Welcome to 3DCADForums

Join our CAD community forums where over 25,000 users interact to solve day to day problems and share ideas. We encourage you to visit, invite you to participate and look forward to your input and opinions. Acrobat 3D, AutoCAD, Catia, Inventor, IronCAD, Creo, Pro/ENGINEER, Solid Edge, SolidWorks, and others.

Register Log in

Help deciding CAD software for beginner


New member

Im an electronics engineer, and am planing to start up a company soon.

I have been working on my designs using Altium, which provides STEP files of the finished PCB designs and its components.

The thing is I am new to the world of CAD, but I would like to acheive these criterias:

1) The components and PCB board are going to be STEP files. I was hopeing if there is a CAD program which can import these files, then create the structure (casing) around them easily and quickly, by impreging the the PCB shape or something similar.

2) Once design is complete if alteration are needed to make them easy to change in the future.

3) To make realistic pictures which is good enough to advertise with.

4) The casing is to be plastic but I know I will need wire or thin metal to solder one PCB board to another. But can it design moldings for plastic injection molding, or the right files for manufacturing companies to take and work with.

5) Last of all is, files which can be used for rapid prototyping using SLA or filament 3D Printers.

I have come across a few softwares but there are too many and I'm getting confused which one would be best to start off with.

The ones which have caught my eye is:

The others which I have heard of but I will have to save up a bit to get them were:

PTC Creo

It would be really helpfull if you can advise which would be best to help achieve my project quickly and easily but be cost effective in the long run as I slowly grow (in knowledge and company size :) ).
Also I do know solidworks has a colaborator plugin for Altium but that is a expensive route which I would like to avoid and make it my last choice if the others don't work out for me.

Thank you

I hope to hear from you guys soon