What 3D software do you use?


A few years ago I was using SketchUp to do renderings for me.  I found it to be both easy and difficult.  And then one day I opened my eyes and realized that I had not used it for about a year.  I went back in...and when I went to upgrade I found it is now web based (not good...not bad...just different).
So, I've been thinking about what I really want to use 3D software for.  I can think of three reasons:
  1. To sketch random ideas and mechanisms.
  2. To perhaps feed a 3D printer one of these days.
  3. To watch things in motion.
I believe that SketchUp can do 1 & 2, but don't think it can do things in motion.

Any recommendations?  i'm 74, computer literate, and am looking for something that will be around for at least the next 20 years or so.
I want it to be my last 3D learning curve.

Thanks in advance.

-Jim Coffee-


Hello Jim and ALL


I use AutoCad. I have used it for the last 30 years, throughout my working life - so am pretty proficient at it. It is good for 2D drafting and for 3D models. When making automata, I usually prepare 2D plans which are printed off full scale for use as templates.


I managed to write some software for AutoCad (not AutoCad Light) which allows you to flick from one image to another, like a flick book, giving the impression of movement (both 2D and 3D):


It takes about 20 hours to learn basic AutoCad. You can download an educational version for free:


I have been told that it is possible to find unlicensed 34 bit copies – at your own risk!


Newer computers running 64 bit processors need enabling software (such as Longbow) to run the old 32 bit software.