Free AutoCAD clone for plans in dxf and dwg files

Instrument plans that are available on the internet free of charge. Please add any that you find here.

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GizmoWiz
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Free AutoCAD clone for plans in dxf and dwg files

Post by GizmoWiz » Tue Jun 21, 2011 7:31 am

Hello everyone

If you have plans in a .dxf or .dwg format, Dassault provide a free AutoCAD clone called DraftSight.
If you have used AutoCAD the interface will be very familiar.

You can download it from:
http://www.3ds.com/products/draftsight/ ... raftsight/

It will open and save .dwg, .dxf and .dwt in formats from R2010 back to R12.
The only hiccup I have had with it is printing white lines.
White lines are shown as black in the print layout, but you have to edit the print style to print white lines as black.
Fast is fine, but accuracy is everything. - Wyatt Earp
http://www.cutsetter.com.au

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Lillian
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Re: Free AutoCAD clone for plans in dxf and dwg files

Post by Lillian » Tue Jun 21, 2011 12:49 pm

Thanks for the link Gizmo. I've been looking for a drawing package that I could use without pulling my hair out. This is the best of the bunch of the four that I have downloaded or bought, to include TurboCad. They all just frustrated me. I use CAD all day long and it has been painful for me to relearn commands for those other programs just so I could do things at home. It looks different, but it uses the same command line commands which solves the majority of my problems. Thanks!

Let me welcome you to a great place. The people of friendly and a blast to hang out with. We tend to be on a first name basis here though. So tell us about yourself and if you don't mind, would you add your given name to your signature. Real names make it easier to relate to each other a people. It goes a long way to keeping this place civilized.

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Re: Free AutoCAD clone for plans in dxf and dwg files

Post by GizmoWiz » Wed Jun 22, 2011 7:26 am

Thanks for the welcome Lillian

DraftSight is great for the way I do things. I have spent years drawing in AC and DraftSight is close enough. I have found most free software is worth what you pay for it but this is one of the exceptions. The easy way around the printing issue is simply not to use white for a layer. Currently I'm redrawing a vectorised scan of a ukulele plan so I can CNC a template.

I worked for a gold leaf picture frame maker for about twenty years. Curiously the advent of digital technology meant we could do more hand finished work by automating tedious processes, and we could reproduce frames for art museums more accurately.
I was always interested in musical instruments but was better at fixing them than playing them. I have overhauled pianos, pianolas, a reed organ, accordions and repaired various woodwinds. The only stringophone I completed from start to finish was an Irish style harp in Silky Oak with copper leaf gilded carving, about 15 years ago now.

When I moved here I found a community big band that had a different bass player each time I saw them. I joined up and have been on the learning curve in Jazz bands ever since. I play a Mexican Fender Jazz Bass set up to sound a bit more like a double bass. If I ever get the time I would like to try building an electric semi-acoustic upright.

Nik (that's not a typo, my parents couldn't afford the extra letter)
Fast is fine, but accuracy is everything. - Wyatt Earp
http://www.cutsetter.com.au

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Lillian
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Re: Free AutoCAD clone for plans in dxf and dwg files

Post by Lillian » Wed Jun 22, 2011 12:09 pm

Nik, well you'll find lots of threads on ukes. There is a budding electric niche. We have a double bass builder amongst us. Lots of stuff to read and look at.

We a chatty bunch who love to see pictures of what you are working on. Threads do take a turn into the cheap seats on occasions, but no harm is meant.

Looking forward to seeing your repairs and your builds.

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morgan
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Re: Free AutoCAD clone for plans in dxf and dwg files

Post by morgan » Fri Jun 24, 2011 10:37 am

Although it's intended primarily as a 3d modelling package, I have found Google SketchUp to be a great tool with a much smaller learning curve than a lot of the classic 2d and 3d modelling tools. Its intuitive approach to modelling got me up and running quickly and it is perfectly capable of doing accurately dimensioned models. There are a bunch of good tutorial videos available free from Google to get you started with it.

The free version is slightly limited out of the box, but because it is easy to extend there is a vibrant community around it who have produced heaps of incredibly useful plugins, including the addition of DXF/DWG file format support. (The paid version has this by default, but most of the missing functionality in the free version can be replaced by free plugins). I have also seen many lutherie-specific plugins such as fretboard designers etc. And being a programmer I love the fact that I can trivially write my own extensions to it do do whatever I want.

