Author Topic: Basic(?) 3D modelling(?) software recommendations  (Read 2462 times)

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Offline suicidal_orange

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Basic(?) 3D modelling(?) software recommendations
« on: Sun, 13 May 2018, 04:01:45 »
I've come to realise that my ideal computer case doesn't exist so I'm looking to design my own.

In my head my requirements seem pretty basic - all I need is something that can merge a couple of boxes into component shapes and let me drag them around in a virtual 3D space without allowing them to overlap.  The closest I've found is a room designing website, but for some reason they don't allow furniture to stand on it's side, or fly :))

I had a play in Blender but after lots of clicking couldn't find how to make the standard 'cube' a rectangular box and it seems to be geared towards animation.  It surely can do what I need but - video tutorials.  I hate them because you can't search or accurately go back to a bit when you need to...

Also considered povray but stopping overlaps is 'not trivial', and that's key.

Surely something exists?  Preferably Linux but Windows 7 is also available.
                               
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Offline TalkingTree

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Re: Basic(?) 3D modelling(?) software recommendations
« Reply #1 on: Sun, 13 May 2018, 04:44:36 »
I would recommend Autodesk Fusion 360 over anything else because it's powerful, intuitive and free for hobbyists.

I'd also recommend Lars Christensen's tutorials for it, especially the three parts for absolute beginners (found here, here and here).
Other than those, you might wanna watch some video tutorials on the flange workspace as well as you'll most likely need that for a computer case.

Unfortunately there's no Linux version so you have to boot your Windows partition.
My opensource projects: GH80-3000, Skipad, TOAD (KotM Sept '17), TOAD v2 (KotM April '18), XMMX.

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Re: Basic(?) 3D modelling(?) software recommendations
« Reply #2 on: Sun, 13 May 2018, 05:14:14 »
The bottle neck is really the motherboard.

There isn't any way to really reduce the case size because of how those pcie slots are layed out.

everything revolves around the pcie slots.

You can get itx and use a steam-machine style case, that's the smallest you can get.



For 3D use fusion 360, or get the arrrgh-matey version of solidwurk

Offline suicidal_orange

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Re: Basic(?) 3D modelling(?) software recommendations
« Reply #3 on: Sun, 13 May 2018, 06:13:10 »
Thanks - two recommendations for fusion so seems that's the way to go.  Video tutorials though :(

As to my idea it is a bit weird - itx mobo on the floor, fanless PSU sideways on the floor at the front (maybe socket poking out the side, maybe extension cable mounted on the back) and optical at the top of the front.  As for cooling I'm thinking a top down heatsink (damn shame the Scythe Susanoo isn't available anymore!) in a sealed box with a single 200mm fan in the top and lots of vents under the mobo with some ducting to ensure air goes over all the hotspots.  Or maybe input fans on either side with a tower cooler and a vented case top...  Either way I have to fit the HDD and SDD in there somewhere, that's what I'm struggling to visualise

Only once I know where the internals are can I start to think how to actually construct the case!
                               
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Offline TalkingTree

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Re: Basic(?) 3D modelling(?) software recommendations
« Reply #4 on: Sun, 13 May 2018, 06:46:29 »
Video tutorials though :(
They don't take much time and they show exactly whats and wheres.

fanless PSU sideways on the floor at the front
If you don't mind an external power brick, you could go for a picoPSU. There are some that provide high wattage, such as the HDPlex.

optical at the top of the front.
Is it a HTPC or a media station by any mean? If not, and if you don't daily use optical drives, you might wanna consider and external USB drive.


As for cooling I'm thinking a top down heatsink
Cryorig C7 Cu is out soon and it supports pratically everything but Xeon or Threadripper.
Or maybe the LP53 if you're running an Intel LGA115x
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Offline suicidal_orange

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Re: Basic(?) 3D modelling(?) software recommendations
« Reply #5 on: Sun, 13 May 2018, 07:14:53 »
I will admit I didn't look at the tutorials, hopefully you're right!

I already have the mobo, PSU and a passive 1050ti which sits about an inch taller than a standard PCIE card so unusually I'm looking for a top down cooler that's about 150mm high - two ancient Scythes and an equally discontinued Silentmaxx are the only ones I've found.  There's actually a Scythe Orochi on eBay.com ending today but explicitly says ships USA only.  How much is shipping, anyone want to proxy?!

