Ask a question…

Have a question?… ask the AppleCAD Team

AppleCAD do not sell software and act only as an advisory service, drawing on many years of CAD software and design industry experience.

93 thoughts on “Ask a question…

  1. Larry Taibbi

    I have a need to draw up concept sketches for new sporting goods products. The drawings must have an industrial design style to them. The concept drawings will be used to show ideas to patent attorneys and to companies that may have an interest in producing the products. I have old world skill in doing this by hand using pencil, paper, felt tip brushes. My concept designs should show simple but accurate flat renderings with simple dimensions added to them together with a 3D-like orthogonal artist rendering in color(s). The application of choice should also allow for exporting my concept drawings into other industry standard formats for use by “real” professional artists and product designers/engineers. My personal computing platform is a 5-year old Macbook Pro laptop (intel core). I was thinking of buying Sketchup-for-mac. Would you advise this to be a good choice for this type of work?
    Thanks for any help in this matter.
    Regards,
    Larry Taibbi
    LTaibbi@gmail.com

    Reply
    1. applecadmin Post author

      Hi Larry, SketchUp Pro would be a good choice for all aspects of what you have outlined except for being able to export the model to real engineers to use with real CAD/CAM software or product design software. SketchUp is an excellent conceptual modeler and can generate great 3D views and cutaways and simple dimensions and illustration styles but curves and arcs and circles are not actually as they seem and are only a series of line segments which when exported to other CAD software fall short of being very useful. Most times the objects need to be re modeled in a high end CAD program such as IronCAD or SolidEdge etc. The is also done because these advanced products actually create parametric objects that know and understand their relationships with each other. SketchUP may still be ok for your needs but Form-Z or its baby brother Bonzai (now call Form-z junior) will give you a more solid approach.

      Reply
  2. Lindsey

    Hi, I’m an Interior Designer in need of a basic CAD program / app. I currently have a MacBook Pro but plan on getting an IPad in the near future and would like things to be interchangeable. Could you recommend a CAD program for mostly 2D drafting that can also make PDF’s? I’m looking for something free or low cost at this point. – Thanks.

    Reply
    1. applecadmin Post author

      At this stage there are no interior design programs for both Mac and iPAD however RealCADD (two D’s) has general drafting for both and both are very cheap. The iPAD app is very good, but drafting on an iPAD is challenging.

      Reply
  3. Hans Sorensen

    i’m a beginner on CADS program, I need to find a program for mechanical aircarft design, would you be able to recommend, Apple CAD. Thanks

    Reply
    1. applecadmin Post author

      Hans, for aircraft design I would have thought you would want to be using a sophisticated 3D modeler in order to get your lofting for wings and fuselage etc? Is this for model making or engine fitting or what exactly? A little more detail may be helpful in helping us understand to what detail you will be designing.

      Reply
  4. Dale Jones

    What do you recommend for creating and modifying one line electrical diagrams? I would like to have a native OS X application and I am not experienced with any CAD program. These diagrams would be created once in awhile, so also don’t want to invest heavily in this.
    Thanks!

    Reply
  5. L. Spence

    I am a homeowner seeking software that I can use to design and scale showing all dimensions of various items such as media cabinets etc. to aid me in their construction . I am a novice at best so , something basic and simple yet able to do a bit more as I learn .Can you advise me ?

    Reply
  6. Barney

    I create 2D floor plans with electrical circuits for fire alarms. I need a CAD program that will import dog files. I have OS 10.9.5 and will probably upgrade to Yosemite when the bugs are cured. I have been using Vectorworks 2011 but to upgrade it it is out of my budget. I would appreciate any suggestion. I looked at Cadintosh8 but it has no import features.
    Thank you.

    Reply
    1. applecadmin Post author

      Hi Barney,
      could you advise what software is producing the ‘dog’ files? Or did you mean dwg files?
      What is your budget?

      Reply
  7. Chad

    Hello! I have read through A lot of the information on this website…good stuff, but it has given me a lot to think about.

    I have an idea for a new mechanism for a firearm. This will require 3d cad to model several parts that move during operation. I do not yet have a patent and would like to do the modeling myself but have exactly zero experience with cad (physician by trade).

    Given that cad for Mac seems to be in its infancy, would you recommend partitioning my MacBook pro HD to run windows with a windows cad (not virtual), or use one of the Mac based programs mentioned on this website? As cost is a factor, I was thinking of FormZ if I go the Mac route.

    Would appreciate your opinion. Thanks,

    Chad

    Reply
    1. applecadmin Post author

      Chad, In all honesty, learning any CAD software to produce a single product may be a little overkill. ‘Would liken it to learning to drive a Mac truck in order to take out a load of trash! 🙂
      If you do choose to go for a CAD product on the Mac you may get away with SketchUp as this is pretty easy to learn. Download and try the free version first. Form-Z is more powerful but requires a lot more learning. You could also look at the new BricsCAD for Mac too. For a one-off job we wouldn’t use Windows and a higher end CAD software… don’t think it would be worth it.

