Originally posted by greencactus3
just to pop in another option. inventor8. or have they come out with a 9 by now? im not sure. its by far the most userfriendly 3d modeling program i have used. (which btw isnt too many).
Solid works is known for its ease to use. And out of all the programs I have used (which is a good amount) its the fastest and easiest to learn. Its not nearly as powerful as Catia, Delmia, or Pro E but for stuff like this it gets the job done.
As far as making things go you can check out www.cnczone.com
they have a RTF forum. If you have something 2D(like a shock tower) and find some one with a flojet you can sometimes find stuff for under $100.
Also I noticed your using a older version of solid works. The 05 release is really nice, its got some nice plug ins to like revised COSMOS Express and Edrawings which is kind of pointless but cool at the same time.