I was just reading thru Claus60's thread on his amazing build of a tabletop CNC mill.
I am posting here, because while there I saw laments about the cost of SolidWorks.
I would like to share an opportunity for anyone to get SolidWorks at an affordable cost.
I am a long-term member of EAA, the Experimental Aircraft Association,
and just a couple years ago SolidWorks started offering a personal use copy,
actually the student version, to EAA members for free.
Yes, FREE !
EAA memberships start at $40/year.
EAA has many available online tutorials for beginning SW users, as well a SW forum.
Read more about it here:
The fine print:
You need space on your computer to download it,
as well as a powerful enough processor and a robust graphics card,
as this version of SW resides on your home machine.
It's a resource hog, but it's amazing what it can do once you get to know it.
SW student version has no hold-backs, it's the full blown version,
but like all student copies of SW, it times out after exactly 12 months.
So you need to renew your EAA membership.
Additionally, all drawings produced, will be tattooed with "for student use only".
Another place to get SW might be your local community college.
Several years back I took an evening SW course at my community college,
and was given the student version for free (after tuition, of course),
along with access to an incredible instructor.
And, FWIW, in the state I live in,
tuition and fees are halved, once you break the 3 score year barrier.
Hope this helps someone sitting on the fence about the cost of really good 3D-software.