I used to utilise Solidworks leveraging my membership with EAAA.org which had an excellent perk of a free subscription for all members. However Solidworks change the nature of this license agreement & whilst the new license was less attractive, I wasn’t even able to get the app to run via the EAAA.org so I just gave up on it completely & returned to Fusion 360.
Having returned to AutoCAD Fusion 360 (free hobbyist license) & its ease of use, as well as the one stop shop workflow for CAD & CAM to the CNC router, laser cutter & 3D printers.
Lightburn software is pretty much the unofficial benchmark for laser cutter software, it’s reasonably priced, is a one of payment NOT a subscription, which I prefer & the license lets you use the software on up to three computers at once. So i can do the majority of the heavy lifting on my desktop PC, then transfer files to my laptop to work directly with the laser cutter – perfect.
& Gimp is the opensource alternative to photoshop…. enough said
I’m not much of an artist, but the main thing I use Gimp for is importing sketch profiles of the panels/cockpits/airframes & scaling them up so that I can get them as close as possible to any known dimensions of certain elements, then I can use that scaled image to measure the remainder to work out & draw a (near as dammit) 1:1 3D model in CAD.
Not perfect, but as best i can manage without access to all the schematics.
Here is a document outlining how I went about performing the scaling method when I drew up the entire UH-1H instrument panels set.