Help! I've been drafted!
January 27, 2009 1:45 PM   Subscribe

Help me find 2d drafting/layout software! Also, I'm new to this!

Need to design layout of a 6,000 ft2 open building for my new store. A9CAD and CadStd and sketchup aren't what I'm looking for---more of pressing the "wall" button and the "window" button and telling it how big they are and less actual drafting.

I need to draw the building to scale and then layout store departments, maybe show where shelves will go, etc. I need to be able to export to jpg/gif or .pdf.

Free is pretty necessary. I know, I know.

Let me have it!
posted by TomMelee to Computers & Internet (9 answers total)
I know you said free, but please reconsider working with a design professional. Even a student would be able to draw the level of detail you are probably looking for, at a reasonable cost.

what are you intending to use it for? I imagine you will eventually be taking these drawings to a designer or contractor, but if it's just for a presentation or something, precision is not so important. Some flowchart/2D drawing programs can sorta do this stuff, but it's not exactly the same quality as the real thing. We get sketches like this from clients sometimes, and we always start over from scratch.

AFAIK, there is no free software to do this. You are looking at something like Revit/ArchiCAD (professional grade) or 3D Home Architect (cheesy and cheap, but will get the job done). Also, please don't ever export a line drawing to jpg. PDF is ok.
posted by Chris4d at 3:41 PM on January 27, 2009

actually, I remember fiddling with SmartDraw at one point, and I think they have some sort of room layout features. Says free download, I dunno if it's crippleware or a time-limited trial or what. Anyway, best of luck.
posted by Chris4d at 3:53 PM on January 27, 2009

No, not going to a contractor. It's going to other people at our NPO to say "SEE LOOK FURNITURE GOES HERE" and "There is space here for the door display." Etc.

We're not talking crazy buildout here, we're talking general layout/hey you volunteer dump this stuff over there.
posted by TomMelee at 4:42 PM on January 27, 2009

Powerpoint and Visio can do this kind of thing. The "snap to grid" functionality can be surprisingly useful for rough-scale drawings like you are talking about. Those aren't free but common enough that they might be considered free.
posted by KevCed at 6:13 PM on January 27, 2009

I used Vizio last time, thus far it's looking like the winner. It does some funny things with lengths and showing them---but it works. I was kind of thinking like one of the pieces of software they used to sell at Lowe's or w/e, maybe they still do. Thanks.
posted by TomMelee at 6:16 PM on January 27, 2009

You could do this with Google Sketchup (free) -- it's really more designed for 3D work, and a lot (all?) of the components that are available will be 3D objects, but you can turn off "perspective" view and look at it top-down and it will do a pretty good job.

If you have a bunch of furniture in odd dimensions, it is easy to draw it in 2D, throw some label text on it, select everything, hit CTRL-G to group it, and then easily drag/rotate that around your space.
posted by misterbrandt at 7:43 PM on January 27, 2009

On re-read, I see you already rejected Sketchup. Sorry. But if you are willing to try Vizio, more power to you.
posted by misterbrandt at 7:52 PM on January 27, 2009

Have you even given SketchUp a shot? You can learn how to use it in less than an hour. You can also head to your local art store to pick up a drafting scale for a couple of bucks and draw it by hand. That would be a lot easier than trying to obtain a drafting program and learning the software.
posted by comatose at 11:45 PM on January 27, 2009

You might want to try Envisioneer Express. It looks like it can do this kind of quick layout work (simple drafting, insert window/door, etc.). I believe it's also made by the same company that sells 3D Home Architect. However, the free version doesn't include text or dimension tools, so if you need those, you'll have to look for something else.
posted by steadystate at 2:28 PM on January 28, 2009

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