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Drafting / CAD / Architectural Drawing Apps

Old 03-26-2020, 02:58 PM
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Default Drafting / CAD / Architectural Drawing Apps

Guys,

I'd like to start designing some home plans. I used to do this freehand, but now with all the apps I figure something has to be good and reasonably priced. I've seen some of the prof. stuff that's all well and good if it's your living. But, I'll be doing only a few designs.

Thoughts / Advice?

FYI IPad and Macbook are my platforms.

Old 03-26-2020, 03:09 PM
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What'd the building code situation where you live?
Old 03-26-2020, 03:11 PM
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Any of the decent ones are not cheap. Chief Architect is popular, I use AutoCadLT but you can no longer buy it you need to lease the license so for a one off, it may not make sense. You could try sketch-up. There is a free version and a 'premium' version for not too much money. There is a bit of a learning curve though...
Old 03-26-2020, 03:13 PM
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Might make sense to sketch it up free hand and check into your local voc tech HS for a kid that is proficient in their program and give him a few buck to draw it up or tutor you on their program.
Old 03-26-2020, 03:25 PM
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Good points guys

billinstuart - I'm close enough for you to want me to social distance.... I'm looking around your area and here now. I would build above code stds.
Old 03-26-2020, 03:54 PM
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Originally Posted by TonyStark View Post
Good points guys

billinstuart - I'm close enough for you to want me to social distance.... I'm looking around your area and here now. I would build above code stds.
As a draftsman, your plans still must be sealed by an architect or engineer. I'm going thru this right now. Because of the complexity in requirements, doing my own plans is no longer viable, and this is my own house. My project is in Merritt Island. I just last week found a draftsperson to convert my hand drawn stuff to CAD and add all the boilerplate crap..strapping details, steel details, riser diagram, electrical layout and load calcs. She works with a local engineer who seals the set. They also have local (Brevard Co) knowledge and acceptance.

The architect/engineer is the key to the project. I'm adequate, but a good designer (architect) adds that element of good design. Hell, laying out a floorplan is no big deal. But what it LOOKS like is the key. An ugly painting you can hide in a closet. An ugly building..you just have to look at it!

Architects are a one stop shop, but even they farm out some structural stuff. However, the longer I work in this trade, the more I appreciate the talents of a good architect. I can usually tell a project that is designed by a good architect..there's just something special.

Designer/draftsmen? There's always a need. If your pure design sense is good, and you can align yourself with the structural professionals you need, you'll do ok down here. However, you cannot call yourself an "Architect".

Now Mojo, don't go get a big head!

Old 03-26-2020, 05:03 PM
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billinstuart - It's likely that an architect will be brought in at some point. I just thought I would start laying things in out and get an idea. I studied drafting in HS and loved it. So I just want to have some fun. My designs always got top marks and the instructor held on to a few of my designs. It was just never a career path for me.

I realize that the codes mandate specific structural design. Though, I'm more of an over-builder above code, so likely won't be a factor. That's why I tell people I could never be an engineer. They design for efficiency and price considerations... I build for piece of mind.

Interesting you mention Merritt, as that was another area on my radar. I just spent about two months in Cocoa Beach before heading a bit further South.. I'm down in Jensen Beach now and have given myself a wide birth of options. I see some advantages to Merritt island area and the Stuart area. I like all the Space stuff going on around Canaveral but I think the boating is a bit better down in Stuart.

mymojo Good thuoghts - Chief Architect was an app I was looking into... I'll look at sketch-up too... I basically want to start putting my thoughts on paper and make sure I have an idea of room sizes, etc...
Old 03-26-2020, 05:32 PM
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Take a look at OnShape. It is a very user friendly cloud CAD solution.. They offer free use of the software in non-private mode. Easy to learn, very powerful, and able to export to other software programs using common output formats.
Old 03-26-2020, 05:32 PM
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Sketch Up
Old 03-26-2020, 05:48 PM
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Originally Posted by billinstuart View Post
As a draftsman, your plans still must be sealed by an architect or engineer. I'm going thru this right now. Because of the complexity in requirements, doing my own plans is no longer viable, and this is my own house. My project is in Merritt Island. I just last week found a draftsperson to convert my hand drawn stuff to CAD and add all the boilerplate crap..strapping details, steel details, riser diagram, electrical layout and load calcs. She works with a local engineer who seals the set. They also have local (Brevard Co) knowledge and acceptance.

