The easiest CAD software for a newbie is...

What is the easiest cad software to use for a complete beginner? I need to create some working drawings to mill parts. I have to create parts I can carve. These are interlocking parts that look like the picture.[attachment file=111282]

I’d just use Tinkercad, then export to stl.

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I draw in Autocad Architecture because I have it, I am used to it, and have been drawing in Autocad since back in DOS Days. That being said if I was presented with the task to draw those parts, and produce drawings as well as carve them, I would probably use Fusion 360. I am finding that the more I uses Fusion 360 the more I think it is better suited for use for this kind of thing. I am really thinking it will also be ideal for Assembly drawings. Just my opinion.

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I did a search on the subject about 3 years ago and found a few sources that said is the easiest CAD for a beginner. It is a web based program that you run in a browser. It is free as long as you don’t mind your work being public domain. You would watch a single training video on how to create Sketches then export them as … What are they called DXF files? That is assuming you need 2D drawings that you would later use a CAM program to cut from.

I have managed to do a lot and learn a lot in They have great tutorials and are easy to learn. I am now trying to switch to Fusion 360 because I want to get more advanced and I want to work on things that are not public. But OnShape has been a great beginner tool for me.

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I just tried Tinkercad. Made one drawing. How to export it into Aspire and turn it into a usable file is what I’m struggling with. Tinkercad was really easy once I figured it out.

I tried Fusion 360 several times but in was OnShape that allowed me to really get into 3D modeling. That all your files are open and none your files can be used for commercial purposes is a pretty big drawback to the free use. Then the CAM side of things requires a purchase, unless you do something simple like Kiri Moto.

I like that it is browser based and doesn’t require a local install. I will probably switch to Fusion in the future as I progress into CAM, although I can export SVGs or DXFs and do the CAM work with them.

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I’m going to try the process tonight probably, but I am planning to just export to stl, then import into estlcam and send it to the cnc

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Very similar to my thoughts and experiences. Fusion 360 was just too advanced for me to start out on. was great to learn on. But now I am running into the need to design stuff for commercial use (side business) so I have to either pony up the dough or learn a new platform. Since I am doing this as a hobby/side business I don’t want to invest a lot of money and the Fusion 360 Hobby license covers me.

I really like the fact that OnShape runs in a browser and even on mobile apps. But Fusion 360 offers cloud storage so that is good enough for me.

I will eventually like to learn how to use Fusion 360 CAM as well. But for now I will continue to use Estlcam.



I don’t think you will like how that will turn out. STL is 3D. That means your bit path will move over the top of the flat parts for a rought cut and then a finishing cut. AKA it will make several passes over the ENTIRE object. A LOT of wasted movement. many hours worth. I think you will get better results using a DXF drawing file. Then you can tell your CAM software where to focus the cuts and how deep to make each of them.


I’m inclined to agree with you. Having issues already. I think I’ll try dxf instead. Didn’t consider that before. I’ll use a hot wire to bevel the edges instead of CNC them down. Faster and less headaches.

Let me know how it goes.