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CAD Apps

Discussion in 'iPad for Designers and Architects' started by Blackbelt, Jan 2, 2011.

  1. Blackbelt
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    Blackbelt iPad Enthusiast

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    Are there any good "CAD" Computer Aid Design apps for Ipad which supports plan drawing? If so which would you suggest?
    Thanks
  2. jkhonea
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    jkhonea iPad Fan

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    I still haven't found any I'm completely happy with. I've been hoping for one to do good as built plans so I can quit carrying my netbook to enter them. Nothing as of yet, though. :(
  3. USBill
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    USBill iPad Enthusiast

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    The App Store shows an online system from AutoDesk which says you can open files locally AFTER you have uploaded them to a free online account. I would assume you have to have a valid AutoCAD license to register. There is also something called iDesign that looks interesting. Anyone tried that?

    Back in the day a CAD desktop might have 4 megabytes of RAM, and people were able to do actual work on such a machine, but that was when the average PC had less than 1 megabyte (640k) of RAM.

    According to the iPadGuide website:
    All models of the first generation iPad have 256 MB of RAM (random access memory). This is the same amount of memory found in the iPhone 3GS.

    The RAM inside of the iPad is not removable or upgradeable. Apple has increased the amount of RAM in the iPhone 4 to 512 MB.

    So other than the fact that todays CAD files tend to be pretty large and for decent performance you want to load the whole file into memory the only limiting factor would seem to be the market for such a thing.

    I connected via Jump Desktop to a terminal server at work and loaded AutoCAD 2009 in that session and it loads fine, but I can't imagine doing any real work on a 1024x768 screen.
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2011
  4. the_john
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    the_john iPad Fan

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    For what it's worth, I was running AutoCAD 2008 full version here at home before I got out of the industry a couple months ago and my computer has a dual core 1.9Ghz processor and 2G of RAM and it still lagged in certain areas while drawing. Especially bad were the larger files. I don't see any way an iPad could handle it at all.
  5. Blackbelt
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    Blackbelt iPad Enthusiast

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    The body of the message should read:
    If you have no information on the subject matter..
  6. jkhonea
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    jkhonea iPad Fan

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    Why don't you come back to this conversation when you're done speaking out of your butt. You don't know or understand the minor extent of the program or app I am proposing. But please, tell me everything I don't know. At no point did I say a full CAD suite for the iPad. I'm quite aware that won't work, thank you. What I said, when you catch up on comphension, is an app to do simple as built drawings that can be dimensioned. If you took the time to actually look at what is available instead of running your mouth, you would see there are several CAD apps that are very close to doing what I am talking about and already dimension. This would actually be simpler than those apps. But I guess you already knew that, too, didn't you?

    The reason the app as I described hasn't been done is because there are very few CAD programs that work in the style I am referring to. Beyond that, it's only the younger architects that are starting to embrace computers and technology. Many older architects still resist it at every chance, so many developers are leery of designing narrow focus apps that may not make a lot of money.

    And by the way, my degree is a masters in information technology focusing on technology project management. I am quite aware of the capabilities of the iPad. As I am with the Mac, Windows, Android.

    But please, revel me agin with your vast knowledge of what I don't know about technological capabilities and limitations of hardware. I wait on baited breath.
  7. kyusho
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    kyusho iPF Novice

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    Have you tried the CADTouch r3 -it is fairly basic but you should check it out...
  8. Blackbelt
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    Blackbelt iPad Enthusiast

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    Thanks however the ratings and reviews for both applications are poor.
  9. the_john
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    the_john iPad Fan

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    I have grown to despise all architects over the years, and it's one of the reasons I've decided to get out of that industry and on a new career path. The older ones are too set in their ways to accept change and the newer ones can't draw worth a crap. I've seen so many rookie, first year drafting school mistakes in the drawing I've dealt with in recent years it's ridiculous. I've often found myself wondering how these guys even get permits to build. Of course, it would help if the permit office would actually take the time to look through the drawings, but that's a different story.