The architect/engineer is the key to the project. I'm adequate, but a good designer (architect) adds that element of good design. Hell, laying out a floorplan is no big deal. But what it LOOKS like is the key. An ugly painting you can hide in a closet. An ugly building..you just have to look at it!

Architects are a one stop shop, but even they farm out some structural stuff. However, the longer I work in this trade, the more I appreciate the talents of a good architect. I can usually tell a project that is designed by a good architect..there's just something special.

Designer/draftsmen? There's always a need. If your pure design sense is good, and you can align yourself with the structural professionals you need, you'll do ok down here. However, you cannot call yourself an "Architect".

Now Mojo, don't go get a big head!
Can I marry you Bill?
Old 03-26-2020, 06:26 PM
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Why dont you buy a houseplan and customize it to your liking? That's what my wife and I are going to do, prices seem to be around 2 to 4k for a live file. I'm a commercial contractor and proficient in CAD, so I can make adjustments to the plan before submitting to permitting. You'll need to hire an engineer for your civil drawings.
Old 03-27-2020, 05:34 AM
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Originally Posted by mymojo View Post
Can I marry you Bill?
You silly savage...
Old 03-27-2020, 05:43 AM
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There are several ways you can get an AutoCAD LT student edition for free, I used it to draw my house and all kinds of other stuff, has all of the features except it plots with a student edition water mark, just don't use it to make money.

Thats how I learned it and now have the full blown version and learning inventer now.
Old 03-27-2020, 05:51 AM
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Originally Posted by TonyStark View Post
billinstuart - It's likely that an architect will be brought in at some point. I just thought I would start laying things in out and get an idea. I studied drafting in HS and loved it. So I just want to have some fun. My designs always got top marks and the instructor held on to a few of my designs. It was just never a career path for me.

I realize that the codes mandate specific structural design. Though, I'm more of an over-builder above code, so likely won't be a factor. That's why I tell people I could never be an engineer. They design for efficiency and price considerations... I build for piece of mind.

Interesting you mention Merritt, as that was another area on my radar. I just spent about two months in Cocoa Beach before heading a bit further South.. I'm down in Jensen Beach now and have given myself a wide birth of options. I see some advantages to Merritt island area and the Stuart area. I like all the Space stuff going on around Canaveral but I think the boating is a bit better down in Stuart.

mymojo Good thuoghts - Chief Architect was an app I was looking into... I'll look at sketch-up too... I basically want to start putting my thoughts on paper and make sure I have an idea of room sizes, etc...
Perhaps find an existing designer/architect to work with? I had Ga Tech drafting, then worked in Savannah restoring properties and reconfiguring interiors. But, the codes and construction documents were super simple then. Frankly, floor plans is the easy part.

Chief architect has several architectural programs. We were in the kitchen cabinet business, and it appears they were light years ahead of 20-20. However, 20-20 had more manufacturers in their data base. I frankly hated 20-20. but my wife/biz partner was familiar with it, and they supported the cabinet lines we had.

I hate the building department here in Martin County. Miserable to work with. Brevard county appears to be friendlier, and they can build to a lower wind velocity standard. You get into HVHZ stuff, it gets structurally more complicated.

My impression, architects have always been the aesthetic design professionals. Now, they are code compliance monitors first, designers second. Frank Lloyd Wright could NEVER design his stuff today with todays codes.

