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4MCAD from Mintronics

Looking for a replacement for Autocad

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Steve Skelton 130/06/2021 09:16:12
118 forum posts
3 photos

Hi All,

I have used Autocad 2006 in the past and felt very comfortable with it, Whilst I am not a power user it did what I wanted and allowed me to modify the timber-frame design drawings of the house I built.

I can no longer use the 2006 software I had as it does not run on 64 bit PC's.

I am looking to invest the time (and money) in a standalone, non-subscription CAD package that will allow me to modify my library of existing Autocad drawings and produce some new layouts that I need.

Does anyone have any experience with the 4MCAD software that Mintronics sell and do you have any views? I have tried LibreCAD but for some reason I am unable to load any of the files as it claims that I do not have the permissions. I have tried changing the permissions but with no success.

Ady130/06/2021 09:26:10
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4689 forum posts
713 photos

From my time on this site over the years I have come to the conclusion that while CAD has huge potential it is often a gigantic PITA

I think the big problem is that to make money and keep going software companies have to continually upgrade and many don't offer an occasional hobby user route that lasts for more than a few years

...and that's before you even download the thing and find out whether its worth pursuing any further...

Michael Gilligan30/06/2021 10:03:38
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18734 forum posts
916 photos

I have been searching for years, for something with the simple elegance of ‘early’ Autocad.

Best solution seems to be to dedicate an old PC to the job, using what software release you have.

There is an iOS App which is ‘almost there’ but it’s full of bugs and inconsistencies, so I couldn’t really recommend it.

MichaelG.

.

Edit: __ I have no experience of 4MCAD … but note that there is a free trial available here: https://www.mintronics.co.uk/4mcad

Edited By Michael Gilligan on 30/06/2021 10:14:54

SillyOldDuffer30/06/2021 10:26:25
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7482 forum posts
1657 photos
Posted by Steve Skelton 1 on 30/06/2021 09:16:12:

Hi All,

I have used Autocad 2006 in the past and felt very comfortable with it, Whilst I am not a power user it did what I wanted and allowed me to modify the timber-frame design drawings of the house I built.

I can no longer use the 2006 software I had as it does not run on 64 bit PC's.

I am looking to invest the time (and money) in a standalone, non-subscription CAD package that will allow me to modify my library of existing Autocad drawings and produce some new layouts that I need.

Does anyone have any experience with the 4MCAD software that Mintronics sell and do you have any views? I have tried LibreCAD but for some reason I am unable to load any of the files as it claims that I do not have the permissions. I have tried changing the permissions but with no success.

Never heard of 4MCAD unfortunately so can't comment. However, don't give up too quickly on LibreCAD. No software will read files unless the permissions are correct, so it's worth investigating what the problem is before trying something else. (Check everything before changing a car engine because it won't start. The petrol tank might be empty...)

One cause of permissions problems is transferring files from one machine or account to another. I guess the files have been copied from a 32-bit computer to a new 64-bit machine? Depending on how it's done transferred files can arrive with their original permissions, which are wrong in the new context, and have to be fixed by an administrator. Or re-do the transfer another way.

Which operating system, how were the files moved, and what are the error messages?

An observation. LibreCAD is a fork of QCAD Community Edition and, when I tried it a few years ago, LibreCAD wasn't quite as functional as the original. Might be worth trying the QCAD Community Edition. Also, amongst other goodies, QCAD Professional (paid for but good value), has better import/export coverage of the various AutoCAD dwg/dxf versions. It matters because AutoCAD have developed and extended their file formats for as long as I can remember. An early AutoCAD is likely to gag on drawings produced by later versions.

Dave

Frances IoM30/06/2021 10:44:12
1154 forum posts
28 photos
Under windows you may need admin rights - also if files transferred on a FAT formatted medium (eg memory stick) then if under Linux the file properties re access rights will most likely be wrong (eg owner has full access others may well have no rights depending on how your defaults are set up - can cause strange problems)

Edited By Frances IoM on 30/06/2021 10:44:52

Paul Lousick30/06/2021 11:22:04
1844 forum posts
659 photos

32 bit software should run on 64 bit computers. Do a Google search for installation instructions. I have been a CAD user for 20 years + and not heard of 4MCAD. May be free but will not have the functionability of connercial software. As you are not a power user of CAD, I would stick with what you know. Learning CAD programming is like learning a new language. (How long would it take you to learn Greek or Russian and be prificent).

And yes, software companies continually upgrade their software and it is expensive. But to remain in business they have to pay developers to keep improving it (the same as car makers bringing out a new car every couple of years).

