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Cheap software?


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3 years ago in doing the initial designs and floorplans for our home, we used off-the-shelf software called Punch Pro. Easy to use and pretty amazing stuff for less than $100.

You can't rely on it to actually produce plans for submission to AHJ but it does quite a few things.

They're always coming out with new and improved versions that add more design tools and features. I'm sure the versions out now are even more superior to ours of 3 years ago.

There are different grades of it - Punch Pro, Punch Pro Platinum etc. In our area they're readily available at Costco or CompUSA for around $100, maybe a little more if you get the bells and whistles stuff.

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Hi Les,

That's a tough one - mostly because of the fluid nature of software programs. I did a search on JLC and found that most of the articles written are from the 90's, so it wouldn't be smart to rely on those outdated recommendations.

Chief Architect allegedly doesn't require any CAD experience to use, will provide designs in 3D or 2D elevations, will provide cost estimates and full working drawings. It also has something called "Automatic 3-D models" but I have no idea what that is. You can get a free demo CD though by calling 800-482-4433 and their site is at http://www.chiefarchitect.com.

I've noticed many software design advertisers come and go in JLC over the years, but this company has remained and continues to grow. I'd assume that, given the number of improvements that they've added over the years that they must be producing a good product or their software would be in the cheap software bins at the large computer stores.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Originally posted by Les

Does anyone know of a cheap simple design program that I can use to design a small building - barn? Something really simple that would not tax my compooter skills.

My personal experience is that the simple programs that don't tax one's computer skills are inadequate to design a dog house. I experimented with them on my last two construction projects and found it vastly, vastly, vastly easier to just draft the plans myself.

If I were in the business of designing buildings or, heck, even if I had to produce drawings twice a year, I'd learn & use a computer program. Otherwise, they're time wasters.

My advice: dust off a drafting table and sharpen your pencils.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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Hi Les,

I tried this and it worked well and there was a short learning curve. Take the lessons and in a couple hours you can get a pretty good grasp of the program.

A pole barn could probably be drawn in about the same time it takes to learn the program. I liked it for kitchen design where one likes to try a variety of scenarios.

http://sketchup.google.com/

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Originally posted by Jim Katen

My advice: dust off a drafting table and sharpen your pencils.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

Speaking of which,

Is anyone in the northwest interested in purchasing a well-used Dressler drafting table with drafting head?

I bought it in Germany about 20 years ago and had it shipped back. The resilient surface is kind of beat up, because I used to design my grandfather clocks on it and then cut out my templates on it with a razor knife, but it's still one beauty of a table.

If anyone is interested, be advised that it takes a pickup truck and a couple of pretty healthy adults to move this thing. The surface is roughly 5'8" by 3'3" and it's heavy because it has a massive steel stand with foot control and heavy chains and gears and pneumatic cylinders to raise and lower it. There are one or two screws missing from the drafting head, but those shouldn't be hard to find. Original list price - nearly $4,000, including the drafting head which was over $1,000.

I hate to part with it, because I keep hoping that I'll one day be able to get back to my first love - custom woodworking - but I don't have time or the space to use it anymore, and I'd like to see it find a good home with someone who I know will actually put it to good use. Since most folks use computer drafting programs to design their projects these days, the number of persons who will want this baby is probably pretty limited, unless they're an old school type. I'll entertain any reasonable offer.

Sorry about the thread drift, Les.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Drifting.....

I'd never get rid of my Vemco arm & table. For quickie projects, it beats the heck out of AutoCad.

Last time I took my stuff down to the print shop to get blue's, I asked the guy how many folks still bring in drawings? Apparently, I'm the only one.

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