      Reply
  8. Chad

    Thank you so much for the response…I believe I will take your advice, at least for now, and try a different route. Thanks again,

    Chad

    Reply
  9. QUIJOTE

    What is the best ECAD software on the Mac platform for electronic schematic capture, printed circuit board (PCB) layout and SPICE circuit simulation?

    I am currently using Eagle and LTSpice but am open to suggestions….

    Thx

    Reply
    1. applecadmin Post author

      Quijote, Unfortunately none of our team are expert in the field of electronic/schematics and PCB’s etc. As a result we can’t accurately recommend any product to purchase. Should we receive more requests of this nature we will seek to engage the services of an expert in the area. Thank you though for visiting and for your inquiry. Please let us know what you are able to discover as we could use this for others in the future.

      Reply
  10. Mick Buckley

    Hi guys, thanks for all the good info on this site. A quick question if I may? I’ve been using a 2D program called AutoSketch for many years but then AutoDesk stopped further development of that particular product. I used it on a PC for renovation plans and also for woodwork design. Which of the 2D products available for iMac would be similar and in a similar price range?

    Reply
    1. applecadmin Post author

      Hi Mick… mmmmm good question. Autosketch doesn’t really have anything very similar as such so you may ahve to undertake a bit of re-learning, not too much though. If you need it now then look at the section on 2D software. if you can wait a while RealCAD for Mac which is not yet released will be the closest to what you are used to (only more functions)

      Reply
  11. eric-jan

    why is blender not in the software list
    it is used by many whit at 3d printer
    its free to
    I’m a bit spoiled using vellum Graphite its hard for me
    to get a hang of Blender

    nice site is this i like the uncluttered layout

    Reply
    1. applecadmin Post author

      Eric-jan, we include only professional level CAD software. Blender is not in the list as it is not that and falls short of most commercial applications requiring dimensionally accurate models and drawings. Blender allows character modeling, animation, rendering, post-production etc for real-time interactive 3D and game creation but is notoriously complex.

      Reply
  12. Ed Marks

    I need a program to draw both a landscape plan (paths, materials, plants, arbors, elevations etc.) and a building partly buried in the earth on a 15 degree slope and 8′ retaining walls with relevant cross sections & rebar schedule for zoning & building permits. I will need to print out copies to hand off to contractors for bids. I learned the student version of Archicad and became passable with that but it is no longer available to me and the professional version is just too expensive. What would you suggest?

    Reply
    1. applecadmin Post author

      Hi Ed, Similar to ArchiCAD only less expensive but still 3D is Home Designer Pro
      This will probably be your best choice but remember, learning is CAD software for a single task is a major undertaking and not to be taken lightly.

      Reply
  13. Ed Marks

    Home Design Pro looks like and excellent program and I would buy it except it does not support printing out to the standard 24″ x 36″ blueprint size. Is there any way around this?

    Reply
    1. applecadmin Post author

      Hi Ed, You could upgrade to the full Chief Architect version or simply export your drawing view or your entire Layout to DXF file and import into a simple 2D drafting software, scale it and print. there appear to be some who like this option because they get best of Home Designer for the design process and the best 2D drafting by using a dedicated 2D CAD software.

      Reply
      1. Ed Marks

        Which simple 2D drafting software would you suggest? HomeDesignPro looks super simple and user friendly.
        If I was to design some furniture pieces as well, would you steer me towards a different program like BricsCadv15? It is about the same price ($650), will do dwg & dxf in standard paper sizes and has what looks to be some powerful tools. I am concerned about the support (no phone number), the learning curve and maybe you have some other concerns?
        What do you think?

        Reply
        1. applecadmin Post author

          Ed, Home Designer Pro is not 2D. It is 3D generated whilst drawing in 2D. It is NOT software you can use to design specific furniture pieces however. It is best for designing homes and placing furniture from its library into the design. It does have good kitchen and bathroom cabinet modeling however. Custom/bespoke furniture is best done using generic 3D modelling software such as SketchUp or Form-Z JR. or BricsCAD Pro. You can get good support for most software when you purchase from the right company. It usually costs you more than buying the software from a box mover web site but well worth the investment. In what country are you located?

          Reply
  14. Ed

    I am located in the United States of America. You had suggested exporting a dxf file from Home Design Pro to a 2D drafting software where I could scale it and print. Which 2D drafting software would you suggest?

    Reply
  15. Robert Farrar

    We are in need of a CAD program to assist us in our remodeling business. We will be doing kitchen and bathroom layouts, as well as interior remodeling such as moving walls etc. We would also like to be able to give a presentation with a 3d component to our clients. Any input would be appreciated.

    Thank you
    Robert

    Reply
  16. Steve Minnick

    Suggestions on basic video camera corporate shoots with basic lightng diagrams. Which CAD program would you suggest and does it have a lighting template with fixtures, stands etc ?

