Casey Bralla on 8 Jun 2014 14:43:20 -0700

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[PLUG] Design Spark Mechanical in Virtual Machine Works!

I have been looking for a low-cost 3D CAD system for some time.   None of the 
Linux-based systems seem any good (at least without a STEEP learning curve).   
I used an - ahem- "archived" - version of SolidWorks in a VirtualBox 
virtual machine, but didn't feel good about being a pirate, so abandoned it 
some time ago.

SketchUp works well in a virtual machine,but it's just too simple for me.   I 
wanted something "almost professional".

Last year DesignSpark Mechanical released their 3D CAD program, and it seems 
very nice.   It is is free (as in beer), but only runs under windows.

They explicitly say it is not compatible with virtual machines, and I was 
never able to  get the screen to work in VirtualBox (the design area always 
blanked and gave an error message).  I had been putting off learning it because 
I would have to use an old WinXP box I've got for kids games.

Well, the world has marched on, and I got it to work today in VirtualBox.

I enabled the "3D driver" in VirtualBox's settings, gave it the maximum video 
memory, and then installed the 'experimental 3D driver" from VirtualBox Guest 
Additions.   During this installation, it asked a confusing question about 
using the "Basic3D" interface.   The default is "yes", but I chose "no" to use 
the more sophisticated "Aero" driver.

When I started up DesignSpark and loaded a file, I was rewarded with a 3D image 
that could be rotated and viewed just like on a native windows setup.

3D CAD, here I come!

Casey Bralla

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