Good Free Cad for house design

Discussion in 'Software' started by frank smith, Nov 21, 2010.

  1. frank smith
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    frank smith Senior Member

    I am looking for a good free cad program for house design .
    I have tried Auto Cad , but that is not free. Still I am trying to it.
    But in the mean time I would like to find one that is capable and not to difficult to use.

  2. EuroCanal
    Joined: Jul 2010
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    EuroCanal Junior Member

    Turbo CAD Learning Edition is free, but only 2D. If you just want plans and sections, it works very well. It's not officially supported, but still available on a lot of (legal) download sites. Even though it's a free learning edition, it's fully featured and there are no restriction on installation, printing, etc.

    Best part for house plans is the drawing all levels in the same file on different layers, then just printing out what you need. I attached a screen print TC LE showing some of the layers in a plan I made some years ago.

    If you really need 3d, then a student version of AutoCad would suit, but you still have to pay for it (much less than the full version), can only install it once, and it expires after 2 years.

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  3. Milan
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    Milan Senior Member

  4. apex1

    apex1 Guest



    are Freeware. Both are much more professional than the guggle stuff.
  5. Milan
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    Milan Senior Member

    OK, could be. I don’t know them, there are so many programs on the market.

    In my experience with a CAD, I think that an amateur should choose programs that are easiest, (or better said least difficult), to learn, even if these programs are a bit less capable then more professional ones. Many professional programs are not very intuitive, demand considerable effort and lot of time and exercising before one becomes proficient with them. (Usually, far too much trouble for an amateur). Especially if learning CAD is just a tool to draw something specific and not a goal by itself.

    Second important factor is formats. It have to be able to import / export files in most popular formats such as dwg, dxf, dgn. e.c.t.

    (I’m on the professional level with a Micro Station, worked before professionally with Auto Cad and ME 10. Played for fun with a Sketch Up, Rhino, 3D studio Max, Hullform and Freeship).
  6. apex1

    apex1 Guest

    No doubt, the more one goes in the pro direction, the harder that stuff is to learn.
    Just wanted to provide more options. And I am far less skilled than you are.

  7. Petros
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    Petros Senior Member

    I think there is a free "personnel" version of Intellicad still available. It can read AutoCad files and also will do conversions of other formats to the .dwg format.

    You might look into that software as well.
  8. alidesigner
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    alidesigner Senior Member

    alibre will let you create a 3d design.
  9. liki
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    liki Senior Member

    Are you willing to spend a little? ViaCAD 2D sells for 39 USD and is well worth the price. In fact the pro edition seems to be available for 99 USD now.
  10. Brian@BNE
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    Brian@BNE Senior Member

    'Good' and 'free' together can be a challenge. For one-off projects then graph paper and pencil work well!

    But if you want a bunch of tools to finesse elevations, roof lines, services etc and its not a simple one-off then I'd suggest you take a look at 'Punch! Home Design'.

    I don't think there's a free version, but by CAD standards its quite cheap, and its pretty amazing what you can do. I think the entry level one is $50. There are some fabulous tools built in, and 3D of course. The templates etc that are included and allow you to drag and drop stuff are a real time saver too.

    Even if you can't export to the format you architect/draftsman wants, if you have your concepts/styling clear, and if you take the trouble to ensure your drawing is 'dimensioned' then its pretty easy for them to prepare the plans required for building approval (probably with AutoCAD ... at least that's what happened during my renovation)
  11. frank smith
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    frank smith Senior Member

    I have an old version of Turbo cad , have tried Punch , Sketch up is not bad .
    Now I want to find something that is not to clunky to use, and offers pro features , I may have to buy the software, that would be ok , I just dont want to waste time messing with
    programs that dont have the potential for pro results . I also wonder if a touch pad would make thins easier .

    Thank all ,

  12. Lurvio
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    Lurvio Mad scientist

    BricksCad once had a free version, unfortunately not anymore. It is quite similar to AutoCad in basic use and is about 1/4 the prize.
  13. Brian@BNE
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    Brian@BNE Senior Member

    I think quality of results depends on the effort put into really learning the software. Paying for software encourages you to get some tutorial assistance as well, so you actually get value from your software purchase.

    Results depend on the user, not the software per se

    I have AutoCAD (legit copy, a bit old now but still installs and runs on Windows 7). But I never did take the trouble to learn it properly. More recently I bought AutoSketch. Its from AutoDesk as well. I used early versions of AutoSketch in the mid 90's and it was very easy to use and gave good results. I only tried to upgrade to AutoCAD because of file import/export compatibility.

    Version 10 of AutoSketch has all the file compatibility issues resolved (as far as I know anyway), but so far I haven't put the time and effort into mastering it. I think it is a very good alternative to the 'big brother' AutoCAD. If you've got some CAD experience then you might get up to speed with it fairly quickly.
  14. ACuttle
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    ACuttle Marine Design Engineer

    I think the call would come down on to whether your looking to work in 2D or 3D. There are plenty of alternatives to AutoCAD LT, and for a good chunk cheaper, that can do a very profesional job. ZWcad comes I've used comercially as a 2D AutoCAD alternative.

    If you are looking for a 3D package your choices are more limited and more expensive. Sketch-up is very user friendly but I find it lacks all the tools I'd expect from a 'professional' package - but then it's free so you can use it along with other software.

    If your looking for free and good then it would be worth taking advantage of as many trials/freeware versions as you can. Do you have much CAD/drafting experience? Most 2D programs work pretty similarly but some people find things easier to pick up than others.

    For Architectural work you're not normally asking for much from the software (only a digital version of pen & paper) so take the chance to test the water and choose what you are comfortable with. It depends how you define 'clunky' and 'professional features'?

    (As others have hinted, Autodesk are fairly pratish so not going with them could be considered a good thing).

  15. ludesign
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    ludesign Senior Member

    Vectorworks is definitely not freeware. It is however one of the five or six professional CAD packages used by 90% the construction and architectural industry together with AutoCAD Architect, Revit, Allplan, ArchiCAD and MicroStation.

    If you are looking for a free 2D package, try Dassault's DraftSight. A bit too AutoCAD crude for my taste, but worth a look. Google Sketchup also comes with a free version, if you want 3D. Not good enough for professional architectural work, but OK for the hobby user.
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