Amateur CAD for homes

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Old 12-07-04, 03:22 PM
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Amateur CAD for homes

I want to purchase a CAD package that will let me draw up some potential layout and design changes for our home before we start knocking down walls. Is there a package out there that is recommended? Ideally I'd like something that can produce 3D renderings of the spaces.

I am proficient enuf with PC's and have no trouble learning software but have not used CAD's before.

Thanks

P.S. - sorry if this is posted in the wrong spot. I couldn't really figure out where it shuld be posted and searching the forums produced nothing.
 
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Old 12-07-04, 06:42 PM
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I can't say from personal experience, but in my search for something like what you describe I keep getting recomendations for Autodesk QuickCAD
From reviews to personal suggestions from engineers
Apparently it's the E-Z version of what alot of pros use
I'm hoping to pick it up in the next few months, as I will need it for spring
Maybe try a google on it or I know staples.com and bestbuy.com etc. etc. have it
Might be worth checking into
 
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Old 12-08-04, 05:25 AM
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I moved the post here with others similar to it.
 
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Old 12-08-04, 08:53 AM
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Thanks for the tip on Autodesk. I'll look inot it and if I buy it, report back here. All the engineers I aksed told me to learn AutoCAD but I'm afraid the time investment involved there is not worth it to me.
 
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Old 12-08-04, 11:05 AM
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Well I have taken some time to look into it further and it seems that Autodesk QuickCAD cannot produce 3D drawings.

Based on what I have read it seems I should be looking at turboCAD or Punch! for my needs.

Again, I am looking for something that will assist more with design and layout than actual construction and codes. Most of the things I am looking at doing don't affect code. I want to produce superficial drawings that will assist my wife and I in determining how things will look with some certainty.

Still welcome any input on packages.
 
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Old 12-08-04, 11:30 AM
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Stephen@Home,

You may want to look at this link,

http://forum.doityourself.com/showthread.php?t=190615

I have my own views on this. There is no software available pertaining to Codes, as these change frequently and vary by municipality. The issues about software providing them is nonexistent. What you see packaged is a great marketing tool but reality is a different story.

Those issues on codes, how to build it, what to draw, is left up professionals who do this for a living. I am not saying that homeowners don't know how or what is required but many do not and thus their drawings are not acceptable for acquiring a building permit. It is great to design something on your own and then present this to a designer/architect to prepare construction documents. They will provide the guidance and recommendations on how to save money and they understand the full process of construction methods and products. Most importantly, they will be meeting Building Code requirements where you live. It also decreases the time done in design concept phase if you try and design your own.

Don't be surprised if taking it to a professional that the low cost budget software is not as accurate as you thought. It happens many times.

If you need any more advice, let us know.

Hope this helps!
 
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Old 12-08-04, 11:55 AM
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Doug,

thanks for the link. that article really helps. I should add the reason I mentioned codes earlier was that I did not want to dwell on them. What I am doing is more of a "while you were out" type of exercise. there will be no changes made at this stage that will require applying for any permitting at all. Just some paint, fixtures and other amenities. I want the software to assist in visualizing where we are going with things. Also, I think it is neat.

From what you posted in the link, it looks like I should be taking a hard look at Punch! Platinum. Their site looks impressive and the graphics are certainly good. My priorities are 1. quality of drawings and 2. ease of use. That is really it. As far as cost goes I don't see much difference between $30 and $300 (though $3000 is a bit much) so for most of these non-professional packages it should not be an issue.
 
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Old 12-08-04, 11:58 AM
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Stephen@Home,

You're very welcome.

I would have to agree with you. Give it a try. Sorry, it's hard to be unbiased but I try!

Have fun!
 
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Old 12-09-04, 01:28 PM
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Well I downloaded the free version of Punch last night and played around with it. After 15 minutes I felt pretty comfortable that I kne what I was doing. Within 45 minutes I had had a drawing that I was fairly sure was as good as I was gonna get. Based on what I saw though I think I convinced myself that I am wasting my time with this product. I really couldn;t get it all that close to what I want. The options in terms of colours, texture, furniture and other options seem too limited to get me close to where I want to be. I wonder if the paid version adds much more (for the most part I think I can tell what features the full version brings with it since the free version has them in the menu but disables them). I basically ended up with a very crude cartoon of my space.

At this stage I am wondering if I am going to simplistic. Perhaps I need a more robust package that will require a bigger time investment. there must be something decent between this stuff and AutoCAD.

Any suggestions?
 
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Old 12-09-04, 01:41 PM
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Stephen@Home,

This is one of the complaints many have. THe link I gave even describes the drawbacks. The fact is, that what you desire, is going to cost you more money. Question is, is it worth it to you?

You could do a web search or go to Office Depot, Stapels, etc. - I really don't think you are going to find much to your liking without paying alot more and the learning curve will definitely be more than 45 minutes!

Sorry

What I have can do lots of things but at $3,000 this is what I need. The issue of needing and wanting is basically a $$$ choice.

Good Luck!
 
