I wrote about Design Spark Mechanical last night, did not realize that the 16th was this coming Monday! I downloaded the 64bit version and I am very pleased so far. Default units is metric (this is a good sign). The sketch interface is very similar to AutoCAD with basic sketch and snap tools. The 3D modeling is very similar to Fusion, where you pull and push features, unlike Inventor where you extrude and create holes. It has some cool features for edge detection collection for applying fillets and chamfers. The assembly is a bit crude; you need to copy and paste files into a base solid file (there’s no native assembly file). Also, the method of moving solids around reminds me of MasterCAM‘s dynamic plane feature (very clunky) with the addition some basic mate features. They make combining multiple solids as easy as a simple button click.
Overall I would rate it a B+ in user interface and ease of use. Using Design Spark Mechanical and CAMBAM (CNC tool path generator) is a perfect match for the DIY maker or the lean small business for CNC/3D printing needs. For being free software, I’m very impressed and looking forward to using it for product development at Carbide labs!
Here are some screenshots of the Carbide Labs CL being drawn, formed, combined, then 3D printed.