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Good drafting software?


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Suzanne's Forum Posts: 2

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By Suzanne in Salt Lake City, UT on 6/27/2006


My husband and I are a good five years out from building, but are in the planning phase and looking for a good software program to put together our plans. We've drawn them out to scale on graph paper, but need to account for the thickness of walls, etc. and would like to do it on computer. What do you recommend/hate/love, etc.?

Suzanne


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Aaron's Forum Posts: 10

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By Aaron in Normal, IL on 6/27/2006


Suzanne,

I have heard Chief Architect and ArchiCAD are good programs. I just ordered ArchiCAD on eBay for $49.99 (incl S/H). It's the student version 9, but I figure it's better than the $10 program I bought a couple of years ago. I couldn't find a version of Chief Architect under $190 (student version) and I didn't want to spend too much, just in case I have a draftsman do it instead.

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Kolan's Forum Posts: 5

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By Kolan in Somerset, KY on 7/5/2006


Suzanne,

We bought the Chief Architect (Better Homes & Gardens) Designer Pro (about $400). It is great software so far, but I am only six weeks into using it. This is the best home version. However, I am not sure whether true building plans (i.e. construction documents) can be obtained from the software. I think you have to get the full Chief Architect software (about $1,300 unless you get the student version). The 3-D rendering is OK, but not great. We are supposed to be able to apply Sherwin Williams paint to the walls, but the colors are off (e.g. a yellow looks peach) and the roof generation is difficult to get down. I have found that these problems seem to be true of all commercially available software. If you really want to use the software, I am coming to realize they are good for interior design features, the layout, but I have not fully explored this program. I don't see mechanical and plumbing design options.

What I like about this program though is that the design is fully transferable to the main program. So if we decide to use a draftsman or architect, we should be able to send the file. There are thousands of items to place. The electrical is easy.  The landscape is very good. The stair generation is very easy.  I have found that was always a problem in other programs, not so here. 

I have used about two different under-$100 programs. Save your money - they are nothing more than "get your ideas down and lay out walls". Amazon.com has a lot of reviews on the software, and I found much to be accurate. It all depends on what you plan to do with the software. We are trying to do as much as possible before taking to a designer.

Kolan


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Cheryl's Forum Posts: 28

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By Cheryl in Brooksville, FL on 7/6/2006


I downloaded trial software from homeplanpro.com that I used to draw out my floorplan.  You can draw the walls, insert doors and windows, add in the figures for the bathroom and kitchen layout and even add in simple furniture figures. You can also use it to draw the elevations, but I haven't done so. It was free for the first 30 days and then you have purchase it for $39 beyond that. I really wanted a designer to take my floor plan and run with it. I want them to use their creativity and take my floorplan idea to the next level. I still have 15 days left to use the software and don't plan on purchasing it.

I'm pretty good with computers and can easily learn how to use software just by playing with it. It took me about an hour to get used to how everything worked. I haven't used any other software for drawing plans, so I don't have anything to compare it to. This package is somewhat cumbersome to use, but for free, it got me what I wanted.

Attached is the floorplan I drew using the software.

Cheryl


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Justin's Forum Posts: 125
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By Justin in Chandler, AZ on 8/9/2006


We purchased Punch Platinum and love it. We have been playing with it for about three months now and have our floorplan just the way we want it. Now we will design the extra features such as electrical, HVAC, and landscaping. The 3-D drawings are great, and both my wife and I picked up on the functions fairly quickly. Oh, the coolest feature that we haven't really used yet is that you can grow your landscaping to see how it will look in 10 years or more!

The only downside is that it takes a lot of RAM to run the 3-D version. My computer is about four years old; whenever we "walk-through" or "fly-over" the home, it is real slow.

I disagree with the "less than $100" comment. This software cost $89 and will do everything we need and more. When we are finished our architect will only need to transfer our design to blueprints and make it to code.

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Heather's Forum Posts: 5

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By Heather in Ann Arbor, MI on 4/2/2007


Justin,

I'm interested in your experience with Punch Platinum. I just started using an older version. It looks like it has great potential, but there are a couple of things I've found frustrating. Were you able to dimension measurements that are fractions of an inch? Also, after drawing the foundation plan, the first floor plan is supposed to automatically be drawn, but isn't working for me. It shows up on the floor plan, but not in 3-D. Plus my foundation and first-floor plan are not the same. I'd like to make changes to one without affecting the other. Thanks for any help. The Punch help site didn't answer these questions for me.

Heather


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Charles's Forum Posts: 17
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By Charles in Layton, UT on 4/2/2007


I don't know if you have been on the Punch forum, but someone might be able to answer your question there.

forums.punchsoftware.com


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Charles's Forum Posts: 17
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By Charles in Layton, UT on 4/2/2007


Well I have the newest version of Punch Platinum and I tried the issue you are having and I did not get the problem. FYI, you can draw on the floor tab and it will automatically create the foundation as well. If that doesn't work either, then check the Punch! website for a software update. Also, Punch Platinum only allows wall length increments in inches, not fractions.
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Heather's Forum Posts: 5

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By Heather in Ann Arbor, MI on 4/3/2007


Thanks Charles.  I'll stick with it or maybe get an updated version.

Heather

 


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By Heather in Ann Arbor, MI on 4/5/2007


Just in case anyone else is having the problems with Punch that I had, I thought I'd let you know the answer to my problems. First of all, I'm disappointed that I can only dimension to the nearest inch. I'm doing an addition and my existing home is definitely not in even inches. 

Secondly, I have a basement in my home, which you can supposedly create on the Punch software, but it doesn't do a really good job. The "walls" are created as part of the foundation, but are really considered framed first-floor walls on a slab, not block or poured concrete basement walls. This would make it difficult to plan the framed basement within the block walls. Thus, the walls from the foundation creation show up on the "first floor plan", but at the basement elevation. 

Therefore, I need to adjust the elevation for my "second floor plan" on Punch and create my actual first floor here. And adjust the elevation on my "third floor plan" and create my actual second floor here. May be clear to everyone else, but it took some time to wrap my head around this. I had hoped to use Punch for my construction drawings, but I don't know if the detail is really there that I hoped.


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By Amir in Montreal, QC on 4/12/2007


Punch is great. I got the latest full version from Costco for like $60 CDN and I was able to get my ideas put down solidly. It's got a few flaws, but it does the job.

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