Editor’s Note: Are you attractive for the latest adaptation of Cadalyst’s adviser to chargeless CAD tools? Click actuality to download the 2018 archetype of Fabulous Freebies for CAD Users!
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“Free is a actual acceptable price!”
Long-time association of Portland, Oregon, apperceive and adulation this addictive byword from the low-budget television commercials of Tom Peterson. A home accoutrement banker who became such an figure that Gus Van Sant casting him in movies, Peterson absorbed barter to his food with every affectionate of chargeless imaginable, from hot dogs and haircuts to wrapping cardboard and breadth rugs.
Nearly every American association has had its own adaptation of Tom Peterson at one time or another, that blatant bounded banker who broke the business adeptness of “Free!” Fast-forward to the Internet age, and freebies are added accustomed than ever: chargeless Wi-Fi, chargeless e-mail accounts, chargeless screensavers, chargeless games, you name it — the options are endless. And boilerplate are the freebies bigger than in the CAD world, area no-cost tips and accoutrement are abounding — and added generally than not, decidedly practical.
If you’re acquisitive to alpha digging for abundance on your own, you can arch beeline to the “Find Your Own Fabulous Freebies” adviser at the end of this article. But award abundant freebies in the all-inclusive online angel can be a challenge. To advice you get to the absolute gems that will accomplish your job easier, we asked Cadalyst readers to acquaint us about the freebies they can’t alive without. Those who submitted a admired chargeless that was alleged for advertisement will be awarded a award-winning from the Cadalyst Store.
We allotment anniversary of these accoutrement based on the recommendations we accustomed from Cadalyst readers and contributors. Editors accept not activated anniversary apparatus extensively; we breathing you to appraise options according to your own needs. Be abiding to analysis licensing agreements afore downloading to ensure that you can accede with the agreement of use. Some sites crave that users accommodate acquaintance or added claimed advice in barter for chargeless tools; others advance a baby donation.
Now, let’s get to the chargeless stuff!
CAD adeptness be your primary software, but CAD managers and users akin alarm on a array of general-purpose software to get their jobs done, including accoutrement to accomplish PDFs, catechumen units, and actualize videos and awning captures. The afterward chargeless accoutrement are amid the best, according to our readers.
PDF Converters. Chris Harris recommends PDFCreator. “It offers encryption for security, the adeptness to digitally assurance documents, stamping, [and abundant more]. My admired affection though, is the adeptness to actualize JPEG, PNG, TIFF, BMP, and added formats from a affairs or an absolute PDF. Plus, all these settings can be adored into profiles for accessible switching.”
“PDF995 is my admired freebie,” appear Sharla Livingston. “It is the easiest PDF architect I’ve used.” The chargeless adaptation displays a sponsor folio in your web browser anniversary time you run the software; advancement for $9.95.
A accustomed chargeless that’s been about for years is CutePDF Writer. Use it with around any Windows appliance to actualize affection PDFs. Clairvoyant Marga Io said, “I could not survive a CAD banal afterwards this tool. It saves cardboard too!”
PDFescape is a chargeless PDF reader, editor, anatomy filler, and anatomy artist that you use online, sidestepping any software installation. Viranjith Tilakaratne said, “The free, nonregistered adaptation is a actual able tool, agnate to Adobe Acrobat Pro.”
Go Pro. For added actualization at a price, barter up to the able adaptation of a chargeless or analysis out articles from companies including Adobe, Bluebeam, Cadzation, Informative Graphics, and Quadrispace.
Unit Converters. Chris Micallef recommends ESBUnit-Conv. “It can be installed as a Windows account or as a stand-alone affairs for disposable USB drives.” For $19, the Pro adaptation offers added features.
“I use a chic appliance alleged Catechumen that I accumulate on my desktop and use every day,” wrote analysis artisan Paul D. Werbicky, the aboriginal of a few readers to advance the tool. Catechumen is configurable to your preferences, and you can actualize your own conversions by appliance a Custom tab. It runs on Windows, Linux, and UNIX.
Cadalyst accidental editor Scott MacKenzie goes to CompliCad, a antecedent of CAD and architectonics advice clay (BIM) tools, which he calls his “favorite web armpit for CAD assemblage conversion.”
Go Pro. For added actualization at a price, barter up to the able adaptation of a chargeless or analysis out articles from companies including Invent Bigger and Mathsoft.
File and Argument Utilities. Cadalyst accidental editors Paul Aubin and Melanie Perry use ReNamer for accumulation book renaming. Baddest your files or folders, add and configure rules for the changes, examination your changes, afresh execute. “Love this product,” said Aubin. It is free, but donations are accepted.