Optical drive is used for ripping music CDs, I have a carefully resesrched drive so may as well use it as I'm not trying to get small as possible as long as it fits the 11 inch hole in my desk.  Everyone assumes fanned PSU, which usually means it goes under the mobo which is not going to work.
                               
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Offline TalkingTree

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Re: Basic(?) 3D modelling(?) software recommendations
« Reply #6 on: Sun, 13 May 2018, 07:22:18 »
I take your passive 1050ti is the Palit one. Given its enormous heatsink, you could perhaps lay it parallel to the motherboard with an angled riser card and elevate the Mobo so to put the memory drives underneath it.
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Offline suicidal_orange

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Re: Basic(?) 3D modelling(?) software recommendations
« Reply #7 on: Sun, 13 May 2018, 08:09:14 »
That's the one, putting it parallel with the mobo makes it too wide for the hole in the desk.  Although if the mobo was vertical it would be an option...
                               
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Offline Leslieann

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Re: Basic(?) 3D modelling(?) software recommendations
« Reply #8 on: Sun, 13 May 2018, 20:54:15 »
Itx case options are pretty bad unfortunately, the market took forever to really understand they even existed and even then it wasn't the big players. Those that have still cling to the idea that  for some reason you still want 10 3.5in drives in the box so it ends up being the same as the Matx box. Really annoying. Don't get me wrong there are some really nice ones, but when there are nice matx and atx cases for $80, it's insane to think I have to pay $200 for a good ITX case that uses less material.

At any rate, you want Solidworks or Fusion 360 because they are built to do this. Not sure about Fusion 360 (it probably does I have not looked), but Solidworks even has a sheetmetal specific design system that will figure exactly how and where bends need to be made so you can send it off to a fab shop. We did this for one of the 3d printers we designed for our shop and it was ridiculously easy.

If there is one bit of advice I can give you though, it's this...  Render EVERYTHING.
By this I mean don't just design this panel and that panel, make mockups of the fasteners, cards and heat sinks. You may even want to add stub wires as it is easy to discount something when you aren't looking at it. There has been times where I even needed to place stand-ins for tools because otherwise I would have designed things that were impossible to assemble. You can place a fastener anywhere in cad, that doesn't mean you can reach it once assembled.

The more you mock up/render, the fewer prototypes/attempts you'll need before you get one that actually is functional.  Luckily a case is relatively simple once you get past the pcie slot alignment. Which by the way, check around, there are places with that already rendered, you can simply import that, and work from there (Grabcad.com has a bunch!). This will make your life a lot easier, assuming their measurements are correct.

Also if you don't have a digital caliper, head to your local cheap tool supply  (we have Harbor Freight) and pick one up, you will need it. Measure everything, just because it says 120mm (like on a fan) doesn't mean it's 120mm.
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Re: Basic(?) 3D modelling(?) software recommendations
« Reply #9 on: Sun, 13 May 2018, 20:59:48 »
Harbor freight caliper, accurate within +/- 0.1mm if you learn to have a good feel for hand pressure, Otherwise it's +/- 0.2 which means you can easily be off by half a millimeter if not careful,  Still pretty good for $10


Offline proto

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Re: Basic(?) 3D modelling(?) software recommendations
« Reply #10 on: Sun, 13 May 2018, 21:12:07 »
Id agree on the autodesk fusion

Offline suicidal_orange

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Re: Basic(?) 3D modelling(?) software recommendations
« Reply #11 on: Mon, 14 May 2018, 03:43:39 »
Watched half of the first tutorial, the guy spent at least one minute of the ten saying then reminding us how nice he is for not making us click through menus, he must really want 'likes'!  Unfortunately for him I prefer to see the other options which the program designer helpfully grouped together because they thought them relevant.  Fusion is free and from the continued recommendations it must be good, but it's not intuitive to me (likely because the shortcuts are random - like SAP I guess they make sense in another language...) so I'll have to find a tutorial that's more my style.

Thanks for the warning Leslieann - would be easy to forget tools.  You sparked the thought that it might be better to buy a wide MATX case and replace the back panel leaving the drive mounts.  Could cut down and reuse the mobo tray too...

No idea where to get cheap tools locally, there was a nice little shop that sold quality tools I would have went to but Amazon killed it :(  It's online or trade counters now so no way to check quality before buying.
                               
