AutoCAD alternatives?

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Here is another question:
Do the people here have any experiences with alternatives to Autocad LT? I've tried IntelliCAD 2001 myself and while it was easy to learn, it was _very_ slow. I took a beginners course in ArchiCAD, but A) I'd rather use something that resembles Autocad more, B) it' is way too expensive.
I figure, if I use SketchUp for 3D, the cad-program does not really need much 3D functionality.
AutoCad is the standard, but if I can get away with useing a cheaper program, I'll postpone contributeing to Autodesk's purse.
TIA, M.J.
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Autocad is THE best, most universal CADD tool out there,...............get used to it, and its cost,...................

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In a previous post Gary Matczak says...

Autocrap is the 800 lb gorilla, but is not the BEST.
The CAD program you use depends a great deal on what you want to do with it. In my case I only have need for a 2D program that is easy to learn and inexpensive. I use VisualCadd for my day to day drafting needs. For the $3500 it costs to buy full blown Autocrap I can buy 10 seats of VCadd.
What can't I do with VCadd? Well, I have a little trouble "round- tripping" (no snide remarks please) from DWG to VCD back to DWG when there are multiple X-Refs. But, who cares? I'm usually taking the architect's drawings an modifying them to suit my purposes and only sending back PDF's or PLT files. On occasion I will send back a few layers of structural stuff, but that doesn't happen very often.
My first "real" CAD program was Generic Cadd. It took me less than a day to learn VCadd because nearly all of the commands are the same. Since that time VCadd has added Reference Frames (X-Refs) and image importing routines.
--
Bob Morrison, PE, SE
R L Morrison Engineering Co
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Bob, i have a question regarding VCadd, if i had and excel sheet (OLE) inserted in my drawing. and if i had to rotate my Plot 90 Degrees. would the OLE rotate with the plot? i've had problems in Autocad where the OLE would not rotate with the plot. thanks
LouR

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In a previous post LouR says...

Lou:
That may be true for VCadd as well. However, the plotter/printer interface is much easier to use in VCadd, so it is possible to set up a plotter to "AutoRotate" and this seems to work just fine. In other words, I can print a 24x36 containing OLE objects on 24-inch roll paper with not much difficulty.
--
Bob Morrison, PE, SE
R L Morrison Engineering Co
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Thanks for your advice Bob.
LouR

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"Gary Matczak"

I'd really love to tell you where I'd like you to shove your ACAD, Gary.
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thanks for being so polite,...................and you are a professional?

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"Gary Matczak"

lol... anytime.

lol..."you're not your job", says the best graffiti I've yet seen scrawled...
But, ok, you want professional? Here's a context: You and I are warm & fuzzy partners-- very warm, very fuzzy-- out for a well-deserved lunch... Over lunch, I start bitching about the new ACAD seats we've had to install, how much it costs, etc., and you respond like you have here, and so do I, after a small sip of my cranberry vodka. As I'm just beginning a tangent on the virtues of open source, your cell goes off to the consternation of fellow diners closeby. That shuts me up of course, so while you're haggling on the phone with a client, who's going to absorb the costs of our new ACAD licenses, I flag down another pink lady for you, and it's back to work in 60.

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"Don"

In an alternate reality, Richard reminded Gary that the subject of this thread is AutoCAD alternatives, to which alternate-reality-Gary responded, "The alternative to AutoCAD is AutoCAD.".
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Of course, some noncompliance cases involve the outright disregard of agreements by companies trying to cut costs for expensive software, particularly CAD programs, which cost upwards of $2,000 to $3,000 per seat. Other scofflaws flaunt what they consider to be unfair and restrictive license agreements. For example, some agreements give software vendors the right to enter a business to perform an audit whenever it suspects a violation. "Some of this stuff is sickening," says one architect in the Northeast.
"When you use the term 'piracy,' you're making an analogy that's way over the top," says Bradley Kuhn, executive director of the Free Software Foundation, a Boston-based group that advocates the development of freely distributed "open source" software, such as the popular Linux operating system. He believes current licensing policies and "tip lines" foster distrust among coworkers, and that a new business model built on freely distributed source code is the answer to copyright infringement problems.
Kuhn concedes the handful of free CAD programs now under development are not yet ready for prime time, but he believes that situation could change if more professionals supported the free software movement. "If consumers took half the money they're paying for CAD licenses every year and gave it to some free software project, [open source versions] could be developed and people wouldn't have to pay for licenses anymore," Kuhn says.
-- http://www.softwaremetering.com/20030029.htm
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If people paid for stuff that was free then the free stuff would be as good as the stuff they pay for and they wouldn't have to pay any more.
If people paid, they wouldn't have to pay.
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"gruhn"

Too simple... For one, you as a hypothetical ACAD user, pay in ways you don't necessarily have to. As an example, read what you snipped.
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Yeah, you gotta love the logic of "open source" zealots!!!
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"Don"

