Autodesk Enters The Hobby Market

Autodesk aims to enter the hobby market with its offering of Autodesk 123d. If you’ve ever been spoiled by a nice CAD suite like Solidworks, Pro-E, or Inventor it becomes readily apparent that the free offerings don’t come anywhere close. At first Autodesk 123d seems to be entirely a Google Sketchup clone, and in some ways it is. Though, after a bit more exploring, the software offers some pretty advanced features, such as assemblies and constraints . All worries about it being windows only and closed source aside, it’s pretty cool that a big name in the CAD industry is taking a look at the hobby market, and overall it is worth testing out to see if it fits into your toolbox.

[via Thingiverse]

34 thoughts on “Autodesk Enters The Hobby Market

  1. From the ‘spoiled by pro-e’ department, i can say that things like this have inherent benefits.
    for one, in proE you really need to know what you’re making and have a pretty good idea of how it all fits together BEFORE you start laying down some drawings. I appreciate more free form construction, so this looks like quite a powerful tool to the hacker

  2. If this offers NURBs integrated into it, or some way to form complex multi-radii curved surfaces, then it’s already better than Solidworks. I already have Catia, but this seems very well suited for hobbyist work.

  3. Downloading it now… I like AutocadLT. I can make up 2d drawings really fast now. Isometric too. I do run into problems when I use Eagle though, I find myself typing Autocad commands, which don’t necessarily work in Eagle.

  4. The stock photo of the 3d printer they are using is of the Desktop Factory. Which was discontinued before even entering production.

    But this does look promising.

  5. this is great. I work with solidworks everyday and the only thing that still bothers me is adding proper threads to bolts and doing cutout sketches on lofted items.

  6. I’ll stick with Autocad, thanks. Don’t like the interface in this thing at all.

    Not much chance of it running on linux anytime soon, I think, because it appears to rely on .net, and even though Autodesk recently ported Autocad itself to run on osx, they don’t seem to be interested in linux at all except as a server platform for their web services :(

    Well, at least I can dream…
    (I currently keep a windows box around just for drafting…)

  7. If you’re trying to cover investment and make profit, it doesn’t make sense to port a project to a platform where it’ll be shunned for costing money and not having source. Or even worse, giving source to such a investment where you’ll be lucky to cover a fraction of your investment and end up losing massive amount of money.

    Sorry if that’s inconvenient to people wanting free stuff or a linux port.

    If you think I’m clueless, try it and see how fast you tank..

  8. Well I’ve tried it out for about half an hour (that’s when it crashed). First impressions is that it feels like you have to fight with the interface, it doesn’t feel intuitive at all. Things move to much or too little, tool tips show up and disappear… inconsistently somehow, it just feels clunky.

    I dunno, it’s just a beta still so I’ll mess around with it some more and hope it’s just a small hump that I need to get over. I would love to love this program as I’ve been looking for something along these lines for ages (at this price point).

  9. In the case of Autocad, it’s a small step from doing a port to support OSX to supporting linux.

    In the case of a new product, it’s easy to pick a cross-platform library from the beginning. If software development companies find that there are no suitable libraries for them to do use, it would be fantastic if they made suggestions to improve the situation rather than continue to support only one option.

    Using freely available cross-platform libraries is also *cheaper* in development licensing costs than using the M$ development environment.

    So, “it’s too expensive” is not really a valid excuse when already porting to support MS and OSX environments (not that I see Autodesk using that excuse, but xorpunk seems to).

    As for “free stuff” and/or available source code, personally I’m not as concerned about that. Open Source is great, but people have to make money, too. I just wish they’d support all the options instead of just one. It’s really not that hard.

    Furthermore, I expect in many companies where very particular applications are used (again, Autocad for example), the underlying operating system is not as important to the company as the quality of the software they’re using. I don’t think it would take more than a few large, purpose-specific applications being converted to support multiple platforms to tip the scales in favor of cheaper and/or more stable operating systems in a large-scale deployment.

