Chief Architect Vs SolidBuilder

 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 12-27-2008, 07:57 PM   #1
Pro
 
Panzer5's Avatar
 
Trade: Remodeling
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Kentucky
Posts: 265
Rewards Points: 250

Chief Architect Vs SolidBuilder


I'm debating whether to buy one of these programs. I've heard some good things about CA - and recently learned about Solid Builder. CA runs $1850(lite)-$2500. Can't find pricing for SB but I guess it's about the same.

I'm intrugued by SB's claims regarding materials lists & cut lists - and wonder if CA has similar features (or whether SB's are worth the $$).

Anyone with experience willing to explain the difference or what you like / don't like about them?

thanks!

Last edited by Panzer5; 12-27-2008 at 10:32 PM.
Panzer5 is offline  

Warning: The topics covered on this site include activities in which there exists the potential for serious injury or death. ContractorTalk.com DOES NOT guarantee the accuracy or completeness of any information contained on this site. Always use proper safety precaution and reference reliable outside sources before attempting any construction or remodeling task!

   
 

Old 12-27-2008, 08:19 PM   #2
Member
 
Jeff (socal)'s Avatar
 
Trade: student
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 36
Rewards Points: 25

Re: Chief Architect Vs SolidBuilder


Quote:
Originally Posted by Panzer5 View Post
I'm debating whether to buy one of these programs. I've heard some good things about CA - and recently learned about Solid Builder. CA runs $1850(lite)-$2500. Can't find pricing but I guess it's about the same.

Anyone with experience willing to explain the difference or what you like / don't like about them?

thanks!
If you want your question answered go to www.chieftalk.com
Personally i learned CA at a local college using version 9 and 10 then bought the X1 (latest). X2 will be out soon. The other one that i have seen is SOFTPLAN but i still like CA because of the support you get from other users.

Jeff (socal) is offline  
Old 12-28-2008, 02:23 AM   #3
Eater of sins.
 
ScipioAfricanus's Avatar
 
Trade: Designer/Drafter Extraordinaire
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Orange County, CA.
Posts: 2,436
Rewards Points: 1,746

Re: Chief Architect Vs SolidBuilder


I use both, if you want dead-nuts accurate material and take-off and even cut lists on lumber and sheathing then SB will do it. I find it difficult to get 3Drenders out of of SB though. If you need the great looking construction docs. and 3D stuff then CA is the way to go.

I mostly use CA in my work because of the ease of making the con. docs. and designing the new build and creating as-built plans. SB will give you the actual size of lumber needed to cut each jack rafter or whatever, it is amazing in that regard.

SB is coming out with version 18 (it is out now rather) and CA is going to come out with version X2 very soon.

Andy.
ScipioAfricanus is offline  
Old 12-28-2008, 07:25 PM   #4
Pro
 
Panzer5's Avatar
 
Trade: Remodeling
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Kentucky
Posts: 265
Rewards Points: 250

Re: Chief Architect Vs SolidBuilder


Thanks ScipioAfricanus!

Quote:
Originally Posted by ScipioAfricanus
...if you want dead-nuts accurate material and take-off and even cut lists on lumber and sheathing then SB will do it.
Those are the features of SB I found the most intriguing.

It's difficult, however, to know whether those features are really useful in the real world - absent the opinion of someone who uses the program. Sounds like you found them to work well.

What's the learning curve like?

Of course with a new version of CA only months away... it may not make sense to buy CA now. Considering I'm on an annual fiscal year and looking for a write-off, I may buy SB...

(Unless I read some bad reviews in the next day or two)
Panzer5 is offline  
Old 12-28-2008, 09:40 PM   #5
Former Framer
 
wallmaxx's Avatar
 
Trade: 89% framing master
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: WA State
Posts: 2,946
Rewards Points: 4,800

Re: Chief Architect Vs SolidBuilder


I have Solid Builder 17.5, Soft Plan, and AutoCAD. And I am familiar with eFrame from Mitek.

I hear good things about Chief if you want to create typical looking plans.

I draw for my own framing use so I have found that SoftPlan (similar to Chief) is not precise enough to give me what I need.

