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Calling all CAD! How do I draw my design in 3D?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by TheTechnical, Nov 30, 2006.

  1. TheTechnical


    Sep 4, 2006

    I've worked my bass design into my school engineering design project and need to figure out the best way to draw it in 3D using either AutoCAD or Prodesktop (or a combonation). I've taken a year long class in CAD and dabble with Prodesktop. I figured some people on here might use 3D modeling tools. (Even suggestions for other, preferably free, 3D cad-like programs)

    In CAD, I'd tried using 3D solids to do it but I've found it near impossible to slice the shape of my body out of the 2D drawings I use for reference. I've tried using 3D face but I'm having a dilemma creating the rounded edges of the body. If there are any CAD pros here I'd appreciate any guidance you might have. I'm running AutoCAD 2005 at home and AutoCAD2000/Autodesk Architechtural Desktop at school. If you want more info or more explanation, I can email the drawing files.

    Thanks, any help is appreciated.
  2. eleonn


    Aug 24, 2006
    Lima - Perú
    I just quit to the idea of 3D modeling my design on CAD and have paused Pro Engineer.

    Fhodson does GREAT 3D modeling with Pro Engineer. I've been able to model the fretboard :)hiding:) by now. I have to keep with my tutorials.

    If you search any threads where Fhodson have a post you'll fin some of his work.
  3. Wow, another chance to do a good deed--two days in a row!

    I've done advanced 3D modeling for a living for a solid sixteen years, and I've trained others to do it. I've never modeled a bass guitar, but I have no doubt I could.

    My advice to you, if you want to get serious: forget any product by Autodesk.

    And Pro Engineer--a product that will cost you well over $10,000 to do what you want to--is a distant third in the Big 3 of real high-end CAD. I wouldn't touch it. [I use Unigraphics NX4, and I would also put my money on CATIA].

    Real engineering-level 3D modeling costs money. Your best bet would be a product called Rhino for cost [under $1K], but for your resume it would be SolidWorks. It costs a few thousand dollars, but it is a serious modeler--and also the most widely used in the world.

    Autocad is a fossil. Sorry I don't have better news for you.
  4. VERY well said!! Listen to this guy! I use a simple program called BobCAD, mainly for it's easy, user friendly CAM side. If I had do do anything more than simple folding knife components, I would be spending a LOT more on CAD/CAM software as mentioned above!!
  5. TheTechnical


    Sep 4, 2006
    Wow thanks for all the advice. Well, I'm not about to dump more than $10 on a CAD program let alone $10,000. My friend is currently using Rhino to model a boat hull he is designing. I might be able to get in on that endeavour and try it out.

    I guess for now I'll just trudge ahead with CAD and do the best I can, although I'm about 5 seconds away from breaking out the stencils and drawing pad and doing it the old fashion way. Thanks again.

    Anyone with any CAD tips is welcome to drop them here.
  6. RareBear


    Oct 30, 2006
    I'm not sure how to do it exactly. I don't know what kind of countors your idea has. You could draw the seperate elements of the bass in Autocad and then assemble them. The only hard part would be the body where there may be contours that you eventually want to shade/render. Since AutoCad is not a drawing program that you eyeball things but instead enter real world values such as distances and radii, you'd have to have at least some approximation of the arcs of regions that would represent countours. You can create a region which has the contour on one side, "union it" with the body solid and then "subtract it" to get it to appear like a rounded out or sanded out section. AutoCad is probably not best for this kind of thing but it's not impossible either. In any event you'll have to come up with some lengths and arcs for any arches or recesses in the surfcace of the body solid.

    I'm a little out of practice with AutoCAD but if you have some specific questions you can PM me. I have 2004 on my home PC and can load it to look for ya.
  7. Nomad98


    Dec 13, 2005
    I've used a number of 3d programs and there is one awesome deal that is easy to use (relative of course) and affordable (with a 30 day trial before you buy). "Silo" from "http://www.nevercenter.com" is just over $100 bucks and by far the best modelor for the money. the only thing is that it won't render your model but there are also resourses on their site for free render software. You can't go wrong with at least trying the free trial out to see if the software clicks (if you are new to modeling they have some online tutorials that will get you started).

    Also for a totally free 3d package there is Wings... I used it a little around the same time I found Silo and think that Silo is a much better deal, but if you don't want to drop the cash... Wings!

  8. eleonn


    Aug 24, 2006
    Lima - Perú
    You should stay in 2D with Autocad. This is a software for architecture not for engineer or bass guitar designs.

    3D is great to have a close idea about the way your project is going to look like after finished but if you just want measures 2D is Ok. Of course there is much more fun with 3D!!!
  9. zac2944


    Dec 28, 2004
    Rochester, NY

    I've been using CAD for years in school and now at work. Trying to use AutoCAD for 3D is a joke. Sorry. I use it every day for building layouts and its great for that, but not 3D. For any 3D solid modeling you need a program like SolidWORKS or ProEngineer.

