free 3D cad software?

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There has been many posts about cad software in the past. However, many so callled freeware are crippled commercial demo. Since it takes some effort to learn a 3D cad software, I don't want to spend a lot of time to evaluate a demo only to discover the feature I need is crippled. Therefore, your advice is needed.
I'm looking for a free (or the least expensive) cad program that -allows exact dimensions to be entered (e.g. a piece of wood that is 3.5-inch by 1.5 inch by 8 feet) -can output the design with all dimensions labeled, like an archetectural drawing -can view, rotate in 3D with simple surface (e.g. wood grain) -can save/print the design
I checked out google's sketchup. It is easy enough to sketch, and I can even enter dimensions of object. But that part doesn't seem very well developed. I could not figure out how to enter the rotation angle of objects. Plus I don't think it can produce an output with dimensions labeled. But then, I've only spent 30 minutes playing with it.
What exactly are the differences between a modeling software and a CAD software?
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John (in 44860068$0$26847$ snipped-for-privacy@free.teranews.com) said:
| I checked out google's sketchup. It is easy enough to sketch, and I | can even enter dimensions of object. But that part doesn't seem | very well developed. I could not figure out how to enter the | rotation angle of objects. Plus I don't think it can produce an | output with dimensions labeled. But then, I've only spent 30 | minutes playing with it. | | What exactly are the differences between a modeling software and a | CAD software?
John...
I've been using DesignCAD (and its DOS predecessor) for my woodworking projects and I think it works fairly well. It's not free; but the last time I checked, the price was under US$100, which seems like a good price for what I got.
I will warn you, from both personal experience and hearsay, that any richly-featured CAD package will present a significant learning curve - probably more or less in proportion to the number of capabilities built in...
[No afiliation with the publisher, etc.]
-- Morris Dovey DeSoto Solar DeSoto, Iowa USA http://www.iedu.com/DeSoto
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Morris, is that by IMSI? I bought my first CAD program, IMSI Designer for DOS in the Fall of 1985.

Totally agreed.
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IMSI now owns Designcad. They bought it a couple of years ago. According to users, it was a better program before they got a hold of it.

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IIRC IMSI was pretty basic. I used the arrow keys to draw lines. ;~)
BTY Autodesk sent me a tacky renewal letter stating that I could upgrade to 2007 for 4 or 5 hundred dollars until next spring, subscribe for about the same price every year or do nothing and be on my own. So much for customer support. You would think they would support their high priced products for more than 2 product changes. I finally down loaded IntelliCAD as you suggested and found it to be darn near exactly like AutoCAD LT. There are a couple of commands that I could not find, in particular the Tracking command. Other than that my next upgrade will probably be to IntelliCAD. Thanks again for that suggestion.
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Tracking is a feature that I, and many others, have been wanting for some time. I'm sure they will get to it eventually. They do seem to be good about honest improvements rather than just upgrades for the sake of money.

to
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"Leon" snip

I've been using AutoSketch 9 from Autodesk for my woodworking projects. For $120 it works great and I can import/export DWG files. I also agree with you and Morris about 3D. I don't need it.
Dave
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I used Sketch way back in the mid 80's and it was bought by Autodesk and renamed AutoSketch. I had 3 or 4 versions of AutoSketch up to v2.1 and then Autodesk offered me an up grade to AutoCAD LT about 10 years ago. I have been using AutoCAD LT since. I may go back and try AutoSketch or move to IntelliCAD which works 99% like AutoCAD LT if AutoCAD LT ever disagrees with future OS's.
BTY there is a brand new CutList Plus version available now. 2006 is the newest and individual print sheets layouts and labels can now be printed.
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Go Intellicad. Stay as far away from Autodesk as possible. I really like a couple of their products (AutoCAD and Inventor) but the company sucks hard.

with
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I most likely will. I think I would be taking a step backwards if I went back to AutoSketch from AutoCAD LT.

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"Leon"

I agree, it would be going backwards. Howerver, it easy to learn, very accurate and cheap. My post was really for those who are looking for new software. However, if I'm going to shell out $500 + bucks for CAD software, I think I would go with the industry standard as much as it irks me. Remember all the old word processors and spreadsheet programs from the past? ;~)
Dave
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Understood and agreed.
However, if I'm going to shell out $500 + bucks for CAD

IntelliCAD works almost exactly and looks almost exactly like AutoCAD LT and the new purchase price is $149.
Remember the old spreadsheet programs? LOL. I still use Lotus 123. ;~)
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Leon, price on Intellicad varies greatly from vendor to vendor. I bought mine from CMS. The trial download version (from all venders) is the light version. That same version from CMS is $51.95. The premium version (the one I have) is 173.95.

and
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Ohhhhhhhhh I did not know that. I was looking directly at the InrelliCAD site. Oddly about 3 weeks ago I installed the pro version and it counts down the evaluation days I have left but apparently I am doing something with computer maintainence that starts the count down at 30 every week or so. This count down has started over 2 times so far. I wonder if IE 7.0 is causing this.

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You could "evaluate" it for years like that. Nice. :)

LT
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Leon

Lotus!!! Do they still exist? Did'nt IBM buy them just to shoot them in the head?
I looked for IntelliCAD and only could find it for $500+ I'll give it a try for a buck and a half!
Dave
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Teamcasa wrote:

Nope. Bought them for Notes. Still producing the other stuff though.

It's available from a number of sources--the history is that it was developed by Visio and when Microsoft bought Visio they didn't want to be in the CAD business so they spun it off to a consortium. For a while there was a free version but that ended a long time ago.
Consortium members pay a flat fee to belong to the consortium (IIRC) and then they can charge whatever they want to for the product. CMS <http://www.intellicadms.com/store/catalog.asp?categoryID=Mg== is the low price leader starting at 52 bucks.

--
--John
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Last I searched you could still get the Lotus SmartSuite and 123 seperatelu IIRC I am working off of a 1999 version which was still available in the stores back then.

Look here, even cheaper. Thanks CW.
http://www.intellicadms.com/store/catalog.asp?categoryID=Mg =
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Better yet, Look here.
http://www.intellicadms.com/store/default.asp
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Thanks Leon
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