CAD programs

I'm planning to build some scratchbuilt interior parts for Tamiya's Panzer IV and I'd like to use a CAD program. Unfortunately, the CAD
programs I've seen are very complicated. Does anyone know of some easy to use CAD programs?
TIA Yau-Hang
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--
Springfield OH
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On 20 Oct 2003 14:03:44 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com (Yau-Hang) wrote:

CAD IS complicated, at least for such purposes. I've always done mine photoetching masters, custom decals and scratchbuilding plans with a vectorial drawing program named Corel Draw (currentlt marketed in its #11 release). You can find older releases for cheap on Ebay. Other common choices are Adobe Illustrator and Deneba Canvas.
-- Luca Beato - http://members.xoom.it/huey / FAQ del plastimodellismo su http://www.ipmsitaly.com/faq/modelfaq.html
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I've always found Autocad in any of it's versions to be far easier for precision drafting than any draw program (I have Corel Draw 8 and can't draw a thing worth printing with it). Autocad has those nice offset, mirror, trim, extend, polyline and array commands that make repetitive things and editting objects easy. I find Corel to be counterintuitive for drafting and a little too "artsy fartsy" for true drafting, where it comes in handy is converting bitmaps to vector, assigning actual colors (like insignia blue or red which you can't get in Autocad) and printing decals on an ALPS.
What really drives me buggy with Corel is doing fills where there's an area you don't want filled (nested objects like the star inside the circle on US national insiginia). I can get Autocad to do a solid hatch easily enough but I can't get Corel to change the color to what I want nor can I get it to just fill the area between the star and circle. At 1/350 scale there's no way I'm willing to do overlay decals and print each color as a separate decal....not with 486 insignia to place on the airwing.
Ron
Luca Beato wrote:

plans with a vectorial drawing program named Corel Draw (currentlt marketed in its #11 release). You can find older releases for cheap on Ebay.

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For my knowledge Corel Draw has the very same commands for offset, mirror, trim and so on, although sometimes with different names. These programs are aimed at different tasks. Corel is for general graphic drawing, both artistic and technical, oriented to a paper printed result (consider it as the Corel's counterpart to Adobe Illustrator) while Autocad is deeply oriented to technical and engineering drawings that will mainly outcome as plotter plans or even CNC machining. Further, a person's cultural background influences the feeling towards both of them. I studied industrial drawing at the university, but at that age we used pencil, squared paper and erasers, or a drawing table with orthogonal rulers called "tecnigrafo". I started using Dazzle Draw and other fossils running on an Apple //e, then came Ventura Draw under MS-Dos and later Corel Draw 3 under Windows 3.0, mainly for flowcharting and "modelling-oriented" purposes. When I came to CAD I had to forget all this and put a strong effort to understand why a drawing tool had to be instructed through line commands. That was unbelievable to me, since I used a graphic user interface on the Apple, ten years before! ;-) I know there's people who use Autocad even to write a shopping list or a love letter, and maybe nowadays the program has become less "basic user-hostile", but in order to draw a decal or a photoetch fret, believe me, using it is like shooting to flies with a naval gun.

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Have a try with the "cut" "merge" and "intersect" keywords in the help repository. I made a lot of US insignas with this method: Make a star, a circle, then use the star to cut through the blue circle, leaving the star after cutting. You'll obtain a weird ring whose shape is externally a circle and internally a star. Then set the star to 100% Black and put it on a "white objects" layer, set the "weird ring" to blue, and leave it on a "CMYK objects" layer, both objects with the outline thickness set to zero. Finally, on the Alps, print only the "white objects" layer using White spot color, overlay print. Then print only the "CMYK objects" layer as standard print and you have done it. Are they 486 insignas in 1/350 scale? Before printing, select the compound made by the star on the "white objects" layer and the "weird ring" that is on the "CMYK objects" layer, Set its dimensions to the proper size and then press Control-D ("Duplicate"). You'll have cloned both objects placing each clone on its own layer. Position the clones then select the four objects and again press Control-D. Repeat five times and you'll have 65536, not just 486 US insignas ( :-) ) and you still have just to print ONE time the white layer and ONE time the CMYK layer. Hope this helps.
Luca Beato - http://members.xoom.it/huey / FAQ del plastimodellismo su http://www.ipmsitaly.com/faq/modelfaq.html
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Luca Beato wrote:

"Artistic" names....they don't make sense to someone trained in CAD. Plus they're not as precise and you have too much monkey motion to accomplish the goal.

Technical drawing is technical drawing, regardless of output method. When I did CAD work professionally I did test "printer plots" on a laser printer, final output was on a monster sized HP pen plotter. Corel is more art oriented, it's pretty bad for actual drafting with any degree of precision, it does excel at taking line art from a true drafting program and then assigning colors for decals (Autocad will allow you to do the same thing but you don't have near the palette options that Corel does).

I too took pencil based mechanical drawing, my grandpa had taught me the basics anyway when I was all of 9 years old. I still use his drafting set sometimes when I want to whip out something quick and dirty for wood working.

The simple drawing part was a piece of cake to pick up....I started with TurboCad back in '86 and taught myself Autocad at work. AC is easy to learn for 2D work, 3D is a pain. What I really like about AC is the commands have names that make sense....offset, mirror, array.....doesn't get much simpler than that and the prompts for what it wants next in those commands are excellent. Corel sucks at this.

