When I started messing around with 3D CAD, I had to decide if I was going to pirate SolidWorks, or get some sort of shitty open source, almost good enough solution. Another option was SketchUp, which really doesn't cut it for the parts I want to make.
Then I found out about a getting a legal
copy of Inventor. No brainer. If I ever need to pick up SW, it'll be a whole lot faster, now that I know Inventor. If I was 20, I'd probably pirate SW, unless I could get it for super cheap at school.
Autodesk (maker of Inventor, AutoCAD, and many, many more packages) can't become the industry leader overnight. However, they are going after the student and DIY market with a vengance. Their marketshare will grow.
None of the CNC tools I use care where the Gcode comes from.
Originally Posted by garandman
They'll give it away to almost anyone - for good reason.
I was talking to my son's school about their pre-engineering program and the subject of Inventor came up (because it was free). I suggested they go to Monster.com and look at the number of jobs in New England for which they were asking for Inventor skills compared to SolidWorks or Pro/E, for example.
SolidWorks - over 100 jobs. Pro/E, 25+. Inventor - two, and one of those was AutoDesk themselves.
You can buy Alibre' personal for $199 and there are a number of other other low-cost products to do 3D modeling.