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Thread: Suggestions for Simple Drawing Program

  1. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Brisbane, CA


    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.

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2001


    I use the free version of progeCAD, available here:

    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.
    Try to make a living, not a killing. -- Utah Phillips
    Don't believe everything you know. -- Bumper sticker
    Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects. -- Will Rogers
    There are lots of people who mistake their imagination for their memory. - Josh Billings
    Law of Logical Argument - Anything is possible if you don't know what you are talking about.

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Charlottesville, VA, USA


    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:

  4. #14
    Join Date
    May 2002
    SE Texas


    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!
    Paul A.

    Make it fit.
    You can't win and there is a penalty for trying!

  5. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    South Florida and NC


    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.

  6. #16
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Southwestern Ontario, Canada


    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.

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