Looking for a little direction in software to make use of time off this week

Looking to do some 3d work and want some input. Turns out my version of Rhino3d does not work on a M1 mac and since neither my wife nor I am a student anymore its going to be expensive to get an updated license. If I need to I’ll do it but… I want to look at other options for now.

From those that have tried them. What are your thoughts on MOI3D and Plasticity? I have been watching videos on both and am impressed with their capabilities. Anything else you might record?

I bought a license for Plasticity 3D and it seems very promising — kind of wishing I had bought Moment of Inspiration though, since it has a node editor programming mode, and wishing I could justify ~1K for a Rhino license so that I could use Grasshopper and be done with it.

What sort of work do you wish to do?

In what way do you want to approach it?

Do you need numeric precision?

Have you looked at opensource options such as Blender (w/ CADsketcher and BlenderCAM) or FreeCAD or Solvespace?

… and I’ll throw in Aspire by Vectric. I use Vcarve Pro by Vectric to create 3D wood products from models I purchase.

How about ZBrushMiniCore is you want organic shapes

I was very interested in aspire but that requires Windows so I would have to also buy Windows and parallel on top of that.

Trust is interesting! I looked into zbrush a few years back but wrote it off due to price. The mini coffee and coffee might be fun.

Sorry for the slow response. Was not at a computer and I wanted to give a good reply back.

Rhino 3D really is amazing… And I wish it would work on my M1 mac… Sounds like people have had slowness going through Rosetta and to get more native support. I would have to pay upgrade prices to get to Rhino7. It is well worth the money IF you use it on a regular basis.

I have not tried Blender with the CAD options. That looks newer than the last time I looked into it. I do like blender for many things but the lack of cad like functions was kind of a killer for my wife. I’ll go look more into the stuff you mentioned.

I have not messed with FreeCAD or solvespace. I will look at them too.

As for the questions.

Fun things :smiley: haha thats a bad answer… Kind of a mix between organic modeling and traditional 3d cad work. I guess one example would be to model out a guitar body but add interesting design elements to it. Imagine a some sort of a vine or snake wrapping around it. Perhaps there is a simple path with an interesting sweep around it. I was quite impressed how well MOI handled basic shapes and sweeps. I think that many things are easy to handle in 2/2.5d with carbide create but… Custom is what I am after.

Double sided milling to start and eventually perhaps some index stuff ;-). The basics in Carbide pro are interesting but when i start thinking about the flip side I just have a hard time picturing some of it.

Not sure what you mean here :smiley:

I don’t think I will be doing a lot of high precision things. If I do a box with a lip and an offset to fit another box a fit would be nice but… I don’t need high precision.

I think Moment of Inspiration would be a good fit for you.

Plasticity 3D is still early days, but looks promising.

Fusion 360 seems to be a go-to for many here and with other desktop/workbench type CNC machines. I’m still figuring it out (the CAM side, on the CAD side it’s very similar to other 3D modeling software it seems). You can at least do the free “hobbyist” license to play with it… Not sure if you would use it enough (or need the features of) a paid license.

So autodesk changed their licensing requirements a while back and its actually quite restrictive now.

Fusion 360 for personal use is a limited, free version that includes basic functionality for qualifying users who generate less than $1,000 USD in annual revenue and use for home-based, non-commercial projects only. - Compare Fusion 360 vs Fusion 360 for Personal Use | Autodesk

The next plan up from there is $70 per month or $380 per year. When I first started messing with it back in 2017 or so the license was very permissive. Small business/hobbyist that made less than $100k a year could get a free license.

Did anyone expect anything different from Autodesk?

Certainly no one who had ever had business dealings with them.


Since this went off topic,
With a subscription based software that “phones home” when the software is used, Autodesk is able to monitor who, where, and how often a customer is using their software. With that information, it doesn’t take much effort to audit the users, and determine that their “goodwill” is being abused by companies and individuals that should be paying full price, which was still cheaper than the other Cad Cam packages.
From what I heard, the loudest protesters of the subscription change were the biggest abusers of the system, so don’t be putting all the blame on Autodesk. Kinda like C3D changing Carbide Create to only output c2d files instead of gcode.

Yes, I have a yearly subscription to Fusion 360. I subscribed right before they restructured their pricing system to take advantage of being locked in at $310.00 a year. It does suck that when a new feature is released, that it costs extra, but at least I’m not being forced to pay for it if I don’t need it.

The question here is how do you use Rhino3D — do you directly model in it or use Grasshopper?

When you are modeling, is it free-form work, or mechanical linkages?

Could you post an image of a typical project?

OnShape has a “free” account. All of your files are Public. All modeling is included.
It is a history based parametric modeler similar to SolidWorks ( the same gang wrote both ).

It is a cloud based system (internet connection), but unlike Fusion 360 it is a very small install. You will need a GPU on your device. Access through a web browser.

They have incorporated some of the surface features of Rhino3D, but Rhino3D is still the best surface modeler in the world as it has been for decades.

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I installed OnShape a month or two ago but have not done much with it yet. The “everything is public” but turns me off some.

Have you been using it for a while?

I have been using for 5 years. I don’t have designs that are owned by others, and I don’t care about mine

PTC bought the company a few years ago. The updates have always been regular and significant. PTC has a plethora of CAD systems and seems to be folding that talent here. Mesh import, curve and surface handling have been added and enhanced surprisingly frequently.

If I had a design shop with distributed workforce, this is a no-brainer. The ability to manage design at any level is unprecedented. The complete lack of installation issues is a god send.


I will try to leverage it some. I know CATIA reasonably well and hope that OnShape is more like that than Sketchup.

I have played with FreeCAD a little and am trying to learn it. I like to do sketches, add constraints either measurements or to other elements and then extrude into a solid.

I had thought I would use the CAD to create STL files and then import into CC Pro. I have not messed with any other CAM packages yet.

You should be pleasantly surprised. I use it for STL, DXF and SVG exports ( and imports ).
Parasolids, ACIS sat, IGES included.
This is a real CAD system, not a almost.

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I wonder how they define “non-commercial”

Autodesk makes it clear although seems kind of restrictive. If you interpret “non-commercial” as not being able to sell anything that would make it even worse.

The next step up in OnShape is $1500/year. It would be really nice if they had something in between in terms of license and cost.

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Yeah, I understand.

I bought Fusion360 for the CAM aspect. It seems to be the best bang for the buck.
I do not like the layout/design metaphor and there is no real way to collaborate designs.
I never made my money back, but got an education

I have not bought into Onshape due to the fact I am not selling anything.
My designs are not valuable as far as I am willing to take them.

I have been a technoid my whole career and have avoided business like the plague.
I am retired, if I can recoup my costs, that would be great. I am in it for the education at this point.

If the design side is costing you extra money/time avoiding paying for software, you may want to add that to your cost/benefit analysis. I tend to pay 10% more for stuff and keep it simple.

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