It is true that I can generate roof rafter cut sheets from SB and they are dead on accurate...the problem is trying to get the thing to draw very complex systems exactly as you want to build them. The software just takes a heap o' learning to get good with it.

For my most precise and typically fastest dwgs I turn to the KING - AutoCAD
__________________
--
just me.

just sayin'.
wallmaxx is offline  
Old 12-28-2008, 09:56 PM   #6
Pro
 
Panzer5's Avatar
 
Trade: Remodeling
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Kentucky
Posts: 265
Rewards Points: 250

Re: Chief Architect Vs SolidBuilder


Quote:
Originally Posted by wallmaxx View Post
...the problem is trying to get the thing to draw very complex systems exactly as you want to build them. The software just takes a heap o' learning to get good with it.

...
Thanks for the response. Question:

How complex is 'very complex'? How well does it handle hip and/or gable roofs? Can it do balloon framing? What type of complex roofs are you doing that the program struggles with?

also, is 'heap o' learning' the typical time it takes with any complex program, or do you think it takes more effort than it should to get good with it? (most software takes time to get good, after all...)
Panzer5 is offline  
Old 12-28-2008, 10:48 PM   #7
Gino
 
construct1's Avatar
 
Trade: Carpenter/Builder/General Contractor
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Massachusetts
Posts: 9
Rewards Points: 10
Send a message via Yahoo to construct1

Re: Chief Architect Vs SolidBuilder


Quote:
Originally Posted by wallmaxx View Post
I have Solid Builder 17.5, Soft Plan, and AutoCAD. And I am familiar with eFrame from Mitek.

I hear good things about Chief if you want to create typical looking plans.

I draw for my own framing use so I have found that SoftPlan (similar to Chief) is not precise enough to give me what I need.

It is true that I can generate roof rafter cut sheets from SB and they are dead on accurate...the problem is trying to get the thing to draw very complex systems exactly as you want to build them. The software just takes a heap o' learning to get good with it.

For my most precise and typically fastest dwgs I turn to the KING - AutoCAD
Evening all..

When you say you turn to the "King" Autocad, do you mean Autocad Architecture or Revit or just Autocad? ANd what is the learning curve with whatever program you are using? I have been kind of looking into Autocad myself.
Thanks....
construct1 is offline  
Old 12-29-2008, 12:07 AM   #8
Former Framer
 
wallmaxx's Avatar
 
Trade: 89% framing master
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: WA State
Posts: 2,946
Rewards Points: 4,800

Re: Chief Architect Vs SolidBuilder


SB is very easy for common pitched hip and gable combinations as well as bastard hipped types.

It easily handles 90% of the typical stick framed roofs out there.

My problem is that I end up framing some projects with things like conical towers intersecting into multi-pitched multi-plated roof systems. I had no idea how to asign a roof plane to this so that it would "cut" through the main front roof. When I try to draw them out with SB, I spend 20 - 30 hours with tech support and on one occasion they couldn't even frame it. The girl once said, why do you frame such cut up homes? (Maybe because that's what's payin the bills)



As far as AutoCAD goes, I'm not wealthy enough for the high end 3D stuff. The software in my machine is the 2D kind...the "software" between my ears does the 2D to 3D conversion as I draw so that I have correct 2D finished dwgs.

SB is really an awesome pgm. I like it from a production software point of view. If you want to create architect "looking" prints, I would not use SB over Softplan or Chief.

I have used SB for multi-unit production, whole house cut sheets, etc...it works well. I will put up some of my SB stuff on Picassa soon and get a link up for you.
__________________
--
just me.

just sayin'.
wallmaxx is offline  
Old 12-29-2008, 12:15 AM   #9
Former Framer
 
wallmaxx's Avatar
 
Trade: 89% framing master
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: WA State
Posts: 2,946
Rewards Points: 4,800

