CAD Packages - How To Balance Ease Of Use With Decent Functionality?
Posted 20 May 2015 - 05:48 PM
20 years ago, as an architectural/interior design technician, I used to use something called PowerDraw on a mac to draw up dimensioned plans and elevations of buildings, galleries, shops etc.. I found it easy and intuitive to use - great for expressing design ideas to the bosses and for contractors construction drawings.
Did anyone ever use this package or do they now? I believe it's now called PowerCADD. Could a rusty old hand like me pick it up again when it is bound to have changed enormously during my very long sabbatical from the business??
I am looking for a tool to help me plan the design, restoration and extension of an existing building but find myself baffled by the current complexity and range of CAD software. I tried Autocad Light. It was so different to my beloved PowerDraw of old and so impenetrable it may as well have been written in an alien language - a waste of £700. On the other hand, many of the home design packages seem a bit underpowered and too amateur.
I want to eventually create dimensioned and detailed contractors drawings but in the first instance want to transform my initial pencil sketches into plans, elevations and maybe a simple 3D model so my other (non design) half can better understand and input into the design process of what will be our retirement home.
So any recommendations for a middle-way package that balances speedy learning/ease of use with good technical functionality?
Any pointers would be very welcome!
Posted 20 May 2015 - 06:11 PM
We discussed various 2D packages recently on this thread
We ended up going for Visio as our solution. It has proved to be very effective at relatively complex 2D plans (we managed to get a very cheap copy).
For 3D the answer is Sketch-Up, I designed the complete house using this. You may also find this acceptable for limited 2D. As a plus point there are lot of training videos on YouTube to show you how to use it.
Posted 20 May 2015 - 06:12 PM
Sadly I can't really recommend anything, as I've been an AutoCad user since around 1989. I agree AutoCad has a really steep learning curve, but I've invested so much time over the years of using it that I find any of the other CAD packages I've tried really, really hard to get to grips with.
TurboCad is reputedly one of the easiest packages to use, and I believe there is a free version still available that has pretty much all the functionality needed to produce detailed construction drawings. The other free, or relatively cheap packages, like Sketch Up, are really designed as ways to create 3D visualisations rather than draft working drawings, but I know some do use them for producing working drawings. The high end CAD packages, like CATIA and Solidworks, aren't at all easy to drive, but are extremely impressive when you get the hang of them.
Posted 20 May 2015 - 06:46 PM
I then made the jump (or at least tried to) to AutoCAD 2010. Might as well have been a different planet. I struggled, struggled some more and in Classic mode can now just about manage 2010.
I meanwhile discovered Draftsight from Dassault. Just like the AutoCAD 2000 I learnt on and loved. I picked it up in minutes. Much SIMPLER than 2010, less congested etc.
PM me your email and I'll send you a little PDF I did as a very, very basic intro to Draftsight. I know there's proper tutorials available but this will give you a taste in a few minutes.
P.S Draftsight, it's free!
Edited by Onoff, 20 May 2015 - 06:48 PM.
Posted 20 May 2015 - 07:35 PM
Posted 20 May 2015 - 07:42 PM
Edited by Alphonsox, 20 May 2015 - 07:43 PM.
Posted 20 May 2015 - 07:45 PM
very true, but Sketchup Make doesn't come with layout, i liked layout for making the actual application drawings but i will fully agree that it is by no means necessary
Posted 20 May 2015 - 08:43 PM
Posted 21 May 2015 - 10:45 AM
- Has good detailing tools.
- Gives you 3D modelling and visualizations straight off the model including BIMx files (I would be happy to post a link to my BIMx public page but don't want to break forum rules, so if you're interested PM me)
- Easy to learn
- Changes are quick and coordinated
- You're not having to switch between 2D and 3D packages to produce a set of documents.
- Its a full BIM design suite so its ready to go for government projects if that were a consideration.
Downside, you're looking at around £4000k+ (Not sure on the price as I haven't bought a new license from scratch in years) Upgrades are around £500 per year with vendor support.
The price is relative to what you intend using it for. If you're planning on being a professional building designer then this is the type of package you should really consider. If however you're just planning a one off sketchy plan for your own home then use any thing to get you by.
Alternatives to consider are Autodesk REVIT although watch out for the annual fees and still not totally convinced it offers a full packages as they tend to bundle it with AutoCAD to give 2D drafting tools.
Posted 22 May 2015 - 02:49 PM
I have an existing building to work around and design limitations so accurate dimensioned plans, elevations and detailing of the old part is important from the get go and 3D for visualising the new bits and involving my 'client' (other half) in the design process. ideally I want one package to do both 2 and 3D jobs at a reasonable cost! I have whittled it down to three options:
Sketchup - Lots of plaudits for it here, but it seems l would need Sketchup Pro with Layout to meet all of my 2D and 3D needs - I am a tad reluctant to spend £500 for a one-off project (given my recent failed Autocad experiment, which also rules out Archicad and the like). Sounds like it has good support, though, which I am sure I will need!
Turbocad - I had a look at and was pleasantly surprised to see that Turbocad Deluxe 21 2D/3D (or Turbocad 2015 - not sure of the difference) can be had for around £65 and liked the fact it has beginner, intermediate and advanced settings so you can develop your skills at your own pace but seems of a sufficiently professional standard in its functionality
Visualbuilding - the 'professional' version can be had for around £100 and might be worth a look. On the face of it, it looks quite good but I have a sneaking suspicion it's a bit toy town...don't know why I think this...
I was secretly hoping someone would say, yes, PowerCADD for Mac is really easy and of course you will pick it up again so I would have a really good excuse for a completely unjustified purchase of a mac (I do miss them) but I think I am going to be sensible and start with a free trial of Turbocad on my pc instead!
Thanks again for your help guys.
Posted 22 May 2015 - 03:05 PM
Posted 22 May 2015 - 06:52 PM
Posted 03 June 2015 - 09:50 AM
Ooh, thank you TCC...fortunately for my bank balance, I have committed to Mastering TC on PC
Posted 10 June 2015 - 06:03 PM
I have also just downloaded Sketchup and it is more weird than Deltacad. First bad omen, it requires administrator rights to install. Using it is really awkward and like Deltacad it completely lacks the most fundamental principle of using the screen: click and interact. So I drew a line and then could not just click on it and do something with it, like make it longer or shorter or move it a bit... I am sure there is a way of course.
I then looked at Turbocad but they do not offer a trial / demo it seems.
So I might as well go back to Deltacad :-)
Posted 10 June 2015 - 06:29 PM
Sketchup is a bit strange but there are some very good user guides available online (try youtube for a complete set of design your home guides). In particular it works on a select and operate principal not select and hope for the best (aka microsoft). However it is a 3d package not a replacement for a 2d CAD package such as turbocad/autocad etc.
I found it a pain to start with but got the hang of it after a day or so, The complete house was eventually designed with it.
Posted 10 June 2015 - 09:12 PM
Posted 10 June 2015 - 09:19 PM
By chance I happened to make contact with him again and as he had never loaded the software and realized he'd never use it anyway, he sent the discs back (but not the all the manuals, which he'd misplaced and couldn't find) so I was able to load it all onto this machine.
When did you look for the TurboCad trial version? It's still out there...