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tphilp

free 2d drafting programs

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tphilp

Hi all, CADtutor newbie here. I am partner in a small solar energy consulting company and we are looking for a program that will produce relatively accurate layouts for building roof tops for our solar arrays. We would want to import PDFs, or maybe JPEFs. Previously we have worked with engineers that used AutoCAD with good results. I was looking at AutoSketch, but it runs $260 or so, and we would need two or three copies. I followed a thread about DraftSight that lead me to this web site, hoping for some input from you AutoCAD experts. Is there a good share ware program out there?

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stevsmith

For free, Draftsight is as good as you will get.

My company uses it along side Solidworks because we would grudge paying for AutoCad.

 

It's never a good thing to import PDF's and jpegs to be honest, its a nightmare re-scaling them, but that's just my opinion. Plenty of people still do it to good (or goodish) effect.

Other options would be Briscad and TurboCAD. There are a few others that the other users would recommend, but these are the ones I'm mostly aware of.

 

Oh, and welcome to the forums.

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Cad64

I used Draftsight for about 6 months, before I decided to purchase a copy of ProgeCad. Draftsight is a good 2D drafting program, and as stevsmith said, it's about as good as you're going to get for free. I switched to ProgeCad because I needed 3D capability, Express Tools and I wanted to be able to use my lisp routines.

 

I would recommend that you download and try Draftsight for yourself, but if you find you need something a little more powerful, take a look at ProgeCad, Bricscad or Turbocad. They are all low cost alternatives to Autocad.

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tphilp

thanks for your fast responses! I will look at your recommendations and see how it all works. Hopefully our tiny company will go and I can afford full autoCAD, I will be back here full time. Great forum.

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tphilp

By the way, I assume that AutoSketch is compatible (more or less) with AutoCAD, templates, commands? Am I looking too short sighted to be considering Draftsight, assumming that I might have to transition to something more powerful eventually? Just looking for opinions, perspectives. Thanks

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f700es
By the way, I assume that AutoSketch is compatible (more or less) with AutoCAD, templates, commands?

 

I would have to say "No". I would call AutoSketch a MS Visio like program that AutoDesk bought many years ago. It acts nothing like AutoCAD and is completely different. The last version of AutoSketch was released in 2008. So I would consider it dead.

 

Am I looking too short sighted to be considering Draftsight, assumming that I might have to transition to something more powerful eventually? Just looking for opinions, perspectives. Thanks

 

DraftSight will look and feel like an older version of AutoCAD LT. Many of the commands are the same. Similar layout with some differences here and there, espically in the Options area. The best way to see is to simply download, install and give it a try.

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tphilp

is there any way to import PDFs to Draftsight? I have clients that give me information in that format and it would be easier than redrawing the whole building.

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ReMark

You would have to use the ATTACHIMAGE command to bring the PDF into Draftsight then you would have to trace over it. After tracing over it you could scale it using the reference option. I'm not sure if this would be accurate enough for what you are doing.

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tphilp

Do you know of any programs that would allow me to import PDFs?

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f700es

There are ways to get around this. There are several on-line services that will convert them for you for free. Here is one I tried and the file I got back was just as good visually as any other PDF-to-DWG.

http://dwg.autodwg.com/

 

I used my Yahoo.com e-mail in case of spam.

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ReMark

Just as good visually? What exactly does that mean when it comes time to edit the geometry? Are we saying "it's close enough for government work?" LoL

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f700es

Looked as good as Adobe Illustrator did in the conversion. Let me do a full comparison.

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tphilp

any experience/comments on DoubleCAD XT?

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ReMark

Not me. I use Draftsight.

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f700es

OK here we go...

 

Screenshot_1.jpg

 

The left file is from the online service and the right from Adobe Illustrator.

Both are fair conversions with the online file being a bit smaller in file size. 572kb compared to 762kb. Both seemed to have converted text into hatches. They are what they are, converted PDFs into DWG and a user should take these with a grain of salt and use accordingly.

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f700es
any experience/comments on DoubleCAD XT?

 

It's usable but I found DraftSight to be closer to what I was used to in AutoCAD.

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ReMark

The OP's criteria: "...to produce relatively accurate layouts for building roof tops for our solar arrays." I guess that method would be close enough to work then.

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f700es

Only the OP can make that determination based on his assessments. Through my experiences I know when and where I can use a converted PDF and make it work and when I can't.

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