ProgeCAD

This is a freeware and light version of the software based on IntelliCAD. It reads and writes *.dwg files natively and has no file-size limitations like some other packages. The Pro version naturally has more features and the handling of paperspace leaves something to be desired, but all in all, you can’t complain at this price.

http://www.progecad.com/
~60 Megabytes

Another Link for OttoPDF

Bill Landskroener from the US very kindly took the trouble to write in with a new link from which you can download OttoPDF – a stand-along freeware utility that converts AutoCAD drawings to PDF files. The developer pulled the plug on the app and downloads were hard to find. Now, thanks to Bill, you have one.

http://www.freecadapps.com/

There is a site search available but it didn’t work when I tried so you’ll have to go to the Utilities section and then to the Conversion sub-section and then hunt through the pages therein.

To know more about OttoPDF, check the PDF Utilities section.

A9 Cad

A freeware 2D CAD program that supports the industry standard DWG/DXF (upto R.2000) format. It’s recently been launched by a company of the same name. It features a graphical interface that bears a remarkable similarity to popular commercial CAD software. AutoCAD command-liners will find it way too basic, but for irregular users, it could be useful. I’d recommend it for viewing, red-lining or printing of drawing files by consultants/clients who otherwise don’t have access to CAD.

http://www.a9tech.com/
~15 Megabytes

Edit: The A9 Tech site is often down these days and there are better alternatives around but if you still want to, you can get A9 CAD from c|net.

Evaluation of CADian Arch

The month long evaluation period of CADian Arch is coming to an end. My impression so far is that it has a lot of potential but still falls short on two counts:

» Lack of support for True Type fonts
» Terrible implementation of PaperSpace

I can live with the SHX fonts and even download free ones that I might like, but PaperSpace is something that you shouldn’t have to make do without.

On the other hand, it costs a fraction of the price that the market leader commands so I shouldn’t be too harsh on them. IntelliCAD – on which CADian is based, doesn’t have support for DIESEL either but, again, that is no reason to ignore it.

While the built-in architectural routines are not perfect, the overall stability of the software was decent. It did crash a couple of times, but then I was probably doing things I wasn’t meant to.

CADian Arch Demo

Today, I received an evaluation copy of CADian Arch which is a low cost drafting package based on IntelliCAD. The “Arch” part is a set of routines for architectural work. All 2-D of course.

Since it runs for 30 days, I should know in a little while whether I want to buy it or not. At first glance it seems quite good, but it will need further testing for stability and ease of use. They claim full support for lisp files and custom menus. Well, we shall have to see.

OttoPDF Found – Sort of

On the PDF page I said that I was unable to find a downloadable copy of OttoPDF anywhere on the internet. Now, thanks to a visitor from Austria and another from Canada, I can say that at least one copy is still available.

The catch? You’ll need a .NET passport (a Hotmail account would also do) because the file is hosted on an MSN group called “Ottomagic“. In all probability you will have to join this group before you can download the file.

So, now that you have the link, is it really worth going through the process? Given the fact that the software is just 615 kilobytes my own view is that it’s definitely worth a try. The one drawback with OttoPDF is, it can’t handle drawings that use TTFs (True Type Fonts) – it only works with AutoCAD’s native SHX fonts. Other than that, it’s a brilliant idea and a wonderful program.

In Search of OttoPDF

I’ve been getting a lot of hits lately from people searching for OttoPDF. This is a free standalone software that converts a *.dwg into a PDF. I was a little surprised actually, because I’ve written just a tiny review a long time ago.

Investigation revealed that MyndKryme has pulled down the freeware version and is, instead, promising a better shareware version sometime in the future. Searching the Internet for an old version to download was futile. The program has effectively vanished. So it seems that cad users everywhere were on the lookout for a downloadable – hence the traffic.

I checked the original download (from 2 years ago) and read the copyright notice which, interestingly, grants the user permission to “…use this software for any purpose, including commercial applications, and to alter it and redistribute it freely…” That makes it’s total disappearance even more difficult to fathom.

Anyway, since David McKenzie (the author of the program) obviously doesn’t want to distribute it as freeware anymore, I’m looking for alternatives to OttoPDF so that visitors to this site are not totally disappointed. Watch this space…

FelixCad Lite

Edit [2012.12.01] :: The page, and possibly the software itself, no longer exists.  For a free CAD software, you might want to look at DraftSight.

FelixCAD Lite is a fully featured entry level CAD system, with over 300 professional 2D design and drafting functions. Able to directly open drawings saved in industry standard DWG® (upto R.14), DXF® and FLX® file formats, FelixCAD LT is fast and easy to learn with user selectable FelixCAD or AutoCAD® style desktops. FelixCAD LT is free for the first 1 million users who register. They have threatened to withdraw the offer at “any time”, so if you’re at all interested, get it now. There is, naturally, a commercial version with more features.

http://www.givemepower.de/FelixCADlt.html  ~16 Megabytes