View Full Version : Suggestions for Simple Drawing Program

08-16-2010, 04:03 PM
Today, when I read a recent post by Byron Boucher regarding drawings of projects an old question came to mind. Currently, I use pencil, paper, ruler & template to make drawings of the simple projects I undertake. While I am amazed at the incredible displays produced by many here with 3D Cad programs and even 2D programs I must admit that I am either too lazy or too computer illiterate to learn the intricacies of these terrific tools. So, with that in mind can anyone suggest a simple, low cost, easy to use computer program that can be used in place of my current old school sketch methods. Basically I just want to be able to draw simple shapes and include dimensions so when I take the drawing to the shop I can work from it. The goal would be to have a neater drawing that I currently use with the ability to store it digitally and have it take no more time than I currently spend to draw using my old school methods. I have attempted to use the Paint program included with Windows but find it extremely lacking for what I have in mind.
Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks!

08-16-2010, 04:13 PM
A program that was originally designed for the Amiga that runs on windoze and is intuitive and is easy to use is called "page stream". Although originally designed as a desk top editing program it is easy to draw with. You can demo it, go to grasshopperllc.com

Mike Burdick
08-16-2010, 04:20 PM
I use AutoCAD but Sketchup isn't too bad for a free program...

Here's a link for the download:


08-16-2010, 04:43 PM
All I have now is google Sketchup.its fine. the price is right.

wow firbikrhd1 has been a member a long time.

08-16-2010, 05:13 PM
"Doublecad" is another freebie that you can download. It is designed to be a sort of Autocad LT clone.

08-16-2010, 06:30 PM
I decided to give sketchup a try, and found this page of very simple explanations of how to use it and I found the video's effective enough to get me started playing and not frustrated.


08-16-2010, 06:35 PM
back in the 90's i used to use a program called drafix to create 2d drawings as dxf files to cross load to cnc machinery. the program was later bought by autodesk and renamed autosketch. the current version is $250, but just a few months ago i bought the previous version from an ebay seller for $29 + $3 shipping. it works just as i remember and i find it easier to use than an autocad (or clone). it appears that there are still several for sale in the $30~ish range on ebay.

08-16-2010, 07:17 PM
I use Delta Cad, $39.95 from this link:

Delta Cad (http://www.deltacad.com/)

Relatively intuitive, even after not using it for quite some time I can pick it up a draw something. I've never been able to devote enough time to learn Autocad.


loose nut
08-16-2010, 07:51 PM
There is no such thing as a easy drawing program. It is a learned skill just like anything else including drawing with paper and pencil just takes a bit of reading.

Your Old Dog
08-16-2010, 08:26 PM
I've been trying to learn ViaCAd. I have version 6 but there is a version 7 available for $79.00


08-16-2010, 08:36 PM
Unfortunately the free version of Google Sketchup has some limitations. One the bad ones for machining work is the free one doesn't export in the .dxf format, only the paid one does. This is too bad because most CAM programs used for machining read in .dxf format files.

However there is a free plug-in available for the free version of Sketchup that outputs files in the .dxf format, its available here:


I was able to use it to import machining outlines into the SheetCAM CAM program.

Paul T.

08-16-2010, 08:51 PM
I use the free version of progeCAD, available here: http://www.progesoft.com/en/smart-2009

Its user interface is similar to AutoCAD LT. It has a learning curve, but once you get past that I think it's pretty good.

08-16-2010, 11:45 PM
For 2D work:
qcad community edition - free
qcad pro $35
CAM expert (QCAD with 2.5D CAM output): $207

Cross platform. Linux, Mac OS X, Solaris, FreeBSD, Windoze
All versions use DXF as their native file format.

ubuntu/debian linux users: apt-get install qcad
Community edition windoze: http://sourceforge.net/projects/qcadbin-win/

Paul Alciatore
08-17-2010, 12:19 AM
I have used EasyCAD and then FastCAD from Evolution Computing for years. Both are quite easy to learn and can do most 2D work. They have a new version that is supposed to be 3D but I haven't tried it. I believe it does do .dxf files.

One of the primary reasons why I am so loyal to them is that they have a web site much like this one, but the head programmer is always present there. I have seen him post updates to the program the very next day after someone brought up a problem. The VERY NEXT DAY!

Programmers who actually listen to the users. You can't get that kind of service anywhere else in the computer industry. Not anywhere!

08-17-2010, 09:25 AM
Wow, lots of choices! Thank you to everyone who has responded. Since I tend to be "thrifty" I'll download the free ones first and see how they work out. If I find them too tedious I may have a go at one of the others. I am inclined to believe what "loose nut" says regarding ease of learning. I guess, like everything else, it's a skill set that has to be mastered. Were I computer gamer it might be easier to do just that, but I am more of a hands on guy and prefer being active so this will require some determination on my part.
Thanks again everyone.

loose nut
08-18-2010, 09:22 AM
Don't start out with the "I can't do it" mentality. Complicated Cad programs are made up of a lot of very simple commands. Just take it one step at a time and you can do it.