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CKRename additionally performs accumulation file-renaming operations, such as sequentially renaming files, alteration book extensions, alteration case, and assuming cord substitutions. Guy Dow said, “AutoCAD, Adobe, FinePrint, and all the added PDF drivers I’ve looked at consistently attach the DWG blueprint name or Model(1) (or article similar) to the PDF book name. With CKRename, I can band out all of the accidental words in the book names that I don’t want.” (Available from assorted sources; chase for “CKRename” appliance any chase engine.)
Melanie Perry additionally brand Ditto, a clipboard manager. “I can archetype abounding pieces of advice at once, afresh adhesive them at my leisure. No flipping aback and alternating amid programs or files. You can alike do a quick-and-easy chase through the capacity of accomplished clips.”
Can’t acquisition a file? Ken Goldstein told us about Everything. “This account does one affair very, actual well, which is to acquisition files and folders by name as bound as you can type.” Unlike the accepted Windows search, this freeware apparatus initially displays every book and binder on your computer. Donations are accepted for bartering use.
Go Pro. For added actualization at a price, barter up to the able adaptation of a chargeless or analysis out articles from companies including Cadac, Motive Systems, and Trix Systems.
Imaging Tools. Oded Cohen was the aboriginal to acclaim Snagit, a accustomed apparatus for creating awning captures. “This abundant software apparatus is so accessible to acquaint ideas, issues, or problems that you accept with your software. You can save the awning from AutoCAD, afresh highlight, label, and redline issues that you accept with architectonics DWGs and accelerate to your engineering administration or your CAD manager. I use it all the time, and I adulation it.”
Lori Dankovic brand IrfanView. “I put calm training manuals, and this software allows me to bound abduction the awning image, crop the angel as necessary, recopy the image, and adhesive into a certificate — all in a amount of seconds.” It is chargeless for noncommercial use, and $12 for bartering use.
“Gadwin PrintScreen is my admired appliance for capturing awning images,” said accidental editor Melanie Perry. The freeware account lets you abduction aloof the allocation of a awning that you specify — actual accessible for users who accept multimonitor setups.
For photo alteration that’s a little added able-bodied than MS Paint, Perry uses Paint.NET. “It supports assorted book types, layers, and appropriate furnishings and does appealing abundant aggregate I charge an angel editor to do. It does not handle huge TIFF scans well, but luckily I don’t accept to use those generally in my work.”
Go Pro. For added actualization at a price, barter up to the able adaptation of a chargeless or analysis out articles from companies including Adobe, American Systems, Etecad, and Hyperionics. TechSmith’s Camtasia Studio is a accustomed best for creating awning recordings.
Following are a few added iPhone apps that are accessible at little or no cost.AEC Info. This chargeless app delivers advice accompanying to architecture, engineering, and construction, including news, marketing, law, and blooming architectonics topics. Sources accommodate Architectural Record, Builder Online, and Architectonics Green.NaviCAD. Appearance the Google 3D Warehouse from your buzz for $0.99.Drawvis Free. Use this chargeless apparatus to affectation 2D DXF abstruse drawings.iPocket Draw Lite. The chargeless adaptation creates agent assets appliance solid or abject lines. Advancement for $4.99 to manage, store, or accelerate assets by e-mail as DXF or RealCADD files.REVITkeys. This app provides a account of 260 keyboard shortcuts for Autodesk Revit Architectonics 2010, abiding in 14 categories, for $0.99.iTracer. This adaptable 3D ray tracer builds abounding 3D scenes and renders images from any accustomed viewpoint. Consign the 3D scene, including all models, materials, lights, and camera by e-mail for $2.99.
Do you ambition you could change AutoCAD aloof a little to accomplish it bigger ill-fitted to your needs? You can, of advance — and apparently afterwards aperture your wallet.
Tools for AutoCAD. “Not alone do we use DWGgateway,” wrote Alan Harmon, “but I advance it for all our consultants aback the accepted botheration of not accepting the accordant CAD archetype occurs. We haven’t upgraded our CAD systems aback 2005, but aback addition sends me a CAD book from any year afterwards that, I aloof accessible it up with DWGgateway and save it with my earlier version.”
MDITabs from Autodesk — a apparatus that lets you see and bound cross accessible AutoCAD assets in a alternation of tabs alternating the top of the cartoon window — is a admired of Rodney Lee. You can acquisition a articulation to the chargeless download on Shaan Hurley’s blog: Go to autodesk.blogs.com and access “MDITabs” in the Chase field.
“I assignment for the State of California, and best of us use assorted versions of DocBar,” said Cindy Dangles. “It sets up tabs for accessible AutoCAD documents. I like it bigger than the taskbar option, as I can set it to additionally aisle to accessible the templates or abutting them all at already or save them all at once. I can accumulate the designers on our accepted standards.”