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Offline Leslieann

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Re: Basic(?) 3D modelling(?) software recommendations
« Reply #12 on: Mon, 14 May 2018, 17:50:56 »
Harbor freight caliper, accurate within +/- 0.1mm if you learn to have a good feel for hand pressure, Otherwise it's +/- 0.2 which means you can easily be off by half a millimeter if not careful,  Still pretty good for $10
We have half a dozen of them and a few other knockoffs in our shop, if they are only getting 0.1mm accuracy you either got a defective one or you need to change the batteries. We've found them accurate to +/- 0.01 or 0.02mm which is more than enough for a 3d printer.
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Re: Basic(?) 3D modelling(?) software recommendations
« Reply #13 on: Mon, 14 May 2018, 18:03:15 »
Harbor freight caliper, accurate within +/- 0.1mm if you learn to have a good feel for hand pressure, Otherwise it's +/- 0.2 which means you can easily be off by half a millimeter if not careful,  Still pretty good for $10
We have half a dozen of them and a few other knockoffs in our shop, if they are only getting 0.1mm accuracy you either got a defective one or you need to change the batteries. We've found them accurate to +/- 0.01 or 0.02mm which is more than enough for a 3d printer.



hahaha.. If you're measuring gauge blocks at full depth, hahahaha..

Essentially the gauge blocks or uniform objects are aligning it for you.

The errors come from the abbe-principle.

If you try to measure less uniform things, you'll see it tap out..

Offline Leslieann

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Re: Basic(?) 3D modelling(?) software recommendations
« Reply #14 on: Mon, 14 May 2018, 18:41:58 »
Thanks for the warning Leslieann - would be easy to forget tools.  You sparked the thought that it might be better to buy a wide MATX case and replace the back panel leaving the drive mounts.  Could cut down and reuse the mobo tray too...

You're welcome.
Not only is it very easy to miss assembly tools, another problem I ran into was just plain missing holes. You can stare at something all day on a screen and not realize a screw is missing.

You can get a decent cheap caliper from Amazon or Ebay if nothing else. Cutting something down will certainly be easier, especially if you are not used to designing in cad, and often, even if you are and is much more likely to get a usable case your first time. There's a saying in manufacturing, plan on a prototype because you will make one anyway.

Which brings us to something else you may not have considered... Time and Cost.
Sheetmetal is not really expensive, but getting a shop to cut, bend and punch holes for you is. It's probably not too far off to say this would be AT LEAST $300 for your first prototype and that much for each thereafter, this being your first project like this, expect a few tries to get everything right (remember you don't have to redo every part every time, but it will still add up). Again the more you render the better your luck, but it's still easy to just simply miss things without it in your hands. A digital image is never as good as holding in your hands, I would budget for a few screw ups. Also, depending on the shop, unless you can get a shop to put a rush on it, it could be weeks or months before you get your parts, and then you have to make revisions and wait again. A few revisions and it could literally be a year and $1000 before you get the case you wanted.


So yeah, if you are willing to do this by hacking something, go that way if it will satisfy you, it will be cheaper and faster.
I have done what you are contemplating, taking a larger case and cutting it down, I put an ATX tray in an MATX case, cut down an matx case to make it smaller  and cut an matx case into an ITX. It's not hard to do, but there is a trick to it.

Start with the sides.
I know, everything else seems more important, but the rest is actually the easy part, the hardest part is figuring out how to re-attach the side panels once you trim them. Remember most have hooks at the top and bottom, a tongue at the front and then screws at the back. If you start cutting that down, not only will the heat and trimming distort it (the folds keep it flat), but you are removing the attachment points. The first case I cut down I did the sides last and the flopped all over because I didn't plan ahead on them, the next time I figured out how to re-work the sides, then started cutting.

This worked for me twice now.
Tear down the case, leaving the front and top of the case connected, you don't want to mess up that connection. Trim the rear plate how you want, then trim the back of the top plate, then reattach those and trim the bottom. Now install the side panel, intact if possible, trim off the bottom, then on back trim it leaving 1/2in sticking out. Bend over the excess, drill your new mounting holes to line up with the old ones (use the cutoff as a template). By doing this the sides retain the front tongue and upper hooks so it sits flush. If your sides use a lower lip and no top hooks, you may want to base yours off the front lower corner instead, but beware the top of the side panel may not fit as flush, so it's best to use a top hook based case.



