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CAD for a Chromebook

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Pete White11/01/2020 14:07:21
148 forum posts
16 photos

I have been a happy with Qcad via Linux for a long time but now I am looking at Chromebooks. I hear that Linux can be dual booted so perhaps not a problem, but is there prefered, !!!?? drawing app for the Chomebook for simple drawings?

Might get into 3d printing one day?

With Thanks


Simon Barr11/01/2020 18:35:31
26 forum posts
18 photos

Hi, my first post here

With Chromebooks you don't dual boot Linux, but you can seamlessly run Linux apps in a virtual machine. Not all Chromebooks can do this so research the models before buying. The feature is considered beta and things like cut and paste can be slow but I find it works well.

I may be teaching you to suck eggs but Chromebooks have an 'expiry date' after which they will no longer receive updates from Google. Personally I love their simplicity. I worked in IT for nearly thirty years and got entirely fed up with windows. I have a pixel book myself so I may look at qcad and see if it runs.


Kiwi Bloke11/01/2020 21:22:47
609 forum posts
1 photos

Chromebooks are a highly cost-effective way of getting reasonable hardware in a small package with a long battery life between charges. And there's no buried Micros**t licence fee to pay... However, the limited on-board storage may initially be seen as a limitation. Therefore, it's probably a good idea not to clog up the ssd with multiple operating systems. ChromeOS is designed for an on-line existence and is too limiting (and annoying) for general use (and would you trust Google anyway?), so why bother with a dual-boot set-up?

The solution is to get rid of all the originally-supplied firmware and ChromeOS and run Linux alone. This is being written on such a device. It works perfectly. I have played with various Linux CAD packages on this machine: all worked fine, as far as I could see.


This site has been devoted to running Linux on Chromebooks for several years and contains all you need for the conversion. I admit to not understanding all of the techy stuff, but following the instructions was easy and successful. I'm running GalliumOS, a light-weight Linux distro optimized for Chromebooks, on an Asus C200, now several years old. It's easier to replace the firmware on later machines. The whole process is reversible, should you wish to sell the machine as an unmolested Chromebook (but why would you?).

You can also do a similar trick to run Windoze on a Chromebook, but really...?

Edited By Kiwi Bloke on 11/01/2020 21:25:05

Simon Barr12/01/2020 11:26:37
26 forum posts
18 photos
Posted by Kiwi Bloke on 11/01/2020 21:22:47:

ChromeOS is designed for an on-line existence and is too limiting (and annoying) for general use (and would you trust Google anyway?), so why bother with a dual-boot set-up?

Edited By Kiwi Bloke on 11/01/2020 21:25:05

While that is true Chromeos is becoming increasingly useful offline. You can create email, edit docs, run Linux apps etc offline nowadays. How well that works for an individual is down to their needs, and for me it works just fine. Are you aware that you don't need to dual boot Linux on the chromebook? You can enable a virtual machine and just run Linux apps, then you have the best of both worlds. I'm a long time Linux fan and have used it since kernel 1.2.8.

I spoilt myself and got a pixelbook so local storage and processing power are both available, along with the most amazing piece of laptop hardware I've experienced. Very happy


Pete White13/01/2020 16:12:03
148 forum posts
16 photos

Than you both for the information, food for further thought.smiley

One thing for sure, Windoz went out the Windows here 16 years ago and won't be coming back.


Simon Barr13/01/2020 20:19:57
26 forum posts
18 photos

Just a quick update regading QCad. I can confirm that QCad (Linux release) appears to run just fine on my Pixelbook. I downloaded and extracted the .tgz file from the website and extracted it. QCad ran with installation So in theory any Chromebook that can run Linux will run QCad. The best of both worlds IMHO.

I'm unfamiliar with using it or any CAD program really so I think I'll buy a printed copy of the book and have a play.


phil hurst13/01/2020 21:01:49
2 forum posts
1 photos

As a slightly different approach I use a chromebox with OnShape, a cloud based CAD. It even runs on a raspberry pi4 for small designs. It is free to register and use but your drawings are all public meaning anyone can see them. It just runs from a browser and is an easy way to start with 3DCAD. There are good video tutorials as well. I am using it to design parts for a scale model lathe that I am making.

Don't be put off by the complex stuff demoing on the homepage!


Pete White07/06/2020 12:49:36
148 forum posts
16 photos

Well I bit the bullet and bought a chromebook, very pleased I am with it, linux activated as well. Am I right in thinking Autocad for android is now free? Can't quite believe it but seems the obvioous choice to me?

Any ideas

Brian H07/06/2020 12:52:25
2230 forum posts
113 photos

Autocad Fusion 360 is free for model engineers.


mechman4807/06/2020 16:12:49
2933 forum posts
460 photos

I have downloaded DesignSpark Mechanical to see if I can get my head round CAD, it reminded me much of Viseo 2000 which I got on very well with but is now defunct. has any one else used this app; & did anything else, if any, replace, Viseo 200. ?


Pete White15/06/2020 07:36:55
148 forum posts
16 photos

Thanks for the reply, looked at Fusion and note that a free subscription for one year is mentioned, is this renewable I presume?

Kiwi Bloke15/06/2020 12:06:21
609 forum posts
1 photos

Pete, did you replace the Chromebook's firmware (as in MrChromebox) and use GalliumOS, or did you keep ChromeOS? If you didn't junk ChromeOS, why not? When I did the Mr Chromebox firmware re-write, I wondered whether I was wise to lose ChromeOS, although it seemed a useless OS to me. If you have a good reason to keep it, I'd be interested to know.

Pete White16/06/2020 09:59:52
148 forum posts
16 photos

Not heard of Mrchromebox, will check it out. Still with the chrome os, which I have not had a problem with, time will tell. I added some linux stuff but dont see a need for it? Qcad was my only issue to date, fusion should solve that I think?

I have been with Linux in various forms for over 15 years, a bit of work needed in early years, but Mint is now well sorted. Reason for Chromebook, were quick boot time and battery life and a dodgy keyboard on my aged laptop.

At the back of my mind was a security issue, which probably doesn't exist, may be not solve by opting from the chromebook ? Sold my soul to Google.


Pete White25/06/2020 15:52:18
148 forum posts
16 photos

Fusion 360 hobbyist is not compatible with the Chromebook, sadly. Think I shall have to investigate installing sssssss

qcad, if nothing else turns up ?

Pete White30/06/2020 08:28:37
148 forum posts
16 photos

I have solved it, after much searching. smiley.......Librecad , a spin off from Qcad.

Simply installed with " sudo apt install librecad " in the terminal window. Like all linux apps that I have tried on my chromebook seems to work well and icons appear on the menu screen. Very pleased with it all.

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