  10. Autodesk does some neat stuff these days. Check out photofly 2.0 if you’re into generating 3d models from photos. I’ve been messing around with SketchUp but it’s too much of a pain to draw real-life components.

  11. Member of the “spoiled by Inventor” crowd here. It is at least a step in the right direction and from what I can see, it seems to beat it’s competitors hands down (especially with the assembly function and constraints) I know I’m going to spend some time playing with it this weekend.

  12. well. installed it, tried it and then deleted it.

    I have a system here that handles Wings3D, Hexagon, Sketchup, Poser, trueSpace, Silo, Blender, plus many 3D based games on their top detail levels.. but this ran like a lame snail over salt.

    I was unable to find anyway to adjust the graphics to fix the problems at all. so out it goes and I’ll stick to the toolkit I have.. (yup I use all that lot on a daily basis…)

  13. Another member of the “spoiled Inventor/Solidworks” crowd here. It looks very much like the inventor 2012 interface but with the Autodesk Fusion’s Direct manipulation capabilities. It should more than enough for common 3D tasks, and the assembly feature will more than help the DIY designer specially when incorporating an existing enclosure to a PCB project.

  14. Just an update to my previous post.

    AutoDesk 123d will install in WINE 32-bit while running in a Fedora15 KDE OS. However, once the program begins to load the DirectX modules, the whole kernel crashes resulting in a system hang that can only be recovered via a hard restart.

    While doing some research i did find the Open Inventor project. This uses openGL rather than DirectX for the 3D rendering. Which is optimal for a non-windoze OS. Open Inventor is no longer maintained however and is now refered to as FreeCad (which was updated about 3 weeks ago)

    Happy Hacking!!

  15. Almost 500MB just to download & it requires .NET nonsense… Talk about BLOAT!

    The UI feels clunky. I’ll give it some time, but it doesn’t look promising so far. I might be tempted to invest more effort if a solid community emerges around this. But if a lot of people think like I do, that’s not going to happen.

  16. i’ll certainly be trying this, downloading now but looks like it will take a while. i’ve tried free sketchup before but i couldn’t get it to produce nice line drawings, even the standard drawings were too pixelated. if i can get nice antialiased 3D diagrams, i’ll be more than happy.

  17. @Matt, Same reason I still use WindowsXP…

    @xorpunk, I’ll buy a new full blown autoCAD for linux license every year for the next 10(assuming i can afford to do so), if it existed, and if it comes with a python/cmdline interface. No not the built in one, but one i can control from a different app while running it on linux.

    Yes I’m also a member of the “spoiled by commercial CAD systems”

    @TheCreator, Thanks for the tipoff to freecad. I’ll give that a look.

  18. I’m also a member of the “spoiled by commercial CAD systems”

    I can’t seem to get this running in Linux.

    If only the big CAD companies would be so kind to develop for more OS’s. I know that our company would gladly switch to an all Linux setup, but alas, no such luck.

    FreeCAD looks promising, but I can’t see it bieng a viable option for at least another couple of years.

    Well, at least Draftsight, from the same guys as Solidworks, has a Linux version.

  19. Closed Source.
    Windows only.
    Offered free by the company that completely screwed up the hobbyist 3d market, when there are several open source alternatives that do the job better.

    Wings3D has been mentioned and it handles STL files quite well, allowing users to create finished work using most, if not all, manufacture on demand services.

  20. If you do actually want to use the more advanced CAD software from Autodesk, they give it away for free for students as long as you have an .edu email address to register with (just need to register and verify).

  21. wings3D wings3D wings3D
    Can export to stl for rapid proto also.
    Does everything and maintains topological correctness – which Sketchup doesn’t.
    Uses a context menu system so only shows you options you can do with what you have selected.
    Wings3D FTW…

  22. Maybe i will try it after the beta is done :)

    Reminds me i need to reinstall PRO/E wildfire 4 before i get requests for more work.

    I hear solidworks is easier to work with, but i learned on PRO/E and it can do everything. Although im still kind of confused on surfaces and how to blend it all together. I will stick with extrudes for now ;)

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