    Reply
    1. applecadmin Post author

      Hi Steve, VectorWorks has an entire lighting module that may be suitable for your needs, otherwise any of the CAD tools will be able to be customized with symbols for lighting units

      Reply
  17. Henrik

    Hi,
    I would be most happy, should you be able to tell me if any (and which) of the CAD programs for Mac are able to export files as i.e. a STEP file or an .ipt file? The program will be used for i.e. the fabrication of both table tops and desk frames (all done by CNC).

    Reply
    1. applecadmin Post author

      Hi Henrick. OK, any of the professional 3D modelers should work for you as STEP files are the most common format for exporting 3D solids data. The bigger question would be what software to use for speed of design. If you shapes are mechanical in nature then an MCAD software solution would be best. If you designs are extremely organic then a complex surface modeler like Rhino3D will be better.

      Reply
  18. Henrik

    Thank you very much for your answer. I One of the key factors will be to find out which of the programs will be more intuitive to use, and ofcourse (but sadly) the price as well. But as the design won’t be so much mechanical as organic then Rhino is so far the winner. Have a nice weekend.

    Reply
  19. Rob

    Hi,

    I’m in need of a 3D CAD program to create commercial products, some of which will then be taken into keyshot to be rendered.

    I’m unsure whether to go for Rhino or Maya. Maybe there is an alternative which I haven’t considered?

    I also considered Solidworks and downloading windows on my macbook?

    what do you recommend?

    Thanks.

    Reply
    1. applecadmin Post author

      Really sorry but you will need to use Windows on your Mac and then install the right software (which in this case is probably IronCAD) for the desired results you are looking to achieve. IronCAD also have Keyshot as a plugin for less cost than the stand alone software. IronCAD is a step up from Solid Works and is much more fluid to design with as well as being faster to use and easier to learn. You may also be able to get it at a good price if you shop around. We found best solution price in English at http://www.cad.com.au but it may depend on where you are located.

      Reply
  20. Richard

    There’s a program that I purchased years and years ago called Generic CADD For Mac by Autodesk.
    It was a 2D program and was so easy to use. I’ve never found another that was so quick to learn,
    or had the same basic “controls” over drawing. I still use it occasionally when I want to turn out something quick. (old Mac G5 7100/80 running OS X, running OS 9 Classic) So has anyone come across a Cadd app similar to Generic Cadd?

    Also, I have a mold shop and more and more I get STEP files. But I’ve noticed I can’t open every one. Sometimes it just refuses to open and I have to ask for a dwg file. (I use TurboCadd)

    Suggestions?

    Reply
    1. applecadmin Post author

      For the Mold shop and for file translation take a close look at Rhino3D for Mac https://www.rhino3d.com/mac
      Generic CADD was deleted by Autodesk as it was competing with AutoCAD. It had a great two key quick command functiuon that many users seemed to like. RealCAD is the closest software we have used to that but it is different and is still not released on the Mac. We did hear a rumour that they might add the two key command function to it at some future point after the new release had ‘settled in’

      Reply
  21. Art

    I’m looking for an easy to use (user friendly and fast) Mac based CAD program for drawing ‘as built’ floor plans of existing buildings (both commercial and residential). I’ve been using an old Broderbund “3D Home Architect 4.0” for years (PC based) with mostly satisfactory results to create ‘as built’ floor plans for commercial buildings, but it’s features are limited. Unfortunately, subsequent versions of that program (5.0, 6 & 8) were much more difficult to use and took considerably longer to generate an ‘as built’ floor plan. All the other current products I’ve tried (both PC and Mac) favor designing new structures rather than drawing existing buildings/homes. My drawings are used mostly for marketing and TI purposes.
    Any suggestions?
    Thanks, Art

    Reply
    1. applecadmin Post author

      Art, the best architectural software available for Mac at the moment without spending thousands of dollars will be Designer Pro. You can get it with or without support and templates. It is cheaper without but better with. What is the limit of your budget? The advantage of the professional version will be more flexibility in walls and openings and print sizes etc. If it is for professional use then it is well worth while getting the Pro version

      Reply
  22. Debbie

    Is there a good consumer based software that can do most tasks that I want to design in 2D and 3D or would it be better to get AutoCad? I am wanting to design a home and being detail oriented I want to design some of the furniture pieces, textiles/fabrics alongside with it. I’ve spent hours looking at CAD software for architectural use, garment(bedding) use, and industrial/woodworking and it’s looking very expensive and daunting as the tasks the programs can do begin to “overlap” with the others- don’t want to keep purchasing the same tools and features. I was hoping I could get a good architectural program and a good object design, but when it comes to object design, it’s only the clothing design software that is great at showing fabric detail. Altogether I would have to purchase 3 different softwares. I’ve used auto cad and did pencil drafting in high school long time ago, but I really prefer my mac and from what I can tell auto cad is still trying to adjust to the Mac market. What do you think? Thanks

    Reply
    1. applecadmin Post author

      Debbie,
      Architecture, furniture design, product design and fabric design applications are typically wildly different BUT you can get generic software that will cross over these disciplines. AutoCAD would be our last choice as this is very rigid in its approach and very complex. If I was designing all these things for my own home I would consider just SketchUp or SketchUp and Designer Pro.

