Originally Posted by phil12489
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.