What is Alibre Design?
Alibre Design is a professional CAD program focused on mechanical modeling just like DesignSpark Mechanical. It has both a professional and a hobbyist version – the latter one is named Alibre Atom3D.
The hobbyist version can be used to create CNC projects – with support for both metal and wood – as well as 3D printing projects. Built-in precision features allow the user to create very complex parts, as well as mechanical designs comprised of many different parts. Lastly, it also provides sketching capabilities – useful for creating layouts. The professional version further expands on this, adding features such as automatic bill of materials generation, dynamic part creation, and scripting.
Unfortunately, the developers do not support macOS – their products only work on Windows. However, this limitation can be bypassed, allowing you to run Alibre Design on Mac as well. The guide below will explain the process in detail. It is not limited to Alibre Design, and can be used to run Alibre Atom3D on Mac too.
Why Alibre Design doesn’t run on Mac?
There are several reasons why some apps don’t run on Mac. It could be an incompatibility with Mac or macOS version. Also, MacOS Catalina and Big Sur don’t support 32-bit apps. Most developers are designing new, 64-bit versions of the apps, but, in spite of that, there are still hundreds of apps that can only run on 32-bit Macs. In our case, the reason is that Alibre Design native Macintosh version simply doesn’t exist. At the present moment, there is no information about the release date and the possibility that Alibre Design will be available for Mac.
How to run Alibre Design on Mac
The most popular solution for running Alibre Design on Mac/MacBook is virtualization software. Despite the fact that emulators usually demand quite a lot of computing power out of a Mac, some of them, for example, Parallels, VirtualBox, or VMWare, can help to run different programs on OS X with minimal losses in the performance of your machine. Moreover, some of them are compatible with DirectX 11, which can help with running graphically demanding apps and games. Also, you can change desktops and copy any files between your Parallels program (Windows Desktop) and OS X freely.
Running Alibre Design through Parallels
If you wish to run Alibre Design on Mac, Parallels Desktop can be a solution. This is an application that allows for Windows virtualization on Mac with the full support of DirectX and GPUs. In simpler terms, what this means is that it allows you to install Windows 10 on Mac with just a couple of clicks and switch between MacOS and Windows instantly. So you will be able to run Windows and install Alibre Design just like on a regular PC.
Running Alibre Design though other virtual machines
Another popular virtualization program is VMware Fusion. It is a software hypervisor that allows running virtual machines like guest operating systems, such as Windows, Linux, FreeBSD, and Solaris. Fusion’s current versions provide hardware-accelerated DirectX 11 and OpenGL 4.1 capabilities to virtual machines, which allows them to run heavy, GPU-intensive applications and games with top 3D graphics.
You can also try VirtualBox, Wine, and QEMU, however, these programs are not very accessible to users and require advanced computer skills to use.
Running Alibre Design on remote server
If you have a powerful Windows-based server and a fast internet connection, another method is Alibre Design running on Windows on a Server machine (in the cloud, or remote desktop) and looking at the screen from your Mac.
You can use TeamViewer, AnyDesk, or other software for this purpose.
Running Alibre Design on Windows 10 using Boot Camp
BootCamp allows users to choose the system to work in on startup, however, you won’t be able to switch between systems like in Parallels. Do note that you will need no less than 64 GB of free space on your device (we recommend having 128 GB). After Windows installation completes, your Mac starts up in Windows and opens a ”Welcome to the Boot Camp installer” Window. You will need to reboot your machine every time you want to switch from Mac to Windows and vice versa. To set up Windows via BootCamp, please, do the following:
For OS X El Capitan 10.11 and older
Important: for MacOS versions prior to OS X El Capitan 10.11 you will need to create bootable Windows USB.
- Download Windows ISO file
- Open Boot Camp Assistant (Go to Applications > Utilities)
- Define the Windows partition size choose downloaded Windows ISO file
- Format Windows partition and go through all Windows installation steps
- When Windows boots for the first time follow on-screen instructions to install Boot Camp and Windows support software (drivers)
Note: Mac M1 chipsets are not supported by BootCamp
If you did not succeed using methods above, feel that it is too difficult, or wish to run native software instead of Alibre Design, there are alternatives that support MacOS and offer the same or similar features. Among the best ones are SketchUp, Autodesk AutoCAD, Autodesk Fusion 360, and BRL-CAD.