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Old 04-22-2012, 01:07 AM   #1
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Affordable Software for residential design?


Hey all. Getting close to owning my first home. Due to my budget I will need to be doing some renovations in the near future.

I want to play around with some designs in a software program that will allow me to get a good 3d visual before I commit to anything.

I've used AutoCAD in the past but that is too robust for my needs. I would like something that has the ability to import custom models/textures etc. The best I am coming up with at the moment is Sketchup by google (free version). Shelling out $500 on software isn't exactly in my budget, but i also don't want to throw away $100 on some P.O.S. that uses proprietary formats and such.

Any thoughts would be appreciated
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Old 04-22-2012, 01:38 AM   #2
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Affordable Software for residential design?


You might look at Home Designer Pro. It is about $500.00 but I understand you can find a deal on Amazon. Maybe a little over $400.00.

You have to pay a little to get something decent.

Sketchup free version is a great program, as you mentioned before. Lots can be done with that one.
There is also DraftSite, which is an AutoCAD clone and free. Great program that one.

Andy.
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Old 04-22-2012, 06:08 AM   #3
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Ayuh,.... Google sketch up is free...
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Old 04-22-2012, 05:47 PM   #4
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Affordable Software for residential design?


I don't know if it's still available, or possibly called something else now, but I have used a program called 3D Home Architect by Broderbund Software. My wife actually used it to design the log home we currently live in (and built by ourselves). It was only about $60 or so.
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Old 04-22-2012, 07:18 PM   #5
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Sweet Home 3D is a great floorplan and 3D program. It is open source and free with versions for different platforms. There are numerous free symbols libraries too. You would not want to use it for detailed drawings but it great for exploring and the learning curve seemed lower to me than with other programs.

http://www.sweethome3d.com/index.jsp

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Old 05-09-2012, 11:46 PM   #6
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Im looking for the same thing. I looked into AutoCad but $1500+ is a bit much. I want something that will calculate my drawing so I have a shopping list. Im looking at all the programs but they don't seem to have a great description of what they provide. For example, if I draw a wall will it automatically calc how many studs? or if I want an electrical blueprint will it be able to do that? Is all this leaning toward a $1500 price tag or anyone out there know of a cheaper program?
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Old 05-10-2012, 09:27 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phil12489 View Post
Im looking for the same thing. I looked into AutoCad but $1500+ is a bit much. I want something that will calculate my drawing so I have a shopping list. Im looking at all the programs but they don't seem to have a great description of what they provide. For example, if I draw a wall will it automatically calc how many studs? or if I want an electrical blueprint will it be able to do that? Is all this leaning toward a $1500 price tag or anyone out there know of a cheaper program?
Even a lot of basic programs will compile running take-off lists of what you draw. I doubt you are going to find any of them that will "guestimate" the number and sizes of framing materials, fasteners and so forth you need.

I learned AutoCad years ago because I had a client that built systems to run it. I believe as I mentioned there is a free version.

$1500-2000 for a software package is hard to justify for one time use I suppose but just goes with the territory if your business depends on it. I think if it were me, I would try one of the free or cheap floorplan and basic 3D simulators as a starting point. Then apply the chunk you would have paid for the one time use software to architectural, structural engineer, or building designer fees instead. Ultimately someone like them is probably going to have to modify and sign off on drawings anyhow.

I do remember seeing a review of some package that would take a wall and detail out its framing and it seemed a cool concept I guess.

From my experience, learning curve requirements are higher the more bells and whistles a design program has as well.
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Old 05-10-2012, 09:35 PM   #8
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Yeah makes sense thats what Ill probably do. Thanks
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Old 05-10-2012, 09:43 PM   #9
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There is a great free AtuoCAD like program called DraftSite, it is from the Solid Works people.

Now Chief Architect Premier (the one I use) can create the framing with a few clicks and show it to you in 3D. It is not an engineering program though. Meaning the framing developed by it may or may not be to your code. It will not do structural calcs. for you either.

I have to do all that.

Andy.
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Old 07-07-2012, 11:55 PM   #10
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I ultimately wound up using Sketch-up because of my budget and its pretty damn easy to use. Unfortunately, the previous owners managed to throw out the original blueprints when they purged the house of 2 full size dumpsters and 2 24x12 storage units. Its only a 1250sq ft house with full basement! Now I have to measure EVERYTHING >_<
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Old 07-08-2012, 12:32 AM   #11
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Quote:
Now I have to measure EVERYTHING
That's the easy part.

Good luck to you.

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Old 07-08-2012, 08:17 AM   #12
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! Now I have to measure EVERYTHING >_<
It will go faster than you think especially if you have someone to hold the end of the tape against things for you. And you will end up with accurate AS BUILT not AS DRAWN dimensions.
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Old 07-10-2012, 12:10 PM   #13
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Try this one

http://www.homestyler.com/

its basic and free
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