The Alibre Design software is a CAD (Computer Aided Design) software that has been specially conceived for those that have a passion in creating industrial models within their homes or as a hobby, and it’s also an extremely useful exercise prior to starting to use highly complex software solutions in this branch like those offered by the Autodesk company. This software is the ‘home-use’ version of an entire family of applications offered by the Alibre Company both in expert and professional versions. For a consumer-oriented software, this is surprisingly performing and even powerful as it’s capable to manage both the sketching of the models in the 2D version and can also cope successfully with the parametric 3D modeling.
Even if the user shall not benefit from the functionality of the professional software or at leas robust from this point of view from this branch, the Alibre Design software proves itself to be highly useful, quite cheap in comparison with similar applications and, in a nutshell, pretty useful as to be worth an investment from those interested.
Starting from the idea that this software is an ‘entry-level’ type, the user shall be impressed in a pleasant manner as he will find the tools that also exist in the more performing programs like editing text, a history of the commands applied and a tool capable of measuring linear distances. But in spite of all these, this software does not have a tool that automatically counts the identical objects, albeit the duplication of those is quite facile through some keyboard shortcuts. Moreover, the user can create in another software the macros that he then can use in the Alibre Design software because this application in itself does not have this possibility.
Alibre offers a highly versatile 2D and 3D functionality based on the roughly solid parametrical modeling which means that the entire model that the user creates is made at dimensions and quotas that can be even equal to the real ones or, as the professionals call them, at ‘intelligent dimensions’. The moment one dimension modifies, the entire design the user has built also modifies in order to keep the proportions to the working scale and thus maintains a highly good accuracy. The more the model made by the user is increasingly complex, the handier this parametrical modeling option can get.
The Alibre Design software also has a drawing set for 2D which is ideal for the sketching of the technical schemes, bi-dimensional model design, technical sketches for buildings and constructions and, besides all these, the software also offers the possibility of editing the colors of the sketch and of modifying the illumination in order to bring a plus in the depth and the aesthetics of the entire model. This software, however, misses the photorealistic rendering, a complete 2D toolset and complex light effects that can be found only in Expert and Professional versions.
As far as the file compatibility is concerned, the Alibre Design software is beneath mediocre because it only offers 2D import of DXF and DWF type and only a basic form of publishing under the form of PDF documents. This software is able to export in 3D formats only under the form of STL files, the native and basic form, of the architectural CAD-type software and has no possibility of exporting WMF (Windows Metafile) files.
The software manufactured by the Alibre Company is not exactly a modern and advanced CAD-type application as it isn’t by far comparable with applications such as Autodesk. But in spite of this, the more unfamiliar users, at least those that are on the basics with the 3D modeling, shall be sort of uncomfortable by this software that is quite hard to use and learn, especially for the beginners.
As far as the easiness of use is concerned, the Alibre Design software is not actually a software that is immune to the learning curve of all the modeling software solutions. A CAD-type software requires a long time for the user to get a work habit of the precise and relaxed menus navigation, abilities that are toughened also by the interface which is, in many cases, extremely complex and dizzying and has a lot of small and unnamed icons. This software made by Alibre can be packed and presented like a product oriented to the beginner and medium users but, anyhow, this is still a CAD-type software with all that this means, except for a few options that could make it be categorized in the professional category.
Despite the fact that it is a difficult to use and learn and it requires a long period of time only just to accommodate, the Alibre Design software becomes very interesting the moment the user begins to comprehend it and is able to use it at its full capacity.
As far as the tech support is concerned, the Alibre team is indeed a fully professional one and the users can find support and answers to the questions they might have both on-line and also through forms, tutorials, FAQ sections, through support tickets and even via the telephone if the technical problems are so complex that haven’t been covered through the other methods. Besides all these options, the user can also use the live chat through a very simple interface or watch training and thorough study videos of the newly-learned elements. All of the above mentioned options are highly valuable and very concise sources that will help the user eventually master the using steps of the Alibre Design software.
In conclusion, this CAD-type software isn’t among the simplest ones with respect to the easiness of use as the required time, effort and a lot of patience in order for the user to be able to use it at its true potential; but the user gets to benefit of a qualitative parametric modeling at a very decent price.