      Reply
      1. Debbie

        Thanks. I’ve looked up the the pros of what people were saying about Sketchup; not too familiar with Designer Pro and will look into it. I do have the Adobe Creative suite collection as well and know that I can utilize them, but I wasn’t sure about how it would compare with the accuracy of layouts as something that is CAD based.

        Reply
  23. John

    Can you recommend a 2D & 3D native mac cad software to do detail drawings of special machines, tools and die set parts. It needs to do Assembly drawings as well.

    Reply
  24. Hubert Lahme

    Hello
    I just tried to find some more information about VERSACAD for Mac. When I go to the main page (www.versacad.com) there is no more hint about VERSACAD for Mac. When I used google then old pages – I think these are no more valid – are displayed. The link for download a trial version still works but the downloaded version (2006) is not a native code and will no more supported by the newest Mac OS (10.10.3).

    I think Archway Systems has stopped development and distribution of VERSACAD for Mac. You should remove it from the list.

    Reply
  25. Eric Hatfield

    I’m looking for a program that will help me design and layout a arcade game room. I’d like to make custom objects to match the the newest game option to show customers what their room could look like. I’m a beginner at using CAD. What programs would be recommended?

    Reply
  26. Matthew Piner

    I’m an Architect and dedicated Mac user – since about 1986. Been stuck on the issue of what CAD software to buy for a long time now – still doing hand drawings (!). Most of my jobs are residential remodels and additions, so 3D is not essential to what I do. I’ll likely learn Sketch-Up for that (since I also have an interest in design/build of Tiny Houses). I generally outsource any CAD work – to CAD drafters who do either AutoCAD and lately to students with training and access to powerful BIM software – Revit and the like. I don’t want to spend over $1000 – and of course there’s the training and support issue. Another thing my research tells me would be important is the conversion of pdf files to dwg editable CAD files. I have narrowed down to iCADmac since it is supposedly AutoCAD like (so if training is involved I’ll be AutoCAD savvy), has the pdf overlay features and is in my price range. I’d go for AutoCAD LT for the Mac, but reviewers say it is not a very good value since it really does not take advantage of AutoDesk’s 30 years of history with ACAD. Any recent reviews or experience with iCADmac? In particular with support and training available, along with “bugs” that make it difficult to use? Is the company solid so that my investment won’t be for naught?
    Thanks!

    Reply
    1. applecadmin Post author

      Matthew, Thank you for your detailed explanation of your needs. We are surprised you have managed to avoid using software for your designs to this date! Lets tackle your questions one at a time.
      1. “3D is not essential” is a phrase you used and this may be true BUT we would suggest that 3D could be very useful as it clearly is more efficient at the design stage at creating the 2D elevations and sections and floor plans, allowing them to update as changes to any of the views are made. The down side of 3D is that it needs to be ‘managed’ to make sure you have correct wall and ceiling heights, roof pitch and other factors that would affect the ‘modelling’ of a building and how each element in the building interacts with other elements. BIM is not all that it is cracked up to be unless you are in an office with a BIM manager who can keep an eye on the standards that are being adopted in the office. We don’t suggest that for smaller operators BIM has any real advantages at all. After all BIM has been around for decades and has only become a buzzword in the last 5 years due to some of the bigger players trying to get upgrades and crossgrades happening!
      2. $1000 will get you a good CAD software for either 3D or 2D or both.
      3. Training and support is ALWAYS an issue with any CAD software and is largely dependant on what country/time zone you are in.???? please advise.
      4. Not all PDF files can be converted to CAD drawings so be real careful with this ideal. MOST PDF’s are raster image based and can only be used as an undelay for ‘tracing’ over with CAD software. Some PDF are vector based and these need to be converted to lines etc BUT again the lines will have no intelligence in them. they will be just lines and not actual objects like walls and openings etc. We wouldn’t see the conversion of PDF’s as a key determinant for CAD software purchasing at this stage.
      5. AutoCAD for Mac is too expensive for most and not much better than most of the less expensive and in perhaps easier alternatives
      6.We don’t have a great deal of feedback on the iCADMac software other than to advise it is tweaked in Italy and based on the same software as ARES and Draftsight among others, all from a company called Graebert of Germany. If you are not in Europe then support is likely to be an issue for you.
      7. The company is quite localised but as far as we can tell they have a fair user base in Italy and there is nothing to indicate they will be closing up shop any time soon.

      We would also suggest looking at Home Designer and BricsCAD and RealCAD (when it is released)

      Reply
      1. Matthew Piner

        Wow – thanks so much for the reply – glad I came back to check!
        I am in Sacramento, CA, USA.
        Yes, I like to think with pencil/pen and paper, allows me to draw EXACTLY what I want in the fastest time, especially schematics. Comes down to the construction documentation I need for submittal to agency approvals, coordination with engineers, etc. where I need CAD. I have been outsourcing to CAD craftspeople for a long time, but just very frustrating to get the drawings to look right once printed. Good old drafting principles of line weight variation, text sizes not too big or small, and an understanding of constructibility (as I’m also a contractor/builder) are big issues with “CAD tech” operators I’ve worked with. Editing and revisions are painstaking – so I want to start doing my own.

