Old 01-25-2007, 12:07 PM
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Default AutoCAD

Anyone on here use AutoCAD for house plans? I am doing some small building projects, and could use something to design interiors. I bought a copy of Autodesk Sketch, but I'm not smart enough to use it "out of the box". I've found some companies in Raleigh, NC that offer courses in basic AutoCAD that look good. One is Avatech and the other is CADre. So do any of you use this or other software, and have any of you had experience with either of these two companies?

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Old 01-25-2007, 12:11 PM
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Not with those companies but, buy a book called "AutoCad, not experience needed", it tells and instructs you on all levels, I still go back to that book after many years of using the programs.
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Old 01-25-2007, 12:11 PM
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I'm not interested in learning CAD... Using the X Y axis to start every drawing makes it seem like another language... I use a program called PC Draft from Microspot software.
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Old 01-25-2007, 12:19 PM
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Default Re: AutoCAD

My limited experience with AutoCad Light tells me it is not an intuitive program.

You may also want to take a look at Wake Tech for some classes. Depending on your time frame.
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Old 01-25-2007, 01:55 PM
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I have used AutoCAD since 1990. I am a designer for an engineering firm based on site at a chemical facility. Mostly piping and mechanical stuff, but, also instrument, structural, civil and electrical. Notice I didn't include architectural in there? It is very tedious and time consuming and, when I got into the game, the lowest paying. There are add ons you can buy to run on top of ACAD to expedite any drafting/designing tasks, but, the intital purchase price of AutoCAD is right dern pricey.

To just do house plans, I would think you could get some MUCH cheaper software that has less of a learning curve.

I tried to help some folks figure out AutoSKECTH many moons ago and they ended up buying AutoCAD Lite.

When I am not sitting in front of AutoCAD, I am out running a charter boat, (about three days a week during the snapper season), or running a private boat chasing any sort of finned critter.

Fishing, chemical plants and computers, odd mix, eh?
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Old 01-25-2007, 03:46 PM
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Punch-Pro home design. Took me about 4 days to learn, then no problems
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Old 01-25-2007, 04:23 PM
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Seahawg-I'm an architect and have used ACAD Lt for going on twelve years now and in my mind it's not worth the learning if you only anticipate a small amount work on it. I have steered some folks to a software by Broderbund called 3D Home Architect. Its a very intuitive program decent for interior plans and awesome at generating basic 3 dimensional views to help people visualize the space and it was cheap $75 compared to $700+ for ACAD Lt or +$4k for the full boat AutoCad.
The plus for AutoCad is virtually all our engineers use it so we swap drawings back and forth without worrying about exporting to a different software. If you anticpiate doing a lot of drawing for a number of years I recommend taking a continuing ed class for a semester. There are lots of community colleges that offer such a class in our neck of the woods.
Good luck
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Old 01-26-2007, 03:48 PM
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Mojo said it right. The 3d Home Architect or other similar house plan design software is probably much more user friendly than the AutoCad products. I've been using AutoSketch for about 10 years doing occasional house plans, cabinet designs and some misc. stuff, and unless you stick with it, and set up all the toolbars and icons to suit your style, it can be challenging. AutoCad Lite from what I've seen, is just an upgraded AutoSketch that is more compatible with the full blown AutoCad.

Check out the software rack at Office Depot and look over the boxes of the home design software. They'll show what the program is capable of producing.

If you want to stick to AutoSketch, make sure you have snap to grid turned on, experiment with the scales, drawing icons and editing icons. You can get fancy and use layers that can be turned off or on that is pretty useful too. I don't know if the strictly house plan software programs can do that.
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Old 01-26-2007, 04:29 PM
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I have Borderbund Home Design Suite Professional 5 with the book and 2 disk set

Downloaded it and I'm too old to learn new tricks.

PM me if you want a steal on it. I'll be back Sun.
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Old 01-26-2007, 04:59 PM
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In 01 I went back to college for a few courses, one of them was AutoCad (v. 2000)........that has to be the dumbest most half-assed- backwards program there is going!!!!! I guess it only stands to reason, that's a DOS based program that has never grown out of the dark ages!!! I don't know about you guys, but I learn from logic, well logic certainly doesn't apply to a lot of that stupid program! I did eventually learn it though.

seahawg, if you want Cad for interior drawings, good luck man, 3D stuff is deep into second'd be a hundred miles ahead of the game drawing something out on a restaurant napkin and using the menu as a straight edge! ~ HA!!!
My advice to you would be to forget about even looking for a free copy of Cad....if you want it, I’ve got it. IMO the program is as useless as trying to clean windows with an oily rag for the weekend warrior! If you really need a headache and you don’t want to spend any money, well then go stick your head in a vise....the results will be the same! ~ HA

Now do you want to know what I really think? Don't ask, because it certainly isn't any better.

