Just put Autocad 2001 on my computer and have learned that I am too stupid to be able to operate it. Guess I need a book that will get be started. The Autocad for Idiots book is way over my head here. Ya'll have any suggestions on how a slow learning idiot can learn enough to get started. Don't have time for real schooling in this, nor do I have the time (or memory skills) or the trial and error method. Need something aimed at the old man computor handicapped mindset. Thanks!
Autocad may not be for you. What do you need to do? Get a more basic CAD software. You don't buy Autocad...you marry it! Try Autosketch or some other entry-level software. If you're going to marry software, marry "Solidworks"
If what the others said applies to your needs, I totally agree. Find something easier to use if you can and learn from there.
But if you need to have ACAD for some reason, then the first thing you might want to do is find an ACAD newsgroup. There are lots of people here who probably know it, but there are ACAD fanatics in those groups who will jump at the opportunity to answer all your questions and then some.
You probably want to learn how to modify the menu system to simplify things first off IMHO. Too much on the screen to try and juggle and learn it all at once from my experience. I started learning the basics on a "stripped" screen and started adding functions to the MNU files as I found I needed them regularly. That way you can also set up your own "short cuts" to those functions too...
ACAD is about as complex as they come on the consumer user end... Once you think you know it, you realise that you still ave to reference yours or someone else's notes from time to time.
AFIK there is no easy way to learn Autocad. It is an inherently un-simple program, both because of what it does and because of its design. (Last time I looked the macro langauge for Autocad was a version of LISP!) Almost no one really 'learns Autocad' in the way that you learn, say, Excel. Instead most people become familar enough with the features and add-ons they need to do a specific job or jobs and ignore the rest of the program.
While some people have picked it up on their own, the usual way to learn Autocad is to take a couple of courses in it. Even then you're still on the learning curve for a couple of years and you never really stop learning.
It's a professional's tool and learning it is a profession all its own. Correspondingly it is extremely powerful and flexible, but that's not much compensation when you're trying to get a handle on it.
My suggestion would be to get something simpler. None of the simpler ones can really do everything Autocad does, but many of them are at least as good or better in certain areas. Decide what it is you want to do with a CAD program and go looking for one that focuses on those things.
If you just want to learn CAD, I'd suggest starting with one of the low-cost programs like TurboCAD. It will at least get your feet wet and may be all you need.
--RC "Sometimes history doesn't repeat itself. It just yells 'can't you remember anything I've told you?' and lets fly with a club. -- John W. Cambell Jr.
Depends on what you are looking for. Autocad is a cumbersome CAD tool. If you don't understand CAD concepts to start with it will be difficult. I forced myself to learn it using "Learn Autocad14 in 14 days". It starts out pretty basic and builds on itself. I still use Autocad occasionaly, but my preference now is for SolidWorks. BUT it depends on if you need 2D or 3D CAD. For 3D SW is the way to go. For
2D, Autocad is much better(of the two). I support both packages at work as an IT user. I don't use them but understand their quirks and know how to use both effectively.
There are simpler 2D cad packages out there. If you are learning just for personal use, look into TurboCAD or something similar. For a production environment look into the aforementioned packages. I think Alibre is a 3D package for reasonably cheap(I might be wrong).
I've been using TurboCAD (v9 currently) and generally like it although I have not even come close to mastering it. I started using TC a number of years ago when I was working on some 2D architectural stuff and I found that IMSI had a 2D version available as a freebie. I started using it and found it worked well and then a while later I got an email offer from them for the full professional 3D version for $99.00. At that price I certainly couldn't pass on it and so it went. Since that time I've upgraded versions a couple times at about $99 so I'm now at TC v9 professional at a total outlay of perhaps $300 over like 6 years which doesn't seem bad compared to the $750 it seems to be selling for.
I'm currently working on building a small CNC router/drill that I will run with EMC
Just this afternoon I got a call from IMSI (they're a little over zealous with marketing) and I asked about the cost of an upgrade to TurboCADCAM v2.5 which includes TurboCAD v10.5 and was quoted $300 for the upgrade which also seems pretty good compared against the about $900 street price.
TurboCAD also generally comes with some extra stuff on the CD such as Floorplan3D which is a stripped down and optimized CAD that I find is really good for putting together quick visualizations of floor plans (good renders with sun angle and all). In fact on the house I just purchased this past August I took measurements while I was looking at it and had the floor plan fully modeled in FP3D before I even closed on the sale.