        Yes, I think that simple tracing of pdf as an underlay is the ticket as far as that is concerned – I often am provided with existing plans (on paper) – that I can have scanned, then would convert, also based on my field measurements. Is that pretty standard?
        I need to keep it simple, so I’ll take the pass on BIM as good advice.
        One thing I would like is to also use Sketchup for some simple stuff. We are looking to develop “Tiny House” plans, and 3d will be good for that. Also potential CNC milling and 3D printing of components. Sketchup Pro seems like a good value.
        It sounds like RealCAD may be a good fit for my basic 2D and simple 3D needs. I’ll also take another look at BricsCAD.
        Really appreciate your detailed response, super helpful!

        Reply
  27. Alan Bransom

    I noticed with amazement that your list doesn’t include ViaCad software, also from the Punch software stable these days. I have been using ViaCAD for years both in its 2D/3D and Pro versions, after transferring from TurboCAD. I consider ViaCAD’s omission a real oversight in a list of programs that have been around for a real long time. In many respects—especially in its stability—and my opinion, ViaCAD is superior to Shark which is only relatively new to the scene.

    Reply
    1. applecadmin Post author

      Alan,
      We think your comments are valid and will need to look in to the product a little more deeply. Punch have not been forthcoming with providing information on our request so that may be why they have been left short.

      Reply
  28. Greg

    Hi,
    I would suggest QCAD (www.qcad.org) for inclusion in your list. It comes as a freeware and a pro version for Mac, Linux and Windows.
    Best,
    Greg

    Reply
    1. applecadmin Post author

      Greg,
      Thanks you for your email and heads up regarding QCAD. We will have our team take a look at it and if it seems worthy we’ll definitely include it in our listing.

      Reply
    1. applecadmin Post author

      Hi Melissa,
      We were fortunate enough to look at the software over 6 months ago and were excited about its release. We have been told by CAD International TODAY that it is now available for FREE for those willing to be Beta testers of the software. they also told us that when they release the software to those who participate in the beta test program tester will get the software at 50% off the normal price.
      The general opinion of most of the team here is that RealCAD is the best of the general purpose CAD programs and has the most potential to grow with your needs, however we temper our enthusiasm a little because the manuals and training materials are still only for the old version and users will have to interpret the icons and menus used in the old version until a new one is produced.

      We would recommend contacting CAD International and apply to be a Beta tester.

      Reply
  29. J C Laughton

    Siemens PLM’s NX CAD software (Unigraphics) is available for Mac OS X. It lacks some of the features of its Windoze counterpart and does not use a native Mac interface (requiring X11 and Motif,) but it does run and is sold by Siemens. For some reason though, it is not well publicised and poorly supported by Siemens resellers. (Perhaps because despite a being high end, very expensive product aimed at engineers, Mac users might find it distinctly clunky, especially in its current form.)

    Reply
  30. Bob

    Hi there.
    I am looking at the ‘Home Designer Pro’ for working on house plans in 2D and 3D and have a few questions please.
    Does this program have a walk through function?
    l live in Australia, so does it have metric measures? If not, what can l do to make this happen.
    Can l buy this program in Australia?
    Can l print both the 2D and 3D workings?
    What is your opinion on a program called ‘Architect 3D Mac Ultimate V17.5’
    Thank you.
    Bob

    Reply
    1. applecadmin Post author

      Hi Bob,
      Architect 3D Mac Ultimate v17.5 is not in quite the same league as Home Designer Pro. Home Designer Pro is a cut down version of a top end professional architectural CAD software whereas Architect 3D Mac is purpose built for the home user/enthusiast, so doesn’t have quite the same abilities or pedigree. For nominal use however it is fun to use and well priced. We definitely wouldn’t recommend it for professional users needing to attempted higher levels of details or complex working drawings. The software is primarily aimed at Windows users as evidenced by the following paragraph extracted from the ‘Mac’ page of their site…

      “Suitable for beginners wishing to tackle the details of their project. Architect 3D is compatible with the most widely used PC operating systems including Windows 8 and Windows 7. It is also compatible with the most widely used 3D design tools (AutoCadÂŽ, 3DS Studio Max, etc.)”

      Reply
  31. Bob

    Hi There.
    What would you suggest for a mac program that involves drawing detailed trick opening box’s.
    This would involve sliding parts, spring loaded points, turning joints, folding flaps etc.
    Regards
    Bob

    Reply
    1. applecadmin Post author

      Bob, it will totally depend on your budget. You could achieve what you want with something as simple as SketchUp or as powerful as Unigraphics NX. Do you need to animate the design and mechanism?

