there is a simple free one from emachineshop.com there are also a couple of free 3d modeling programs that will do drawings and export dxf files, one is alibre.
I'm a newb at this stuff, and I know its probably an oxymoron, but anyway, I'm looking for a CAD program thats easy to use, and cost effective, that will help in the design of some parts, and tooling. It has to have the ability to SAVE what I'm working on, and a big plus would be the ability to convert from the CAD image to G-Code or such. Is there anything out there that fits the bill? Thanks!!
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Personally, I used Solid Edge or Solid Works for my CAD stuff. Solid Works is probably a little more common, though. It will take a little learning to begin with, but you can keep it as simple as you want in the beginning and move up from there. It has the capability of doing some pretty extensive stuff too. In addition, they both have lots of tutorials that walk you through the design process, tools, icons, etc. I'm pretty certain you can convert your files to formats that can be used for CNC applications.
im not sure if solid works wiil convert to g-code we use mastercam to convert to g from solid works
I have turbo cad deluxe but i am still learning to use it. it was under $100
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I have to second what Bert01 said. We also use Solidworks for design but use MasterCam for our manufacturing operations, aka G-code. I believe that Solidworks has/had an add on module that can do the CAM part but not sure if they still offer it and it wasn't inexpensive.
One thing I would like to warn you on is that all g-code is not the same. It has to be written for the machine tool that you going to use. You can't take a program that has been postprocessed for a Haas and send it to a Fadal or Mazak for example. While it's all g-code there are slight differences between the manufacturers and they are not usually interchangable. The program must be written for that particular machine controller. From my experience most CAM software is equally expensive as the design software. One seat of MasterCam is roughly the same as one seat of Solidworks and neither is cheap.
I don't mean to discourage you but that's been my experience in using both. There are some lower cost CAD packages but they usually don't include a CAM package that will do much.
I hope this saves you some pain down the road. Let us know how you make out.