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Gizmo
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Re: Free AutoCAD clone for plans in dxf and dwg files

Post by Gizmo » Fri Jun 24, 2011 12:15 pm

Very interesting morgan

I will have to have another look at SketchUp. I tried it out some time ago now, but personally I didn't find it that intuitive as I was using other 3D programs where I worked at the time.
To be fair I didn't spend much time trying to learn it because of the limited import/export options, I didn't know you could use plugins to do things like that.

Nik
Fast is fine, but accuracy is everything. - Wyatt Earp
http://www.cutsetter.com.au

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Lillian
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Re: Free AutoCAD clone for plans in dxf and dwg files

Post by Lillian » Fri Jun 24, 2011 1:02 pm

I'm with Nik on this one. Sketchup was one of the first ones that I downloaded. I played with it for a while, but it clashed with my AutoCad instincts too much for me to want to use it. DraftSight has managed to build an AutoCad Lite package without the AutoCad price. It would mind paying what I paid for TurboCad for it, I like it that much.

I spend my days using AutoCad. Trying to use another program would be like bouncing back and forth between left and right hand cars.

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kiwigeo
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Re: Free AutoCAD clone for plans in dxf and dwg files

Post by kiwigeo » Fri Jun 24, 2011 11:52 pm

Lillian wrote:Nik, well you'll find lots of threads on ukes. There is a budding electric niche. We have a double bass builder amongst us. Lots of stuff to read and look at.

We a chatty bunch who love to see pictures of what you are working on. Threads do take a turn into the cheap seats on occasions, but no harm is meant.

Looking forward to seeing your repairs and your builds.
And we have Lillian :D
Martin

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Lillian
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Re: Free AutoCAD clone for plans in dxf and dwg files

Post by Lillian » Sat Jun 25, 2011 3:01 pm

kiwigeo wrote: And we have Lillian :D
What? Taken a left through the cheap seats?
Hell, that's half the fun of this place, never knowing what will pop up with the next post.

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morgan
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Re: Free AutoCAD clone for plans in dxf and dwg files

Post by morgan » Sun Jun 26, 2011 8:27 pm

Lillian wrote:I spend my days using AutoCad. Trying to use another program would be like bouncing back and forth between left and right hand cars.
Well I can see how it would make no sense to have to unlearn skills you spent years building up. In my case, I have no AutoCAD skills and I have never taken the time to climb it's steep learning curve, but I found SketchUp to be fairly quick to learn and intuitive in its approach to modeling. Granted it's a toy (albeit a fun one!) compared to AutoCAD, but I've still managed to wrangle some interesting things out of it.

I'm sure once I start craving things like proper surface modeling or CAM support I'll be looking to other software but for the fiddling I did it was pretty good and I'd still recommend it over AutoCAD for a beginner with no experience in either package, irrespective of cost. And it's worth mentioning (again) to the geeks on the forum that it's scriptable and extendable in Ruby (a very nice language).

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Kim
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Re: Free AutoCAD clone for plans in dxf and dwg files

Post by Kim » Tue Jun 28, 2011 4:03 pm

morgan wrote:And it's worth mentioning (again) to the geeks on the forum that it's scriptable and extendable in Ruby (a very nice language).
I once had a girlfriend who spoke fluent Ruby as that was her name.....as I recall the language was not 'always' nice at all, and depending upon altitude of delivery, that was either a good or bad thing :wink:

Thanks for the link Nik and welcome to the ANZLF 8)

Cheers

Kim

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Dave Higham
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Re: Free AutoCAD clone for plans in dxf and dwg files

Post by Dave Higham » Wed Aug 03, 2011 3:26 am

I used Autocad professionally for a number of years before we switched to ProEngineer. I'm now retired and use progeCAD Smart which is an Autocad clone and completely free. The only disadvantage I've found is that when you print a plan it automatically prints:

"progeCAD 2009 Smart - Personal Use Only - Business use is Illegal"

at the top and bottom of each page.

The smart version doesn't have some of the advanced features of the professional version but even the professional version isn't very expensive.

Here's a link to a site you can download from with a list of what's included. I found that the icones are very similar to Autocad's and they are even in the same place on the screen.

http://www.caddit.net/progecad/smart.php

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Re: Free AutoCAD clone for plans in dxf and dwg files

Post by charangohabsburg » Wed Aug 03, 2011 6:48 am

Thank you all for these links to free CAD clones. Now I have to try out all of them before making a decision which one to use... :lol:

Dave, could one or several of those pro-features be useful for making instrument plans or are these features only "exotic" things for "more technical" uses and/or display and animation options? The full compatibility to autoCAD claimed by Caddit is very tempting.
Markus

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It's only the others who suffer.

