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Small Cabin Forum / General Forum / Need a CAD for beginner
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# Posted: 31 Oct 2021 19:21

Hello all , I'm having trouble with my worn out hands.
I have a nice drafting table with a drafting arm that I've used for years. And used to draw our current house plans. Along with my templates n such.
I'm ready to start putting some concepts on paper for our new home and thinking about trying out a CAD program.
Any recommendations from you all would be appreciated.
I don't know if it matters but it will be 28x40 on a concrete slab, in floor heat. 2x6 walls.
If it was a program that I could overlay the electrical and mechanical schematic on top of the framing that would be nice. Also do they come so we can visualize the interior layout before I draw it up. Or is there separate programs.
I'm old school n still enjoy sitting down at my drafting table.
I will probably still draw the framing on paper. It allows me to see it my mind better. And make my cut list up. I like to be able to see each board in my mind and on paper. Cut list for each wall along with a list of steps of order of build and how each board is cut. And identified where it's going.
Obviously free is always best but I also realize you get what you pay for.
Thanks again

# Posted: 31 Oct 2021 20:41

I use MS Excel because it came with MS Office. I set the rows and columns to the same pixel size and pretend they are feet. You can do number fill on side and top. Insert boxes, circles, lines, etc. Free 2D drawing with graph paper background.

Goggle Sketch is 3D and has a free version.

I bought AutoCAD Lite once to play with. More capable but steep learning curve.

A 24" monitor or larger is recommended so you can see stuff with any of these.

# Posted: 1 Nov 2021 06:50

There are free interior layout programs. I did ours on my phone while commuting. Interior layout is actualy what we started with, not a dimention. Aka we found that 16ft wide is far to skinny for our needs.

# Posted: 1 Nov 2021 08:00

To do all the things you want, Chief Architect would be the way to go..unfortunately it's far from free.

Personally and professionally i've been designing in 3D with a program called SolidWorks. It's geared towards product design vs architectural....again, far from free but a great and easy tool to learn and very powerful.

The closest to free that comes to mind that's has alot of capabilities is Fusion which is part of Autodesk who makes AutoCad. They have a free version as long as your not profiting from the CAD you design in it. Their cheapest license is around $100 a year which is still a bargain. You also gain some other features.

# Posted: 1 Nov 2021 08:30

I run AutoCAD daily and it would most certainly work, but its not cheap and there is a learning curve. If you decide to go that route I would be happy to give you some guidance to get you going. There are some simple commands that will get you up and running...

A decent sized monitor is definitely a plus with ACAD..

# Posted: 1 Nov 2021 10:17

Another plug for Chief Architect. I got the cheap version (about $100 several years ago) which doesn't have all of the bells and whistles, but does the job pretty well unless you are doing really fancy stuff. I still use it occasionally, so its not one of those subscription things that costs every year. Includes a bunch of 3d viewing capability. There is a bit of a learning curve, but not like Autocad.

# Posted: 1 Nov 2021 18:43 - Edited by: moneypitfeeder

I like this program (for a free source) mostly for interior visualization: Sweethome 3D URL It has it's limitations to be sure, but I was able to design and layout my home kitchen reno with it.

# Posted: 2 Nov 2021 09:22

Thanks all

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