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Post 51A — Computer Aided Design – Librecad.

Sooner or later it is necessary to get your ideas “on paper”.  Scale drawings are the norm for “working the bugs out” before you actually start cutting pieces of material and sticking them together.

Scale drawings used to be done on paper using drafting boards, triangles, compasses and other accurate drawing tools.  Today that is done using Computer Aided Design, CAD, tools.   Most of the truly profession versions of that software costs thousand’s of dollars.  However, there is a very good open source (free) software that is available for many operating systems, including MAC OSX, Windows, and Linux.  Most of the drawings I have created on this site have been done using the predecessor to this software which is named LibreCAD.   On my old operating system I used some open source software named QCAD.  QCAD was open source, but it was started by a company called RibbonSoft.  RibbonSoft has decided to make future versions of the software proprietary so a “fork” developed when an Open Source community developed the old version of QCAD into LibreCAD.
LibreCAD has several improvements over the Open Source version of QCAD.  Both versions read and write to a semi-standard file format called dxf.  The reason I call dxf a semi-standard is it is controlled by AutoDesk that publishes one of the upper tier versions of CAD software called AutoCAD.  I did get burnt once making a drawing in QCAD and trying to import it into a late version of AutoCAD because AutoCAD had changed the dxf file format.

LibreCAD still has all the functions used in the old version of QCAD, but has added several enhancements.   The user screen and operation is very close to the original so my learning curve was not steep. The user controls are closer to Bentley CAD software than AutoCAD.  The software only produces 2D drawings and not 3D, but that is fine for anything done in most normal work.

The software will be a little frustrating for someone with no CAD experience at all, but I hope to produce some videos very soon to help you with the learning process.  (I just got that software up and running today.)

I highly recommend the software.

You can download it for free and read some about it at the LibreCAD site.

MAC is trademarked by Apple Corporation, Windows is trademarked by MicroSoft Corporation. AutoCAD and AutoDesk are trademarked by AutoDesk Coroporation, Bentley is trademarked by Bentley Systems, Inc.   QCAD and RibbonSoft is trademarked by RibbonSoft.
LibreCAD and Linux are copyrighted and licensed by the GPL license.


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