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I'm looking for a economical CAD program that I could run on Windows 7, my processor is @ 2.4 GHZ & 32 bit. I would be using this basically as a toy. My first challenge would be to design and build a new entertainment center. I know very lilt about CAD programs. Does anyone have a suggestions of a program that would be good to look at? Thanks.

Eric
 

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Eric, I'd highly recommend Sketchup. It's free! Check out some of the threads on the Sketchup Help Forum. There is a bit of a learning curve with it (as with all CAD type programs), but there are literally hundreds of video and other tutorials available to help.

I was frustrated with it (no CAD experience at all) for a long time until I got a hold of some tutorials. Now, I draw up most things I build so I can play with dimensions and different design elements.

Here's a link to the download page. http://www.sketchup.com/download/all

You would probably want SketchUp 8.
 

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If cheap (nothing is ever free, Google tracks your every move through Sketch up) and a long steep learning curve is what you want, go with sketch up. A bunch of people use the program so you'll find a ton of information for it all over the place including right here in the Sketch Up section of the forum.

If you have a few dollars to spend then give Turbo Cad a try.

http://www.turbocad.com/TurboCAD/TurboCADWindows/tabid/555/Default.aspx

There is a TurboCAD version for as little as $130.00. It also has a bazillion tutorials on line at their site and at U Tube.


Now if you have a pile of money to spend, well there are always programs like SolidWorks (3D only) and AutoCAD (2D and 3D in one package). However, your looking at a few thousand dollars for those. Last I knew a brand new copy of either of those was around $5,000. IMO those two are the top of the line as far as CAD programs go.
 

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I'm looking for a economical CAD program that I could run on Windows 7, my processor is @ 2.4 GHZ & 32 bit. I would be using this basically as a toy. My first challenge would be to design and build a new entertainment center. I know very lilt about CAD programs. Does anyone have a suggestions of a program that would be good to look at? Thanks.

Eric
Eric,

I would also have to say Sketchup. They used to be owned by and was developed by Google as part of the Google Earth project, but now Trimble owns them. I have Sketchup and I also have TurboCAD. I found that, once you understand a few principles in Sketchup, it's easier to use than TurboCAD. There is, indeed, a Sketchup section on this forum that can help. Also, I have a great many links to other sites, blogs, tutorials, etc. that I would be glad to share with you.

When I was first starting to use Sketchup, I decided that I was going to have a particular project and learn all I would need to know to accomplish that one project. That is how I tasked myself to learn it. Now, I did have CAD experience prior to learning Sketchup but I also had CAD experience prior to learning TurboCAD. My opinion, Sketchup is way easier to learn. But, do not be thinking that it's just eazy-peazey, you have to work everyday in whatever flavor you should choose. You cannot work a couple of hours here and another couple there. You will lessen your chances of getting to that first "learning" plateau by a great deal if you work that way. Once you "get" it, you can work in it only when needed, but until you "get" it you have to stay at it everyday. Once you learn a "FREE" version of a CAD package (of which Sketchup is only one), you could, if you feel it's inadequate for your needs, move to other packages out there. You mainly need to get your feet wet and start to understand about spatial things, modeling, and translation concepts. Then you begin to get the process that is within all CAD. The buttons may and will differ and how some tools work over other package's tools work but the concepts are all the same within any of the packages.

BTW, my first sketchup project, the one I taught myself sketchup with, is in my photos under sketchup. Just take a look at that. I and others here on the forum, would be glad to help you with whatever CAD you choose.

I hope this helps,

Paul
 

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I have TurboCad and find it a powerful program, but steep learning curve - particularly in 3d mode. I attended a Sketchup demo at a Woodworks Society meeting awhile back and it looked a lot easier to grasp for a beginner.

For me, since I already have TurboCad, and have climbed a way up that learning hill, I'll stick with it. Plus, it does some other things that I use (plot plans for one).

The one thing I've learned from TurboCad, that I'd guess applies to Sketchup, is that you have to keep using the program to keep your skills up and progress. For me, that means I draw up almost every project on TurboCad before I start cutting, just to keep in practice.
 
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