CAD links

By Wolfgang Keller
Originally written 2024-04-28
Last modified 2024-05-09

Table of contents


Not recommended:

Autodesk Fusion (formerly Fusion 360)

I did not realize that learning Fusion 360 was going to be such a huge chapter in my current journey. Looking back, I'm kind of stumped at how I avoided it as long as I did.

I would now put learning CAD in the same category of mandatory life skill as learning to code. The ability to translate what you see in your mind to something that can be repeatably fabricated is an incredible power move, akin to learning how to communicate complex ideas with empathetic language.

My advice is to start by following this tutorial step-by-step. It's a 90 minute video that took me ten days to get through. Step two is to take an existing project and change it in a significant way. Step three is to create something from scratch which solves a problem that you have.

Plasticity 3D

Solid Edge

I'm with you on the timeline/component stuff. I came from SolidWorks and Solid[ ]Edge and I still pine for a complete CAD package that is actually functional. Fusion360 is foreign to me and I doubt I'll ever be in a place where I could afford an annual Solid[ ]Edge subscription. Note, the community edition is free [0]. I may have to brush off my CAD skills and give it a go.



Installing Solid Edge installs the Helvetica font on your system. As noted on Siemens DISW | Solid Edge ST6 messed up web browser font. [published 2014-10-09T17:47; visited 2024-05-07T01:09:26Z], this messes up the rendering of quite a few websites in your web browser.

Let us look at an example: [visited 2024-05-07T01:11:35Z]:

  • Screenshot when the Helvetica font is not installed: screenshot [created 2024-05-07]
  • Screenshot when the Helvetica font is installed: screenshot [created 2024-05-07]

What is the reason for the font rendering difference? It can be found in the stylesheet file [visited 2024-05-07T01:18:58Z]. This CSS stylesheet contains the following declaration:

body {
  font-family: OpenSans, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif;
  color: #101010;
  background-color: #f8f8f8;

The font-family declaration means:

  • Preferably, the OpenSans font is used.
  • If this font is not available, the Helvetica font is used (this is the choice that is taken under Windpws if Helvetica is installed, but not OpenSans).
  • If this font is not available, the Arial font is used (this is the choice that is taken under Windows if neither OpenSans nor Helvetica is installed).
  • As a last resort, use any sans-serif font.

So, what is the actual problem is not that Solid Edge installs the Helvetica font, but the fact that many webpages inconsiderately add a reference to the Helvetica font in their stylesheet without considering the consequences when this font is actually installed.


[...] I would recommend the open source! It hits a sweet spot between features vs complexity/learning effort. (And as a programmer I dig the terminal aesthetics)