By the way, the guy not wanting to click through menus (Lars Christensen I presume) was referring to the drop down menus at the top . He's trying to get you to to use shortcut commands instead. While good (he does some of the better tutorials I've found), I personally found myself lost when he would use a shortcut if I didn't remember what it did or if I missed what shortcut he used. Again, shorcuts are great and they do speed things up, but they only help if you remember what they are doing, you need the foundation first in my opinion. That is one of my biggest gripes about cad tutorials, they often assume you know more than you do and they become outdated VERY quickly in many cases. "Click on ___" yeah, they removed that with the latest update. Ooops.
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Offline emenelopee

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Re: Basic(?) 3D modelling(?) software recommendations
« Reply #15 on: Mon, 14 May 2018, 18:42:55 »
Rhino. You get a limited time trial for free (90 days?), it takes almost any file you could imagine, has a decent inbuilt render and plugins galore (Flamingo is their in-house render extension, and VRay has a plugin).

Rhino 6 is fresh release and a solid upgrade from Rhino 5.

Offline Leslieann

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Re: Basic(?) 3D modelling(?) software recommendations
« Reply #16 on: Mon, 14 May 2018, 19:01:35 »
If you try to measure less uniform things, you'll see it tap out..
Blah, blah, blah...
Tool snob alert!!!

For sheet metal, wood, or FDM 3d printing a $15 Hazard Fraught is perfectly fine. Would I want to use one for something press fit on a cnc mill? No, but I'm fairly certain he can slap a sheetmetal case together without a $200 digital caliper. Especially since 99% of the numbers he needs are in the ATX specification.




Rhino. You get a limited time trial for free (90 days?)
And they will never leave you alone if you do.

Made that mistake once, hassled me for months to get a sale. One of the pushiest sales forces I've seen.
« Last Edit: Mon, 14 May 2018, 19:03:39 by Leslieann »
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Re: Basic(?) 3D modelling(?) software recommendations
« Reply #17 on: Mon, 14 May 2018, 19:03:05 »
If you try to measure less uniform things, you'll see it tap out..
Blah, blah, blah...
Tool snob alert!!!

For sheet metal, wood, or FDM 3d printing a $15 Hazard Fraught is perfectly fine. Would I want to use one for something press fit on a cnc mill? No, but I'm fairly certain he can slap a sheetmetal case together without a $200 digital caliper. Especially since 99% of the numbers he needs are in the ATX specification.



Offline csmertx

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Re: Basic(?) 3D modelling(?) software recommendations
« Reply #18 on: Tue, 15 May 2018, 11:46:19 »
My first week with Blender was spent cuddling with documentation, YT videos, and macro guide cheat sheets. A dedicated numpad helps. But, with all that said, if you want to design whatever based on a set of measurements Fusion 360 is quick and rather painless at doing what it does (there is a hobbist version--free of charge until you earn your first $100k). Some of my 'younger' renders were modelled with Fusion 360, and rendered with Blender Cycles. FreeCAD is ok but FreeCAD STLs are not a clean as STLs from Fusion 360. Some people like FreeCAD, I would rather use Blender to model everything if I didn't have a Windows. I might revisit and see what's changed in Blender--could be fun. If cash is plentiful I've read that Cinema4d, and Keyshot are amazing products.

tl;dr
Blender benefits: Easy to setup render farms (RenderMan is an option--for free probably cycles),
Easy to learn the plugin language (Python), Tools have progressed in the past few years, Gobs of YT tuts,
Gobs of written tutorials, saves to local PC for easy custom backups

Fusion 360 benefits: Cloud renders (animations too), Almost perfect color matching,
parametric, Clean models for IRL applications (import resize issues Fusion STLs -> Blender).

My 'progress' log for reference: https://flic.kr/s/aHskwEXun7
   

Offline suicidal_orange

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Re: Basic(?) 3D modelling(?) software recommendations
« Reply #19 on: Wed, 16 May 2018, 03:11:40 »
Those are some good looking renders csmertx, they far surpass what I'm trying to do :thumb:  How long did it take to get that far, preferably in hours (two months at two hours most days is much more than two months at four hours every Sunday...)

More good thoughts Leslieann, the more I think about this the less feasible it becomes financially and not sure I have the patience for prototypes.  You also mentioned wood and that got me thinking - how much would a reasonable set of hand tools cost compared to prototyping costs?  Wood might be good for noise dampening too...
                               
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Offline csmertx

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Re: Basic(?) 3D modelling(?) software recommendations
« Reply #20 on: Wed, 16 May 2018, 13:30:32 »
Thank you kindly. At my pace, probably 1k-1.5k hours. Quite a bit more to go until I reach 10k. It's feasible with just Fusion 360 (would have taken me a fraction of the time).
   

