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blincoln 03-13-2012 04:37 PM

Design Software

I am looking for a recommendation on software. If this is the incorrect location for this post, I apologize.

I take on various DIY projects at home that can range from something simple like building some shelves, to something more advanced like a deck for my back yard (coming soon).

I am looking for some software that I can use to help draw up some designs for the more elaborate projects. I can find a lot of home reno software, and a lot of landscaping/deck software, but those do not include being able to design a book shelf or something to that effect.

I am hoping to not have to take a second mortgage to purchase the software, but am not opposed to spending money for quality.

Your help is appreciated!

CplDevilDog 03-13-2012 05:36 PM

Check out Google Sketch Up it its free for non-commercial use, has a ton of how to videos on youtube and is pretty easy to use.

I taught myself the basics during a 3-day weekend.

user1007 03-16-2012 03:08 PM

I like Sweet Home 3D better than any other basic floorplan software I have used. It is free, open source, and runs on Windows, Mac and Linux. Many of the full blown CAD programs offer free light versions that might work for your needs. I think even good old AutoCad has a free web version now? Full CAD programs have come down considerably in price but you really should have drawing tablets or other input devices to go with them.

Anyhow, I have not in awhile, but Google something like "Free CAD Programs" or "Free Drafting Programs" if you want to design bookshelves and things with detail beyond what a floorplan program will do.

This is a great site listing commercial and equivalent open source software and there are several CAD programs listed:

See if there is anything that would fit your needs at these sites also:

Please post what you find that works. I would be interested and I am sure others would be as well.

GordCooper 03-17-2012 12:02 AM

Hey blincoln, I'm with DevilDog on this - Google Sketchup is fantastic. Funny enough, I started using it as whiteboxing tool in level design for videogames, and a buddy of mine is a contractor, and he uses it exclusively to design home layouts for clients.

We both use it for vastly different purposes, and it works really well for both. You can import assets from anywhere (for instance, when I was setting up a spaceport level, for reference points, I inserted a bunch of stuff from the 'Alien' film series to add punch to my clientelle, whereas my contractor friend will find textures to match different materials for his own clients), so it's pretty versatile no matter the usage.

Additionally, you'll pick it up, play with it for a night, and have it mastered within a couple weeks. It's strong, it's free, and you can't go wrong in terms of quality for cost. Give it a shot!


DangerMouse 05-10-2012 04:59 PM

zbrush is nice. 20/20 is pretty good freeware too. google and download either for some fun!


user1007 05-13-2012 04:49 AM

I cannot find the post where it was recommended but thanks to whomever suggested DraftSight. I am still on the learning curve but it seems like a great, free, little CAD program!

Also caused me to remember that the CAD software at is pretty user friendly also. Plus they offer the capability to make you parts from it in just about any material you can imagine. Cheap. One of a kind no problem.

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