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leeA7  
#1 Posted : Friday, October 16, 2020 7:48:54 AM(UTC)
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What can ViaCAD do better than FreeCAD. I did the think the answer would be "shedloads". But reading through the comments on different subjects I am not so sure. I am not in the position to pay $199 for a programme that isn't that much better than FreeCAD. Am I wrong?
For those of you who haven't tried FreeCAD, it could annoy the socks of you, until you realize that is completely free and maintained by a group of volunteers. If I can upload some images they show a half scale model of a 1930 Austin Seven engine block I drew in FreeCAD.

Edited by user Friday, October 16, 2020 7:50:40 AM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

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murray  
#2 Posted : Saturday, October 17, 2020 8:04:27 AM(UTC)
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Only you can answer that for you because only you know your context. The base model of ViaCAD doesn't have a solid modelling kernel anymore, which has ramifications for even semi-professional work, but it's a better mesh modeller and better for modifying mesh models for 3D printing than FC.
lightbulbjim  
#3 Posted : Saturday, October 17, 2020 5:16:19 PM(UTC)
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I think it's mainly down to workflow. FreeCAD forces you to do things in a particular order or you quickly encounter its sharp edges. Some of the nuances are annoyingly subtle, the classic example being bodies created in part vs part design.

Via/Shark feels much more flexible and low stress to me (caveat being that I'm not a pro, I'm just using it to conceptualise/plan out household projects for now). I can quickly rough something out and then add fidelity and details as needed. The downside of that flexibility is that some of the model management features are less automatic, for example you end up doing your own layer management. And the entity tree, while being theoretically quite powerful, isn't as nice to use as FreeCAD's feature tree IMO.

In terms of feature differences, FreeCAD has FEM which is actually pretty decent. It also has raytracing, but ViaCAD gives you quick and easy photo rendering when you need it. ViaCAD also has a few more import/export options, especially once you get to Shark/Shark Pro, but that's probably not important for most hobbyists. A big plus for FreeCAD is its scriptability. Having an always-on Python console is really nice.

Personally I find FreeCAD to be quite intimidating for day to day tasks. I know it can do a lot of things, but I feel like if step off a well-trodden path then my model is going to explode. Admittedly the newer versions are getting better in this regard, and 0.20 looks to be quite promising if the topographical naming fixes make it in.

I have high hopes for FreeCAD (especially now that the Fusion 360 honeymoon is over) but generally find myself reaching for Shark first.

Edited by user Saturday, October 17, 2020 11:26:48 PM(UTC)  | Reason: grammer

ctkjose  
#4 Posted : Saturday, October 17, 2020 8:16:08 PM(UTC)
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I started with VC 9 which I got on the Apple Store for $159.99 in 2015, from there my next update was forced by incompatibilities with new versions of MacOS. From V10 to V12 I just wanted the new features. So I have paid like in $559.97 so far. I still find it worth it.

I like to use solid modeling and not really a fan to work with meshes, specially meshes imported (like stl, etc) where I don't have a 2D geometry to edit them. Yet seems like more mesh features keep coming to VC. In VC is so easy to model things mainly with the mouse and some keyboard input.

I do CNC and 3D printing stuff (not a super user), and I have used a lot of apps, I have Fusion360 (hobby), I spent a lot of time in FreeCAD, and I still find my self going to ViaCAD for almost every project. I find it so easy and my ideas flow naturally, in FreeCad I get annoying with all the switching between modes.

When I started I manage to figure out ViaCAD just by playing around, in FreeCAD, is not only the interface is so intimidating but it is actually hard to figure things out without watching YouTube videos. So I have to put a lot of effort to get good at FreeCAD, when ViaCAD 9 stop working on the new release of MacOS I jumped on FreeCAD full-time and it was not fun or exciting.

You can do stuff, and I guess the more proficient you become the better it gets but ViaCAD is a breeze compared to FreeCAD specially at its price point. One thing I love in ViaCAD es getting a 2D geometry from an imported STL, I use it all the time to remix things I get from the internet.

murray  
#5 Posted : Sunday, October 18, 2020 4:35:22 PM(UTC)
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VC 2D3D doesn't have ACIS anymore, it's not a solid modeller. No blending, shelling, physics, or even STEP or IGES exchange, so downgraded recently for professional capacity IMO, but it does now have constraints, which is weirdly at odds with that.
creativecad  
#6 Posted : Saturday, October 24, 2020 6:36:43 AM(UTC)
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I've been playing with ViaCad on the side for years. At my shop, I have been using AutoCad 2004 lt.

We tried ViaCad v8 at my shop, but it was very buggy causing many issues. My boss did not want to try it again.

