Free/Low Cost CAD Programs

soundlight

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Oct 27, 2005
Location
NJ & NYC
I'm looking for the best free CAD program/download out there for doing templates for lighting for my auditorium, as well as make up some basic "blueprints" for the auditorium, because the original ones were lost. The drama teacher and the principal spent a few hours looking through the records room, but they found nothing.

I've got this one right now: CadStd Lite

Anyone found any trial editions/free downloads that are pretty good for basic CAD design? I would like it to have a relatively easy learning curve, if possible...

As I will be going to college in tech theater next year (I got in to Bucknell!!!!), I would like to also find a low-price CAD program (with lighting/theater emphasis) that has native DXF Format to purchase for college.
 

Radman

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Apr 9, 2004
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Franklin, TN
Well at AcademicSuperstore.com, you can get VectorWorks or AutoCAD for $160-ish. Maybe that's within your price range. Student discounts are insane like that sometimes.
 

soundlight

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Oct 27, 2005
Location
NJ & NYC
That'll probably work when I get to college and the parents decide that I need it, but for now, I'm stuck with the free stuff.
 

len

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Oct 23, 2004
Location
Chicagoland
There's a program called Microlux which does a few of the things you might be interested in. The free version is called lite.
 

moojoe

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Sep 25, 2004
Location
merion, PA
just so your aware for future when you will make a purchase, WYSIWYG is like $115 for the report version with your student discount.
 

dvsDave

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The learning curve is going to mostly be affected by the amount of time you have to play with the software, your aptitude for learning new software, and the quality of the training materials (built in help menu, third-party book, etc)

I would recommend finding a textbook for learning CAD. If you can swing AutoCAD with an academic discount, the textbooks for AutoCad simply are the highest quality of any that I've seen. You may also want to contact Bucknell and see what they use... that should simplify your decision ;)
 

soundlight

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Oct 27, 2005
Location
NJ & NYC
Bucknell runs VectorWorks and AutoCAD, as far as I know, and they have a specific CAD lab just for theater students working on projects.
 

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most schools have a "cad lab" that is used for both hand drafting (yes you will have to do it) and CAD, and sometimes is used as a design lab as well.... but haveing CAD on your computer is a really good idea so you can work in your room and in whatever space you are in...
 

soundlight

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Oct 27, 2005
Location
NJ & NYC
Yeah. The lab is the Theater Design Lab, and it has computers for CAD drafting and sound editing and drafting tables for hand drafting. Ironically, I find a certain satisfaction in had drafting. I've got a whole bunch of cheap plastic drafting tools, but they work, and that's what I've been doing my light plots on.
 

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soundlight said:
Yeah. The lab is the Theater Design Lab, and it has computers for CAD drafting and sound editing and drafting tables for hand drafting. Ironically, I find a certain satisfaction in had drafting. I've got a whole bunch of cheap plastic drafting tools, but they work, and that's what I've been doing my light plots on.
You will find alot of people still do hand draft... especially set designers... most lighting people use vectorworks because it works well with lightwright.... most technical directors use autoCAD.... i personaly hate it when someone gives me a hand drafted plot to hang because i cant make nice hang cards w/o having to re draft it... but all drafting is for is to convey information... and if your hand drafting does that and you are comfortable doing it then keep on doing it