    The more I think about it though, the iPad would be a wonderful tool for showing off drawings and updating them on the job site. Unfortunately, as I mentioned before, the processor is way underpowered and the RAM is completely insufficient. If the iPad came with desktop hardware specs and a 17" screen size (or even 15") I believe a lot of architects and designers would embrace it. But even if you could make an app, the drawings themselves that are created on a computer are quite often monstrous in size. Mine basic drawings ranged from 3-5MB and my more complicated ones often ranged from 20-50MB in size. Imagine pulling one of those babies up on an iPad in its current configuration.

    I can see its usefulness with the current choice of apps though, but it seems to me like it would be limited to very basic drawings with very basic dimensions that would border on useless. For a quick field sketch of a room addition on a floor plan it would be wonderful, especially if there was a way to send that back to the office while you're in the field where it can be imported into a master CAD drawing and automatically converted into a line drawing for you.

    I'd stick to a laptop for any CAD applications where you need any real meat.
  10. col.bris
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    col.bris Administrator Staff Member

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    I have been supplying Mac solutions for Archicad users in Queensland Australia since 1990 I would not be surprised if GRAPHISOFT will come up with an app to integrate with Archicad maybe for presentations. I agree with the above comments about lack of ram etc however in saying that maybe basic 2d drawing apps may come along after ipad2 is released
  11. jkhonea
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    jkhonea iPad Fan

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    I should clarify my position. I'm actually a residential designer, not an architect. I learned basic drafting and design in high school and am actually self taught for the remainder while I was at school in Charleston. I was a builder and designer for fifteen years before shifting to design full time, so I learned the importance of accurate construction documents from the beginning. Since I not only had to get through permitting, I had to build the plans, I learned what mistakes not to make twice.

    Residential is far different from commercial. I've covered a range from 1,500 to more than 18,000 on residential. The only commercial I will work on with an architect is light commercial, but I prefer staying residential.

    I work with Softplan, so slightly different than how it works in comparison to Autocad. It's closer to Revit as far as drawing style. But the good thing about Softplan is the file size. Since it actually splits each floor into a separate file, it helps keep it down. I typically don't go above at most 500k per floor and that's a big project.

    The app I am talking about would be very simple. Be able to draw a wall width at a time rather than individual lines, so pick your wall width and have it treated as rectangles. Then door and window symbols. And dimension them. That's all. I don't care about notating and bringing up elevations, that's what the desktop is for. This would be simply for doing a quick and dirty floor paln entry as built or conceptual and then either export as DWG, DXF or DWF, even Adobe would be fine, into my regular desktop computer, to clean.

    The kicker is, this kind of application would be useful to architects, designers, builders, remodelers, insurance agents, fire and disaster companies, even county governmental agencies. The base is huge. I just don't have the connections to get a developer that could work on this without costing an arm and a leg. I've been talking to Softplan about developing it but talks are slow on that one. But like I said, compared to the CAD apps out there now, this is not only doable, it would be VERY doable on the iPad and would be an outstanding tool.
  12. the_john
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    the_john iPad Fan

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    Only 500k? I'd have sold my first born to get file sizes that small with AutoCAD.

    BTW, no offense meant to any architects that might be on this board. Just years of frustration working with the ones I've had to work with speaking there. From what I've seen though, residential designers tend to be far better in quality than commercial designers. Now when commercial architect tries to do a residential job, that really gets my goat. I've had so many bad experiences with that in the past that I eventually started refusing to work with them. I've been in both field and definitely liked residential design better.
    I like the sound of your app. It reminds me of a program that one company I used to work for had designed exclusively for their own use. You'd draw a line on the screen and that line would automatically transform itself into a rectangle. You'd give that rectangle a number and move on to the next wall. Once you were done, you exited out of that drawing and then would go into a folder where you'd find all these new drawing files that were automatically created when you drew the lines. When you opened them, a framing elevation of that wall would be shown, fully dimensioned and everything. If you wanted to add a window, you just told it where and it automatically adjusted everything. You hit save and it would go back and place those openings on the floor plan.
    Very cool program, but no one ever taught me how to use it. They just said "Here. Use this to draw this." and gave me till the end of the day to figure it out and get it all done. Then they laid me off the next morning saying that I wasn't able to learn the equipment or procedures required by the company to fulfill my duties.
    I can definitely see its usefulness in the manner you described. Best of luck with it.
  13. sch
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    sch iPad Fan

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    What about OmniGraffle (a Mac Visio if you will). There are quite a lot of stencils available that can be loaded into the iPad version. It's expensive for an app, but it works very well.

