CAD for project parts

Thread Starter


Joined Mar 1, 2009
I realize this doesn't exactly fall into electronics, so I wasn't sure where exactly to put this thread, feel free to move it if you wish.

I was reviewing This Thread by Bill Marsden regarding project enclosures, which is similar to my current needs, but I have been looking at using 3D CAD programs to design my own custom plastic enclosures, and having them made at a manufacturer since I don't really have the equipment for making injection molded plastic...

I have made some custom stuff in the past, a bit really but always out of metal and it's always been for my personal use. I'm looking for something a bit more professional looking, so I decided to try and use CAD. There are some free 3D cad softwares out there, even one called CAD x11, which is a totally free and fully functional 3D cad for personal or professional use (as in there are no limitations like eagleCAD where you have size limits or can't use it for commercial projects).

My question is, does anyone have experience with 3D CAD here that can get me started? I haven't used any CAD program since high school. As far as I can tell there aren't any tutorials for that CAD x11 software so I really have no idea where to start.

Here's a picture of a custom center console I made for my truck if anyone is interested in seeing it, since I mention I've made some metal things before.



Joined Nov 28, 2009
I am familiar with AutoCAD 2000i, and I suppose modern software would retain many aspects of it. Browsing tutorials pertaining to the operation of various GUIs could provide some general insights. However, the free version of CAD x11 lacks many features needed for advanced three-dimensional modeling, and may be insufficient to draw designs of a threshold complexity. If you intend to use more than only wireframe or basic surface functionality, I recommend actually buying the full application at a modest $20; the price of prototyping will probably be much greater. A technical manual is typically included with these purchases, but servicing agents can normally handle any potential questions. Should substantial lucre come into your possession, a less frugal solution would be to procure the $4,000 AutoCAD 2010 (it having extensive documentation) as well as one of Z Corporation's $15,000 3D printers.