My employer won't spring for Autocad - can you help me work around that?
August 23, 2007 8:47 AM   Subscribe

I need to edit 2D .dwg files without spending any money on software. Is this possible?

I have several 2D drawings in .DWG format that I would like to be able to edit. These are line drawings - actually P&IDs (Piping and Instrumentation Diagrams) that I could have easily made in almost any paint program. Basically they are just a collection of 11x17 blueprints that show pipes and valves to aid maintenance personnel.

Unfortunately I am stuck with the DWG format because these drawings are used by other people with access to AutoCad.

Ideally, I would like to be able to save these drawings a PDF files as well.

Any suggestions? I would be happy to send someone a sample drawing if they need more info.
posted by revbrian to Computers & Internet (5 answers total)
You should be able to find a dwg to svg converter easily on Google. Then download Inkscape and use that to open and edit the file. Inkscape can also create PDF files. Any changes you make can be saved as a DXF which can be opened in Autocad.
posted by JJ86 at 8:55 AM on August 23, 2007

The Linux Drawing Viewer should be able to get you going. Yeah, it says Linux, but there is now a Windows version. Convert to SVG then use InkScape like JJ86 suggested.
posted by cog_nate at 9:19 AM on August 23, 2007

You need to get them out of the DWG format into something more portable first, so if it's the newest AutoCAD that they were made with you are going to need to get them to an earlier format. So you could use AutoCAD trueconvert to get them to an earlier DWG format that is easier for free CAD programs to work with.

For cad software, you could try A9 cad. I've only used it lightly, I can testify for it's usefulness. For a more robust CAD editing environment, try ProgeCAD - they have a 30 day free trial.

And after you get them there you can convert it to a dxf and print it with a PDF printer driver.


Alternately another route you could take is printing it to PDF immediately from the DWG with DWG TrueView and opening it with a PDF editing program that will let you move the lines around.
posted by __ at 9:27 AM on August 23, 2007

I second everything __ said. I'd add that handing over a .dxf file because you don't use AutoCAD feels more professional than handing over a .dwg file that AutoCAD will immediately the user "er, this was't created in AutoCAD, are you sure you want to open it?"

If you can't get the conversion to work, and assuming this is a one off, you can mail the drawings to the email in my profile and I'll convert them for you, though I won't be at an AutoCAD terminal for another 15 hours or so.
posted by nthdegx at 10:34 AM on August 23, 2007

Also if this is a one off you can download a 30 day trial version of AutoCAD. Learning curve is pretty steep though if you don't know AutoCAD or at least a similar level package.
posted by Mitheral at 12:44 PM on August 23, 2007

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