I have been pleased with v9 and v10 at home, but I have not yet been able to produce shop drawings any faster than AutoCad 2004 lt.(I have AutoCad setup to produce pretty fast)

Well, I've tried the trial of ViaCad v12. Using the constraints (along with the many other features) enables me to produce shop drawings much faster. We will be purchasing for my shop! I think the 3d will be a huge asset as well.
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leeA7  
#7 Posted : Saturday, October 24, 2020 8:38:49 AM(UTC)
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Thanks for the replies. I am still undecided about ViaCAD. I have watched a youtuber called Myfordboy using it for his 3D printing. It is tempting. I have found version 9 for sale on ebay, but I am not a fan of ebay and am reluctant to buy from it. Would version 12 produce models like the ones above? Lee.
murray  
#8 Posted : Saturday, October 24, 2020 3:50:23 PM(UTC)
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Not VC 2D3D V12, because it doesn't have ACIS kernel. No shelling, blending, physics, IGES or STEP interop, or other capabilities. CAD modelling without a solid kernel is pretty limited in comparison to having one, even if the kernel UI isn't sublime.
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GARLIC on 10/24/2020(UTC), MPSchmied on 10/25/2020(UTC)
creativecad  
#9 Posted : Saturday, October 24, 2020 10:09:31 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: murray Go to Quoted Post
Not VC 2D3D V12, because it doesn't have ACIS kernel. No shelling, blending, physics, IGES or STEP interop, or other capabilities. CAD modelling without a solid kernel is pretty limited in comparison to having one, even if the kernel UI isn't sublime.


I have never done the kind of drawings leeA7 is doing so forgive me if I am ignorant here, but according to the punchcad website comparison chart, ViaCad 2d/3d does have ACIS kernel, and it can do shelling and blending, and it does have the IGES and STEP translator.

The ViaCAD 2d is the only one that does not have those abilities.

https://www.punchcad.com/product-line-comparison
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murray  
#10 Posted : Saturday, October 24, 2020 10:39:31 PM(UTC)
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2D3D had ACIS up to V10, you might be referring to the older charts, V11 and V12 don't. The pages you link to have no mention of ACIS, STEP, IGES or .sat interop, shelling or blending for 2D3D. In that respect, V11 and V12 have been downgrades. The VC 2D3D V5 that I got into PunchCAD with 13 years ago had them, when FreeCAD couldn't do what LeeA7 is doing with later versions. This is the current state of play: https://www.punchcad.com/punch-viacad-2d-3d-v12

In fact, the product line comparison you've linked to is outright BS WR to ACIS features for VC 2D3D. IMSI should be ashamed, it exposes them to misreprentation too.

Edited by user Saturday, October 24, 2020 10:50:37 PM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

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GARLIC on 10/25/2020(UTC)
creativecad  
#11 Posted : Sunday, October 25, 2020 6:00:10 AM(UTC)
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https://www.punchcad.com/punch-viacad-2d-3d-v12

Here it mentions only ViaCad pro as having some of the features. No mention here of Acis.

Hit the compare tab towards the bottom.

Edited by user Sunday, October 25, 2020 6:02:08 AM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

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creativecad  
#12 Posted : Sunday, October 25, 2020 2:07:48 PM(UTC)
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I have the Viacad pro v12 trial version. I thought I would try it out.
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creativecad  
#13 Posted : Sunday, October 25, 2020 2:15:59 PM(UTC)
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That said, I am glad you said something about it because now I am realizing the non-pro version may not do what I want.
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leeA7  
#14 Posted : Tuesday, October 27, 2020 2:28:16 PM(UTC)
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It looks as though ViaCAD v12 is not for me. It doesn't make sense to spend that sort of money ($199). I will hunt around for v9, or stick with FreeCAD. I still have some hair I can pull out when it goes wrong!
Lee
creativecad  
#15 Posted : Tuesday, October 27, 2020 10:58:48 PM(UTC)
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I tried freecad a little bit, but it was too difficult for me to navigate. ViaCad is easy most of the time. I believe Murray must be correct concerning the version you are looking at.

It confused me because that link I first shared does say that non Pro has Acis. On my computer, I had to hover my mouse over the feature list. Only then can you scroll down to see everything.

But I believe that feature list must not be updated. The other link is most likely the correct list.

Personally, I would highly recommend ViaCad. It is fun and easy to use and has a lot of nice features if you ever have some spare time to try it in the future. Some features are behind the times, other features are ahead of the times.

You can email them for a free trial. You might want to contact punchcad and double check the capabilities before you purchased. Also you might should check if a used version can be reinstalled on your computer. I am not sure that it can.
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leeA7  
#16 Posted : Wednesday, October 28, 2020 5:35:03 PM(UTC)
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I did download the free trial a few weeks ago. Unfortunately it was the pro version (the only only one that can be downloaded). So I didn't get to try the version I would have been interested in buying. The trial period was only one week, not long enough to get the feel of the programme. I think I will give ViaCAD a miss. Thanks to all who have answered.
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