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Simpler the Better -what do you use?

Which CAD package

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wahiba27/05/2009 11:15:13
10 forum posts
No doubt like others here my introduction to CAD was mainly through AutoCAD, although I used one called SuperDraft before AutoCAD swept the field. While AutoCAD is a good industrial package I reckon it to be OTT for amateur use, facilites and cost wise.
I also tried EasyCAD on DOS, very good and fast, but the price kept creeping up, a bit like TurboCAD currently does. I have tried TurboCAD but never really got on with it.
Others tried include gfaCAD and various off magazines and download sites.
Personally I have settled on a basic 2D package called DeltaCAD from a small set up in the USA. I reckon I have been using it for about 10 years. First copy was off Disc but then I bought the latest edition on CD. Subsequently I have paid for upgrade downloads.
It does everthing I need. Available from
Just wondering if there are any other basic packages users have found useful?
Colin Reed27/05/2009 14:58:54
14 forum posts
Solid Edge 2D free

Edited By David Clark 1 on 11/06/2009 09:39:56

Jim McP30/05/2009 16:51:10
2 forum posts

Qcad ( 2D & quite intuitive to use.  Full featured Linux version is free.

Alibre  (MSwindows only) is full feature parametric modeller. Free version has limited component hierarchy. Impressive stuff, but  overkill for anything i do. 

Michael Freeman08/06/2009 20:57:22
11 forum posts
20 photos
I am a big fan (although still learning) of Alibre and its FREE! It is a nice 3D package and I designed an inline boring tool setting device with it. Producing the drawings was a very simple process.

I have no link to the company. 
Peter G. Shaw09/06/2009 14:25:05
1311 forum posts
44 photos
Originally I used Draft Choice for Windows until an upgrade of my computer and operating system made it unreliable. (It was, after all, originally designed for Windows 3x) 
Tried TurboCad but couldn't get on with it. Looked at various others but found them too expensive or the trial time too limited.
Then found DesignCad Pro 2000 going cheap enough to risk. Eventually updated to DesignCad 3D Max V.17 which cost about £25 via Ebay. Similar sort of usage to Draft Choice which made the conversion easy. Both programs are 2D/3D and very easy to learn. Fully recommended especially if a late, but updated version, eg V.17 or 18, can be found reasonably cheap. Possible only down side is that the help system for V.17 is poor. That for '2000' was superb. I understand that V.18 help system has been improved.
Incidently, DesignCad is now marketed by the same company as TurboCad, ie IMSI, however, their marketing seems pointed at TurboCad so finding DesignCad can be a bit difficult.

Mark Smith 312/01/2010 06:14:11
166 forum posts
36 photos
Thanks Colin I have down loaded Solid edge. It does everything I need in the 2D Environment. Very intuitive and a clear tutorial. There is so much to learn about this program, it is a "learn as you go" after the tutorials which give you the basics. There is also a comprehensive help section and a hint bar at the bottom as you access each feature. I had tried A9CAD but nothing seemed to work as expected and there is no real help section.
Peter Gain12/01/2010 10:18:16
103 forum posts
I agree with previous contributers, DeltaCAD is a good,simple to learn, & effective CAD system. A free trial period is available. Also, they actually reply to e-mail questions!
Peter Gain.
Martin W12/01/2010 10:46:56
901 forum posts
30 photos
I use QuickCAD that I bought some time ago and find it very good not only for mechanical drawings but for electronic circuitry as well. My version is the 'Millennium Edition' which gives an indication as to its age but it is still up to my requirements. There are newer versions about but I don't have info on these. It is fairly easy to use and can be set up in either metric or imperial, can be scaled, there is a whole range of snap options which makes accurate drawing very much easier, angle measurement and linear measurement functions etc. the list goes on!   It will import and export files in various formats including WMF which can then be imported in documents like microsoft Word etc. which can be useful.
Martin W

Edited By Martin W on 12/01/2010 11:06:45

Martin W13/01/2010 00:43:37
901 forum posts
30 photos
With regard to my previous post I am not sure whether QuickCAD is still available. Had a rummage on the web and can't find it.
Martin W
Stackerjack19/02/2010 08:34:17
14 forum posts
Has anyone any experience of using Solidworks? Is it worth the money?
Jim Nolan19/02/2010 09:08:22
77 forum posts
I have dabbled in Solidworks for some time having migrated from AutoCAD LT. Unfortunately as I have so many drawings in 2D I have never been able to go fully to a 2D package. 
I have used it extensively for producing drawings for rapid prototyping and the resultant castings have always turned out well.

