The second program (or rather, programs) that we discussed in BUS 358 were CAD Programs. CAD stands for Computer-Aided Design and refers to the multitude of purchasable and free programs available online for drawing, designing, sketching, etc., 3D designs and printable objects/things.
We discussed many CAD Programs in class, including:
— 123D Design
— Google SketchUp (my personal favorite)
— Autodesk MYA
While all CAD Programs have the same basic idea – create things that you can print on a 3D printer – they all operate slightly (or largely) differently, which makes it interesting when you are trying to figure out which one is best suited to your needs, experience, and knowledge.
I downloaded all of the programs mentioned above and attempted to design the same thing on all of them – a coaster for a table – and realized pretty quickly that Google SketchUp was my favorite, as I found it to be the most intuitive and logical to me. I know that several of my classmates prefer 123D Design and Blender, but I just could not make myself like anything more than I liked SketchUp, and it became my poison of choice at some point shortly after my first independently-drawn project.
The important things to note with CAD Programs and the printers in the BUS 358 Lab (we’ll talk about the different printers in another post soon), is that you have to ensure that whatever you download from Thingiverse or design in a CAD Program is saved in .STL format in order to be compatible with the printing platforms we have access to.