What's a good and inexpensive basic CAD for Mac?
I need easy dimensional placement and layers for things like walls,
ceiling joists, pipes and other hidden features for record keeping and
Sketchup might be a go-er but I'm not sure how well it handles lots of
I used to use cycas but that's not available for Mac.
I was going to suggest Sketchup but you have probably explored it's
abilities more than I when using it with my 3D printer (and never used
Windows VM or Dual boot?
When it comes to specialised software and OS's it seems it's one of
those things where what should be the tail (the program) can end up
wagging the dog (OS). ;-(
I don't (mainly) run Windows (like on this Mac Mini) because I think
it's better than OSX or Linux, but because it's more compatible with
the rest of the world.
Cheers, T i m
Do you want an AutoCAD clone, or will a drawing program do?
I use Inkscape, specifically the osxmenu port which has Mac-native menus
(instead of the official Mac version using XQuartz)
While being someone's hack project it's good enough for day to day use.
It's a drawing package so you're placing rectangles, joined up lines and
curves. Everything works to scale just fine, and you can enter coordinates
and dimensions by number. Layers are easy too - often I import a scanned
image in a layer, turn down the opacity and draw on top of it.
There's also LibreCAD which is an AutoCAD clone, but I've never got on with
it as I've always thought of objects as rectangles, multipoint lines, paths,
etc rather than isolated line segments.
Both are free. I also have OmniGraffle which is commercial, but it doesn't
add much over Inkscape.
I'm not sure - does Autocad treat complex objects as objects rathern
than lines (like you mention below)?
I've used inkscape - didn't think of that...
I seem to recall it allows accurate placement of items (by numeric
dimension as well as snapping etc)?
And it does have layers too.
Thank you - that's probably the correct answer.
It's useful to have a map of the ceiling (floor joists, ceiling joists
[bungalow conversion - it's a mess up there!], wire and pipe runs so
it's easier to plan where to fit other things and run bundles of
networking cables etc.
I have that drawing in cycas, so I could do with transferring it to
something Mac compatible and cleaning it up.
In article ,
I still love ProCAD+ on this Risc machine. The devil you know on a GUI you
like. It can produce the standard DXF files (and Gerber and PDF etc as
well as its native one), which are compatible with many other 2D CAD progs
- and the one I've used on the PC was DraftSight. But believe that may no
longer have a free version.
So would be interested to hear of the best free or cheap PC version.
You can add an extension to Sketchup that allows you to export .stl
files that you can then say slice into gcode to control a 3d printer
and other such NC machines.
I used one guy who would mill out PCB's and who also used a similar
Cheers, T i m
Do you mean for something like a cnc machine that mills off the unwanted
copper or something that produces the etching and screen printing masks?
Perhaps investigate Eagle free version (limited to double sided and
80cm2 board area for the free version). Support for Win/MAC/Linux.
Either way, the general flow is to produce Gerber (which is a specialised
form of G-code) and that goes to either milling or etching equipment.
However etching is much superior unless you need it absolutely right now and
are standing in front of a mill. Chinese fabs like jlcpcb.com are
ultra-cheap for etching if you aren't in a hurry.
I'd strongly suggest Kicad over Eagle. Kicad is open source and free
without any limits as to size or layers. Eagle has gone to a 'cloud based'
subscription model - you have to login, it chats to their server before you
can use it. A lot of the maker community has moved over to Kicad, which
means there are good libraries for lots of parts (although Kicad's library
management could be better).
The other thing is the Eagle UI is backwards to what most people are used
to. Most CAD tools have you select something and then apply an action to it
(ie click then delete). In Eagle you select the mode and then the item, so
you go into 'Delete' mode and then click on things to delete. That's
slightly quicker if you want to apply the action to multiple things, but
it's different from the common way of right-clicking on something and
selecting an action from a menu when you don't know what actions are
available. Eagle doing things backwards like this makes it harder to pick
up and does your head in for a while.