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VikingDinKC 11-26-2012 10:25 PM

Free 3D Design Software

I have almost completed the framing of my basement. Since I have more time than money, I want to complete a 3D layout of the finished basement before I make final designs for electrical, water, etc. I have completed some Google searches and have found 3 different free 3D design software options. I was curious if anyone has used any of these or has another recommendation. I would like to find a software that is flexible in the design but does not have a steep learning curve.

SketchUp from Google

Autodesk Homestyler

mydeco 3D planner

Any feedback is appreciated.


Thunder Chicken 11-26-2012 10:32 PM

Google Sketchup is pretty easy to learn, just tinker with it. There is also an online array of 3D models of furniture, cabinets, etc.. made by the community that you can just import and position in the model. It can also handle lighting, both interior and solar.

I'm unfamiliar with the other two, but I am an engineer and use AutoDesk's AutoCAD occasionally, so I am curious how Homestyler would work.

md2lgyk 11-27-2012 07:09 AM

Unlike Thunder Chicken, I found Sketchup incomprehensible (and I am also an engineer who uses AutoCAD). When my wife was designing our current home, I bought her a program called 3D Home Architect by Broderbund. It was only about $50. She was able to learn it very quickly. That was almost five yeas ago so I don't know if the program is still available.

user1007 11-27-2012 08:09 AM

Of all I have tried for floorplans and quick 3D representations, I like Sweet Home 3D the best. It has a low learning curve, has extensive symbol, furnishing, etc. templates you can download, and will kick out drawings more or less as detailed as you want and can measure. One thing I like is that you can stretch symbols say to show an custom counter with a sink in it. It will snap nice dimension lines if you want them. You can enter dimensions directly by numbers which is nice if you do not have a drawing input device.

Sweet Home 3D is an open source project, works across platforms and is free to use. The community developed symbol sets are too.

Of course none of the floorplan software programs are intended to be used for things like finish cabinetry. You need something in a more complex CAD drafting program if that is where you are headed.

BigJim 11-27-2012 10:12 AM

I have the 3D Home Architect 3 and 8, I like the 3 but the 8 is hard to catch on to.

Thanks for the links to the other 3D programs.

VikingDinKC 11-27-2012 08:07 PM

Thank you for the feedback. Looks like I will be giving Sweet Home 3D and SketchUp from Google a try. After a few weeks, I will try to post my feelings in case it is beneficial to others.

user1007 11-28-2012 06:55 AM

Here is a list of suggestions I kept from another post on this topic. Note that many are commercial products so not just freeware, shareware and open source.

Chief Architect Premium

I have been playing some with DraftSight which is free. I think it might be worthwhile if I ever need a part drawing and have time for the learning curve. Chief Architect Premium looked gorgeous but is more than I generally needed for quick permit drawings and floorplans.

brockmiera 11-29-2012 10:34 AM

I liked homestyler quite a bit. It takes up a bunch of memory to run but the graphics are great. The dimensioning isn't the best but since it's an AutoDesk product I was able to export a .dwg (AutoCAD) file. Then a quick send to my engineering buddy to dimension and plot.

atljar 11-29-2012 11:31 AM

I used the Chief Architect for mine. Easy enough to figure out and worked well.

I didnt have much luck with any of the free software, finally broke down and bought the real thing.

VikingDinKC 12-09-2012 08:51 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Finally had some time to do some playing around. The learning curve for Sweet Home 3D is very low… I had something going within an hour. Here is a video that was pretty helpful.

After playing for a few hours… I think I found my problem… I am not good at designing a basement. Attached is what I have put together. If you have any feedback, it is more than welcome :)

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