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Free "Ghetto"-CAD programs

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by CavezziMagnum, Oct 3, 2008.

  1. CavezziMagnum

    CavezziMagnum Member

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    I have become more and more frustrated.

    In my industry, Event Lighting and Production, most people use AutoCad or whatever free "ghetto-CAD" they can find. PartyCad is a popular choice. And even though I import everything into VW (I have 12.5), I can't always manipulate what I want because of the bugs and random "crud" that these knock-off CADs use. Anybody else have this problem? and if so...any solutions?
     
  2. len

    len Well-Known Member

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    Re: Free %26quot%3BGhetto%26quot%3B-CAD programs

    First, I would be cautious how I used the word "ghetto." ghetto definition |Dictionary.com Some might take offense.

    Second, stop expecting free/cheap-ware to do the job of a product with a higher price tag. You wouldn't expect Ferrari performance out of a Hyundai. If you want premium performance, you need to part with premium dollars.
     
  3. zac850

    zac850 Well-Known Member

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    Re: Free %26quot%3BGhetto%26quot%3B-CAD programs

    It seems the question isn't "how can I get a wonderful CAD program for free" but "someone sent me this file that doesn't work as well, does anyone have any hints for getting VectorWorks to play nicer with it".

    I know there have been a lot of threads about free CAD programs, and they sometimes get tedious after a while, so I wanted to emphasize that this thread isn't about that.

    I don't have any solutions though. Sorry.
     
  4. CavezziMagnum

    CavezziMagnum Member

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    Re: Free %26quot%3BGhetto%26quot%3B-CAD programs

    Maybe I wasn't clear.

    I own a copy of Vectorworks 12.5. I constantly get .dwg or .dxf files, that I import into VW.

    The people I get these files from do not use VW or AutoCad for that matter. The free cad programs I have heard of PartyCad, Google SketchUp, etc.

    My problem is that when I do import these files, usually it is not complete, and when I try to manipulate an object within the drawing, I can't because of the attributes associated from these free cad programs.

    Has anyone else come across any issues like this? Where a free Cad software encoding does not translate into VW, and if so, do you have any solutions?

    Sorry if there was any confusion.
     
  5. naharnahekim

    naharnahekim Member

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    Re: Free %26quot%3BGhetto%26quot%3B-CAD programs

    I have in fact run into this problem, and it is obnoxious, especially when instruments get imported not as instruments, or even symbols, but as lines.

    I've only worked in vectorworks, so I've not tried this my self, but if you can get a copy of the freeware, perhaps you can open the file, export the instrument data, then import it into vectorworks. As I said I've not tried this, I usually just replot everything on a new layer, but it may work.
     
  6. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Re: Free %26quot%3BGhetto%26quot%3B-CAD programs

    This is an issue that I know of no way around and it sort of goes right to the heart of how these programs are intended to work. Remember the basic rule of computing? " Garbage In, Garbage Out." It's not, inherently, that these, "other programs suck" it's more that Vectorworks is looking for specific data that these other programs were simply not designed to embed. SketchUp is a fine program, very powerful, easy to use and learn, and, as is stated several times throughout its documentation, not intended to be or to replace a Professional CAD or Design software. I know it's frustrating, believe me I get Vectorworks files occasionally that make me want to pull my hair out < I use AutoCAD and the imbedded info makes for some interesting artifacts sometimes.> I once got a drawing that I wound up having to select the entire drawing and hit the explode key about ten times because of the way the info was encoded and the way my translator handled it. I would love to hears others thoughts on the best programs to translate drawings. I use AnyDWG for my AutoCAD and it seems to handle most formats quite well.
    Honestly I would prefer to be able to get any electronic form of drawing as opposed to my present situation, where I still seem to get 1-2 shows a season that are hand drawn. < h sure let me be your secretary and put those all in the computer for you..... I should charge designers a special fee for doing their drafting.... Grumble mutter grumble...Oh Wait is that mic still on ? >
     
  7. soundman

    soundman Well-Known Member

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    Re: Free %26quot%3BGhetto%26quot%3B-CAD programs

    Sounds like an excellent thing to farm out to a draftsmen, an ATD, or an assistant scenic designer depending on where you can find the money for it.
     