    Cheers,
  14. jkhonea
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    jkhonea iPad Fan

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    No offense taken, LOL. Sounds like you've had the same experiences I have had. There are a few architects I have worked with that are absolutely outstanding, but those numbers are few. I've found the ones that have had direct experience in construction, as in, actually seen and been involved in the process, to be very good. Those that think you can work strictly off teachings and theories are the worst. And I've seen exactly what you mean in regards to commercial trying to do residential. My God, what a huge mess. Like I said, I've met a few good ones, but man, some of the mistakes I've seen are just horrendous. Surprisingly enough, stairs seem to be the biggest issue. Don't ask me why.

    And I haven't given up on the app development. Still working on finding someone. May still be a possibility.

    And glad someone else has felt my pain over time. :D
  15. Richard Rowe
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    Richard Rowe iPF Novice

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    I use an app called Cartomap and it works very good. Takes a little time to get used to it but it reads AutoCad files and will save them back after changes so you can email or download them back to your desktop. I do basic drawings for making furniture but I will do much more. If you want a Cad system for the iPad this IS it.
  16. magicbytim
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    magicbytim iPF Novice

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    I use autoCAD WS with some success. Not full blown auto cad but enough to do minor changes.
  17. archipad
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    archipad iPF Noob

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    Try Autocad WS. It's not perfect but at least more mature than other CAD apps for iPad. Personally I don't think CAD and iPad are made for each other. I have made a list of apps for architects on archisage. Will post a link when this forum allows me to :D
  18. Vimal
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    Vimal iPF Noob

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    Hi there,

    just noticed this thread, i know the post is a bit old, but if anyone is still interested we will release a CAD app for the iPad called 'ArchiDraw'... it is designed by myself and an Engineer, and is constructed entirely from OpenGL, which makes is very fast indeed.... We are about to enter a testing phase, and trying to integrate a couple of really cool features before that.... It will certainly import and export Autocad DXF formats, along with a few others, but DXF is the important one if your are serious about CAD...

    The queries raised above are indeed valid with regards to the platform constraints of the tablet device, but we think we have found a way around most of the obstacles. The coding language and approach to coding is critical in this type of application. We have also a patent pending for a totally ingenious method of inputting data in a quick and accurate method, single handed so drawing on the move on site really is possible.

    We are very excited about it, and hope to release sometime around March.... If anyone is interested please visit our page;

    Edited by Moderator - No links to your own websites, please read the forum rules

    It would be great if you subscribe to our newsletter to keep you informed of our progress, and why not even send us an email with any questions or suggestions about what you would like it to do... When we launch we are going select 10 people at random from our list of subscribers to give a free copy of the full version, as we will restrict some exporting features from the free version....

    Look forward to hearing from you on the other side!

    Cheers
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 29, 2011
  19. Robert Shawhan
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    Robert Shawhan iPF Noob

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    It's not exactly a CAD application, but I created a couple of dimensional drawing apps for the iPad called GraphPad and GraphPad Pro. They're really designed for doing accurate field sketches with dimensions. You can also add pictures (like a Google satellite image or photos from the camera roll). Depending on what you're attempting to do, it might be the ticket.

    Just a note - trying to create a real CAD system for an iPad doesn't seem practical. Finger's aren't good pointers, and if I were to be working more then about 15 minutes, I would just logon to a workstation rather then attempt to work on an iPad.

    Rob
  20. camaroz1985
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    camaroz1985 iPF Novice

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    What is the difference between Graphpad and Graphpad Pro. I think this is all I really need, to be able to make a sketch in my garage of a part I need to make, or a sketch of a part I am building around.

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