Vladislav Bronin submitted three freebies he has acclimated with AutoCAD for the accomplished bristles years. Cadig TableBar makes alive with tables accessible and user-friendly, and it lets you save table templates for reuse. Contempo from DotSoft adds a pull-down account that shows the aftermost 26 DWG files opened. And although the iComTools web armpit is in Korean, its iDwgTab chargeless is accessible in English. This chargeless lets you adapt accessible files in the adjustment you wish, actualize a account of admired drawings, run accumulation book commands, and abundant more.
Cadalyst accidental editor R.K. McSwain, columnist of the accustomed “Hot Tip Harry” alternation and Hot Tip Harry Discussion Forum moderator, recommended DWG-icon.dll. “It’s affectionate of old, but afresh again, there are a lot of bodies appliance earlier versions of AutoCAD. It’s a carapace addendum for Windows that uses altered icons for DWG files displayed in Windows Explorer, depending on the DWG version.”
Captain LearnCurve (aka Cadalyst accidental editor Bill Fane) recommended his “Learning Curve” alternation of AutoCAD tutorials, as able-bodied as the “Circles and Lines” AutoCAD tutorials by Lynn Allen. Both are appear by Cadalyst, aloof two of abounding chargeless tutorial alternation for a cardinal of CAD software systems, including Autodesk Inventor, Civil 3D, and Map 3D; SolidWorks; and more.
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And alert a month, Cadalyst publishes a new AutoCAD video tip by Lynn Allen. These quick and accessible options for maximizing AutoCAD abundance are archived in the Cadalyst Video Gallery.
LISP. Area there’s AutoCAD, there’s chargeless AutoLISP to accomplish activity easier. And if a assertive accepted doesn’t do the ambush for you, undertake an Internet chase to acquisition what you need.
What is AutoLISP, and how do you use it? Bill Fane’s chargeless classic, “Learning to LISP,” leads the way. While you’re learning, adhere out on Cadalyst’s Hot Tip Harry Discussion Forum for chargeless advice and support.
Cadalyst’s own CAD Tips armpit is one of the best all-encompassing sources of chargeless LISP cipher (plus some VBA code, bear patterns, and accepted tips for AutoCAD and added software). It is home to bags of tips that are searchable by keyword, columnist name, book name, and more. Browse tips by category, afresh posted, best downloaded, or best awful rated.
Among the best frequently downloaded freebies on the armpit is AIA Accepted Layers by Mike Stachulak. This account aids architects who actualize cartoon layers according to the 1997 AIA CAD Band Guidelines. Additionally accustomed is Actualize Custom Linetype by Ron Perez, an AutoLISP accepted that automates the accomplish bare to accomplish a custom linetype with anchored characters.
Readers beatific several of their favorites from the CAD Tips site. Access the tip appellation in the Chase acreage to locate any of these tips.
Jeff Plourde said he can’t do afterwards Al’s Breathing Mill, by Al Rogers, which draws all types of breathing shapes in 2D and 3D. Chase for Breathing Shapes All Types and Sizes.
Jennifer Grande echoed the affect about Breathing Shapes All Types and Sizes, adage “This is my best admired tool,” and aggregate a few others she uses about every day. “I’ve been appliance Assorted Offsets by Joon Hong aback it was aboriginal printed in Cadalyst magazine. It allows you to change the account ambit midstream, afterwards departure and restarting the command. Aught Ambit Bandage by Paul Herman is absolute for squaring up corners or aloof authoritative curve accommodated afterwards alteration your stored bandage radius. Scott Cunningham’s Lock Layers makes it accessible to abstract layers afterwards freezing them like Layiso does (so you can still see them). The added accepted in this tip is alike added advantageous because you can use it alike if you bound layers manually. Finally, Account Band by Will DeLoach lets you draw the centermost band aboriginal and account it to either ancillary at already with the advantage to accumulate or annul the centermost band — actual handy.”
You’ll acquisition a array of chargeless AutoLISP cipher above the CAD Tips site, including the afterward favorites:
Frequent Cadalyst tip contributor Len Nemirovsky says he can’t alive afterwards DDshapes, a accepted by Albert Botton that automates breathing actualization drawing.
Mike Hitt wrote, “John L. Merrick III of Covington, Louisiana, has the best chargeless programs I accept found. My admired is the Welded Flange program,” an AutoLISP chat box–driven command that constructs 2D and 3D brim bond flanges.
Tony Sparks gave a accede to MyGEARilla (formerly accepted as Hobmaster), by Leonard R. Miller. According to the web site, this LISP affairs “enables the user to draw 2D anfractuous activation accessory teeth absolutely how they’re fabricated by graphically assuming the breeding process.”
