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#16805 - 11/16/02 03:00 PM Design Programs  
JuddsAirco  Offline
Joined: Oct 2002
Posts: 49
Does anyone here use the Microsoft Visio Professional to do thier layouts or does most people prefer the CAD programs?

The lesson is in the struggle, not the victory.

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#16806 - 11/16/02 03:30 PM Re: Design Programs  
Surge_in_fl  Offline
Joined: Oct 2002
Posts: 17
Tampa, Florida
The two programs of choice in my area are AutoCad and Microstation

#16807 - 11/16/02 08:59 PM Re: Design Programs  
sparky66wv  Offline
Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 2,236
West Virginia
3D Home Architect... $10 at Walmart.
Don't laugh! It does eveything I need it to do: Print out electrical plans to submit with proposals along with materials lists to spell out exactly what I'm bidding for...

My shanty:

[Linked Image]

Floor plans, electrical plans, etc...

And 3D View too!

[Linked Image]

(Old hat and repeat material for some...)

There's a new version available for $50 that does more... Maybe even shows luminaires and devices in 3D View!

This is good for residential only, and cannot convert to CAD format for file sharing.

Residential/Commercial Inspector
5 Star Inspections
Member IAEI

#16808 - 11/18/02 10:46 PM Re: Design Programs  
Scott35  Offline

Broom Pusher and
Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 2,707
Anaheim, CA. USA

I use AutoCAD mainly because I have some Geek-ee issues [Linked Image]

Seriously though, I use AutoCAD more due to it's overall abilities and being less expensive than the other Pro versions (Although, I have heard many good things about Microstation which might just sway me to take the plunge!).

Have used a bunch of other Apps; Visio 4.x pro, TurboCAD, Turbosketch, Corel Draw 4.0, Paper Port (a scanning app with edit, copy/paste, clean-up and annotation abilities), along with some older DOS - Based apps on my old 386.

I have a couple questions:

[*]I have seen that Visio can import AutoCAD files. Have you done this - and if so, how well did things turn out?

[*]Can .DWG files be opened without losing file information?

[*]How do they end up plotted?

[*]Can you do stuff like OLE, VBA / macros, LISP, Xref, and work through Dbase apps via SQL or ODBC?

[*]Can you attach raster images to a drawing or on different layers?

[*]Does Visio work on layers, and if so, does it work well?

I have been wondering this stuff as applied to a newer and very stable / commonly used version of Visio.

Like I said, have used Visio (4.0xx), but found AutoCAD much more "My Speed", so didn't pursue Visio too far.


I love that Program you have! Nice Graphics!!!
Been suggesting it to people who ask me about a Cad type application for "newbees" (people planning to do something with a Cad app in at least 1 month... [Linked Image] .. ).
Have a lot of people watching me work in AutoCAD and they want to "Do The Same Thing".
Products such as the one you used for the images above make it so I can suggest "Usable" versions to these people.

Scott s.e.t.

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

#16809 - 11/18/02 11:58 PM Re: Design Programs  
sparky66wv  Offline
Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 2,236
West Virginia
Another cool feature is that you can create a movie of walking through the dwelling in 3D view, but again, it doesn't convert to MPEG or any other common format.

Neat for $10 in the bargain bin, though!

Come to think of it, the bargain bin is where I buy most of my music! But that's another thread...

[Linked Image]

Residential/Commercial Inspector
5 Star Inspections
Member IAEI

#16810 - 11/19/02 12:11 AM Re: Design Programs  
Nick  Offline
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 599
Riverside, CA
I work with a broadcast design consultant that uses Visio for furniture layouts. I haven’t used it myself (even though I do have the program) but I have worked on files he has exported to AutoCAD format for me. They convert well, but not perfectly. Maybe it’s the way he uses Visio but everything is a block. When you explode the block to try and manipulate it a whole list of attributes appears that you must delete and the block lines explode to polylines. Very annoying. Also, text formatting and fonts are lost. You have to recreate them. In other words, files exported from Visio take some modifying to make them useable for modification in CAD. But it does work. When converting CAD files to Visio, there are a few problems. If the last save of the.dwg file was in paper space, any text outside of the view port will be converted to lines instead of Visio shapes and is un editable. OH, yes it does use layers. All layers show up in the layer manager as white but individual blocks are overridden in different colors. Files I have received that were exported from Microstation were set up the same way. Visio can add comments and Visio shapes to CAD drawings without ever doing a .dwg/.vsd conversion. That’s a +! Plots I have seen looked great. It is a Microsoft Office program so I would think it can do VBA/Macros but I don’t think it makes use of xrefs. LISP routines I will have to do some checking on. Not sure if it is capable. Anyway, I think I will stay with AutoCAD. To many long hours learning how to use it to give up now!

#16811 - 11/19/02 12:34 AM Re: Design Programs  
Jim M  Offline
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 457
Chestertown, MD, USA

I have tried 3D Home, but having used Autocad and others it shows its limitations. Sometimes I will try to move a smoke detector or a ceiling fan, and get an error that says it needs to stay where it was. I also find the dimensions awkaward as they are to the center of the wall.

I just had a customer export a plan from Chief Architect. A lot of the symbols did not import as they where not in Autocad LT. The same for linetypes.

I received a free demo copy of Actrix Technical from Autodesk. It is good for a 45 day trial. I have not had time to try it due to moving.

#16812 - 11/19/02 01:55 AM Re: Design Programs  
sparky66wv  Offline
Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 2,236
West Virginia
Jim, 3D Home Architect 3.0 has the very bugs you mention, but can be worked around. But yes, they are annoying!

I want to try out 4.0 and see if they've fixed the bugs and made the electrical devices and fixtures visible in 3D view...

I figure for my purposes, the dimensions are close enough!

Anyone ever try ModelCAD?

I had an old DOS copy once, but the learning curve was an 89º Incline! Never got past trying to draw a simple line!

Residential/Commercial Inspector
5 Star Inspections
Member IAEI

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