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#204808 - 01/11/12 10:16 AM Auto cad and electrical design
ayrton Offline
Member

Registered: 12/21/01
Posts: 205
Loc: Pa
Good morning, as most of you know we electricians are forced on occasion to deisgn build if we want the work and to play the 'game'. I am interested in purchasing or using free software for cad so I can put design on drawings. Is it possible or available to do this without spending $4K?

What software are you folks using and are they cumbersome?

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Business, Office, Estimating, Legal:
#204814 - 01/11/12 07:39 PM Re: Auto cad and electrical design [Re: ayrton]
twh Offline
Member

Registered: 03/11/04
Posts: 898
Loc: Regina, Sask.
http://qelectrotech.org/

It's reasonably easy to use but you will did need to modify the symbols. I've tried several free programs and it's the best and easiest to use, so far. The linux version installs automatically so I assume the windows version installs as easily.

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#204815 - 01/11/12 07:41 PM Re: Auto cad and electrical design [Re: ayrton]
electure Offline

Member

Registered: 12/24/00
Posts: 4226
Loc: Fullerton, CA USA

I use Turbocad.

http://www.turbocad.com/

It's about $100,and can create drawings in both .dwg and .dwx formats.

It's pretty user-friendly once you know the workings, but comes with about a 500 page reference manual.

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#204817 - 01/12/12 07:51 AM Re: Auto cad and electrical design [Re: electure]
ayrton Offline
Member

Registered: 12/21/01
Posts: 205
Loc: Pa
Are you able to take a DWG or a PDF from an AutoCad drawing and than add your electrical design?

Example, architect has designed job, less mechanical. He has put in light fixtures on the ceiling layout sheet, however all switching and circuitry are missing. Same with Power/Data drawing. Dupx and devices are shown but no circuitry. Can you add circuitry and panel schedules to existig drawing?

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#204818 - 01/12/12 08:02 AM Re: Auto cad and electrical design [Re: electure]
ayrton Offline
Member

Registered: 12/21/01
Posts: 205
Loc: Pa
Originally Posted By: electure

I use Turbocad.

http://www.turbocad.com/

It's about $100,and can create drawings in both .dwg and .dwx formats.

It's pretty user-friendly once you know the workings, but comes with about a 500 page reference manual.


Which one do you have electure? Can I take an architects drawing, and add electrical design to it?

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#204819 - 01/12/12 10:26 AM Re: Auto cad and electrical design [Re: ayrton]
Scott35 Offline

Broom Pusher and
Member

Registered: 10/19/00
Posts: 2724
Loc: Anaheim, CA. USA
Hey, ayrton;

Per these Electrical Designs; will the Plans be used as Contract Documents per a Commercial or Industrial Electrical Design - Build Project:
"Licensed Electrical Contractor Designer/Installer",
or for As-Built Plans / Record Drawings:
"Close-Out / Non-Contract Documents".

If the Plans will be Contract Documents, you will need to verify if your State (Pennsylvania) allows for a Licensed Electrical Contractor to perform _BOTH_ the Design & Engineering of the Contract Documents (Electrical Plans), as well as the actual Installation on a given Project.
This information can be found within the Business and Professions Code ("B&P" Code).
Check on this, and the requirements as well, prior to taking on any Design-Build tasks.

Another item to mention: E&O Coverage!!! shocked

If you will be performing more than 2 or 3 Projects per Year, I suggest purchasing a compatible CAD Application.
If any of the Client's Representatives, Vendors, Architects, or Sub Contractors will exchange Design Development information with you, a CAD Application is definitely needed!

Check around the web for a 1 Seat _NON-STUDENT_ Version of AutoCAD LT, Release 2008 (or 2010 if possible... 2010 would be much better!).
These "LT" Versions are much more "cost friendly" than the Full Packages, and offer nearly everything you could possibly need (3D rendering, extensive customization and scripting is not included with the LT Versions).
I recently purchased a Single Seat (1 License) Version of AutoCAD LT, Release 2010 for $550.00

The nice thing about the 2007 and newer releases is that they contain a "DWG to PDF Plotter" as part of the Application, instead of having to create PDF Plotters via Adobe Acrobat / Distiller.

Speaking of PDF Plot Files, I should mention the following:

Quote:


Are you able to take a DWG or a PDF from an AutoCAD drawing and than add your electrical design?



Per the use of PDF Overlays (PDF Plot Files):
These will not be editable in a basic CAD Application - they will only be usable for "Base Templates" (AKA "Backgrounds").
You can draw "On Top" of these PDF Base Templates, but not directly "On" them.