Cadalyst accidental editor Scott MacKenzie appropriate CRCWeb as a acceptable antecedent of chargeless LISP code. Aforetime hosted by the CAD Resource Centermost of Canada, the armpit is now abeyant but offers a abundant accord of archived content.
Contributing editor Melanie Perry provided her account of LISP favorites. FIXBLOCK.LSP redefines all or alleged blocks so all entities are on band 0 (zero), with blush BYBLOCK. “Prior to AutoCAD’s addition of the SetBylayer command in adaptation 2008, I acclimated this chargeless affairs from Owen Wengerd constantly.” And JTB_TITLE-BAR.LSP by Jimmy Bergmark is fun, acceptance you to change AutoCAD’s appellation bar. Analysis out TXTEXPRT.LSP, which exports argument altar from a cartoon to a TXT book (“in my case, a brace of hundred allowance numbers”) and abounding other, added agitative LISP routines. Finally, Perry’s blog outlines how Adam Wuellner came to the accomplishment with a accepted to alter the Baddest Agnate command that went missing from AutoCAD Map 3D a few years back. Go to mistressofthedorkness.blogspot.com and chase for “Wuellner.”
Disk defrag. Clean abode appliance Smart Defrag, “a abundant chargeless deejay defrag utility.”
Video capture. Record and allotment video for training and added appliance Jing.
Anti-malware. Wipe out a computer virus with Green’s recommended anti-malware solution.
And CAD managers, don’t balloon the Cadalyst Criterion Test, sponsored by Intel, for testing the achievement of computers active AutoCAD.
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1st Appraisement offers chargeless toolkits for some versions of AutoCAD (standard, Architecture, and Map), Revit Architecture, and TurboCAD that acquiesce users to baddest commercially accessible windows and doors to admit anon into CAD drawings. Articles and allusive appraisement advice are listed in a schedule.
The ARCAT web armpit is brimming of chargeless assets for BIM users, including CAD capacity from 10,500 manufacturers, hundreds of BIM altar developed by ARCAT experts, specifications, and wizards.
Sketching and Visualization
SketchUp is Google’s accustomed and chargeless 3D abstraction and clay apparatus for Windows and Mac.
Blender is a popular, open-source apartment of 3D agreeable conception accoutrement for modeling, shading, animation, rendering, alternate 3D applications, and more, accessible for all above operating systems.
Kelly Lasse recommended LuxRender, addition open-source renderer. “It is advised to accomplish physically authentic actualization and astute lighting for CG [computer-generated] imagery. There are exporters for best of the above DCC [digital-content creation] apps.”
Go Pro. For added actualization at a price, barter up to the able adaptation of a chargeless or analysis out articles from companies including AutoDesSys, Autodesk, Caligari, Luxology, Okino Computer Graphics, and Robert McNeel & Associates.
Find Your Own Fabulous Freebies
Numerous online assets action chargeless software accoutrement for aloof about every CAD-related assignment imaginable. If your CAD workflow needs improvement, affairs are there’s a chargeless apparatus to help. Try a accepted Internet chase (steering bright of sites you don’t trust) or arch to some of the abundant stockpiles of freeware. Actuality we account a few of those for browsing and a sampling of the freebies they offer.
The software from Autodesk Labs is still in development, but it’s austere technology that won’t amount you a cent. Be abiding to analysis the agreement of use.
An accustomed armpit that reportedly evaluates every apparatus it offers, Brothersoft is a accumulating of freeware and shareware accoutrement and amateur for Windows, Mac, adaptable devices, and more. Actuality we present a few CAD-related freebies. Blazon a appellation from the account beneath in the Chase field.
This armpit hosted by CNET holds amaranthine freebies (and non-freebies) for every appliance beneath the sun, for Windows, Mac, and adaptable platforms. Actuality are a few favorites for CAD-related use. Access the name of your adapted class or apparatus of best in the Chase field.
This chargeless armpit from TenLinks comprised 841 CAD freebies in 18 categories at the time of this writing, including architectural, CAE, EDA (electronic architecture automation), MCAD, viewers, and more. Lists can be sorted by top programs, best downloads, and what’s new. The afterward are amid the best contempo additions to the site:
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XANADU is an Autodesk Premier Solutions Provider, Microsoft Gold Partner, and HP Preferred Gold Partner based in the Czech Republic. It offers solutions and casework in the areas of CAD, GIS, IT infrastructure, and software development. The company’s web armpit holds a compensation of chargeless tips and accoutrement for Autodesk products. The afterward is a sampling of the best accustomed offerings:
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