Offline Leslieann

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Re: Basic(?) 3D modelling(?) software recommendations
« Reply #21 on: Wed, 16 May 2018, 17:16:18 »
More good thoughts Leslieann, the more I think about this the less feasible it becomes financially and not sure I have the patience for prototypes.  You also mentioned wood and that got me thinking - how much would a reasonable set of hand tools cost compared to prototyping costs?  Wood might be good for noise dampening too...
Got a local hackerspace or makerspace? Check those out, they may have a CNC or just a Bridgeport or Shapoko(or similar) you can learn to use for cheap.
They also often have full woodshops.

If you want to do it alone with wood, you could probably get away with just a few tools to start. A scroll saw, a drill and a sander, probably far less than $250 and that is all powered, hand saw alone would cut that in half. Bonus item would be a router but that could cost as much as the other tools alone. May also need some small files for cleanup, but wood is easy to work with. 

An easy way to do it would be to do what I did for mine. I used 1in oak strips for the frame (cheap for nice wood) combined with some plexiglass and perforated aluminum for the panels. This is my Itty Bitty file server I built 7 years ago, it's an 8.5in cube styled after the old G4 Mac Cube (almost same size).  The 140mm fan sits in the bottom and blows up through it, the heatsink was passively cooked (low watt Athlon), and used a 120watt micro power supply powered by an old laptop power brick inside.  this has long since been retired, but I still like the way it turned out. It was also dead silent. I think I spent less than $50 on this box.

Excuse the potato pics)
195765-0
195775-1 (going out the back allowed for a larger updraft fan)
195773-2 (lit)
195767-3 (back of mobo, a.k.a right side of case)
195769-4 (Fan hole in bottom is not cut out)
195771-5 (This is on it's back)
« Last Edit: Wed, 16 May 2018, 17:26:00 by Leslieann »
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Re: Basic(?) 3D modelling(?) software recommendations
« Reply #22 on: Wed, 16 May 2018, 17:25:42 »
More good thoughts Leslieann, the more I think about this the less feasible it becomes financially and not sure I have the patience for prototypes.  You also mentioned wood and that got me thinking - how much would a reasonable set of hand tools cost compared to prototyping costs?  Wood might be good for noise dampening too...
Got a local hackerspace or makerspace? Check those out, they may have a CNC or just a Bridgeport or Shapoko(or similar) you can learn to use for cheap.
They also often have full woodshops.

If you want to do it alone with wood, you could probably get away with just a few tools to start. A scroll saw, a drill and a sander, probably far less than $250 and that is all powered, hand saw alone would cut that in half. Bonus item would be a router but that could cost as much as the other tools alone. May also need some small files for cleanup, but wood is easy to work with. 

An easy way to do it would be to do what I did for mine. I used 1in oak strips for the frame (cheap for nice wood) combined with some plexiglass and perforated aluminum for the panels. This is my Itty Bitty file server I built a few years ago, it's an 8.5in cube styled after the old G4 Mac Cube (almost same size).  The 140mm fan sits in the bottom and blows up through it, the heatsink was passively cooked (low watt Athlon), and used a 120watt micro power supply powered by an old laptop power brick inside.  this has long since been retired, but I still like the way it turned out. It was also dead silent. I think I spent less than $50 on this box.
(Attachment Link)
(Attachment Link) (going out the back allowed for a larger updraft fan)
(Attachment Link) (lit)
(Attachment Link) (back of mobo, a.k.a right side of case)
(Attachment Link) (Fan hole in bottom is not cut out)
(Attachment Link) (This is on it's back)

Pico Psu ? Not enuff g4m3r


Offline suicidal_orange

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Re: Basic(?) 3D modelling(?) software recommendations
« Reply #23 on: Fri, 18 May 2018, 03:50:59 »
That looks great, especially for $50!

Irritatingly the only makerspace in the County requires you to sign up to the mailing list before they will tell you anything which has always put me off, but I've just signed up.  Was expecting an e-mailed link or something, but after 5 minutes nothing.  Guess I have to wait for the monthly mailing list?!

Had a look at woodworking tools and there are quite a few but looks like the kinda stuff you get for peanuts at car boot sales (for US people think communal yard sale in a field...) so could be an option.

Also continued looking and there are a couple of old Silverstone models with inverted MATX and top mounted PSU with vent, only downside is they're only 210mm wide with the mobo tray raised 25mm, so no room for a 200mm fan.  So close!
                               
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