Accurate modeling, CAD and other software

Hello everyone,

I am new to the forum so forgive if I don’t exactly seem to know what I am doing… :frowning:
I just had to join and put my two cents in… I haven’t started using Blender yet (do have it installed and reading the manuals (and forums…) but I know from back when I lived in Holland (I am Dutch) and had “played” with it then. But I wasn’t really serious back then. That all has changed.
Anyway, I have an engineering background, always worked with Autocad (since the mid 80’s) and have always been interested (and worked for a little while with) in 3D modeling and Parametric design.
I bumped into Blender a little while ago and my curiosity had been (re)awakened. So I started reading the forums, downloaded the manuals etc. It always seemed to be a daunting piece of software first but after reading so much about it I thought I would give a try.
However the fact that it doesn’t seem to be able to do accurate modeling (as I would like to do) from what I have read here and there, I strated also looking for other software to use in conjunction with Blender.
I found the following couple of programs (for now at least, still looking…) that I think might be useful (for me and for others of course).
The first one is a Cad program based on the Intellicad engine and is called ProgeCad ( It seems to be able to do a lot with a couple of limitations (don’t know all of them yet). But it does (seem to) do 3D modeling ala AutoCad, except the rendering. But hey, that’s hwy we have Blender, right! :stuck_out_tongue:
I have it installed and i love it so far! You know AutoCad…? You will be able to use this in a few minutes…!
The second one (and I don’t want to insult anyone here but I think it could be a good addition, not a replacement!) is Eovia’s Amapi 3D V6.1 which can be downloaded for FREE from here:
Now you have to join the forum to be able to download the software but I think it’s worth it (even though it is a HUGE download of approx. 95Mb %| ) and that way you have access to (another next to the Blender users… :slight_smile: ) great user community with a lot of help and tutrials too.
I haven’t used it yet (downloaded it just this morning) but what I understand from reading the forum postings it does seem to do a very good job for accurate modeling. It supposedly is specific for product design and modeling and so on.
The last one (for now) is specific for the architectural modelers here and is Design Workshop Light. Now I haven’t worked with this one in a long time (again played around with it in Holland) so I don’t exactly know what the output options are or how well they work and I know there are a few limitations obviously. Another thing interesting here is that there are links on the site to some free downloadable models of (famous) buildings around the World. So for those who just want toi experiment with scene building, lights, camera’s and rendering this is also very interesting. It can be found here:

Anyway, to make a long story not too much longer…( :smiley: ), I would suggst anyone interested in accurate modeling (mechanical, architectural, product desing, etc.) to go check this out for themselves.

Pheeeeww, my fingers hurt…

Talk to you later, I gotta go read some more here…

Eric (erdejo)


Welcome to elYsiun and the blender world! Thanks for posting the software tips. Another free option you might look at (more for mechanical CAD) is Alibre Design Xpress. (More discussion in this thread.) Look forward to seeing some of your work posted in Finished Projects!

Thanks Mzungu,

I have looked at Alibre (briefly…) but I read here somewhere that it is kinda limited and also has some adware in it or something… I will look into it further and maybe even take it for a spin…

Don’t hold your breath waiting for my “work”. Though I intend to spend a fair amount of time with modeling in the near future, having a family with two young kids and having a dayjob, doesn’t leave much time! UNFORTUNATELY. And what I have done in the past as far as work and experience is concerned is long gone. %|

I will post at one point, but I will have to get some hours under my belt and make sure it is worth showing it to the rest of the World.

But I will be back here to read and post quite a bit I’m sure. :slight_smile:



True, it is lacking some advanced features (which can be purchased on an as-needed basis iirc) but for what you “pay” its pretty cool what you get! They’ve taken out the ad banner, too, which makes it a great little tool for those times when such is needed. Its also a great way to learn parametric sketch-based modelling, which is where MCAD is going. The old days of manual AutoCAD are become a distant memory (thankfully! - I was on acad for 13+ years - using ACIS solids for 6+ of those. I still have to fire it up upon occasion… :expressionless: )

Did I read in your other thread that Progecad supports solid modelling AutoCAD-style?

