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#4031 - 09/06/01 09:44 PM software
stan Offline

Registered: 08/15/01
Posts: 38
Loc: ky
i would love to be able to make my own electrical plans of homes . does anyone know were some free software is or demos?

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#4032 - 09/06/01 10:08 PM Re: software
Nick Offline

Registered: 08/13/01
Posts: 603
Loc: Riverside, CA
I don't know of any free ones but Auto Desk (makers of AutoCAD) have a very good and inexpensive (under $80.00)program called Quick CAD. There are other home design software programs out there for under $80.00 but I can't vouch for them having not used them. Quick CAD does everything you might need and even reads AutoCAD 2000 format files. It sure beats the $4000.00 bucks for the full on AutoCAD 2000 software!

#4033 - 09/07/01 03:33 AM Re: software
sparky Offline

Registered: 10/18/00
Posts: 5545
the prob with the fancy programs is that they are all way smarter than i will ever be.
just go to K-mart and get a kiddie disc, circles, sqaures, lines, text....i make up prints form one of these all the time

#4034 - 09/07/01 04:49 AM Re: software
electure Offline


Registered: 12/24/00
Posts: 4226
Loc: Fullerton, CA USA
IMSI makes "Turbocad" which, at about $80.00, is able to work & save in many formats up to & including Autocad 2000. It's easier to use for me (I've got Autocad 2000 also), and will make quality drawings.
The current version (v7.0) also will do 3D drawing, and includes "Floor Plan", which makes drawing & rendering of 3D floor plans very simple.
As you can tell, I'm really sold on this product, and no, I don't own stock in IMSI

#4035 - 09/07/01 09:26 AM Re: software
Scott35 Offline

Broom Pusher and

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

As Nick and Scott [electure] have mentioned, check into some of the more "User friendly" types of CAD programs. You might find just what you're looking for with them!

I know that TurboCAD comes with many blocks [symbols] in several libraries - such as wall framing, plumbing, windows and doors, HVAC, Electrical, landscaping and even some LAN stuff.
I would imagine the same from Quick CAD.
Nevertheless, Blocks [symbols] are everywhere on the net! Plus they are simple to create.

The real drawback about any CAD program is the learning curve! Getting to know the terms, how to use the terms, where to find the terms, etc. is the first giant step! The giant leap for mankind comes from putting things together and making a drawing that looks like a drawing!

The programs described by Nick and Scott are so much easier to jump into and have smaller learning curves, as compared to professional CAD programs [AutoCAD, Microstation, etc.].
After a few years of using the simpler ones, you will probably find yourself wanting a more powerful CAD program. That's when it's time to fork out $1,000 to $5,000 bucks on a full professional CAD version.

If you're just starting out and plan to draw only basic stuff [floor plans, basic 3D stuff, simple electrical schematics], then go for the simple programs and stay away from the high end pro stuff. You will get discouraged by the extremely difficult user interfaces and drop the whole idea of drawing plans [don't let this happen!!!].

FYI: You could try using some graphics programs, word processors and even some scanning programs, for plans.

Graphics Applications, such as Adobe Photoshop, Paint Shop Pro, etc. can be used to create plans.

Word processors, such as MS word, Excel [I know it's a spreadsheet app, just wanted to include it], and Visio [a stencil type program] can do quite a bit.

As far as scanner utilities / apps, I have Paper Port and it can double as a "quick and dirty CAD application". The benifit with paper port is you can scan some hard copy, then edit it, then paste stuff around, and draw multiweight linetypes [lines of various thickness].

So much for the Public Service Announcement from your friendly CAD association
Hopefully you can find a comfortable application for a good price.

Now, the next step is buying a wide format printer or a plotter!!! They start around $2,000 for a simple D size printer [my HP designjet 450C was $1,800 for the printer, $200 for the stand, $200 for the rollfeed and $40 for 24"x150' vellum. this was in 1999].
Plotters will be more expensive [unless used]. If buying a used plotter, stay away from the ones with the HPIB interface [IEEE 488]. It looks like a shrunken printer port.
It's almost impossible to find the interface adapter [card], and if you do, they cost mucho bucks!!!

Rockwell Autonetics surplus sales usually has go-zillions of old pen plotters for sale.

You can always have a drafting shop plot drawings on D or E size paper, or have a close friend with wide format printing abilities do for you [will be your best friend from time to time ].
When this becomes old, it's time to buy your own printer!

Good luck

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

#4036 - 09/13/01 06:51 PM Re: software
spkjpr Offline

Registered: 12/01/00
Posts: 226
Loc: Sedalia,MO, USA
Stan, I use KeyCad to draw plans. I believe I got it at Staples and it cost $10. it has a section that has electrical symbols and building symbols. It may take some time to use but the price is right.

#4037 - 09/14/01 05:04 AM Re: software
WARREN1 Offline

Registered: 05/09/01
Posts: 184
Loc: Greenville, SC, USA
Actually, AutoCad is not that hard to use. It is probably more expensive than most will want to pay for a beginning program.
I have never had AutoCad14 training, but am using it on this project. Just like any other program, be it spreadsheet or word processor, just jump in and go with the simple, then learn the more difficult. If you know someone in the business close to you, they will be glad to answer your questions and show you how to use the program.
There are several programs at Wal-Mart and other office supply stores in the $50 range that would probably serve for your learning experience, in addition to the ones mentioned here in this thread. I have considered one of those for home use, but haven't had time to use it even if I bought it. Maybe for Christmas??

#4038 - 09/14/01 05:27 AM Re: software
Jim M Offline

Registered: 08/10/01
Posts: 453
Loc: Chestertown, MD, USA
If you want Autocad but can't afford it try Autocad LT. You don't get the high end features like true 3-D, but for plan views its fine. You can also get a free demo disk of Actrix? ( I will repost later). This uses a drag and drop like Visio. 3-D from Broderbund works also. It has some quirks when you try to move some items so you end up deleting them and adding new ones where you want them.

#4039 - 10/06/01 03:36 PM Re: software
bordew Offline

Registered: 08/27/01
Posts: 155
Loc: Vienna,Ohio, USA
Originally posted by stan:
i would love to be able to make my own electrical plans of homes . does anyone know were some free software is or demos?

Just my opinion, but for most electrical drawing can be accurately by hand,ie the old fashioned way, with a T-square and a board, one time two of laid-out a 300 foot aneal and pickle line using drafting machines and plastic lead on Mylar, the drawings are easily changed, downsized and reproduced at half the cost. In all I think there were some 500 drawings, form the building
grounding plans, conduit schedules, conduit layout, MCC layouts, number of conductors in each conduit, to red Concrete.
But I know it is not as exotic as Auto-cad, and is a lot cheaper, gives one good insight to using auto-cad.

#4040 - 10/06/01 04:57 PM Re: software
sparky Offline

Registered: 10/18/00
Posts: 5545

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