I use CAD in very nearly every one of my projects. I find it very intuitive and extremely useful. SolidWorks is my weapon of choice, and it can produce some quite nice realistic looking renders. Recently, I discovered that I could schedule SolidWorks rendering to run overnight, so I set it up to render a couple of my assemblies.
PRUSA i3 3D PRINTER
Here are some renders of my 3D printer. It is a Prusa i3 variant produced by Makerfarm.com. Makerfarm released the source files for it some time ago, so all of the lasercut wood components are directly translated from the source (with some cleanup). A lot of the parts still have segmented lines for rounds and holes, but I’ve been fixing those as I need to. I use the model mostly for designing upgrades for the machine.
SHAPEOKO 2 CNC ROUTER
And now some renders of my shapeoko 2 CNC router. All of the standard components for this were already available in SolidWorks format from the Shapeoko source files. I’ve used this model extensively for testing upgrade ideas.
ROSTOCK MINI 3D PRINTER
Next up, the second 3D printer that I am building, a Rostock Mini variant. All the source files for this are on Thingiverse, but all of them are in .STL format, which SolidWorks doesn’t like very much. I’ve spent a decent amount of time converting those files to SolidWorks format to make everything work, and again, to work on upgrades. I designed the bottom and top plates of the machine myself, and am still developing stuff for this printer.
Final set of renders for this post is the electronics boards I use on my Shapeoko 2. The Arduino Uno model is downloaded from GrabCAD, and many of the passive electronic components are as well. What I did was create the PCB for the proto screwshield by exporting the Eagle files, and then assemble it with the rest of the components. I also put together an assembly for the GShield, which I could not find a good model for anywhere.
The files for both of these projects are hosted on GrabCAD: https://grabcad.com/library/gshield-for-arduino-uno-grbl-shield-1 https://grabcad.com/library/sparkfun-proto-screw-shield-for-arduino-uno-1