I think cad is more user friendly, but keep in mind 3dmax have a lot more advanced features in rendering and textures, and it shares a few conventions with other 3d apps, and with the big brothers like "Inferno".There is a "new" open source app made in java called moonligth 3d, I didnt give it a try yet, and there is couple really easy but very simples, like swift 3d. It is nice to easily animate and have a flash exporter, and can import cad and 3ds. Keep in mind there is no really easy tool yet, I am playn with this since two years and still a noob, but may be I am just slow to learn
Is true blender have a hard interface, but once you get it is great, really easy to find the tool you are looking for.
good luck, and keep us noticed about how it goes!