Same here. Rugrats sure can be time-consuming! I wouldn’t count yourself “unfortunate”, tho, my friend. You’re richer than you know! (As I have to remind myself daily! :slight_smile: )

I have never used a CAD software, but here is my 2 cents: the fact that Blender uses arbitrary units is of no consequence (assuming it’s your problem). Units are a bunch of powder in the eyes.
Call one unit of blender 1 m, 1 km 1 um if dm… 1 yard if you will. Who cares? Create your shape, press “N” and you can key in whatever coordinates you want. Hope my point is on mark, and addresses some of your concerns.


Arnaud: yep, blender can do accurate modelling, if you take the time to work with it that way. (You don’t even have to type n if you don’t wanna - just start keying the numbers and it’ll do what you want.) Its just that it lacks some of the basic CAD “automation” or tools to do certain tasks quickly and easily. Examples are: trim/extend, offset, array (tho that’s coming), dimensions, parametrics (geometry driven by dimensions and relationships) and such. Live snap modes are another lil’ luxury enjoyed by CAD users that blender’s snap mechanism (3d cursor) simply doesn’t come close to. However, if you get to know some of the workarounds, you can do a heckuva lot of accurate stuff with blender. Its just not so user-friendly in that regard… and when you can import your geometry from other free tools that are, then why not, eh?


Do you mean that they don’t have the banner anymore in the free version or do you mean that the banner is removed when you pay something?

Anyway, I played around with ProgeCad a little more last night and it turns out it doesn’t do the Solids (ACIS??) modeling as I thought unless you upgrade to their Professional version. It does do the surface and face modeling though it looks like. I just don’t know how well that holds up when exporting to Blender (or anything else)…

I do know that I am richer because of the kids, don’t get me wrong I love them to death! But sometimes they do “get in the way” of my things I would like to do, you know what I mean?


I know what you mean, but my main concern is not so much the accuracy of the objects themselves but more the ease of creating “assemblies”. For instance mating parts at exact locations, or copying one object in an array (for instance use a long rectangle to create a bannister…). Do you know what I mean? It seems so much easier to accurately clone or copy and place parts or objects in a Cad program.
But maybe that just has to do with my mechanical background, my (compulsive) perfection or the fact that I have been using Cad software for the last 15 odd years…
I do think I need to maybe adjust my thinking and be more open to a different way of modeling and looking at things…

Thanks for both your responses though.


Sorry guys,

I missed Mzungu’s reply that 's why there might be some tings I said just now that are double. But I do miss all the things Mzungu is talking about (as far as what I have seen and heard and read about Blender).
So I do think that combining several programs and utilities is one way to go for now, while Blender is being perfected every second of the day… :smiley:


Do you mean that they don’t have the banner anymore in the free version or do you mean that the banner is removed when you pay something?[/quote]
I think they’ve taken the ad banner out of the free version… been a while since I fired it up, tho… you do have to have a “live” internet connection to use it. I’m not too comfortable with that aspect… dial-up users are outa luck, unless they’re Speedy Gonzalez!
:slight_smile: :Z

I do know that I am richer because of the kids, don’t get me wrong I love them to death! But sometimes they do “get in the way” of my things I would like to do, you know what I mean?[/quote]
Hoo-boy, do I ever! Just last night the wife had a “chat” with me about my weekend computer activities and how that’s affecting the rest of the household… responsibility really sux sometimes…

Me too! Me too! Kids = no time. But kids are for real. So, I just wait for when they won’t want to deal with me anymore. Plus, I’m on the receiving end of a spouse who spends sooo much time on E-bay it drives all of us nuts. As a matter of fact, I brushed up my pascal skills to write a service for windows that changes the hosts file on my machine just to mess up e-bay in a “random, incromprehensible way”… Ahahah… While the main entry for e-bay is never changed, I change the search, the image the this and that server entries. And then, restore it to no entry at all. That’s a good project, I tell ya. The thing is, MS antispyware picks on it in strange ways. Ooops. Got lost off topic. No flame. That feels good sometimes.