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I came from freecad, scetchup, now I use Design Spark Mechanical

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They reason why was:
I had no skills in CAD/CAM and don't wanted to learn it "the hard way" by expensive tools and training.
DSM is free to use and very easy to learn.
You will improove your skills with every design you do.

I learned to love the layers, objects can be combined or seperated with many supporting functions.
Also "problematic" things like a text (any windows font) on a surface is no problem with DSM.
One of the best features of the program are the multiple import formats supported.

You can open:
DS Mechanical-Data (.rsdoc)
ECAD-Data (
.idf; .idb; .emn)
Object-Data (.obj)
Scetchup-Data (
STEP-Data (.stp; .step)
3D-Print-Data (*.stl)

Just have a look on my designs here in Thingiverse

Kind regards to you all,

Funny. I started with Sketchup, used DSM for a while, then moved to OpenSCAD and FreeCAD. I've dabbled with TinkerCad, Fusion360 (really good, but only pseudo-free), and OnShape (all in browser, but drawbacks similar to Fusion360, IMHO). But now that I've gotten good at FreeCAD, it is my go-to CAD because FreeCAD is fully parametric and under constant active development and with LOTS of tools (plugins/workbenches). Get chummy with the sketcher and constraints and your (CAD) life will be changed forever.

Download: http://freecadweb.org/wiki/Download
Documentation: http://freecadweb.org/wiki/Download#FreeCAD_documentation
Video Tutorials: https://www.freecadweb.org/wiki/Video_tutorials

This video looks like it might be a good starting point:
Learn FreeCAD - FreeCAD Lessons for Beginners: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_HEvhclR4-o&list=PL6fZ68Cq3L8k0JhxnIVjZQN26cn9idJrj

On a side question, does it allows you to model with constraints (paralel to x, perpendicular to line y, etc...)

Not sure if you think the same I have in mind:

Yes, if a line (or object you rotate), or a new line is perpendicular to existing one a small rectangel is showing up.

Parallel to x I do by copying the existing line.
Pasting the line
Move it in X direction so it is parallel to origin line.
You can also move in Y or Z.
You lost the parallel if you select the angle move.
The size can be changed afterwards.

Not the same thing. In Autocad each line or primitive you sketch can have "constraints" and "relations" that define their behavior in relation to other geometry.

I could make 3 lines randomly in the sketching area, then choose all three and add a "perpendicular" constraint and they'd all be perpendicular. That's how fusion and solidworks behave different than free modeling.

Thanks for the explanation.
I'm not a professinal, like I wrote - only hobbiest.
I'm also not a student anymore - so the license policy from Autocad is much to expensive for me for just trying it out.

From the free apps, it seems to be the one with least "catches" while keeping a intuitive workflow.

even if it doesn't have the modification history feature like fusion or solidworks, i'll give it a try. Might be good for quick projects

Of course, it has undo and redo function.
The "curved arrows" on the top left corner.

Default value is 50 Steps in Memory (have changed mine in extended settings to 200)

You can do 1 by 1 step back, or go to the drop down menu and select an action done 40 Steps ago (all steps after will disappear) until you continue working or re-activate steps with redo arrow.

Not what i meant: Parametric software keeps a "history" of changes and how each step affects the next.

You could click ten steps back, change a value (say, a line's lenght), go 10 steps back to the current model and it'd still be there, but with the new parameter taken into account and influencing everything after it.

how do you do text with DSM?

Hi Fireflynj

I added a Picture with following Steps done.

Created rectangle 2x20x100mm
Used the "meter tool": showing 100mm
Placed the 100mm in the middle of rectangle
replaced the 100mm with my text i want
doibleclicked my text, so all it's marked
used the tool "projection" and selected the surface of rectangle as target.
Now your text is part of the surface.
You can select it by doubleclick and pull or pull/push it