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any 3d designers ?


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I think you'll find Sketchup easy to learn, but I think it's regarded as more of a mesh modeller than a CAD program. Sketchup may be just what works best for you. It's a while since I looked at it, and I seem to remember there being a free and a pro version. I imagine there are tutorials on YouTube.

If Sketchup doesn't turn out to be for you, have a look at FreeCAD http://freecadweb.org/This will probably take longer to learn, but I believe it to be a true CAD program that is genuinely free and works on all platforms.

One thing that you might not have considered is photogrammetry. This is where a 3D model is made from a series of images. If you only have one picture of the bridge it won't be much use. Basically the more pictures the better. Have a look at 123D Catch from Autodesk http://www.123dapp.com/I think it's still free.

This is another system, which did at one time have a free trial download, Photomodeler. The pro version is rather dear though. http://www.photomodeler.com/index.html

I have access to MicroStation and Photomodeler on a day to day basis so I don't get to play with the things I've pointed you at.

As for learning CAD, draw something you like, break it down in to smaller parts, make notes of how you did a procedure that was awkward for you, stop when frustration sets in, save often, better still learn how to set Autosave for 5 minutes, Make a note of where the Undo button is!

Good Luck.


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Rather than just searching for images of the Primasole bridge it might help to look for terms like "truss bridge".

Also, there are some model rail truss bridges that might be used for reference. The proportions could be adjusted by stretching afterwards.

Your photos of wooden bridges look as if they might be laser cut baltic birch plywood rather than MDF. Having said that I have found sites where laser cut MDF is discussed:


Here's a site where CAD files can be downloaded from. This one has DWG files that you may not be able to open however.


If you do your own search, such as for "truss bridge download" and include the extension for Sketch up files (dae?) You'll discover lots of ready made files to play with. Some will be free, but not all.


...or should I have typed SKP rather than DAE? Whatever, have a look.

You may find exactly what you want but in the wrong format. (There are quite a few CAD file types). If you do, let me know and we'll see if we can get it converted to something your CAD system can read.

This site seemed to have a few leads:


Or this one even


Fed up with CAD yet?

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