  8. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Re: Free %26quot%3BGhetto%26quot%3B-CAD programs

    HA You said ATD ! Hahahahahahaha! Assistant ! Tech! Director! Hahahaha! Ha! Ha! Oh My ! You got me on that one! Stop it you're Killing Me!

    :rolleyes::mrgreen:

    < Assistants? You do need no Steenkin' assistancts! >
     
  9. waynehoskins

    waynehoskins Active Member

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    Re: Free %26quot%3BGhetto%26quot%3B-CAD programs

    I'm probably one of the few who actually still hand-draft their designs. In my case, I've done Autocad before, quite well in fact, but that was in college; I don't have Acad myself or good enough excuse to spend the 4K on it myself.

    I light high school theatre, you see; so a hand-drafted plot is plenty fine, and really not much worse than from Autocad.

    Part of the problem is that Acad and VW are both proprietary programs, which in the beginning were never really made to talk to each other or anybody else. In theory, DXF is a lowest-common-denominator interchange format, but usually export/import are afterthoughts: after all, anybody who's worth their salt should be using our program too, by-dangit.

    But hand-drawn plot works for me. The kids screw up the hang or the circuiting equally well from both hand-drafting and CAD.
     
  10. Grog12

    Grog12 CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Re: Free %26quot%3BGhetto%26quot%3B-CAD programs

    Get everyone to use this product.
     
    Tmeche and (deleted member) like this.
  11. cdub260

    cdub260 CBMod CB Mods

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    Re: Free %26quot%3BGhetto%26quot%3B-CAD programs

    I picked this up at LDI 2 years ago. I gave it to my TD as it seemed to fit his design style.:twisted:
     
  12. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Re: Free %26quot%3BGhetto%26quot%3B-CAD programs

    Wow ! I think I might be able to get Admin to pay for this one! Thanks for the great lead Grog! ;)
     
  13. museav

    museav CBMod CB Mods Departed Member

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    Re: Free %26quot%3BGhetto%26quot%3B-CAD programs

    I have an official NapkinCAD base drawing right here at my desk.

    I have to agree with Van, even going back and forth between AutoCAD and VectorWorks can be so much effort that after tracking the time it took to work with our client's AutoCAD files for a year, the time saved and errors avoided justified the software and hardware cost for my last employer (who was a die-hard Mac fan) to switch everyone from Macs and VW to PCs and AutoCAD LT.
     
  14. waynehoskins

    waynehoskins Active Member

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    Re: Free %26quot%3BGhetto%26quot%3B-CAD programs

    I like it.

    One of my college professors always said "the best design ideas happen at 2:00 AM and are drawn (or written) on a bar napkin".
     
  15. thorin81

    thorin81 Active Member

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    Re: Free %26quot%3BGhetto%26quot%3B-CAD programs

    Any more you can get copies of the industry standard programs (ACAD and VW) for free using the educational licencing programs from both companies. While knowing the base for where these programs comes from (hand-drawn) is useful - it is still frustrating to get a hand drawn plot that no one else can use/distribute...
     
  16. waynehoskins

    waynehoskins Active Member

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    Re: Free %26quot%3BGhetto%26quot%3B-CAD programs

    Well yes, and I'll be the first to push for ACAD/VW for guys who need to transfer the CAD file as part of their work. Back when I was in college, I ACADed everything, when I had access to the drafting lab.

    But being a freelancer who lights high school theatre, the requirements are different for me. The extent of distribution is getting a few bluelines made and handing those to the production electrician. Hand drafting works for me, and I enjoy it, so that works out.

    And the educational license is really nice, but note also that I don't qualify for it -- done with college and not an instructor -- so it's beside the point for me.
     

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