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Simple 2D Cad system

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Brian Moseley04/01/2021 12:34:01
5 forum posts
8 photos

Hi every one. I am a newby to the MEW web site, a sometime MEW magazine contributor and a Chartered Engineer. I spent 10 of my early working years as a mechanical Design & Development Engineer when it was a tracing paper and pencil job. I have been a model maker for some 40+ years and have been using TurboCad for maybe the last 10 years or so. I am having great difficulty with TurboCad 10 as there is very little useful 'How To' help with the package. I use an iMac with which TurboCad struggles generally anyway. Does anybody know of or use an alternative CAD package which is simple to use, has a good instruction book as print or software and maybe email/phone back-up' plus the iMac version is reliable. Most of my CAD drawing are for work shop use so I don't use or need 3D. I need to be able to produce 2D drawing for making/building things generally and like to produce proper drawings that I can the print for workshop use. Any one have any suggestions ? BrianM

PS. I have just added an Album with 4 or 5 photos off a couple of project that have kept me occupied in the last few years. The clock is my own design with a 'Big Ben' escapement

Tony Pratt 104/01/2021 12:49:25
1643 forum posts
8 photos

Have a look at Deltacad.


Pete White04/01/2021 12:50:18
141 forum posts
16 photos

I have been a linux fan for years so don't normally spend money on software, but recently upgraded my qcad package for a very reasonable 30 ish pounds. I have used qcad for over 15 years, recently tried some free packages but for me nothing matches up to qcad. There will be other opinions.........

I have been looking for something that will run on my recent chromebook, Librecad is an option.

Qcad is linux windooz and mac by the way, free no hassle trial is also available. 

Projects look good.


Edited By Pete White on 04/01/2021 12:54:43

Dave S04/01/2021 12:58:17
195 forum posts
41 photos

for simple 2D I use LibreCAD - it is much like AutoCAD but free, cross platform and generally quite useable.


JasonB04/01/2021 13:20:27
21300 forum posts
2419 photos
1 articles

As you are used to using Turbocad why not get an up to date version, they even do ones for Mac rather than use an old out of date and probably unsupported version.

SillyOldDuffer04/01/2021 13:57:13
7473 forum posts
1648 photos

Another vote for Ribbonsoft's QCAD.

Like Pete, I've found it worth paying for the Pro version because it's got some useful productivity enhancements and advanced features. However, the free version is nearly as powerful and fine for most drawings, they just take a little longer to develop. The idea is you start with the Community Edition, grow to like it, and then realise there's an even better version. Well supported by the developer and has an active forum. There's a book too, but it's reference rather than tutorial.

LibreCAD is a fork of the QCAD Community edition, ie another group has started a second development from the original code-base. Although LibreCAD has no commercial connection with Ribbonsoft, and has a somewhat different look and feel, the two are similar. Last time I tried it, LibreCAD felt a tad less slick, but it works.

In style the QCAD family remind me of Autosketch, which is from the AutoCAD stable, but simpler to use - 2D. For what I needed at work AutoCAD being feature packed was completely over the top, and QCAD does more than I need at home. As Fusion 360 does 3D CAD, it's unlikely I'll ever want AutoCAD.

There are many simpler and more powerful drawing packages about, but I've found QCAD doesn't run-out of puff, and it strikes a good balance between power and usability. Even though I'm fluent in 3D Fusion 360 I prefer QCAD for straightforward work - perhaps 75% of my drawings. Fusion is much better than QCAD for complicated projects, but it's a far steeper learning curve.


blowlamp04/01/2021 14:09:28
1498 forum posts
97 photos

Moment of Inspiration (MoI) is what I use. It is a very well thought out CAD package and is super for drawing complex lines & curves easily.


Brian Moseley04/01/2021 15:09:25
5 forum posts
8 photos

Hi everybody, thanks for the replies, the speed is impressive. I will dig deeper now I've got something to go on.


John Hinkley04/01/2021 16:32:33
1170 forum posts
390 photos

You've more than enough suggestions there, Brian. Everyone has their own particular favourite. I second SOD's suggestion and I personally use QCAD ( pro ) for 2D dxf and pdf files for workshop use, but Alibre Atom for 3D initial design and trial fit of parts prior to committing tool to metal.

You pays your money and takes your choice. Or, more correctly for QCAD et al, you don't pay .....and make your choice.



Edited By John Hinkley on 04/01/2021 16:33:08

Martyn Edwards 104/01/2021 18:17:59
24 forum posts
59 photos

I was going to suggest Draftsight, very similar to Autocad but I've just checked and the free version ceased in Dec 2019.

Nigel Graham 226/02/2021 18:26:52
1666 forum posts
20 photos

From another TurboCAD user:

(TC Deluxe 19)

Stick with it ...

After all we don't buy a new lathe because our existing one's auto-feed clutch is behind the saddle (I kid you not on that one), or we find cutting fine-lead 3-start left-hand Dardalet threads difficult.

.... but see if you can up-date it. NB A full application of industrial CAD software will be of industrial price, but investigate anyway as I will show. There will also be operating differences from earlier versions of course.

My experience explains my stance:

I was never a professional designer and draughtsman but knew the basics of manual engineering-drawing and outside of model-engineering, had to read such drawings at work. I became aware at work of the potential of CAD and despite owning a professional-grade A0 draughting-table, decided to take up CAD, for model-engineering.

At the time the only CAD of any real value readily available to the amateur was TurboCAD, sold by Paul "The Cad" Tracey. He advertised it in ME - I don't know why he has stopped doing so. Anyway I bought my copy of TC 19 Deluxe from his stand at a major model-engineering show.

He trades as PaulTheCAD, Paul Tracey Design Ltd., as a TurboCAD 2D/3D TurboCAD and trainer; and I would suggest you look at his site.

I have just done so and it looks as if TC Deluxe 2020 could give you, certainly me, a reasonably powerful 2D/3Dpackage at sensible cost.


My copy came with a separate CD tutorial that is not a video but far more useful: a series of talked-through introductory exercises in .pdf format from the start, mainly orthogonal but ending with an isometric rendering. It's a digital equivalent of Harold Hall's book on using milling-machines - though the resulting images are not of real objects like T-nuts you can make for your workshop. (Maybe Messrs Hall and Tracey could collaborate! 

Nevertheless I found it hard to learn too, and found TC's official on-line "Help" document little more than a badly-planned aide-memoire for experienced users.


After struggling for a while I tried Fusion 360 and Alibre (the latter via MEW's promotional series); but soon realised that would be a mistake. I had made some progress with TurboCAD, and changing to another make would mean learning totally different software from the start. Further, these alternatives enforce 3D-first, greatly complicating it and not necessary for most of my purposes. TurboCAD gives me a straight 2D/3D choice in the same programme. It also has a lively Users' Forum whose professional users include authors of tutorial videos, though these seem aimed mainly at advanced users wanting to make pretty pictures of complicated things.

I had also paid for TurboCAD outright. Alibre would prove more expensive, whether by subscription or straight purchase; there was doubt about the future of Fusion's "free for hobby use" arrangement.


The problem was that I could not find anything to explain CAD principles of CAD (I knew the basics of technical-drawing, but not those of this extra ocean of skill between drawing and workshop.)


As for TurboCAD's official , on-line .pdf "manual" from the "Help" button.....

I found though that, surprisingly as it's a pdf file, I could copy-&-paste the "Contents" page straight into MS 'Word' then after appropriate editing, turned it into an alphabetical 'Excel' spread-sheet index in noun-adjective-adjective style. I printed that, and it greatly helps me find the information needed in the document on the screen.

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