One of my main problems with FreeCAD is as far as I can determine the UI is limited to viewing from one side of the virtual box --- no oblique views other than the built in isometric. Adequate for a lot of uses but I am spoiled by having spent so much time on systems that do not have that limitation. Maybe I just need to dig deeper into its UI.
For Lathe work a 2D cad system might suffice. Desault Systems (as in Solid Works
) markets Draftsight as a free 2D application with yearly registration. Draftsight is actually a 'lightweight' version of Ares Commander. The difference is that that the menu system does not have the 3D commands and a few modules like 'lisp' are missing. Draftsight produces true accurate DWG/DXF files. I know I have seen free programs in the past (15 years ago) that would convert a 2D DXF profiles to CAM commands for lathes. One thing that you need to know about the Linux Version: their clunky registration system requires
that fireless-fox be operational (i.e. login to keyring first
) and the 'default' browser.
Milling is a bit more complex issue. I believe that you need a true 3D modeler. By the way Draftsight can do that from the command line but you have to know all the native 3D commands and how to use them. I am old and too lazy to do that anymore so I bought a copy of BricsCAD years ago (version 13). Now that I am getting into 3D printing I will probably upgrade the license for the STL output option. It is overkill for my needs but I already own the PRO license. A perpetual license for either Ares Commander or BricsCAD is in the $750 range.
There a lot of other options out there for the Windows world that are less expensive. Many of those are based on IntelliCAD Technology Consortium which had its origins from Visio's IntelliCAD 98. I have used several incarnations Intelicad and have no big issues with it. Vendors tend to make most of their profits from "enhancements" and custom menu systems.
Reference: http://www.worldcadaccess.com/blog/2015 ... tdesk.html
If money, CPU power and learning curve are not of concern then it is hard to beat SolidWorks.
I did hundreds (if not thousands
) of mechanical designs before we had 3D CAD systems and a bunch before we had 2D CAD systems ... some of that when numeric control was in its infancy. I still have a tendency to revert to a carbon pencil for brainstorming an concept