There has been a major development in the CAD clone wars; Dassault Systems, maker of Solidworks (a popular 3D app), has created a 2D Autocad clone called DraftSight and are offering it for free. I've used other clones, and while Progecad and Doublecad are quite good, Draftsight is the best. It is DWG compatible and all of the Autocad shortcut keys work. Many tutorials are available and there is an online community as well. If you need a 2D cad application for personal or professional use, this is it. Don't waste money on Autocad LT or a clone.
I have used this program and it is great. One Caveat it was (as of a few months ago) problematic about installation. 50% of the installations seem to have issues preventing some or most uses. I hope they have got it fixed because I agree it is a great program and will kill all other nonspecializing 2D programs, unless they also go to free.
P.S. Some installations went without any issues, it seems to have a lot to do with your O.S..
I didn't know that...I didn't have any trouble with windows 7 home edition.
I was able to get it working on windows 7 and one Vista machine without problems but had trouble with another vista machine and XP. On the DraftSight Community on SwYm it seemed hit or miss with Vista and XP. Good CAD programs utilize the resources of a computer to a greater extent than almost any consumer program. The interaction between the Motherboard, Processors, OS and graphics card is different in almost every machine even of course with the same manufacturer.
Again I agree it is a great program and do not want to put anyone off. Glad you brought this forward. All it can cost anyone is a little time and if it doesn't perform like it should wait until draftsight gets it fixed. It came out in June last year and is still getting the bugs out. I don't think the resources dedicated to it are as great as a paid for program as that is one of the things you pay for. Service is one of the reasons programs like say Pro/E charge so much.
Again my thoughts are based on work done 6 months ago, forever in the computer industry.
If my understanding is correct (and I may be way off here) I think Dassault's concept in offering this for free is that companies would have more money to dedicate to 3D software purchases. Like Solidworks. It's an interesting idea although it seems that they would have to not only eliminate the pay-for clones but also put a dent in Autocad purchases. Ambitious, but is it possibe? It's fascinating - we shall see. Thanks for bringing DraftSight's buggieness up so people can be warned. I do think these issues will get ironed out if Dassault's strategy is to eliminate clone competition.
To those of you that are more familiar with CAD programs - how far along is Google SketchUp and the Pro version for layouts?
I'm wondering if the free SketchUp version would be sufficient for most home-owner design projects and does this then provide a reasonable path for working with a local designer who might be able to add the customizations and local workup?
I know that some people are doing full working drawings in SketchUp Pro but I don't know if that is the most efficient way to produce 2D drawings for a professional designer.
No quick answer, I borrowed the below, sub your CAD program of choice (Draftsight?) for autocad.
"A valid argument for you could be that sketchup is good for massing studies and general information on models, its really easy to change stuff around, but when it comes to seriusly documenting and planning a project its no match to autocad, Autocad gives you a much more "stiffer" model, where its harder to change stuff, also the sharing capabilities autocad has you dont have in sketchup. Your boss can play a little with the soft and get the feeling "he now controls the 3d design process", it can be a start for you to use in autocad.
Learning sketchup is easier to learning autocad, so educaction wise, the cost of training someone to work on that is cheaper, the soft is also cheaper.
I personally compare sketch up to polygonal modeling in max. but for documentation I still prefer autocad."
As a Expert (a Has been drip under pressure ;)) CAD user some of the most important things to me are control, control and control. Seriously a professional wants to ensure that what he is doing stays that way until he wants it changed, he wants the ability to change multiples easily, he wants to be able to turn off things easily, exportation formats....
To further muddy the waters I use 3D programs mainly. I have some that automate designing a home. These are great, love em!! HOWEVER I still fall back on programs like draftsight (for 2D) and Solidworks or Inventor (3D) when things get complicated. Examples that come to mind are complicated roofs, automated programs have fits with them. Then I use Solidworks, Pro/E or Inventor as they can create anything that comes to my little mind. I can then section the model, remove/mod parts, weigh em, stress em, look at plumbing only, automate my BOM's, go from a tin roof to shingles in a button click.... Some things Sketchup, automated programs, etc can do the Professional? CAD packages can do anything, but MAY take longer.
Here is my guide to people;
If sketchup is doing what you need it to do, use it.
If I did not have training and was just doing a simple floor plan i would use sketchup. It will not yet come close for me but may some day.
Thanks for the insights. I can see the comparison. SketchUp is "looser" with its relationships.
I'm not sure I have anything to add to what desimulacra has said. I've used 3D Max, Inventor, AutoDESK Architecture, and a whole bunch of others. My overall impression is this: There is a real surplus of 3d modeling software that lets one rough-things-in and get a conceptual idea going but they lack the real details necessary for creation in the real world. My frustration is always getting into the details of how things are engineered and needing precision and control to work out fine details. I'm a real fan of regular old, plain vanilla cad software and drawing out everything manually. It is rare for me to feel the need to conceptualize with software - pencil on paper is how I roll. ;D
Don't want to beat this horse to death but thought I would mention Draftsight sent an e-mail out that they have just released a new build and it has built in help.
Google sketch up to me is as it is - 3d sketching
It takes me longer than autocad as it does not have many tools - but the 3d makes for nice rendered exterior dwgs
DWG is an accepted draughting standard and most engineers architects can import your work done on the freeware versions
presently I'm using Progecadsmart 2009 and it works fine !
Hey guys I am a new member and just wanted to add my $.2 I am certified in all things Autocad and the new Draftsight free version can't be beat. I know it is a little complicated for those who are not Autodesk trained but it does almost exactly what the Autodesk LT versions do with almost identical interfaces.