Re: Chief Architect Vs SolidBuilder


Here's where SB shines (no necessarily pretty but they are accurate)
Attached Files
File Type: pdf lvl 1 - 2A Panel Labels.pdf (42.4 KB, 862 views)
File Type: pdf lvl 1 - 2A PLYWOOD CUT SHEET ARCH D.pdf (71.8 KB, 801 views)
File Type: pdf W200-X.pdf (11.1 KB, 668 views)
__________________
--
just me.

just sayin'.
wallmaxx is offline  
Old 12-29-2008, 09:27 AM   #10
Pro
 
modterry's Avatar
 
Trade: Custom Modular builder
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Denver, CO
Posts: 174
Rewards Points: 150

Re: Chief Architect Vs SolidBuilder


Wallmaxx,
We have autocad 2009 - can it do the kind of wall framing details like you showed in your pdf's for panel type production?

I usually review our plans and have to get the draftsman to correct all the time in AutoCad. I am considering spending the time to be proficient at least in the floor plan, elevation area.

We build our walls on a framing table and am working hard with the guys to do pre cut lists, for studs, headers, etc prior to framing.

The guys are starting to come around with the process and it is starting to save time

I want to layout our walls like your framing plan pdf numbering them in the plan.

Many thanks for your feedback.

Terry
modterry is offline  
Old 12-29-2008, 11:21 AM   #11
Former Framer
 
wallmaxx's Avatar
 
Trade: 89% framing master
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: WA State
Posts: 2,946
Rewards Points: 4,800

Re: Chief Architect Vs SolidBuilder


AutoCAD "can" do it...but specific 3D modeling software is designed to track everything continuously. Make a change like move a wall...and it will adjust the joists and dimensions associated with it automatically. Ask Framerman, I think the acronym is BIM.

In autoCAD you will have to adjust everything yourself...unless they have changed the way they work.

I like SB for things like that. Say, the customer wants a window right where two wall panels join. In SB, no sweat. Join those two walls, insert the opening and then re "break" the wall into 2 or three panels (whatever your size constraints are)

In the autoCAD I use, I have to redraw and dimension the plan view, the panels and the elevations. In SB, one change in the plan view is automatically updated in the panel view, elevation and material list.

Material list? AutoCAD only sees the lines as lines...not assignable objects.
__________________
--
just me.

just sayin'.
wallmaxx is offline  
Old 12-29-2008, 03:30 PM   #12
Pro
 
Panzer5's Avatar
 
Trade: Remodeling
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Kentucky
Posts: 265
Rewards Points: 250

Re: Chief Architect Vs SolidBuilder


That is one heck of a roof! I think just about any program would have problems with that one (not too many people building castle towers these days!).

Thanks for the info!
Panzer5 is offline  
Old 12-29-2008, 11:01 PM   #13
Eater of sins.
 
ScipioAfricanus's Avatar
 
Trade: Designer/Drafter Extraordinaire
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Orange County, CA.
Posts: 2,436
Rewards Points: 1,746

Re: Chief Architect Vs SolidBuilder


There are a few programs that could do this fairly well, this is Chief I made a lot of assumptions from the picture above. Took about 10 min. to do but is not at all accurate yet.

It can be done if one has all the parameters.

Andy.
Attached Thumbnails
Chief Architect vs SolidBuilder-framing-1.jpg  
ScipioAfricanus is offline  
Old 01-01-2009, 06:32 PM   #14
Gino
 
construct1's Avatar
 
Trade: Carpenter/Builder/General Contractor
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Massachusetts
Posts: 9
Rewards Points: 10
Send a message via Yahoo to construct1

Re: Chief Architect Vs SolidBuilder


Pretty fancy frame there Mike. Well, with all my inquisitiveness, and my hunger for new, I just went ahead and bid on a SB program on ebay. Nothing new nothing ventured as they say.
I want to thank everyone posting their views on all the software, it definitely helps on decision making. And by the way, Happy New year to everyone and may it be a Healthy, Happy, and PROSPEROUS ONE!!!! That always helps with all the rest...

Gino....
construct1 is offline  
Old 01-01-2009, 10:56 PM   #15
Eater of sins.
 