Unless you got into the 3D and Autolisp functions Autocad has always been an easy program. What you have to learn right off the bat is how to configure it to do what you want on a default basis, that's where people often make it harder than it has to be. What takes me a few minutes and a few dozen mouse clicks in Autocad usually takes me a couple of hours and more than a few hundred mouse clicks along with far too many work area eating "rollups or dockers" in Corel. For PE design, Autocad is far easier than Corel and while it's like shooting flies with a 16" battleship gun (in relation ot being overkill), Corel is like trying to layout a perfectly straight regular grid in 3d cube form with overcooked spaghetti (same overkill factor with the added complication of absolutely useless artistic power).

Yep, excess monkey motion involved to get it to do what Autocad does in a few clicks without rollups, dockers and vague command names.

I finally got the Corel to work by importing the star and circle as a single Autocad object with solid hatching in the blue layer and using the "find & replace command"....of course it's no in a sensible place in the help index (you have to lookup "replace" and that's the only place it is, it should also be under "color" and "fill". Of course Corel simply being able to an island fill would be too simple.

Autocad: click array, type R or P for rectangular or polar array, select object(s), type number of rows, type number of columns, type spacing between cells, pick basepoint, done. Perfect duplicates in a perfectly spaced array pattern with all layers done in one set of commands.

A little, but I still say Autocad (or any decent CAD) for drafting and only use Corel to assign colors and print. The only reason I don't print decals from Autocad is the lack of colors, I can't quite get the correct ones for most of my work. If I was doing German WWII markings though, Autocad would be the output software since it does black & white just fine.
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Luca Beato wrote:

    FWIW Remember a couple of things; Autocad is a big $$$ program. Also remember that Autodesk only gives support to users who have bought the program through Auto Desk licensed re-sellers. If you find some one peddling Auto Cad or Auto Cad light at cut prices, they are probably second hand copies.     I bought Auto Cad light from a dealer at a big computer show at the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium. When it would not load I sent the package to the California address on the box and asked them to check it out. I received a very polite e-mail from some sweet young thing in California telling me that Auto Cad light was handled at a different location and she was forwarding the package to them. That's the last I heard from them.     After several weeks with no action I e-mailed the young lady in California. No answers. I never received another communication from Auto Desk. When I finally wrote and asked if they would return the package so I could try to get my money back from the outfit I bought it from, again no answer. I finally faced the fact that I was out a couple of hundred $$ and had no realistic recourse. I don't have the resources to go after an outfit like Auto Desk. Moral, be careful where you buy Auto Desk products.
                                Bill Shuey
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Bill -     One other thing to consider is that Autodesk, AutoCAD's parent company, is in the forefront of battling piracy of its and other's software. While I think they could have offered you *some* explanation on their actions, I'd imagine they were very happy to get your copy off the market.     I bought my own copy of AutoCAD LT97 back in '96. I found it to be very capable and fully compatible with the full-blown version of AutoCAD, release 14. I - and many others - assumed LT was for 'lite' but the product was and is very robust. I've been told it was originally tagged LT for laptop as more users requested a product that was smaller on their hard drives and didn't require 3D capabilities. Any AutoCAD user can tell you of its stiff demands on hard drive space. Its price has commensurately grown since inception. I've used it for just about all my 2D work at home and still e-mail drawings between home and work.     I will side with Ron, however, in that I find it easier and more intuitive than CorelDraw!. Perhaps it's learning similar commands which are named differently, maybe it's the interface, I don't know. I still use a digitizer and menu in AutoCAD as I am not too swift on the dropdowns for the commands. I used CD4 for our chapter newsletter for years and enjoyed it very much. The only reason I don't use it now is that I cannot get it to print on my HP printer after migrating to a newer computer.     Layouts, page control and image handling are very good but I always felt wanting for more AutoCAD-like abilities as far as commands went. There's no one-size-fits-all product for everything but I firmly believe AutoCAD would be easier to use in laying out parts for production or even basic drawing. While the price will be a bit saltier, it's a different animal - but the right one to use.
Frank Kranick IPMS/USA 20352 (and AutoCAD user since 1990)
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I use a product from Autodesk (mfgs of AutoCad) called Autosketch. It is cheap, around a hundred bucks, and an excellent 2D CAD program. I use it a lot when modeling. I make cutting templates that I print on paper, afix to plastic and wood with rubber cement, and cut parts out. I have used it to make 'masks' for the photo-less photo etch.
I do not use it for decals, ordinarily. I have a regular draw/paint program (PSP) that I use for that.
I do a lot of scratch building, and find a decent CAD program invaluable.
--
Don Stauffer in Minnesota
snipped-for-privacy@usfamily.net
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I too have found that Autocad is great for drawing. I find it easier to scale the markings with, I can just draw everything 1/1 scale and plot it out in what ever scale I need (model space/paper space) as for the limited colors, that is the hard part, there isn't much to choose from. Ron, if the decals you where doing wsn't in such a small scale I would just print the red and blue on clear decals and paint a white spot where it should go. On other method is to type in the command "imageattach" in the prompt and bring in a jpeg of the object and the you can scale it to what ever scale you need and it keeps it color. HTH Vince
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