      Reply
  32. LisĂ­maco

    I’m a process designer, so, basically I need to draft some sketch about process diagrams. I need also to sketch some pipelines paths and cables in isometric drawings. I have been very familiar with AutoCAD but now I think it is too much compared to what I really need. I appreciate your advise about what software I really need for this application. Thanks. I have also to mention that I need to transfer files with AutoCAD because architectural drawings come from this application. On this files I need to make machines locations, pipelines and cables paths. Regards

    Reply
    1. applecadmin Post author

      LisĂ­maco, The best option would be one of the professional 2D drafting programs such as RealCAD LT which you can get free at the moment if you are willing to be a beta tester for the developers. It has a DWG to CAD translator so can import and export AutoCAD files. You will probably want to add a library of your own symbols which is easy to do.

      Reply
  33. Robyn

    Hi there
    Great site, thanks for the info.
    I am an interior designer, have trialed the free trial version of Sketchup and loved it but it is very expensive to buy and I am just starting my practice. I have projects ranging from colour schemes for residential and commercial- exterior and interior, space planning in both residential and commercial, kitchen and bathroom design. I have looked at the Home designer pro and think I will trial the free version but am worried that it wont give me enough scope for commercial design. I am on a Mac book pro OS X Yosemite 10.10.5 . What do you recommend between the two programs or is there a better one for me? I am wanting to use a software that is widely used in the industry in New Zealand to be compatible with other users etc.
    Thanks for your help.
    Robyn

    Reply
    1. applecadmin Post author

      Robyn,
      Really great questions regarding the two choices, SketchUp and Home Designer Pro. SketchUp is a more flexible software but does require you to build everything from scratch, whilst Home Designer Pro is purpose built and does the job incredibly fast. Designer Pro also handles editing and changes to the design really well too, BUT, Home Design Pro works best on standard designs rather than on commercial fit-outs. On the Windows versions we know of many users who have both products because they can make unique models in SketchUp and import them into Home Designer Pro as library objects. Unfortunately this has not made its way to the mac version.
      We feel that SketchUp would be your better option for commercial projects. We don’t know what software is used most in NZ or Australia as such, so long as you can open and exchange 2D drawings in DXF or DWG you will be able to communicate with others. You could also consider RealCAD as an alternative because it is more like a traditional CAD software and would be good for 2D drafting in particular. As you are in NZ you can probably get any of these from CAD International ‘across the ditch’ in Sydney. (is that the term or are my colleagues playing with me?)

      Reply
  34. Neil

    Hi. We are consumers in the process of buying a condo (new construction). We are looking for simple software to plan the placement of furniture, etc. We have a DWG file from the builders we were hoping to start with, so we do not need to create the floor plan from scratch. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
    Thanks.

    Reply
    1. applecadmin Post author

      Hi,
      to use the DWG file you may have to spend a little more money on the software you choose as these will all have to pay a license fee for the privilege. This being said, you have several to choose from. Home Designer Pro is ideal. If you are happy to redraw the walls (really easy to do) then Live interior 3D Pro is a good choice.
      Wildly different pricing as one is for professional drawing product whilst the other is for generating pretty imagery rather than drawings.

      Reply
  35. Patricia

    Hello!
    I am writing in the hopes that you may have more information as to the compatibility of CADintosh and Draft Sight programs with the latest Apple operating system update, El Capitan.
    I would greatly appreciate any information you may have on the subject!
    Thank you,
    Patricia

    Reply
    1. TW

      Looking for a good 2D CAD Software for Mac I saw on your Website that you mention RealCAD as good product for Mac.
      Where can I find the Mac version ? Does it exist ?

      Reply
    2. applecadmin Post author

      Hello Patricia,

      Thank you for reaching out to the AppleCAD Team. The developers of the two products you mention have no further information about the compatibility of their software with El Capitan. We have several requests logged with them and will update you with new information as it comes to hand.

      Draft Sight is from one of the largest CAD development companies in the world whilst CADIntosh is from one of the smallest. We would expect the better response from the latter. Additionally, Draftsight is geared more towards Windows than to Mac as the more capable products the company would like customers to migrate to are all Windows based.

      PowerCADD is perhaps another option you might look at or RealCAD for Mac (new release) which is favorite among many of the team here at AppleCAD.

      Reply
  36. RC

    I have been through the mill with CAD software and lately I have discovered that after spending tons of money over many years, I am again without a serviceable product. I believe it would be in the best interest of your audience to bring at least some of this most recent information to their attention.
    I am a retired member of the MIT Lincoln Laboratory staff who started using CAD software on early Windows computers to produce drawings for microwave structures and enclosures. My first serious application was a very early version of AutoCAD which served me well but was very slow and tedious to work with. However I continued to use it until late in my professional career when I switched to Mac computers to avoid the bug-ridden Windows operating systems.
    Since AutoCAD was not then available for Mac I was forced to seek an alternative and discovered Graphite which I found to be much more intuitive to use with its various methods of recognizing and referencing significant drawing features. Although very expensive, I purchased it with personal funds to use for major home renovations. Sometime later I added the companion program Argon, obtained at a discount through the woodworking company Bridge City Tool Works. I used both Graphite and Argon successfully until I decided to go back to work for some colleagues who had started a company and needed an amplifier design on which I had obtained a patent. While preparing chassis designs with Argon I encountered so many bugs that I was forced to look for an alternative. I found it in a then new program, ViaCAD which to my surprise used the very same drawing methods that I had come to prefer in Graphite/Argon. After successfully completing my work in ViaCAD, I demanded and received a substantial refund of my Argon purchase price.
    I continued to work successfully with ViaCAD until very recently (although I did notice irritating behaviors that didn’t quite rise to the level of being bugs which have continued unaddressed to the present day). After the installation of El Capitan in my Mac Pro I discovered that Both V8 and V9 of ViaCAD were incompatible. They would load successfully but a number of the palette features were missing rendering the app unusable. In mid-November I contacted tech support and received the following reply.

