Favorite Design / Layout software? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 04-25-2013, 12:45 PM - Thread Starter
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What do others use for layout and HT design? Since a complete design has architecture, lighting, conduit, framing, etc plans - there are lots of opportunities to create lots of plans.

I've used Sketchup quite a bit and feel pretty proficient with it, but I'm looking for something that's a little more robust. I don't have any real complaints about Sketchup (other than its printout capabilities always seem really weak) , but I'd like to find something closer to what some commercial software offers. It would be nice to be able to print out plans that actually look like they were meant to be printed out. Visio has its place, but it has plenty of limitations too.

Has anyone else found a likable product in between Sketchup and say Autocad ($4k, Looks like even LT version is $900). I'm thinking more along the lines of drafting, and less along the lines of "drag the pretty furniture across the room" type layout software.

Hope my post makes sense!
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post #2 of 8 Old 04-25-2013, 01:47 PM
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I have heard from other AutoCAD users that TurboCAD is a pretty good alternative. I haven't used it personally, but for $40, you might want to give it a try.
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post #3 of 8 Old 04-25-2013, 01:52 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spaceman View Post

I have heard from other AutoCAD users that TurboCAD is a pretty good alternative. I haven't used it personally, but for $40, you might want to give it a try.

Thanks for the recommendation. I was actually looking at Turbocad earlier today. I figure it might still have lots of power without the "overkill" that comes with Autocad.
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post #4 of 8 Old 04-25-2013, 04:39 PM
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Do you REALLY need to do framing, lighting, conduit drawings?

One of my biggest learnings from doing software development for a number of years was that documentation was best if it was 'fit for purpose' as in not too little, not too much but just right.

I've built full home theaters with nothing more than some Sketchup drawings. How? Because I work with the same contractor every time and we've been over things enough times that if I say 'the TV is going there' he can figure out the framing. Likewise if I am doing the wirepull a line drawing on top of an architect's plans is sufficient.

Now if someone else was doing the work then obviously the level of documentation would need to be much greater. More documentation = more cost. I always ask myself 'what level of documentation is right for THIS project' and then tailor my deliverables to that.

IMO some of the theater companies will go way overboard on documentation and it still won't be built as they designed it. If that's the case did they put their time - and the client's money - in the right place?

Master of Minions, Acoustic Frontiers. We specialize in the design and creation of high performance listening rooms, home theaters and project studios for discerning audio/video enthusiasts.
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post #5 of 8 Old 04-25-2013, 04:46 PM - Thread Starter
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Need to? No. Want to so some? Yes.

But I didn't start this thread to debate what value others place on planning or lack thereof.

I'm not a commercial builder so who cares how much time I chose to invest in designing or estimating materials for that matter. I was merely looking for input on what software might fit better than a free product that has some limitations.
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post #6 of 8 Old 04-25-2013, 05:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by homeav View Post

Need to? No. Want to so some? Yes.

But I didn't start this thread to debate what value others place on planning or lack thereof.

I'm not a commercial builder so who cares how much time I chose to invest in designing or estimating materials for that matter. I was merely looking for input on what software might fit better than a free product that has some limitations.

AutoCAD is the gold standard. Some people are using REVIT also. Both have a pretty steep learning curve compared to Sketchup

Master of Minions, Acoustic Frontiers. We specialize in the design and creation of high performance listening rooms, home theaters and project studios for discerning audio/video enthusiasts.
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post #7 of 8 Old 04-25-2013, 05:56 PM
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Check out www.draftsight.com.

It's a "clean room" knockoff of AutoCAD LT from Dassault Systems (Catia, SolidWorks). FREE with no restrictions. FREE even for commercial use. Highly recommended if you need AutoCAD functionality and don't want to spend any money.

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post #8 of 8 Old 04-25-2013, 06:31 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the comments guys, I appreciate it.

Nyal - thanks for the "warning" about the learning curve. I've heard it's pretty steep. That's the one thing that's hard to beat about Sketchup is how intuitive and easy to use it is. Hopefully Trimble won't screw it up, since they've purchased it from Google.

I'm checking out Draft Sight now..
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