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Best Home Design Software

 
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Old 01-06-2017, 12:48 PM   #1
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Best Home Design Software


Hey everyone.
I build custom homes and occasionally do tweaking of the designs myself. As of now ive always just used paper and pencil to do my design drafting, but i would like to purchase some software that might make the job easier. I need it to do basic floor plans and exterior elevations. I used Autocad in the late 90s but ive heard it has gotten really advanced since then. I dont need anything super fancy and i dont wana spend a arm and a leg.

Does anyone have any sugestions?

Thanks
Ross
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Old 01-06-2017, 12:55 PM   #2
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Re: Best Home Design Software


AutoCAD is pretty advanced, and more modeled for the manufacturing environment (IMO).

The norm around here so I believe is Sketchup. I use the free version and that is pretty powerful in itself. But anything concerning layout designs, you'd definitely want the paid version.

Sketchup

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Old 01-06-2017, 01:14 PM   #3
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Re: Best Home Design Software


Ive tried google sketch, it was very confusing. maybe ill try it again if no one has any other suggestions. I looked into "Cad Pro" the website seemed exactly what i wanted, but user reviews are horrible.
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Old 01-06-2017, 02:56 PM   #4
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Re: Best Home Design Software


AutoCad still has the same basic functions and can be used pretty much the same way you know it. Especially if you used the keyboard short cuts. Interface these days is stupid overwhelming in comparison tho.

Have you looked at AutoCad LT?

Sketchup is about as easy as it gets these days in terms of drafting-3D applications.

In your situation, Pencil and paper may still be faster and much less irritating than any CAD program. Especially if you are old school proficient at it.
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Old 01-06-2017, 04:22 PM   #5
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Re: Best Home Design Software


I'm using Home Designer Pro 2014. You can download and try it for free, you just won't be able to print or save with the trial version. They also have demo videos.
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Old 01-06-2017, 05:01 PM   #6
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Re: Best Home Design Software


I use AutoCad LT on a daily basis and SketchUp at least once a week.

When I draft plans for custom homes or T.I.'s in 2D, I use AutoCad. Yea, there's a bit of a learning curve like everything else. But the toolbar is really straight forward. Line, offset, trim. You can draw the Golden Gate Bridge with those three commands.

Anything else you can't figure out... there's always YouTube and AutoDesk's help forum.

Anything 3D it's Sketchup. All. Day. Long. But it feels too cumbersome to me when I'm doing flat drawings. But if you're not doing a lot of drafting, it would work just fine after you got the hang of it.

I also love the new AutoCad LT "pay as you go" subscription. It's three or four hundred dollars a year for the latest version of LT. It pays for itself literally 100 times over each year, for me at least.
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Old 01-06-2017, 10:03 PM   #7
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Re: Best Home Design Software


I've used many different design programs in school and out of school... AutoCad is extremely powerful and the interface has changed but learning it again I think would be like riding a bike...

Recently I've been using chief architect, I like it a lot. I think it's perfect for quick design to show a customer the project in a realistic view not just straight elevations. You can do a walk through of the house with a camera and show them the finishes and layout like nothing. Revit you can also but I tried to learn it, could not...

Now if your just doing plan modifications autocad is probably the best. I find it easy to adjust things. Chief is a little more difficult on tricky plans.


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Old 01-07-2017, 08:11 PM   #8
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Re: Best Home Design Software


I have used chief architect since 1998. It is pretty awesome for rendering and generating really quick renderings. Helps solve a lot of problems in the front end being able to render and look at items. It's not CAd heavy. Object oriented
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Old 01-08-2017, 08:32 AM   #9
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Re: Best Home Design Software


Quote:
Originally Posted by boot View Post
I use AutoCad LT on a daily basis and SketchUp at least once a week.



I also love the new AutoCad LT "pay as you go" subscription. It's three or four hundred dollars a year for the latest version of LT. It pays for itself literally 100 times over each year, for me at least.
Careful!!!! If they get that idea, they will jack up the price some more!
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Old 01-08-2017, 08:58 AM   #10
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Re: Best Home Design Software


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Originally Posted by Gr8trim4u View Post
I have used chief architect since 1998. It is pretty awesome for rendering and generating really quick renderings. Helps solve a lot of problems in the front end being able to render and look at items. It's not CAd heavy. Object oriented
Somewhere in a box I still have a 6 CD set of CA and the parallel port dongle.

For a long time, when Jack Simpson first started out - after switching from database software to CAD, he had a deal - first with Broderbund then Better Homes & Gardens - who sold it under their branding - probably kept the cash flow up.
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Old 01-08-2017, 09:23 AM   #11
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Re: Best Home Design Software


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Originally Posted by SmallTownGuy View Post
Somewhere in a box I still have a 6 CD set of CA and the parallel port dongle.

