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CAD software for designing buildings


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  • RMweb Gold

Hi Stuart,

Sketchup is beautiful for 3D work.

If you are still interested in 2D design, you might consider one of the versions of Xara Designer. It’s a fully featured drawing program that can mix vectors with photos and textures. In the same vein as Corel Draw, Inkscape, Affinity Designer and Illustrator. It’s British made with UK support.

It is designed to be intuitive, like Sketchup. Easier to use than Inkscape and cheaper than Illustrator or CorelDraw. (And it does have layers.)


Full disclosure: I’ve worked on the team writing it for the past 20+ years. (It’s a real shame that it doesn’t get automatically mentioned along with the others.)

I use it for all my railway drawings (check out the album link in my signature), plans, baseboard construction, details and I actually used it to design my house, shed and garden...!


It has a useful feature for modelling: A scale factor automatically applied to dimensions. So you can draw using real world dimensions and the program makes scaled down graphics. E.g. 1:10 for layout plans or 1:76 for 4mm scale models.


I created this drawing of a station building with it a few years ago - not using textures like you would want to do, but in the same ballpark.


Edited by Harlequin
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  • 2 years later...

Late to the party !


QCad is a Cad package that will import images and Gimp is an open source graphics package runs on most operating systems. Both are free, although Qcad can be purchased for useful addons. The Qcad try before buy is versatile enough to deal with a lot of bits and pieces.


Gimp’s Printing is poor, the work around is to export image as a pdf  and print the pdf to scale on your printer settings.



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