Find an existing company to work with. You need to understand the practical side first.
Old 03-27-2020, 06:03 AM
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Unless you've worked with software drawing tools, I think for the limited use you'd get, the learning curve may not be worth the effort even for simple floor plan drawings. Unless you are proficient at Cad, it will take longer than pencil and paper. If in the end, you will have someone drafting them all over again, I don't see the point.
Old 03-27-2020, 07:30 AM
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I'm a techie... I was selling Acad when it was ver 1....But I just haven't kept up. This is fun for me and the advantages of making changes and measurement calculations out weigh doing pencil to paper....Years ago I had a 6' drafting table with all the accoutrements.

I'm just not to the point of collaborating with someone and I wouldn't want to pick my horse at this point. I'm always more of a go-it-alone type anyway. But, I know if this gets real and I want to move forward, I'll need some professional partnership.

At this point I'm in the design phase and just trying to see what the sq footage is of my concept. I did find an app last night that I started to use called Arcsite ( https://www.arcsiteapp.com/ ) that seems to be pretty easy for what I wanted at this point. I was able to do most of the floorplan in about an hour. I agree the floor plan is the easy part of the drawings but integral in showing my design elements to a professional. Though I know see it subscription based so I'm not sure I'll stick with it.

At the first pass,my sq. footage is much higher than anticipated. It was interesting last night to finally get something down and out of my head.
Old 03-27-2020, 07:51 AM
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Originally Posted by TonyStark View Post
I'm a techie... I was selling Acad when it was ver 1....But I just haven't kept up. This is fun for me and the advantages of making changes and measurement calculations out weigh doing pencil to paper....Years ago I had a 6' drafting table with all the accoutrements.

I'm just not to the point of collaborating with someone and I wouldn't want to pick my horse at this point. I'm always more of a go-it-alone type anyway. But, I know if this gets real and I want to move forward, I'll need some professional partnership.

At this point I'm in the design phase and just trying to see what the sq footage is of my concept. I did find an app last night that I started to use called Arcsite ( https://www.arcsiteapp.com/ ) that seems to be pretty easy for what I wanted at this point. I was able to do most of the floorplan in about an hour. I agree the floor plan is the easy part of the drawings but integral in showing my design elements to a professional. Though I know see it subscription based so I'm not sure I'll stick with it.

At the first pass,my sq. footage is much higher than anticipated. It was interesting last night to finally get something down and out of my head.
Ya gotta consider material sizes in the design. For instance, carpet comes 12' wide. 12'-4" room, gotta have a long seam somewhere, and a lot of waste.

With trusses, you can clear span almost anything, but at what cost?

Furniture placement is also important.

The problem with generic plans..a house should be designed for the individual lot you are building on. Sure, you can take an existing plan and adapt it, and that probably is the best thing to do with a stock plan.
Old 03-27-2020, 08:03 AM
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Just FYI but other than houses, no one uses 2D CAD anymore unless they are operating in the dark ages. Everything is now 3D AutoDesk Revit.
Old 03-27-2020, 08:12 AM
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My wife retired from residential design last June. She has a masters degree in residential design and is not an architect. Her plans must go to an engineer for wind load calculations. She is a Mac user and used Vectorworks. She did 1000's of homes over a 30 year career. In the last decade she many did large, custom homes (5,000-10,000 sq ft). Vectworks is powerful, and has a learning curve. Like most CAD programs it uses the annual license model.

Here's a link to a home she designed that is for sale.
https://nextdoor.com/real-estate-lis...15072276?is=pr
Old 03-27-2020, 08:25 AM
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Originally Posted by ChannelTwo View Post
Just FYI but other than houses, no one uses 2D CAD anymore unless they are operating in the dark ages. Everything is now 3D AutoDesk Revit.
You're pretty much correct about that, but I still use AutoCadLT and it gets the job done. Many folks these days want to see 3D stuff though so I farm that out when needed. Sometimes though I still do hand drawings to get the design aspect across:


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