If however you spend the time to learn the software, it is an excellent tool for developing engineering designs and drwaings. Time is money if you are in business.

I have decided to add a governor to my steam traction engine and do not have shop bought castings and gears and are making one from home made parts and a set of gears from ebay. I do have a drawing from the supply company that I bought the castings for my engine from but did not order the governor parts at the time. I am in Australia and the supply company in UK. Cost to import the parts is too expensive. The drawing is in inches and I am re-designing in metric. Gears slightly different size, so everything has to be re-designed.

Not completely finished the new design yet but 90% done. This is the progress so far for todays work (6-7 hours). Still have to produce detail drawings which are quick and easy after you have a 3D model.

How long would it take to do this without CAD ?

Paul

6-rp-15 governor.jpg

 

Edited By Paul Lousick on 30/06/2021 11:23:45

duncan webster30/06/2021 11:40:05
3456 forum posts
63 photos

I use NanoCad, it's free and looks very much like old Autocad, so short learning curve. The one think it won't do is tangent to 2 circles, but there are work arounds

Edited By duncan webster on 30/06/2021 11:44:20

JasonB30/06/2021 13:01:52
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Posted by Paul Lousick on 30/06/2021 11:22:04:

32 bit software should run on 64 bit computers. Do a Google search for installation instructions. I have been a CAD user for 20 years + and not heard of 4MCAD. May be free but will not have the functionability of commercial software.

It's not free software but is reasonably priced for the home user for the "Classic" one user option and available as one off payment or with maitenence subscription..

I have been aware of it for some time as I regularly get e-mails from Mintronics as I have my Alibre with them but have not actually heard of anyone using it. Does look like it's the ideal option for Autocad users wanting to update.

Michael Gilligan30/06/2021 13:13:27
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18734 forum posts
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Posted by Paul Lousick on 30/06/2021 11:22:04:

32 bit software should run on 64 bit computers. Do a Google search for installation instructions. I have been a CAD user for 20 years + and not heard of 4MCAD. May be free but will not have the functionability of connercial software. […]

.

Did you see my Edit, Paul ?

MichaelG.

Paul Lousick30/06/2021 13:43:55
1844 forum posts
659 photos

Thanks Michael,

I've been retired for a few years and was not aware of 4MCAD. All of my design work is in 3D modelling which I use to make my drawings. I use an older version of Solidworks and no longer pay for the upgrades. I know how to drive it and it does everything that I need and not interested in going back to 2D.

Cheers, Paul

Brian G30/06/2021 13:58:42
777 forum posts
34 photos

Posted by SillyOldDuffer on 30/06/2021 10:26:25:

...An early AutoCAD is likely to gag on drawings produced by later versions.

Dave

Check out DWG TrueView Dave. It is a free viewer from AutoDesk (Windows only I'm afraid) that also acts as a file converter to allow recent drawing files to be edited on earlier versions. I found out about this from a CAD rep who realised he wasn't getting a sale

Brian G

Steve Skelton 101/07/2021 12:48:42
118 forum posts
3 photos

Thanks to all who gave constructive comments.

Michael, yes I do have an old 32bit Windows 7 laptop onto which Autocad is loaded but I find using that is not easy and slow, and for many reasons, I do not want to go that route.

SOD, Dave I have now been able to load my old files on LC – I do not know what the problem was - as when I rebooted my PC I got immediate access to the files - maybe the change I made to the permissions required a reboot. The problem is I do not get on with LC and find it clunky and slow compared to the way I used AC. I am trying to persevere but am finding the data input mechanism to produce a line or other shape time-consuming and awkward. I have watched a couple of tutorials but do not find the interface intuitive.

By the way, the files have always been held on a NAS device so the moving of PCs is not an issue.

Paul, yes I was aware of people being able to run old AC software by using various dodges and fixes but the thing that puts me off this is all the aggro of doing it and in a lot of cases they cannot print the drawings afterward. For the sake of £100 or so, I would rather pay for something that I know is going to work.

Duncan I will look into NanoCad – not tried this before.

So I am planning;

1 Trying to see if I can get to like LibreCAD.

2 Check NanoCAD to see how I get on with it

3 Try the free trial of 4MCAD when I can set aside a day or so to fully try it out

So again thanks for your comments, I will never be making full use of the software’s capabilities no matter which system I go with. I already use Atom3D for 3D printing but I need a 2D system for other projects.

I was just hoping someone on this site who may have bought the Atom3D package may have also tried the 4MCAD from Mintrinics.