For a long time, when Jack Simpson first started out - after switching from database software to CAD, he had a deal - first with Broderbund then Better Homes & Gardens - who sold it under their branding - probably kept the cash flow up.
I'm sorry. If you have a point, I missed it.
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Old 01-08-2017, 09:28 AM   #12
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Re: Best Home Design Software


Quote:
Originally Posted by B.Johnson View Post
I'm sorry. If you have a point, I missed it.
It's called maundering. Us old guys are good at that.
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Old 01-08-2017, 09:56 AM   #13
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Re: Best Home Design Software


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I'm sorry. If you have a point, I missed it.
Aw, don't be sorry.
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Old 01-08-2017, 10:47 AM   #14
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Re: Best Home Design Software


I've been using SoftPlan since high school. It's a few grand to buy but they offer a plan to break it up into 12 payments.
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Old 01-08-2017, 11:51 AM   #15
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Re: Best Home Design Software


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It's called maundering. Us old guys are good at that.
Oh I have a point, and it's this; Every time this question comes up on CT (and it does frequently), things settle out into two camps: The guys who are pro/semi-pro - and the guys who just want something better than what they can sketch on a notepad.

The guys who are pro/semi-pro ask "what's the big deal? You just pull up the ALT/F9 hit repository, browse over to rendered images, pull a convex linear dissuader on the b31996-lf chair, , blend it into the alpha stream and do a 3 point anchor referenced on the initial x/y minus the incline of the betamax and there's your patio set - here see how easy it is?" And of course they go right on ahead and demonstrate - and when they leave you are left looking at the screen and thinking "WAT THE F DID HE JUST SAY!?!?

If you already had some technical training on electronic CAD, it boils down to picking a system that not only works for you, but works for your archy & the trades.

If you are somebody who is getting into electronic CAD late in the game (over 20, never had drafting in high school/college) then just getting two lines to meet on the computer screen is daunting.

There's a huge fan base for Google Sketchup & Sketch because its free, there's a huge fan base (I know I already said that - but its why the software is so popular). However: it's just general purpose - it doesn't know anything about houses or skateboards. User supplied models help bridge that gap - but unless you have the time to troll those sites where all these bright young stars hang out - it too can be overwhelming.

The one advantage of the consumer grade software, is that you can be making boxes that sort of look like houses with roofs in 15 minutes. They got models, templates, examples - everything.

Your archy may sneer at you and maybe your plan can't be imported into somebody's multi-thousand dollar pro soft - but it may be just the ticket for printing out a quick idea of what a new patio and moving the door would look like.

The one advantage of a brand like Chief Architect (I'm not recommending - just pointing out) is their almost unlimited supply of how to videos plus all the ones people make and put up on You tube. Plus they have trial versions and starter editions.

So back to my original post; Those disks and dongle are stored in a box some place because I only have 24 hours in each day, and I'd rather be good at running my business than expert at drawing lines. I pay an architect, and pay dearly. But in exchange, I get somebody who does only that - and who has some skin in the game.

That's just what works for me. It's different for everybody.
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Old 01-08-2017, 12:24 PM   #16
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Re: Best Home Design Software


As I said, maundering.

That was a pretty spot-on maunder.
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Old 01-08-2017, 12:58 PM   #17
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Re: Best Home Design Software


"Maundering", thank you.

Learned a new word today.

Andy.
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Old 01-08-2017, 02:13 PM   #18
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Re: Best Home Design Software


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As I said, maundering.

That was a pretty spot-on maunder.
Meandering around the maundering...
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Old 01-08-2017, 02:14 PM   #19
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Re: Best Home Design Software


The thing about Chief Architect I love is the cabinet design. I've done several kitchens and baths with it and it is so powerful for that. I can give a client a rendering of it not just a 2d line drawing which is invaluable to helping them "picture" the finished project.

It's also very easy to do a complete plan set for kitchens with all elevations detailing wall finishes and other little things.


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Old 01-08-2017, 03:27 PM   #20
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Re: Best Home Design Software


Quote:
Originally Posted by Atomic081 View Post
Hey everyone.
I build custom homes and occasionally do tweaking of the designs myself. As of now ive always just used paper and pencil to do my design drafting, but i would like to purchase some software that might make the job easier. I need it to do basic floor plans and exterior elevations. I used Autocad in the late 90s but ive heard it has gotten really advanced since then. I dont need anything super fancy and i dont wana spend a arm and a leg.

Does anyone have any sugestions?

Thanks
Ross
Knowing that you have used AuotCAD and also knowing that, like me you are a cheap bastard, I would suggest trying Draftsite.

It is a free to use AutoCAD clone. It is also very powerful and very similar to AC.

Andy.

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