3D Home Architect is what I use.
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Old 01-26-2007, 05:20 PM
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Autocad (and Microstation) are my bread and butter - and have been for about 13 years. Still, there are days I want to thorw my PC out the window...

If you want to make living drawing houses, then by all means, Get Autocad (not lite), take some classes, ans in a year or so you will be proficent. Relize, though, that knowing how to drive Acad dosen't automaticaly quailfy you to design houses.

If this is a one-time effort, get one of the afformentioned software packages. My Dad a 3D house program that was slick - I think it cost him $20-$30. In a weekend, he had drawn and expantion to our vacation house, and had a Bill of materials to tell him how much concrete, how many nails, shingles, 2x4's, siding, and a bunch of other stuff we would have missed.

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Old 01-26-2007, 06:18 PM
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AutoCad is not a 'smart' program....It is a tool. You really have to know how to draft before you use autocad. If I were designing 1 house and not doing it for a living I would just draft/sketch it by hand or try one of the 3d programs mentioned above that are more user friendly.
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Old 01-26-2007, 06:44 PM
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Grumpy Finn - 1/25/2007 12:11 PM

Not with those companies but, buy a book called "AutoCad, not experience needed", it tells and instructs you on all levels, I still go back to that book after many years of using the programs.
This is a great book for Auto Cad. (Auto Cad "No Experience Required") Takes you step by step learning the program and at the end of a week working with this book its amazing how much you can do.Take a look at this book....Mark
I import Auto cad files to my DelCam software for doing some of my vector base cnc work
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Old 01-27-2007, 06:52 AM
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I like what Garret said about ACAD!
Makes me wonder how it became the leading software in our business - great marketing maybe? I would only disagree with on eof the comments above about the lite version of acad - having used both I've stayed with lite and have designed everything from tree houses to multi million $$ homes with it and never felt the need for the full blown acad available for a $3k premium over lite.
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Old 01-27-2007, 07:30 AM
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Got some good stuff for ya here. I have used AutoCad, and AutoSketch in the past. I also used the Broederbund 3D home architect some years back..
Last week I was looking around for some basic drawing/cad stuff to start desiging the interior layout of a new house we are building, and ran across Google Sketchup. been using it for a couple weeks almost, and for architect stuff its GREAT!!! Works as well as Google Earth, and thats pretty damned good. Also will link to Google Earth, if you wanna draw your house and put it on there.

I have drawn house outlines to the 1/16" inch, and am now 'installing" the glass louvered windows and designing the built in shelves, etc. for the home office. You can use the mouse to measure, draw, move, etc. or you can input the dimensions on the keyboard. I havent even bothered reading the tutorials on it, so its somewhat instinctual. Especially for someone familiar with these types of programs. Can import jpegs, etc. into it. Has layers...all kinds of neat stuff.

Oh, did I mention its absolutely FREE?????

start at:

its all self explanatory from there.

If you need some help getting going, I can cut the learning curve for you a little, having been playing with it a couple weeks. PM me
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Old 01-27-2007, 07:36 PM
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Seahawg, i see you said small building projects. After being in the business for 50 years, nowsdays i don't think there is a thing called small project. The building departments want topo, drainage, storm water detention and any other dam thing they can think of. You will probably need a surveyor & engineer to seal the plans. I do wish you luck.
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Old 01-28-2007, 08:32 PM
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Many thanks to everyone. I should have known the THT community would have the answer. Unfortunately, there are a lot of choices. Ultimately, I would like to learn AutoCAD Lite, and can get a student copy for $149. It seems to be the accepted "professional" solution. I can't get into a course at Wake Tech until this summer. I am going to pick up a copy of the book that was suggested. I did download the Google program, and think it may be a good interim solution. I think I'll get a copy of the Broderbund 3D software. Between them all, I should be plenty confused!

Again, I do appreciate all the help. It is a testament to the quality of people that hang out here. Where else could someone poll thousands of online friends on any subject imaginable?


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