If you can get a good intro price offer TurboCAD seems difficult to beat.
email@example.com (GMasterman) wrote in news: firstname.lastname@example.org:
Lot of ney-sayers here about AutoCad. I learned it on my own, without too much difficulty. If you understand mechanical drafting, you should be ok. I will agree, it is advanced and powerful software, and some basic understanding is needed. I preferred the icons as i learned, simply because they were easier for me to remember. Now, if I should happen to be using AutoCad for something (we use Inventor now), I normally will use keyboard shortcuts, because it's just easier for me, and I can open up the workspace by getting rid of the menu bars. Setting it up to make it easier to use is what consumes more time than anything. Some hints, from the option/display/etc menus: Enable polar tracking, and set the angle to 45°. This option allows you to draw a straight line with the mouse at all 8 angles (0,45,90,135,etc). Enable the following snaps: Endpoint, midpoint, intersection, perpendicular, tangent. In mouse options, disable right click 'menu' and enable 'enter' and 'repeat last command' The spacebar acts as an enter key within a command. From the ?View? menu, turn UCS on, and ORIGIN on. Read the command line at the bottom of the screen while within a command, it will tell you what it expects from you, and what your other options are. Options can be chosen with the capital letter shown in the option command. I keep the command line limited to 2 rows. You can always hit F2 to bring up the command line box. The ESC key is your friend, and one you will use often. It gets you out of a command, or cancels a highlight. For ease of viewing, change the background to black, and lines to white. The white background will have you blind in a day. You can always type in what dimensions you wish, say for the start and endpoint of a line, using the format you have chosen. To set your format, click format from the top menu, then 'Units', this lets you choose what format you want for your drawing (0.0000, 0'-0?, etc) [You MUST input dimensions in the unit you have chosen] Open it up, play around with it. You can always use the ?Help? also. There are some tutorials included.
About $4K US, IIRC. The educational edition is < $100, but it expires in 2 years and is crippled in some way or another to make it "unsuitable for commercial use". It at least watermarks the drawings to indicate they were produced by a student version.
What does SolidWorks go for nowadays, how much is the annual maintenance, and will it still work if you drop the annual maintenance?
I remember checking out AutoCad Inventor on their web site and thinking that the 5 or 10% off offer to "first time visitors" might be justification for an impulse buy. After a lot of searching for prices on the AutoCad site it apperared that the cheapest version was around $5500 and maintenance was something like $1200 per year. So much for impulse buys.
Have you looked at Alibre? It's about a fifth the price of Inventor and has been working pretty well for me.
Autocad is about as handy as pockets in your underpants. I suggest that you download a trial copy of DesignCad 3D Max from the net. ( Google for it). It works for a couple of weeks at no cost. That should be long enough to find out if you like it. If you do, send them less than a hundred bucks and they will email you an activation code. Even if you really need Autocad, try it anyway as it will get you started in CAD a hell of a lot quicker than all the books for dummies. It has the option of working in 2D or 3D, it has basic shapes include in the 3D section that you can resize and modify.You draw in real size and scale it when you print it. It can import and export in Autocad and DXF format if you need it to send or receive drawings via email.
It's about the easiest drawing program to learn that I know of.
AutoCad is worth learning if one is going to use it a lot -- and if one can get someone else to buy it. It doesn't provide any basic capability that others like TurboCAD lack, but once learned it is enormously faster and easier to use if one is a facile typist and learns the keyboard commands that are useful to him.
I can do a 2D drawing in AutoCAD faster than I could do it by hand and scan it. That's not a brag; it's just that I've been using it since R12 for DOS so the parts of it I use are as familiar to me as an old pair of pliers. I pretend no mastery of it, but it does what I want to do very quickly and easily, far more so than using a pencil and Vemco. (Young readers, the Vemco was a sliderule era "drafting machine".) Using TurboCAD feels to me like stirring peanut butter. It can get it done, but it is gawd-awful tedious.
I didn't learn ACAD in a evening, but I think one could get cookin' with it in a week of evenings as another poster suggested.
One needn't learn and master every feature. Hands-on practice with one's own project and a good reference is far better than trying to "learn from a book" because you then learn the stuff that enables you to do what you want to do, nevermind the stuff you don't care about. The trouble with books is that they try to be all things to all readers. Some of the Dummies books are good in that they serve as easily-accessed references. Start doing, consult book to discover how to do each operation that you want to do. Facility and familiarity will come after you've done that with a number of projects, just like welding, using a lathe or any skill.
I missed the staff meeting but the minutes show Spehro Pefhany wrote back on Mon, 17 Jan 2005 10:19:14
-0500 in rec.crafts.metalworking :
Arggh! Easy stuff has a short learning curve, hard stuff has a long learning curve. Steep curve good! Steep curve means you grasp concepts quickly! Arrgh!
Personal nitpick but a steep learning curve is a good thing! Visualize a basic XY graph, with amount learned being Y, and time spent learning being X.
A "steep" curve means that the amount of material learned (the y value) goes up very rapidly for the amount of time expended (X). If you spend all week studying something and still don't get it, you have a problem, and a flat learning curve.
Turning on a CNC machine has a steep and "short" learning curve. In terms of Autocad, "how do I get the program to run. Load, and click this button." Done. Mastering everything the program can do is a longer process, and the learning curve is much flatter.
I know, I'm barking up the wrong tree, some things get stuck in the public memory and reality has nothing to do with it. Lets just say I don't have a short learning curve on this. :-)