    **************************************
    “Thank you for contacting Customer Support.

    As version 9 sits now, it is not 100% compatible with El Capitan. We can not guarantee our products to be compatible with operating systems that come out after the product has been released. ViaCAD v9 was release well before El Capitan came out.

    In saying that, because version 9 is our current product version, the developers are working on a patch to fix the issues that have been reported with the new OSX. We are hoping to have it available for download soon. Keep an eye on Current Version under the Help menu, as this is where you will be offered the update once it is released.”

    **************************************
    There has been no further update to ViaCAD and I am unable to use it now on the fourth month after El Capitan full release and longer since its release to developers.

    A check of the PunchCAD website shows

    **************************************
    “Requirements: MacintoshÂŽ OS 10.8-10.10š, x64 IntelÂŽ MacÂŽ, 4 GB of hard disk space, 4 GB RAM or greater, Mouse Pointing Device (wheel button recommended), DVD-ROM Drive. Internet connection required². š Program compatibility is not guaranteed for later operating systems.”
    **************************************

    Therefore I again decided to look for an alternative. The first site which I visited which offered alternatives was “toptenreviews.com” Their #1 recommendation is TurboCAD. I decided to download a demo copy and try it. I was disappointed to find that it was in fact ViaCAD rebranded. Identical user interface. I then tried recommendation #2, DesignCAD and found that it was available for download – from the TurboDAD website! I declined to pursue further.

    Of the “10 Best” CAD software listings on the TopTenREVIEWS site, five, including the “Gold Award Winner” are supplied by the same vendor who has chosen not to release a product compatible with the current Mac OS.

    I recommend that you alert your site visitors to the fact that Punch! Software CAD products are not compatible with El Capitan and the developers of their products show no interest in serving the needs of Mac users. Rather than addressing issues of incompatibility Punch! Software is busily engaged in swallowing up competing products and removing competition. The fact that their long term customers are left with an inoperable product is of no concern to them.

    Reply
    1. applecadmin Post author

      And thank you for the ‘heads up’ with respect to you experience with CAD software and their vendors.
      In light of your experience we will be mindful in our responses to enquiries and provide this knowledge to prospective buyers.
      In defence of the software developers however, they cannot be expected to constantly update older versions of software to newer version of operating systems, but you would certainly expect them to release new versions if they are serious about their clients.
      El Capitan has certainly caused some issues with Graphic Displays for many CAD vendors – some fundamental changes have been made in El Capitan to cater for high resolution monitors so that the human eye can still read text and menus whilst benefiting from super sharp imagery.
      Did the developers of Argon/Graphite say there would be an update available soon?

      Reply
      1. RC

        My issues with Argon/Graphite were back around 03 so I don’t remember the bugs in great detail. I do remember that they seemed to be in a state of great turmoil at the time and their products were so buggy that it was impossible to complete even a fairly simple task successfully. Although they were responding promptly, the bugs weren’t getting fixed and were too numerous to continue dealing with. Each support request was for multiple problems and most involved crashes and lost work. As I recall it had been some time since the previous upgrade and the lack of any indication of an impending upgrade was one reason why I came to believe that the company was in trouble and just milking the product before a shutdown. I am really quite surprised that they still exist.

        I was at the time very surprised to learn that the at the time new ViaCAD was using exactly the same drawing methodology that I had come to love in Graphite but was rock stable. I assumed that Graphite people had split away to form the company and expected there might be some legal problems with that. Nevertheless ViaCAD worked, Graphite didn’t, and I needed to get my job done.

        I certainly concur that El Capitan is part of the problem now. I’m afraid that my experience with Apple under Tim Cook has not been the same as Apple under Steve Jobs. I am also concerned that Apple is giving up on the serious professional user. The lack of new Mac Pro models is one piece of evidence. I fully realize that the consumer market represents a much higher profit potential but just as “racing improves the breed” in automobiles, powerful flagship computers represent the benchmark for technology and credibility in the computer industry.

        I certainly don’t expect vendors to provide constant updates of obsolete software to maintain compatibility with newer operating systems, especially when they have a newer compatible application to replace it. I do expect them to maintain compatibility when they imply that loudly in their advertising. Also by placing their products in the Apple App Store they are implying a commitment to the Mac OS without telling the customers that they aren’t receiving the latest version and without providing any further information online as to when the current version will become available to them.

