I'm looking for recommendations for 3D CAD under Linux. To start with,
please bear in mind I'm not at ALL a mech eng; I've dabbled briefly
with Pro/E but basically I'm an electronics guy and the only CAD I do
regularly is PCB CAD.
The reason I need this CAD software is so that I can develop
nice-looking diagrams of the housing for a robotic project I'm working
on. I will then give these diagrams to an outside metal fab and
they'll make them for me. I'm not planning to get into this kind of
business as a fulltime thing, I just need these parts made with
reasonably precise tolerances and I have no skill with metalworking
(or tools for it).
The reason for CAD rather than pencil and paper is because I have to
juggle a *lot* of stuff - batteries, motors, valves, etc etc, and this
would be very irksome by hand.
LinuxCAD 2000 charges a non-creditable $35 for a demo (of a $99
product), so I'm not very keen to go down this route unless someone
credibly tells me it's the most wonderful CAD package ever seen. And
the screenshots all look like a 1980s wireframe game; I've tried to
work with wireframe-only packages in the past and found it very easy
to get lost :(
The other two contenders seem to be VariCAD (the screenshots look
beautiful, with raytraced drawings; the full package is $399 and
there's a 15-day trial for download), and CYCAS (also looks beautiful,
seems to be more architecturally-oriented).
Can anyone comment on which of these packages will do what I want
(apparently all of them?) and which will be easiest to learn? Or any
other package you can recommend? Since this is a one-off kind of thing
(and also because I love to upgrade my OS :/), I would *love* an
open-source product but I'll pay for binary-only commercial software
if it's the right thing for my application.