I'm sure this has been asked many a time....
I'm doing some work for a company that is currently doing their mechanical
dwgs using Microsoft Visio. It's slow, impractical and a *major* PITA to
Most of the drawing are simply showing sheet metal layouts, hole locations
etc. A 2d package would be ok.
Has anyone found a open source or freeware package that is really usable.
I've used & really like SolidWorks but the company is small and
unwilling/unable to spent $100 let alone many thousands!
I've found a couple BRL-Cad and FreeCad - any experience anyone?
On Sun, 6 Mar 2011 12:42:17 +0800, the renowned "Dennis"
Others mentioned the free 2D Dassault program, which I guess is
intended to replace 2D Autocad-like seats. It does do .dxf and .dwg,
but there's a potentially serious catch with the periodic online
There's also Google Sketchup, which has a free version as well as a
$500 version, but not sure how good that is for making dimensioned
drawings (looks like you have to pay $500 to get usable features like
export of .dxf and dimensioning)
"it's the network..." "The Journey is the reward"
firstname.lastname@example.org Info for manufacturers: http://www.trexon.com
On Sun, 06 Mar 2011 11:56:52 -0800, Tim Wescott
If you are going to be in business you have to buy the
tools. It sounds like you need an Autocad clone that will
accept Autocad lisp and VBA add-ins. You don't need the
full 3d version with rendering. See
(90$ US for one seat with several utilities)
You can download a free trial and upgrade later after you
buy if you need too.
also see for free/cheap add-ins
google on <autocad "sheet metal" lisp OR VBA> for 528k hits.
-- Unka George (George McDuffee)
The past is a foreign country;
they do things differently there.
L. P. Hartley (1895-1972), British author.
The Go-Between, Prologue (1953).
I've recently found qcad from RibbonSoft to be the easiest to
use with precision drawing. (I'm running it on OpenBSD, where it is one
of the included packages ready to install.)
I've had difficulties compiling the source on Sun's Solaris 10
for whatever reason.
You can download a demo version for several OS's (including
Windows) from here:
but these will shut down after ten minutes of drawing, and can be used
for a total of 100 hours before they refuse to work at all. (No such
limitation in the one in OpenBSD, FWIW.)
gives the prices (in Euros) for the various versions. I am somewhat
tempted. Buying it now gives a free upgrade from version 2.2 to the
upcoming versio 3.0. And I do find it the easiest to learn to use
properly of all that I have so far tried.
But -- I would be limited to using it on either the Mac Mini or
an Intel-based box running Solaris 10. (The program can be purchased
for Solair 10 x86, but not for the SPARC version, unfortunately.) But
then, the computer in the shop is running Solaris 10 x86, so that should
I'm currently downloading the part library to try with what I
Aside from that -- there is another program (jDraft) which is
free -- runs on multiple systems in Java -- and I've just today
downloaded the most recent upgrade -- but not yet installed and tried
You can download it from:
and will have to request a license key to be able to save drawings. The
key is free -- he just uses it to track how many people get as far as
wanting to use the program after downloading it. You will need java on
your Windows box to run it. But aside from the systems named on the
page -- it also runs on Solaris 10 with no problems -- other than a
minor tweak needed to the file which stats it up. If anyone downloads
it (say one of the linux versions) and needs to run it on Solaris 10,
drop me an e-mail and I'll tell you how. (Fix the e-mail address as
described in my .sig block below.)
Thanks for the reply Don, the Draft Sight option Spehro suggested looks like
a good fit. I found the QCad - the completely free (for now) aspect might
ease the implementation of the Draft Sight option..
There's an open-source version of QCad. They leave out something (I
think it's decent beziers), but what they leave in is fully functional
and nice to use.
Check on Sourceforge to see if there's a Windows install version.
Well, there's OpenCascade:
But you'd have to be, or have on hand, a shit-hot C++ programmer; I looked
into it, and it's basically a huge library of Classes that can do stuff,
but you still have to be a programmer to hook them all together in the right
I used to draw some complex drawings with Visio. Most Data Sheets
of Semiconductor parts are drawn with it - It is very handy. Wife draws
the landscaping in it - even though we bought Pro grade landscaping
It depends on the user and experience level. A guy on 30 year old cad
using DOS can whip anyone - due to skill in the brain overcoming all.
I got a request for a part design delivered in Visio. The company was
doing most of their work in Cadance as did I but Visio was handy and
Maybe they / you don't know how many things are in it - auto-scaling
all sorts of stuff.
On 3/5/2011 10:42 PM, Dennis wrote:
Polytechforum.com is a website by engineers for engineers. It is not affiliated with any of manufacturers or vendors discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.