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I Forge Iron

CAD help, need a really simple CAD prog

the iron dwarf

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downloaded freecad and have spent a long time trying things, had something simple to draw and on the 4th attempt got it not bad but im spending hours trying to find things for the most basic drawing in there.


maybe I should hunt down something simpler....


I dont need all the architecture stuff or ship building

dont need 3D as it is for getting things laser cut from flat plate


need to draw points and join them, rectangles, squares, radiuses, circles and ellipses, stretch things maybe, need to know the coordinates and dimensions im creating and need to be able to save as a DXF.


anyone know what is the simplest and easiest to learn (and ideally free) thing I can get to do the job before my head explodes


have also asked a few friends to look into this and if I get suggestions in other places I will repost them here just in case others are have the same problems

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You used to be able to download Autocad for free as a student or trial version. My helper told me he could access all the functions, but if he went to print, the free version had a water mark that covered the drawings.  He did most of his work on the newer version, then saved it as an older format my version would accept and we printed from my computer with no issues. Never tried to use them as a DXF file.



I learned Autocad eons ago in school. My "current" full edition is something like Autocad 2000. The newer ones are somewhat easier to use with the pull downs, but I still use most of the text commands I learned originally since I can't always find the pull downs I want.



If you are looking to do cut programs for CNC plasma, Plasmacam is supposed to have a fairly simple program that lets you quickly draw up cut files and so on with out a ton of the engineering stuff other cad type programs have. It's not cheap however ( don't know if they have a trial version or not). You might be able to locate someone with the program to see if it's worth the investment for what you want to do. I played with it a tiny bit quite a few years ago when a friend bought his PlasmaCAM, but I haven't touched it in probably 10 years or more.

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Is there perhaps a university bookstore nearby that you can buy from (or incentivize a student to do said buying)? That might get you a reduced power student version for cheaper. I'm kind of spoiled because my job is autocad 8-10 hours a day, so I take it for granted = I know people that have 'aquired' copies, search your feelings on that front.

If you end up with an Autodesk product of some flavor feel free to hit me up with questions, iv been using civil3d full time for a little over 5 years now, so I know my way around pretty well :) the various Autodesk and 3rd party forums are also pretty vast for technical support.

In any case, I would make a point of making a list of the most direct route to the bare minimum commands that you would be using and keep it very handy until you memorize it (line, circle, rectangle, offset, fillet, blah blah blah) that way you can hopefully operate from the command line (keyboard commands) and not have to futz around with menus and icons and the like.

Good luck!

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QCAD installed and working fine, have managed tonite to draw 2 items for laser cutting, seems to do all I need and a lot more, can find the tools I want mostly and have not looked at the online manual or tutorials yet.


the basic free edition comes with 3 extras to make it the pro version that you have to pay for, the extras only work for 15 mins each session as a demo but all the time if you pay for them, when you remove the 3 extra demo items it saves a lot of messages coming up as they shut down 15 mins into a session.


it is simple enough even for me so most people should have no trouble after an hour of playing with it

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