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  1. #1
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    Reputation: bluechair84's Avatar
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    Are you CADing up your designs? If so, what on?

    Hi all, I'm pretty excited to start a current project of home built frame and pretty much have the essentials worked out now. However, I have some rocker links in the design which will need to be milled professionally. I haven't done CAD since high school over thirteen years ago and a forray into the current gen of software seems to put it rather out of my price range... Solidworks at something like $1500??
    So, where to go and what to do? Is there alternative packages that would allow me to create a design to send away? Or would it be better just to get a pro to draft it up?

  2. #2
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    Reputation: Epic_Dude's Avatar
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    I"m a Mechanical Engineer, we use Pro/Engineer (Creo 2) for our designs. If you have something simple, possibly I could help.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by bluechair84 View Post
    Hi all, I'm pretty excited to start a current project of home built frame and pretty much have the essentials worked out now. However, I have some rocker links in the design which will need to be milled professionally. I haven't done CAD since high school over thirteen years ago and a forray into the current gen of software seems to put it rather out of my price range... Solidworks at something like $1500??
    So, where to go and what to do? Is there alternative packages that would allow me to create a design to send away? Or would it be better just to get a pro to draft it up?
    Solidworks is more than $1,500 last time I checked. I use Alibre Design. I used to have to disclose that I was a shareholder in the company but they sold it and now my options are worthless. If you've never done solid modeling before, you're going to have a tough time designing a bike frame in a parametric modeling system.

  4. #4
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    You might as well try SketchUp since it's free. It's not great for anything requiring a lot of precision dimensioning or anything complex where parametrics and a design tree are helpful. But for a basic rocker plate it should do the job, or at least get you close.

  5. #5
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    Reputation: bluechair84's Avatar
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    Cheers all, and thanks for the offer EPic Dude, I've discovered Blender which I'm learning at the moment. I don't know yet if if can be used to work up fairly precise measurements, and then once I've made a design how the data can be read by someone who would mill the alloy... We'll see how far I get here first

  6. #6
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    Sketchup is (actually) fun to use. For this purpose, it works very well.

  7. #7
    No mountains near by :(
    Reputation: bluechair84's Avatar
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    Blender has proved a program way to big and complex for my needs... Would take me months to figure it out. Might have a closer look at sketchup

  8. #8
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    Unless you're planning on getting it CNC'd, why not just do it by hand?

  9. #9
    will rant for food
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    Blender is also oriented more toward graphic artists. Animation and art focused instead of industrial focus.
    Latitude: 44.93 N

  10. #10
    No mountains near by :(
    Reputation: bluechair84's Avatar
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    I am, I'm creating rocker arms like on an Ellsworth and need to get a few things pretty accurate. I'd like to end up with a file I can give to a workshop to mill with - I already have rough drafts on paper. I just need to work out what bearings are going in for my diameters.

  11. #11
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    As a cheaper option, have you considered getting the arms cut by some kind of profile cutting (e.g. water jet)? Everywhere that does that kind of cutting just needs a basic 2d dxf format cad file.

    You then just need 3 bores machining in each rocker - a hand sketch is all a machine shop would need for that.

    You might even get away with also water jetting the holes and just getting them drilled out / reamed to final diameter (clamp the two plates together when doing this and it should be within the tolerances needed for a bike frame).

  12. #12
    No mountains near by :(
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    Quote Originally Posted by mickuk View Post
    As a cheaper option, have you considered getting the arms cut by some kind of profile cutting (e.g. water jet)? Everywhere that does that kind of cutting just needs a basic 2d dxf format cad file.

    You then just need 3 bores machining in each rocker - a hand sketch is all a machine shop would need for that.

    You might even get away with also water jetting the holes and just getting them drilled out / reamed to final diameter (clamp the two plates together when doing this and it should be within the tolerances needed for a bike frame).
    I don't know anything about this approach, I'll go do some researching and find out what it is. Cheers

  13. #13
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    Check your local community college and see if they have a beginner CAD course. Take the course and ask the teacher if you can use their program/computer to do your side project. That's what I did a couple of years ago when I learned Solid Works. My teacher was really helpful and all over my project. Which was a frame design.

    Tim

  14. #14
    No mountains near by :(
    Reputation: bluechair84's Avatar
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    Yeah for sure, if I'm going to end up spending considerable time in frame design I will do a course in CAD - but for this proto I'll be able to sort something out. At least

  15. #15
    RCP Fabrication
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  16. #16
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    No ones mentioned bikecad....am I missing something? I've never used any of the programs, just wondering.

    Brian

  17. #17
    will rant for food
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    Quote Originally Posted by mickuk View Post
    As a cheaper option, have you considered getting the arms cut by some kind of profile cutting (e.g. water jet)? Everywhere that does that kind of cutting just needs a basic 2d dxf format cad file.

    You then just need 3 bores machining in each rocker - a hand sketch is all a machine shop would need for that.

    You might even get away with also water jetting the holes and just getting them drilled out / reamed to final diameter (clamp the two plates together when doing this and it should be within the tolerances needed for a bike frame).
    I like WeStar Manufacturing in Wisconsin for this purpose. They're good folks, prices are competitive, they actually answer questions. Westar Mfg. -WaterJet Cutting Services
    Latitude: 44.93 N

  18. #18
    No mountains near by :(
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    Waterjet looks like it will cut shapes in a single plane, but my rocker linkages will be more like the Ellsworth links to resist torsional loads. I'd only discovered bikecad recently, but I need to accurately build up a CAD file for the links to be milled, bikecad looks to mainly be handy for working out geometry (?).

  19. #19
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    Try Rattle Cad its FREE !


  20. #20
    Squelch the weasel.
    Reputation: JaquesN's Avatar
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    Another free CAD program which is easy to learn is tinkercad.

    I don't know how complex your rocker links are, but if it turns out to be inadequate, you can export an STL which you may be able to import into another CAD program to continue from there.

  21. #21
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    Cheers all. I've hand drawn a technical drawing of the rockers with some errors, so now I've got what I want down I should do a technical 2D for someone to create a 3D version for a milling machine. I'll go explore some of those programs soon

  22. #22
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    I just bought Solidworks last summer for just about $5000.00 I need it for other things so I can justify the cost. PM me and I can help you get a solid model of your design. I am a ME by trade and use Solidworks on a daily basis.

  23. #23
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    Flippin brilliant. I've just used tinkercad to model up the main links and discovered you can order 3D prints which I can use on the prototype Well chuffed

  24. #24
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    e-machineworks is a possibility I think. Free software and then you order through them.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by dswanderlust View Post
    Yes, it's free and quite useful for drawing up frames. However, it won't work as general purpose CAD software and there are some issues/bugs/annoyances when using it for frame design. These can all be dealt with (considering the price) but do cause some aggravation - especially when you discover them some way down the track.

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