I primarily deal with TurboCAD and SketchUp, but also discuss, sell and use many other CAD programs and plugins – These can all be found in the menu above, brief overviews of some are included below.
What CAD Software do I need?
If you’re unsure what software you need, please refer to the table below, read the descriptions underneath the table, or call me on 01730 894161.
|Required Capabilities – Just 2D or 2D and 3D ?|
|Just 2D||2D with some 3D||Full 2D & 3D capabilities|
|New to CAD?||AutoCAD Experience?||Engineering||Architectural/
|TurboCAD Deluxe||TurboCAD LTE
or LTE Pro
|TurboCAD Deluxe||TurboCAD Pro Platinum||TurboCAD Pro Platinum and/or SketchUp|
Software Overview – TurboCAD
What is TurboCAD?
TurboCAD is a straightforward CAD system that is relatively easy to learn for anyone with some computer experience. It is a tool to be used to give the user a greater chance of getting the job right. It will not take months to learn and there is lots of free help. TurboCAD will enable the user to create anything from 2D house plans or orthographic projections of machine parts to a full size 3D jet engine. It has the facility to connect objects to spreadsheets and databases, but its strength is in its basic drawing capacity, so it will draw that jet engine, but it won’t simulate it’s flight, or tell you how much it weighs, if you need that, then you’re going to have to spend an awful lot more money. However if you need to design anything from an engineering component, or a chair, right up to planning events at theatres, or national sporting venues, in either 2D or 3D, then TurboCAD is your best choice of software.
Who Uses TurboCAD?
TurboCAD is the biggest selling CAD system in retail in the world. It is the CAD system used by the greatest breath of people simply because it is so versatile. So a short list of regular customers:
- Engineering – Model Engineers, Clock Makers, Locksmiths, Engineering Parts Manufacturers, Musical Instrument Makers, Surgical Instrument Makers,
- Design and Make – Carpenters, Cabinet Makers, Kitchen and Bathroom Designers and Fitters, Interior Designers, Designers of Play Areas, Packaging Design, Designers and Makers of Fencing and Gates,
- Planning – Architects, Surveyors, Urban Planners, Facilities Management, Builders, Landscape and Garden Designers, Electrical Engineers, Heating and Plumbing Contractors
What are the Advantages of TurboCAD?
Just three points:
- Easy and quick to learn
- Complete compatibility and integration with all other CAD software
- Inexpensive with no hidden costs, or yearly licensing
What Version is Best for You?
This mainly comes down to whether you want to work in 2D or 3D and if 3D, then how complicated you designs will be.
If you only want to work in 2D, then buy the latest version of Deluxe and check out my training films on YouTube. You can pay a thousand pounds more for a 2D package, but it will still only save in the same file formats and a rectangle is a rectangle in any package, whatever the cost. I’d also recommend that you buy a training book from this site. No matter how simple, all packages need learning and a training book will save you a lot of time in the long run.
If it’s mainly 2D that you need, but are thinking of moving into 3D or just want to look at how 3D works, then again the latest version of Deluxe will be fine for you. Learning to draw in 3D is a little more complicated for the beginner than 2D, but again there are training films explaining the principles and an excellent training book including training films.
If it’s both 2D and 3D that you want then I’d strongly recommend a Professional Platinum version. As far as 2D there is not a lot of difference between the Pro versions and Deluxe, but Pro Platinum comes into its own with its 3D capabilities, which are far superior to software costing a great deal more. There is a very wide range of 3D tools to create and edit your designs in both solid and surface modes. Your designs can be saved in any of dozens of file formats to export to any type of machinery for manufacturing or to import into other software if necessary and there are many specific tutorials to explain these procedures.
Software Overview – TurboCAD LTE
TurboCAD LTE looks just like AutoCAD LT. The major command lines are the same, although a few sub-commands will vary slightly.
It does everything that AutoCAD LT does, plus is rather more useful in areas such as file compatibility. It opens and saves in thirty file formats and enables you to import Ruby Scripts. It gives you the ability to create schedules, edit via a style manager, create 2D constraints and embed raster images. It has a Bezier Curve tool for more organic shapes, a tool for creating your own hatches and edit existing brush styles. It also has the Drawing Compare plugin from TurboCAD. Finally it has associated Xrefs and a flatten capability for 3D images.
TurboCAD LTE has been developed for CAD people that have been using AutoCAD LT for years and are questioning why they need to pay such a high price for what is these days a simple CAD package, but want a familiar user interface. The interface is editable, so that you can create your own method of selecting tools — whatever suits you, depending upon what you have been used to.
Software Overview – SketchUp Pro
What is SketchUp?
SketchUp is not a CAD system, it can be a compliment to a CAD systems or a stand alone that enables a designer to create in 3D as easily as they would with a pencil in 2D. It is a deceptively simple package to get going with that reveals more really impressive tools the more you use it. Working from 2D architect’s drawings it allows you to ‘relate’ the plan to the elevation and quickly create a 3D model, in this way a typical two or three bedroom bungalow would take you twenty minutes to create. Then you can work with clients and builders to work on your concept in 3D. Everyone involved can clearly see the changes taking shape and because it is accessible to everyone involved in a project, then it ticks all those BIM boxes.
If you need a door in a wall, just pick one out of thousands in the 3D Warehouse, if you want a dog sitting outside, you’ll find any bread you like. In fact I’ve never been unable to not find what I want there. Creating paper presentations is straight forward and it enables you to do this far more easily than any other package that I know.
Who Uses SketchUp?
Anyone involved in architecture, town and urban planning, or any type of interior design.
Because of the open availability of Ruby Scripts, there are many plugins for SketchUp. Inevitably some will be better than others. In terms of photorealistic plugins to turn your images into high resolution ‘photographs’, we stock three, Renditioner, Shaderlight and Artlantis Render and Studio.
Isn’t there a free version?
Yes there is and it is a good version to try out and see whether you like it the general layout and ‘feel’ of SketchUp, however, the Pro version has a lot more to offer. I always regard the free version as a sort of never ending trail version. There are many extra features that the Pro version has that the free one does not. Below is a short film explaining what extra the Pro version has to offer over the free version.
SketchUp licenses are in perpetuity, there is no annual fee and upgrading is your choice. Upgrade pricing is the same from whatever version you are upgrading from.
For more in-depth information on SketchUp and to purchase, please click here.
If you’re still unsure what software you need, please call me on 01730 894161, or email [email protected].