    Have you tried looking for an educational version of some solid modeling software? Maybe there is something out there that you caould get for free?
  10. Peg_legs


    Nov 19, 2005
    Huntsville, AL
    Are you intending to send the model to a CNC machine? If it's just for fun and to see the design, I would suggest drawing the profile in 2D and then extruding it to 1.5 inches or whatever depth you like, then start the contouring. I'm from the CATIA camp and haven't used AutoCAD for anything but 2D, so your mileage may vary.
  11. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    SolidWorks user here.

    SWX used to have a free 3- or 6- month use trial license available for those who said they were changing careers and taking up designing/drafting. It might still be available. It's a great program.

    Pro/E had a free lite version called Pro/Desktop, but I think it's been discontinued. But worth a check.

    I won't even discuss AutoDesk AutoCAD for 3D. The two words don't even belong in the same sentence. AutoDesk's Inventor is a native 3D modeler, like SWX or PRO-E. I have no experience with it. They do use it in the local high school.
  12. Rodent

    Rodent A Killer Pickup Line™ Commercial User

    Dec 20, 2004
    Upper Left Corner (Seattle)
    Player-Builder-Founder: Honey Badger Pickups & Regenerate Guitar Works
    CATIA mentor here (and previously Pro-E, UG, and EMS/VDS) for high-end 3D engineering work. Been wanting to get ahold of a personal Solid Works license for some CAD/CAM work, but the pocket book isn't that fat at the moment.

    3D is a great way to model and assure your design will truly work ... a depth of validation that simply cannot be done with a bunch of 2D lines and your imagination. Sure, people designed with ink and onion skin for years before computers ... but look how the digital validation (i.e. digital mock-ups) workflow has revolutionized the industry away from the dependence on physically making numerous prototypes to refine the form/fit/function of a part/project.

    But .... do you need 3D to design and build a bass? no ... but it sure is a whole lot easier to have everything working to tolerance prior to making a little sawdust

    all the best,

  13. frederic b. hodshon

    frederic b. hodshon

    May 10, 2000
    Redmond, WA
    Microsoft Product Designer
    i use pro/e because i am INTIMATELY familiar with it.

    i can get it to do practically anything i want.

    especially difficult is the neck back transitions.

    3D modeling basses and guitars has been a passion i've pursued for years now.

    not for the faint of heart.

    many great builders out there just using hands.

  14. Bryan316

    Bryan316 Banned

    Dec 20, 2006
    Instead of relying on solid models in AutoCAD, start learning how to do surfacing. Surfaces can get very complex, yet retain smoothness and accuracy.
  15. The Penguin

    The Penguin duplicate account violation Banned

    Jun 21, 2006
    I'm not pelagic
    I had some success a while back making the wood parts using subdivision surfaces in C4D.

  16. Bryan316

    Bryan316 Banned

    Dec 20, 2006
    DAMN that looks good.

    Now add a flamed maple texture to it!
  17. frederic b. hodshon

    frederic b. hodshon

    May 10, 2000
    Redmond, WA
    Microsoft Product Designer
    the power of coincidence.

    i'm listening to Zappa's "Penguin in Bondage"!!!

    Penguin: Sub-D's are an excellent modeling method. your texturing and lighting are superb.

    beyond my Pro/Engineer Advanced Surfacing for modeling and 3DSMAX's metal ray rendering engine, i've been playing with Maya's and Modo's sub-d stuff.

    very fun.

    Can Cinema 4D create detailed dimensional drawings from your models?

  18. kramer.j


    Feb 1, 2007

    In our company we use CoCreate's OneSpace Designer (I happen to be the system adminstrator of it). OSD and HiCad are the only big names in the 3D CAD industry that are non-history based. This makes the learning curve very short.
    The good news is that since a couple of weeks they have a free version available.
    You can find it on http://www.cocreate.com/OneSpaceModelingPE.cfm
    After registring you have a fully functional CAD system on your PC (sorry, no Mac OS X version. Lucky me, I have an Intel Mac)
    Highly recommended.
  19. frederic b. hodshon

    frederic b. hodshon

    May 10, 2000
    Redmond, WA
    Microsoft Product Designer
    looks cool.

    will definitely check it out.


  20. The Penguin

    The Penguin duplicate account violation Banned

    Jun 21, 2006
    I'm not pelagic
    You have excellent taste :)
    Thanks, staying away from real world textures and keeping to what the computer does well, plastics and metals, helped a lot. ;)
    Oh no, it's visual only, lot's of little number rounding errors and stuff. It's a quick program to get up and running as the learning curve is relatively short and it can import a number of formats so it can make a nice renderer for CAD models built elsewhere but I wouldn't try to get clean numbers out of it.

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