ScipioAfricanus's Avatar
 
Trade: Designer/Drafter Extraordinaire
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Orange County, CA.
Posts: 2,436
Rewards Points: 1,746

Re: Chief Architect Vs SolidBuilder


Gino, where did you see SolidBuilder on Ebay? Not that I want to bid I already own Version 17 I'm just curious.

Andy.
ScipioAfricanus is offline  
Old 01-04-2009, 12:00 AM   #16
Gino
 
construct1's Avatar
 
Trade: Carpenter/Builder/General Contractor
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Massachusetts
Posts: 9
Rewards Points: 10
Send a message via Yahoo to construct1

Re: Chief Architect Vs SolidBuilder


Hey Andy,

I am not sure how I found it. I think I was looking for auto-cad architecture and that listing for solid builder came up in the search.

I ended up winning the auction. The seller has been very helpful. He has emailed me several times now about the response he has got from Digital Canal about transferring the license. They have given him a very cold shoulder about selling the program. Hopefully it can be resolved. I have Soft Plan all ready but reading all the posts about solid builder made me want to give it a try.
construct1 is offline  
Old 01-04-2009, 02:55 AM   #17
Pro
 
Panzer5's Avatar
 
Trade: Remodeling
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Kentucky
Posts: 265
Rewards Points: 250

Re: Chief Architect Vs SolidBuilder


For those who use SB + CA (or another) - can you get the two programs to 'talk' to one another (i.e. can you transfer files (like the floor plan) between them) or do you end up doing one whole draw in SB and another whole draw in CA?
Panzer5 is offline  
Old 01-04-2009, 02:58 AM   #18
Handle It!
 
MALCO.New.York's Avatar
 
Trade: Everything The Union Guys Do Not Want To Do
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Brooklyn, NY ~ Haverford, PA
Posts: 9,588
Rewards Points: 2,000

Re: Chief Architect Vs SolidBuilder


So tell me Panzer....What is it that you know about Panzer Tanks and Hedgerows and Bradleys.....

This is strictly an opportunity in Educational Edification!
__________________
Something to One may be Nothing to another!

Ultimate Wisdom---------
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OW-cnizLDEE
MALCO.New.York is offline  
Old 01-04-2009, 07:55 AM   #19
Pro
 
duckdown's Avatar
 
Trade: Home Theater
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Hartford CT
Posts: 177
Rewards Points: 150

Re: Chief Architect Vs SolidBuilder


We have the latest versions of Chief Architect and Autocad...
duckdown is offline  
Old 01-05-2009, 10:51 AM   #20
Pro
 
Panzer5's Avatar
 
Trade: Remodeling
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Kentucky
Posts: 265
Rewards Points: 250

Re: Chief Architect Vs SolidBuilder


Quote:
Originally Posted by MALCO.New.York View Post
So tell me Panzer....What is it that you know about Panzer Tanks and Hedgerows and Bradleys.....

I know a bit about all of the above.

Spent several years with Uncle Sam's Misguided Children in Tanks & Tracks.

I've never gotten a tank stuck in a hedgerow, but I can assure you; tanks don't go where the cattails grow!

Panzer5 is offline  


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Chief Architect Design Software Tao_Rider Drafting & CAD Forum 14 12-26-2008 12:09 AM
First Chief Architect Drawing.... orson Drafting & CAD Forum 48 11-02-2008 02:29 PM
Architect Season Kaiser General Discussion 18 09-07-2008 08:09 PM
Chief Architect 10 genbuilers Drafting & CAD Forum 23 01-19-2008 09:42 AM
Owens-Corning Architect 30's VA Remodeler Roofing 8 08-23-2007 01:29 AM

Join Now... It's Fast and FREE!

I am a professional contractor
I am a DIY Homeowner
Drywall Talk is for
PROFESSIONAL CONTRACTORS ONLY!

At DrywallTalk.com we cater exlusivly to professional contractors who make their living as a contractor. Knowing that many homeowners and DIYers are looking for a community to call home, we've created www.DIYChatroom.com DIY Chatroom is full of helpful advices and perfect for DIY homeowners.

Redirecing in 10 seconds
No Thanks
terms of service

Already Have an Account?