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Re: Free AutoCAD clone for plans in dxf and dwg files

Post by charangohabsburg » Wed Aug 03, 2011 7:08 am

charangohabsburg wrote:Dave, could one or several of those pro-features be useful for making instrument plans [...]
= Something you ever missed a bit?
Markus

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It's only the others who suffer.

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Dave Higham
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Re: Free AutoCAD clone for plans in dxf and dwg files

Post by Dave Higham » Wed Aug 03, 2011 7:53 am

Hi Markus,
Although I used Autocad professionally I only used it as a 2-dimensional drawing tool in mechanical engineering. It was only when we moved onto ProEngineer that we started 3D modelling. I use projeCAD for 2D drawings for my instruments and I haven't found anything that I need and that it can't do for the moment. I haven't taken the time to explore what it can and can't do.

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charangohabsburg
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Re: Free AutoCAD clone for plans in dxf and dwg files

Post by charangohabsburg » Wed Aug 03, 2011 8:05 am

Thank you Dave. So I think there is really not much to think about it and I'll give it a try. I still want to do the "3-D - modelling" exclusively in wood and in 1:1 scale. ;)
I have used CAD for a very short time (1-2 years) 20 years back. I'm sure I have forgotten everything about using it, not to mention all the new things these programs feature now.
Markus

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It's only the others who suffer.

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charangohabsburg
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Re: Free AutoCAD clone for plans in dxf and dwg files

Post by charangohabsburg » Tue Apr 17, 2012 1:00 am

charangohabsburg wrote:Thank you Dave. So I think there is really not much to think about it and I'll give it a try.
Well, finally.

Before Nik has posted the link to DraftSight I had made several attempts of using several free autoCAD-clones, but even the simplest ones mainly managed to paralyze my computer by clogging its memory. Most of these clones only let you see dwg files, but not print out or export an image, leave alone modify an existing or create a new drawing. This was the reason why I still was somewhat reluctant to even download yet another free CAD program.

But DraftSight is a different kind of animal. Wow! Even on my steam powered PC it is fast. And its handling is much more intuitive than I thought it was. :cl

Maybe it seems to be a bit awkward what I am trying to do with a CAD design program:
I don't want to do technically perfect drawings as you would do for designing an engine with all its symmetries, perfectly defined angles, radii and dimensions etc. But I want to make drawings of existing instruments (more or less old), representing not only its technically correct dimensions but also all its inaccuracies as precisely as possible. Maybe there are better suited design programs to accomplish these tasks, but so far DraftSight is the one that got me the farthest, and this on only one Sunday afternoon, from downloading the program to create what you see here (a scanned pencil drawing inverted with Photoshop from black/white to "white/black" and inserted as reference image, and then drawing a spline curve for the body outline plus some straight lines for the fretboard:
screenshot2a.jpg
screenshot2a.jpg (85.79 KiB) Viewed 10159 times
Just one question to you experts on autoCAD and/or Draftsight: is there a possibility to insert new vertices to a finished spline curve? I would find this useful because normally it costs less effort to obtain smooth and reasonably well fitting curves using only relatively few vertices (maybe about 20 for a guitar shape), but adjusting the irregularities of a hand designed and crafted instrument requires more vertices, and I found out that I only recognise the oddness of the created spline curve once I look at it without the background with the pencil drawing. If I use "more than enough" vertices which I then can move around, this will be about 80 to 100 vertices which at the first attempt will result an relatively uneven spline curve even if all the vertices are placed within the pencil line. I also tried out the "poly line" tool which lets me add a vertex and which I can convert into a spline curve (and back to a "poly line"), but this is even more awkward because the vertices will lie outside the actual spline curve and adjusting it gets even more difficult. This is why adding spline vertices would be a really great feature for me, but maybe I am asking for something too odd of a tool intended to accomplish engineering tasks, not "archaeology stuff". :roll:
Markus

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It's only the others who suffer.

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Lillian
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Re: Free AutoCAD clone for plans in dxf and dwg files

Post by Lillian » Tue Apr 17, 2012 1:54 am

Markus, I just downloaded it, so give me a few days to play with it and I'll see what I can come up with.

Thanks for the link Dave.

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Re: Free AutoCAD clone for plans in dxf and dwg files

Post by charangohabsburg » Tue Apr 17, 2012 10:25 am

Lillian wrote:Markus, I just downloaded it, so give me a few days to play with it and I'll see what I can come up with.
Thanks Lillian. Your input will be highly appreciated. :D
Markus

To be stupid is like to be dead. Oneself will not be aware of it.
It's only the others who suffer.

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