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Old 12-09-04, 02:03 PM
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Doug,

I agree with your assesment and yes, having read the article you linked to I was aware of some of those things but perhaps didn't understand them until I tried it myself. While I found the punch software neat, I do wonder what someone would use it for in practical terms.

I have no trouble spending a bit more $$ on the package and putting the time in to learn it, if only I knew what I should be looking at. Is there nothing between the $100 and $3000 ranges?
 
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Old 12-09-04, 02:17 PM
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Stephen@Home,

I honestly would have to do some looking but even then I could not tell you more facts about them other than the cost and what you read isn't all that you think you get or could expect in satisfaction. I know that what most people like to see is what I produce. What they expect from all the great packaged low budget software is nowhere near to my software in comparison and rightly so.

Am I right you are trying to renovate your existing home? Why not save the money and hire a designer/architect to assist you with your goals? Depending on who you hire, they can provide designs, then scale it down to one floor plan. I'm not trying to spend your money foolishly but you will still need finals done anyway. Is this a bad suggestion?

I do things differently than most, I allow a minimum of 3 revisions. Mine include 3D and I am sure, someone near you could provide the same.

Any thoughts?
 

Last edited by Doug Aleshire; 12-20-04 at 06:35 AM.
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Old 12-09-04, 02:35 PM
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Doug,

I appreciate the offer and suggestions. Most of what I am doing would fall into the design category as opposed to actual renovations (though they could trun into that). As an example, my house has 2 living rooms but no formal dining room (just a big kitchen with an infrmal table). One of the living rooms is about 12 x 18 and we want to turn it into a dining room. This would likely involve getting rid of the carpet and putting in wood, new paint, possbily some fake exposed beams for the ceiling, and of course new furniture. What I am looking for is a program that will let me draw it all out and test different colourings and furnishings and the like so that we have a plan before we go out an start shopping. Next summer I want to build a deck and that was one thing Punch! seemed like it might be able to do (though I didn't play with it much).

As for why I don't hire someone, there are a couple of reasons. First, I like to learn new things and try them and I'd like the flexibility of trying a few things on my own. It is rewarding. Second, I live in a fairly remote part of the arctic and there aren't a whole whack of people round these parts. Most of what I will end up doing will be ordered in just for me. The nearest home Depot or Costco is about 1000 miles away. Plus, we are working our way through our home (it is new to us) and changing it to suit our needs. this will likely take several years. It would be nice to have a plan that can evolve as we settle on our needs and adapt to changing needs.
 
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Old 12-19-04, 11:59 PM
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Well I finally found a program that I like. I just tested a demo of Chief Architect and it seems to have all the features I need (and then some). Little pricier than I originally thought but I guess that is the cost of a quality product.

any one have any experience with this product? Any reason I should not coonsider it? It actually looks pretty easy to use and produces some reall good looking drawings and 3d renderings in no time.

Thanks
 
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Old 12-20-04, 06:30 AM
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Stephen@Home,

This is alot more than the $100, $300, $500!

You're willing to pay $1800 plus for just this project? Seems very extreme to say the least. This is way above the rest of the low cost programs and can do very well at 3D.

By the time you get to this level of expense, it may be best to hire that designer to assist you. Seems a waste of money if you are unable to prepare a set of drawings for building permit application but the reasons behind getting it are very valid from your point of view.

The program does have many more features than others that you and I had mentioned before. Again it's the learning curve and what you intend to use it for. What it produces depends on what you program into it. Again, its a tool but there are things you need to do to prep it before making what you think is cool looking.

Good Luck!
 
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Old 01-04-05, 09:31 PM
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Stephen@home,

Chief Architect is a great program but its 3d is not as strong as its baby cad. Architect 3d 4 is the easier, quicker, more affordable version of Chief Architect ($49.95). It comes with 500 predrawn plans and allows you to design from scratch. It's 3d is strong and easy so I actually will use it for clients in a time crunch. Home architect 3D also allows you to import jpegs and bitmaps for your backdrop which means you can take a picture of your lot and then set the 3D drawing of your deisgn right into your lot.

Good Luck.

Brian Garrison
General Contractor/Professional Building Designer
 
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Old 01-10-05, 09:11 AM
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Thanks for the suggestions Brian. I have been playing around with Chief Architect demo version for the past few days and am not convinced it is what I need either.

For the sake of clarity, would you please identify the manufacturers of those two products you suggested? I have done some searching on the names you listed and am not quite certain which ones you are suggesting as there seem to be several with similar names.

Thanks
 
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Old 01-10-05, 07:58 PM
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Stephen@Home,

Take a look at these links - you "might" see something to your liking but I don't think you will without paying some higher dollars for it.

http://www.cadoutpost.com/catalog.html

http://www.smartdraw.com/specials/fl...s.asp?id=13985

http://www.digitalriver.com/dr/v2/ec...CACHE_ID=74914

Hope this helps!
 
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Old 01-13-05, 12:38 PM
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3D Home Architect, by broderbund... I've been using it for years. its a great program and is taken from Chief Architect.. I just bought the Punch Professional, but I'm still partial to the 3D Home Arch... and you definately can't beat the price!
 
 

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