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I am looking for a simple drawing software like "Sketchup" or similar that an old school sash & door guy can learn easily. I don't need to draw the Sistine Chapel (although I would try if asked !) just simple elevations and details. I tried AutoCad but it had so many bells and whistles that it made learning the basics very frustrating. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
For 3d sketchup.
Sketch up has some great tutorials and even I learned to use it. You can use it as 2D or 3D. Price is right also.
Careful when considering Auto Sketch. Great software I ran through version 10, the last available. It is not relly compatible with Win 7 or Win 8. If you still run XP or earlier, it may be an option.
I am using version 9 of Autosketch with win 7 with no problems, Mackbook air with boot camp. Don't know about win 8 or 10 or whatever they are up to now. Microsoft does a great job of rendering expensive software obsolete, in the process of milking their Upgrade cash cow.
I too started with quick CAD. The Autosketch 10 was the answer to Vista and some had success with Win 7, but the work arounds became less predictable and reliable and 8 killed it. I still have a 9 in the box on the shelf just in case AUTO-CAD comes with an upgrade. I think the Draft Sight is a good option and others have verbalized that sentiment as well..
I would also recommend Draftsight for 2D drawings. The free version has all the basic tools required but is a little leaner than AutoCAD which will assist you with the learning curve.
Draftsight will also allow you to view 3D DWG models created elsewhere if someone else sends you a file. It just doesn't have the 3D features for creating 3D models.
For 3D I use Solidworks, but from what you have said I would not suggest it. I have seen Spaceclaim and that looks interesting if you don't want to be bogged down with so many features. I have dabbled with Alibre before and it's a little more stripped down and cheaper.
I strongly suggest IntelliCad. The guy who 'started' AutoCad came up with this one. Almost identical to AutoCad. But at 10% of the price and none of the BS. YOu can easily share drawing with AutoCad or most other big time programs.
If you want something "like sketch up", then use sketch up. It will draw anything you can imagine in about any format you want. It's also free and very easy to learn. Go to youtube and spend a couple of hours watching the tutorials. I used to wonder why guys wasted their time with this goofy free program until I understood it's power and capabilities.
Contact your local tech high school or community college. Both often offer CAD classes at reasonable prices. A 6 week course of one evening a week will give you all the basics that you can build on from there.
These classes tend to be very affordable and well worth the time and investment.
AutoCAD is really not all that difficult to learn. You'll be amazed at what you can do after a single clasee.
Once you learn on AutoCAD (or what ever product they are using in the course) you can switch over to Draftsight free basic edition which is nearly identical in features, looks and operation to AutoCAD LT ........which has more features and capabilities than you are likely to ever need.
I heartily second B.H.Davis' suggestion to take a course in AutoCAD at your local community college or tech school. It made a world of difference to me. I never would have figured out AutoCAD on my own.
Turbocad used to be the go. It did everything that Autocad did except for the engineering calcs. The layering system and user interface was more intuitive as well. Best part it was $100. There is also Autocad Lite.
Turbocad is 100% compatible with Autocad
It will draw anything you can imagine in about any format you want. It's also free and very easy to learn. - See more at: http://www.woodweb.com/cgi-bin/forums/aw.pl?read=780909#sthash.qs77iHJO.dpuf
So you can imagine as a Principal with Zdraft.com and shop drawings as our only focus - I may have stumbled across "one or two " drawing programs.
I'm going to keep this short, but really , you should just commit a little bit of time and get to know AutCad. Bells and whistles aside , its the format you want to know. Its the format that will give you what you are looking for.
If price is an issue, then look at Draftsight ( free version available) or AcceliCAD - but don't waste your time trying to convince yourself that you don't need to do this.