I hear what you're saying and can empathize... you seem to have a classic case of lock-in. ADesk has your balls in their hands.
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It depends on what you do. Over the last 20 years I've used many - but for last few years Vectorworks has been my favourite - at under 700 in UK - less than a quarter of A'cad's cost - http:// www.cadpointdirect.co.uk/webstore/customer/search.php?substring=vectorworks it seems to offer best balance of good Autocad compatibility, price, features, and ease of use. ( Like most new CAD - a difficult first week or two - but then possible to work much faster than many CAD programmes) They have a demo available -so why not give it a try? http://www.nemetschek.net /
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"Markus Jakas"

Along with the links/apps below, you can also search for CAD at Sourceforge.net or Freshmeat and of course Google, where I snapped these shots:
Octree CAD for Architects. (I think it's open source) http://www.octree.de / http://www.octree.de/html/frames/eng/f_info.htm
Q-CAD (the GPL Community edition). It's intuitive, free, open source and outputs to DXF. It's 2D. (although you have to compile the sources, which I have to learn myself if I want to use it (or maybe there's a compiled Community ver. out there)
'BlenderCAD' seems to be a script that extends Blender, but its development seems bogged. Looks promising, though, alongside Blender. I'm keeping an eye on it. Poke around Blender's site.
PythonCAD. A recent release (last May, 2005). Site was down when I last checked, but worth a look if/when it comes back.
FreeCAD: http://www.askoh.com/freecad /
VarkonCAD'. If recalled it went open source a couple of years ago (if it wasn't already). http://www.mathematik.uni-ulm.de/help/varkon/man.htm
With more Googling-- and over time-- more open source/libre CAD apps might be found, too (LignumCAD PowerCAD?).
...Oh ya, there's also the American Army-made and recently-open-sourced BRL CAD. It's supposed to kick for many things, including solid-modelling (boolean), but there may be no dimensioning(?) unless there's a plugin//script add-on for that.
BTW, if you're into military software like that, and "geomatics" or GIS, you might also be interested in GRASS-- ostensibly, the 3rd biggest open source project on the planet.
For freehand, there's also Sketchboard, which I've briefly played around with and still have on my hddrive. It might similar to Sketchup, if less tomatoey.
For landscape generation that imports elevation and/or sattelite maps or data, there's also this weird Japanese app called Kashmir. I've tried it briefly too, and looks cool. It's been translated into English, (maybe the manual too?).

I like your attitude.
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In a previous post Don says...

Don, et.al.:
I can tell you that VCadd uses the normal printer driver for the equipment you have. It does not require a separate ACad driver. In addition, it will sense whatever system printers you have installed including those over the network.
Finally, the way I use VCadd is WYSIWYG, That is, I set line widths on screen so that there is no such thing as a "pen table". On-screen widths may be temporarily turned off while drawing and then turn back on again for printing.
For all my "normal" drawings I simply load a style sheet that contains layer names and layer properties. Each layer contains only one color and one line width, but may have several line types.
--
Bob Morrison, PE, SE
R L Morrison Engineering Co
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In a previous post Don says...

I struggled with that too in Generic Cadd. VCadd uses the on-screen line width similar to what you are doing with polylines. Like you I use colors for my own convenience. Color has nothing to do with line weight. The style sheet thing is just a way to get standardized set of layer names and layer properties into a drawing. This is similar to a "Template" drawing in ACad.

VCadd makes the "grayscale" part easy: you simply check a box on the printer dialog to "Print All Colors to Black"
List Price for VCadd is $395.00 Download or $450.00 with CD and Manual
If you have LT or Generic Cadd the "Upgrade" price is $109.95 for Download or $124.95 with CD
http://www.tritools.com/Purchase.asp
There is a 30 day fully functional trial version at
http://www.tritools.com/v5_demo.htm
--
Bob Morrison, PE, SE
R L Morrison Engineering Co
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First off, thanks for all the links!
On Fri, 10 Jun 2005, Bob Morrison wrote:

I'm quite used to the color=line width thing myself. It all boils down to having a few pen style configurations on file. Of course, it might take a while to nail down the proper widhts. But I've stuck with it, eventhough Acad allows for "width by layer" nowadays. So Generic CADD uses the color=width printing style, then? And yes, I'll get around to trying the demos, evetually:-). They are already on my hd.

So, if I want to mix grayscale with colors, I have to change the layer settings? Is there a tool for saving diffeent layer states as in Acad, then?
Any TurboCAD user here? It seems to have some 3d capabilities, even in he cheaper version. But I think the interface is more icon-driven, I prefer using the command-line myseslf. One more to try.
There is QCad for Windows, too: http://www.ribbonsoft.com/qcad.html . No sources, though. So youll have to pay a smallish fee. I guess this would be the starting point.
The possibilites are adding up!
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