Steve

SillyOldDuffer01/07/2021 13:24:44
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7482 forum posts
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Posted by Steve Skelton 1 on 01/07/2021 12:48:42:

...

The problem is I do not get on with LC and find it clunky and slow compared to the way I used AC. ...

I know exactly what you mean Steve, because I have the same problem in reverse; I don't get on with AutoCAD!

Years ago at work I happily used AutoSketch to plan computer room layouts. Autosketch was AutoDesk's entry level product, much cheaper and easier to learn than AutoCAD, but 2D only, not good at managing massive drawings, and not extensible. AutoSketch was at the right level for me and it had most of the features needed for basic Mechanical Drawing as well.

For what I was doing, AutoCAD's learning curve proved much too expensive. Not because AutoCAD is horrible, but because it's different, and has considerably more features to learn, most of which were over the top for what I was doing. From painful experience I learned that unlearning another CAD package is hard!

LibreCAD's look and feel is similar to AutoSketch, which although fully usable, doesn't help if you're habituated to AutoCAD!

Judging by 4MCAD's advertising, it looks like a good alternative for you. The product imitates AutoCAD, which would reduce your learning curve considerably.

Dave

blowlamp01/07/2021 14:21:00
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1498 forum posts
97 photos

I often mention MoI when these questions arise, but seldom get any feedback. Maybe the reason is that MoI looks a little simple at first sight. However it is a powerful package and isn't too bad to learn. Many of the other CAD systems can be hard work and unintuitive in how their toolset works, so that's why I don't use them, even though ultimately, they may have more features.

I'd say, give MoI a try.

Martin.

Michael Gilligan01/07/2021 14:38:20
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18734 forum posts
916 photos
Posted by blowlamp on 01/07/2021 14:21:00:

.
I often mention MoI when these questions arise, but seldom get any feedback. […]

.

Fair comment, Martin … so here’s my feedback:

Is MoI recognisably compatible with Autocad in terms of functionality, Look and Feel, and file types ?

MichaelG.

blowlamp01/07/2021 15:06:14
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1498 forum posts
97 photos

Hi, Michael.

MoI doesn't 'clone' Autocad commands, or even look similar, but it would compete very favourably in functionality. It is much more powerful than a first glance might lead you to believe.

I'll include a (slightly rambling) video of me constructing a bevel gear. I don't suppose I do it in a very efficient way, way, but it shows a few of the tools in use.

MoI will import these file types:

OpenNURBS 3DM, IGES, SAT, STEP, Illustrator (.ai & .eps), PDF and DXF.

MoI exports all of the above, as well as:

OBJ, STL, LWO, FBX and SKP.

Martin.

Circlip01/07/2021 15:19:27
1332 forum posts

Why should Acad be different to any other compewker program(me)? Seems the "last" version of win doze is about to be updated/replaced. What hopes for Rite to repair?

Regards Ian.

Michael Gilligan01/07/2021 15:25:11
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18734 forum posts
916 photos

Thanks, Martin … I will have a look

My own ‘familiarity’ with Autocad goes way back to the early DOS versions; and I still struggle with most of the modern GUIs

I like the ability to do 2D CAD with just the drawing on-screen and all the ‘buttons’ on the edge of a digitising tablet,.

… it’s probably just nostalgia

MichaelG.

.

Ref. **LINK** : http://moi3d.com/

John Hinkley01/07/2021 15:45:38
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1171 forum posts
390 photos

Steve,

I've stayed out of this discussion as you have had plenty of input from the others, however I noted that you say that you use Atom 3D for the production of files for printing. If that's the case, you can export a "new drawing" in dxf format for manipulation in another program, should you so wish. This is the procedure I use as I have invested a long time learning QCAD. I mostly design my projects in Atom 3D and, to produce workshop drawings, export a dxf file into QCAD in which I usually alter the dimensioning and layout to suit my taste and style. As has already been said, QCAD is available for no charge unless you want to upgrade to the Pro version (not necessary) or want constant access to bug fixes etc.

John

Steve Skelton 101/07/2021 16:32:14
118 forum posts
3 photos

John, yes I have imported AutoCad files into Atom3D but A3D is not suitable for manipulation or modification of 2D drawings as the tools it has are quite limited. Printing them is also very difficult.

What I am looking for is a replacement for AutoCad that works in a similar manner with regards to drawing tools and layout. I really would like to avoid the time it would take to learn a radically different piece of software. As I mentioned I am prepared to pay for the software, just not too much!!!

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