Newer, High-End CAD Applications (read: Mega $$$!) have the ability to perform "some" editing on PDF Overlays; or you could edit the PDF Plot Files via Adobe Acrobat Standard (or compatible PDF Compiling Application - Adobe Acrobat Reader cannot be used).
This will be very time consuming, and frustrating at best!

As to the DWG (or DXF) Files, these may be edited within almost any "Advanced" CAD Application - especially DXF!

When you are looking at different CAD Applications, verify if the App' is capable of opening DWG files, performing edits to DWG files, and saving as DWG files.

Note: The ability to open / edit / attach DWG files also becomes a helpful option for using previously built "Blocks".
Blocks are small, stand-alone files, which may be inserted to, and tracked in, CAD drawing files.
Typical Electrical Symbols found in CAD type Electrical Plans, are Blocks.

There are thousands of Blocks available from Freeware sources on the net.
You can edit pre-made Blocks as needed, or build your own.
Instead of redrawing Symbols, Schedules, or other entities, save them as Blocks, and insert to future drawing files.

There are several other things relative to DWG file formats, but those are quite detailed.

If you will not need to submit DWG / DXF CAD Files to anyone, then an App' with PDF Plotting capabilities will be sufficient.

The TurboCAD App', suggested by Electure, along with a Full Version of Adobe Acrobat Standard Version 9.0 (or newer) for your PDF Plotter, will perform well - as long as the CAD Application allows Wide Format Plotter Configuration.
Verify the App's "Maximum Printable Media Size" is larger than ARCH C (11" x 17"), so you may create Plot Files of size ARCH D (24" x 36"), ARCH E (30" x 42"), and ARCH E1 (36" x 48").
If these Wide Format sizes are not needed, then ARCH C / ANSI C will be fine.

Much more stuff can be covered, so I will stop here and wait for responses.

Good luck!

-- Scott
_________________________
Scott " 35 " Thompson
Just Say NO To Green Eggs And Ham!

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#204820 - 01/12/12 12:10 PM Re: Auto cad and electrical design [Re: Scott35]
ayrton Offline
Member

Registered: 12/21/01
Posts: 205
Loc: Pa
For one thing, Pa is one of the few states that do not have a 'State License' to work as a electrical contractor. In some areas, cities, townships, a License is required to pull a permit. The Masters license is generally accepted.
We electrical contractors are requested to design build more and more. For example an architect was hired by owner for a current project. He designed all drawings except for mechanical. On Power/data drawing and Ceiling layout drawing, there is dupx' shown and light fixtures shown. However no circuitry or panel schedules. Sometimes a township will issue a permit to a builder (we are talking commercial) and sometimes not. The last fit out we did for this customer, the plans were accepted. This time permit reviewer wants to see switching and circuitry. He recommends I have an engineer do it for liability. However many collegues of mine do it themselves on cad and do not get an engineer seal. As long as original drawings is stamped by a proffessional, ie architect, engineer it is normally accepted. For city of Phila for example you always need elec eng stamped drawings for any job over a certain size. I have an engineer that normally does this for me at a low $$. He takes my design and put's it on cad and stamps the drawings. However he is retired and slooooow. I have to forward him a PDF and wait for him to fumble through and put everything on cad. Very time consuming although cheap. If I could just do it myself and than bring to him for reveiw than stamp it would be easier I think.


Edited by ayrton (01/12/12 12:11 PM)

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#204821 - 01/12/12 12:38 PM Re: Auto cad and electrical design [Re: ayrton]
electure Offline

Member

Registered: 12/24/00
Posts: 4226
Loc: Fullerton, CA USA

ayrton,

I'm using Turbocad Deluxe v12 I bought years ago, with an XP os.

I guess the "latest & greatest" is v18. You can get v17 on ebay for less than $40.

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#204828 - 01/13/12 10:55 AM Re: Auto cad and electrical design [Re: ayrton]
Jim M Offline
Member

Registered: 08/10/01
Posts: 453
Loc: Chestertown, MD, USA
Turbocad is not very expensive. You might also look at DoubleCad.

http://www.doublecad.com/Products/DoubleCADXTv3/tabid/1100/Default.aspx free version

paid version with extra features

http://www.doublecad.com/Products/DoubleCADXTProv3/tabid/1099/Default.aspx

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#205037 - 01/29/12 01:37 AM Re: Auto cad and electrical design [Re: ayrton]
Scott35 Offline

Broom Pusher and
Member

Registered: 10/19/00
Posts: 2724
Loc: Anaheim, CA. USA
EL-BUMP'O!!!

Has the OP decided on any CAD Package?

Would like some feedback per the complexity of use, functions, compatibility with other Applications, learning curve, -vs- overall costs (all overhead plus cost of applications).

-- Scott
_________________________
Scott " 35 " Thompson
Just Say NO To Green Eggs And Ham!

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