Select Mini V2...
Posted : 10/01/2021 10:19 pm
Auggie
(@auggie)
Active Member
Topic starter answered:
RE: Recommended OS X 3D Design

I've decided to start with Fusion 360 first, even though I will be using the limited "personal use" version.  Being a hobbyist, there is no way I will be paying the $332/yr subscription costs.  My current designs need precise dimensions so it seems F360 may be the best tool to start for me, though eventually I will try out Blender.

I tried FreeCAD some time ago in an attempt to convert my SketchUp designs into .stl format unsuccessfully, which machine shops needed them to be for their SolidWorks workflow, so my first impression wasn't positive.

TinkerCAD looks interesting, but as it's entirely web-based, I've passed on it for now.

OpenSCAD may allow the most precise designs as drawing is issued in "commands" with all measurements are entered numerically, but it may become too overwhelming for larger, complex designs.  As such, I prefer a traditional GUI in which I can manipulate the objects directly.

Coming from the easy-to-use (for me) Google SketchUp world, it is a steep learning curve learning the F360 interface: I need to actually watch demos just to get started...

Posted : 28/01/2021 8:46 pm
raymate liked
raymate
(@raymate)
Estimable Member
RE: Recommended OS X 3D Design

@auggie

Thanks for the constructive reply. I may give Fusion360 a go before they switch to 10.14 after that Im SOL. A long time ago I used sketchup but that seems to be a hassle to even download nowadays so ended up with TinkerCad

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Prusa Mini+ (Ordered Dec 19,2020 - Arrived Feb 21,2021) stated clicking Mar 2nd / MP Select Mini V2...
Posted : 28/01/2021 9:05 pm
Auggie
(@auggie)
Active Member
Topic starter answered:
RE: Recommended OS X 3D Design
Posted by: @raymate

@auggie

Thanks for the constructive reply. I may give Fusion360 a go before they switch to 10.14 after that Im SOL. A long time ago I used sketchup but that seems to be a hassle to even download nowadays so ended up with TinkerCad

I've been using SketchUp for many years now for my architectural and woodworking projects, but it can't natively output .stl files, which I've read is what the MK3's use.  There were many suggestions to convert .skp to .stl, such as using the aforementioned FreeCAD, but the machine shop I contracted with said the resulting files were no good in his SolidWorks and he ended up recreating my designs himself.  I wonder though, that even if it didn't load properly in SolidWorks, if the Sketchup->FreeCAD->.stl conversion process will work on an MK3; would save me a ton of countless hours learning F360.  At least, just to get my first urgent project done that I wanted done yesterday.

TinkerCAD does seem to have a nice, simpler interface, and if it wasn't web-based, I'd definitely be on it.

On my 2012 cMP, 10.14 is the highest officially supported by Apple, but there are enthusiasts who've provided tools to get Catalina and Big Sur to run on it, which I'm about to take the plunge as Mojave is getting a little long in the tooth for me.  I just upgraded my 2015 MBP from Catalina to Big Sur, and although 11.0 may appear to have a seemlingly simpler, colorful interface than before that some may find off-putting, it is the future of MacOS and I strive to be on the latest and greatest.

As the writing is on the wall for these still very capable 9-year old machines to be left in the dust by Apple, I will be grudgingly on the hunt for an uber-expensive 2019 Mac Pro in the next couple of months...

Posted : 28/01/2021 9:39 pm
Yveske
(@yveske)
Estimable Member
RE: Recommended OS X 3D Design

@auggie

I found this invaluable to learn the basics of Fusion:

Having problems with bed adhesion every morning......
Posted : 02/02/2021 6:54 am
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