Design In 2 D
To be able to draw the structures and equipment we want to build, we need a CAD program. 2D programs seem better suited to documenting the details. 3D seems better for making presentations.
This part of the wiki will discuss 2D.
My tentative conclusion, so far:
Desirable features of a CAD program:
- Runs on an inexpensive computer
- Runs under most operating systems
- Is available for free
- Is open source
- Is able to output in an Autocad format
- Is able to output in a format that most users will easily be able to view
QCad is available in two versions: Version 2.0 is the latest, with the most features. Unfortunately, it costs money. Since we want a free version, we will concentrate on the 1.5 version. (If you are working on a commercial project, where the cost can be written off on taxes, 2.0 is so inexpensive ($28 USA), you may want to consider purchasing it.) The other version is 1.5, which is free, so we will concentrate on it. Catch - 22 - if you are using Mac OS X, you have to go to 2.0.
QCad is available two ways. You can download it over the Web, or you can buy a CD from eBay (yes, the eBay CD costs money, but the program is free for download, so I assume I am free to pass along either one to anyone). I have used both and they each seem to be workable. If you buy the eBay version, it comes with both versions, but the 2.0 version is only a trial version. So be sure to use the 1.5 version. It will run from the CD, if you do not want to install it. I assume it can be installed to run from your harddrive, like a normal program. I will be testing this later.
QCad appears to be difficult to learn, as SolaRoofGuy has said Autocad is. It comes with a manual, but one that was written by the programmer. If we go with Q Cad, I will attempt to write a manual that eases you into using CAD. - Bobby