Is it worth it? Well for modelling I doubt it the lack of compatibility between versions and the upgrade licence you need to purchase on an annual basis make it cost prohibitive. It’s nice to use, relatively easy to pick up as long as you don’t get stuck, when things can become fraught.  

These days even AutoCAD LT which is my 2D package is expensive and given the choice assuming I had no 2D legacy drawings I think I would go for Solidworks if I was starting again. 




KWIL19/02/2010 10:41:50
3422 forum posts
66 photos
Is there any way in any of the packages which would let me "lock" the line to say only horizontal just like the parallel motion of a real drawing machine?  Please do not suggest using the grid, that is still too much of a pain.
Roger Vane19/02/2010 12:11:58
100 forum posts
18 photos
Hi Kwil,
When drawing a line with TurboCAD you can 'lock' it to either the vertical or horizontal direction using the 'ortho' snap mode, which limits the drawing of lines to 90 degree angles (0, 90, 180, 270).  Other software may well have similar functions.
However, I'm not really certain why you would want to do this on a regular basis as using ortho turns off the other snaps (such as vertex and intersection) which are more useful as aids to precise drawing.
Hope that this helps.
Stackerjack19/02/2010 15:39:02
14 forum posts
Hi Kwil,
In Autocad you can use the POLAR tab to create lines at exactly 0 degrees,90 degrees, 270 degrees or 180 degrees. If you use the SETUP tab, you can enter values to create lines at any angle you wish. If you then click the start point of the line, as you rotate the cursor around this point, small yellow boxes appear with numbers in. These numbers are the angle at which the line will be drawn. You just click again while the correct box is showing.
Hope this helps
KWIL19/02/2010 18:55:33
3422 forum posts
66 photos
Why would I want this?  Simple really,  I am far quicker on paper than on screen.
Peter G. Shaw19/02/2010 19:55:08
1311 forum posts
44 photos
In DesignCad, one has to choose either a "normal" straight line which can then be at any angle or an "ortho" mode which forces the line to be either vertical or horizontal depending on which way it is drawn. I don't recall it disabling any of the snap commands.
Why would one do it? Because, certainly in my drawings, there are a lot of lines drawn either vertical or horizontal and it is far easier than attempting to do the same using the other line drawing command. One can, of course, use absolute, relative or indeed polar co-ordinates as necessary to do the same. Often I find that I need to draw a temporary line from say the elevation to a side view to ensure that the two drawings are lined up correctly. To do this I first draw line B at roughly 90° to the proposed line A and somewhere past where it is expected to go, then draw line A from the originating point to line B using snaps for the start and finish. This then tells me where the side view should be and I can then draw as necessary. Once the side view is started, I can delete both the temporary lines, both of which were drawn and used without any need for accurate measurement.
Peter G. Shaw
Paul Boscott20/02/2010 06:40:23
99 forum posts
21 photos
I use auto cad 2000 the main advantage is that there is lots of documentatation It has done all the things that I have been able to think of in 2 and 3D
Goran Hosinsky20/02/2010 09:18:41
41 forum posts
trueSpace and Alibre express, both free. Anyone with experience of both programs who can recommend which one to spend time on learning?  Also does both produce drawings to use in the workshop?
Canary Islands
Circlip20/02/2010 12:16:23
1353 forum posts
And don't forget DoubleCAD XT, a freebie (Well it WOULD be), if you can drive AutoCad you can drive D/C
  Regards  Ian.
nodaker20/02/2010 14:56:36
12 forum posts
a couple of other free cad programs include AlleyCAD Home and ProgeCAD. 
Both have the feel of AutoCAD.  KOMPAS 3D Lite is also available, I haven't installed it yet as it is a recent download.
Regards John

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