        Reply
        1. applecadmin Post author

          RC, Lets trust that things will get better. AppleCAD are in no way associated with the Apple Corporation, and serve only to assist users in selecting the right CAD software for their needs. Hopefully you will find the right software to suit your requirements with as few hiccups as possible. Please let us know how you go or if you would like further advice?

          Reply
    1. applecadmin Post author

      Keeping in mind that most mechanical engineers desire full 3D modelling and to subsequent production of 2D drawings and other downstream functions, of the software currently available we would suggest looking at TurboCAD Pro at the bottom end of the field, Xenon in the middle or SolidThinking at the high end. Price range between these is enormous. Otherwise, bite your tongue and put Windows 7 on your machine and then install Solid Edge, Solid Works or IronCAD. IronCAD being best value and easiest to use. Alternatively BricsCAD will soon be releasing their software on the Mac. The Mac version is currently in Beta test stage.http://www.bricsys.com/macbeta/

      Reply
  37. Peter

    Enquiring about DeltaCad for Mac. I’ve use DeltaCad on an XP computer but now own a Mac and was wondering if the bad reviews pertaining to unstable DeltaCad operation on a Mac PC are correct. It’s a simple 2D programme that suits home technical drawing.

    Reply
    1. applecadmin Post author

      Hi Sharon,
      As DeltaCAD is such a basic program with no professional application that none of our team have used the software and therefore can’t report on its performance. For the price however we wouldn’t expect it to bee too stable as a ported product that was originally for the PC (XP) in particular. We would generally suggest a product written for Mac natively if possible.

      Reply
  38. Donald Edwards

    I have just bought a Form+1 3d printer and am using it in dental design with exocad soft wear .
    I would like to start jewellery design and need advise about which soft wear I could use as a beginner , I should also say that cost is an issue I could probably spend ÂŁ1000 – ÂŁ2000 British pounds on this soft wear.
    I hope you can help

    Reply
    1. applecadmin Post author

      Hi Donald,
      there are several jewellery specific products on the market but price will be an issue if you are on a budget. Rhino3D is often used as the basis for jewellery design add-ons and as Rhino3D is now available for Mac it would be a good and very cost effective choice. The add-ons are not yet available for the Mac version but Rhino3D on its own would be a good start.

      Reply
  39. CDTobie

    I used VectorWorks for many years for architectural design. But now I find myself needing a non-architectural CAD app for smaller projects of a more mechanical nature; and the current Vectorworks pricing is prohibitive. I have purchased TurboCAD Mac Deluxe 10, and my first test was to create a complex curvilinear 3d object, which worked out fairly well, even though the renderings are not very sophisticated.

    However, I may have begun at the wrong end in testing this package. Now I am trying the simplest of 2d processes, creating lines, rectangles, curves and circles, and attempting to create 2d objects from them. Oddly, there are no 2D add, subtract or intersect tools in this application (though at least some Windows versions of TurboCAD have exactly those tools), and no real sense of ever creating a 2D object, rather just an ungrouped set of lines and curves which can be used to generate a hatch or fill, but not an object. There is no clear way to define positive and negative areas either, and no consistency in what fills or does not, and hatching covers different areas than filling does.

    Am I wrong to expect fairly normal vector tools from this low cost CAD app? Is it a waste of money to try to use it for actual industrial work? I reviewed you 2D with 3D capabilities section (where TurboCAD is also listed) and downloaded the free Draftsight app, and it proved to be unusable, crashing on open or shortly after every time I launched it, so free may not be the direction to head in here. Any suggestions of a simple Mac package that will let me do normal 2D object additions and subtractions, and simple 3D extrusions where needed? No advanced architectural requirements, just part creation, assembly, and viewing from scratch.

    Reply
    1. applecadmin Post author

      Hi CDTobie,
      TurboCAD is an acquired taste product. You either love it or hate it. Most people love for the price but hate it for the inconsistencies. It does however have quite a lot to it. Price may be the stumbling block here as good 3D mechanical software is generally quite expensive. If you wanted the best 2D software then RealCAD is ideal but its 3D is not sophisticated. Perhaps too you are looking for software that mimics the way VW works and this will be different to other products methods. SketchUp may be an interesting alternative. What is your budget?

      Reply
  40. John Collier

    I am a retired architect (large commercial/industrial), and would like to start doing some house design. I have always been on the design side of the profession and spent most of my career with a ‘pencil’. I learned ‘GDS’ and ‘Intergraph’ Cad back in the early ’80s (when the computer to run them was in a dedicated ‘room’) – but haven’t been on CAD since. I familiar with the capabilities of AutoCAD and think BIM is the way a computer should be used. All of that is waaaay overkill for doing a few houses each year.

    I do some graphic work with Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator on my MacBook Pro (OS 10.12.1).
    Given my ‘dinosaur’ tendencies, I will still design with my ‘pencil’. What software do you recommend for documentation and presentation?

    Reply

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