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View Full Version : To CAD or not to CAD


tonyGub
02-23-2009, 03:49 PM
Just curious if others use a CAD program. I bought one and I am trying to learn it but wow this is complicated. I would like to integrate my drawings with the landscape plans if possible.

JoeyD
02-23-2009, 04:16 PM
Unique can help!! We have a SDSP program that will help you with your plans being put into CAD.......

http://www.uniquelighting.com/customer_support/SDSP.htm

Lite4
02-23-2009, 07:40 PM
Yep, I design everything and do my as builts in Design CAD.

GreenLight
02-23-2009, 07:45 PM
I use auto cad light version on a lot of stuff... It is basically the same thing, just not quite as robust. The command line interface is a fairly valuable tool to use as opposed to constantly trying to use the actual tools for everything. You are correct it does have a steep learning curve, but if you are simply doing layovers (lighting, irrigation, hardscapes) over previous done landscape by a professional designer, it is actually quite simple after a few weeks and a few online tutorials.

For the most part I used it for irrigation, but just recently have been using it to incorporate lights because it defines everything so well for a customer without the old "yea, im thinking about putting a light here, here and here" pointing technique. The best part is, generally you are simply using straight or curved lines for lighting and irrigation with a few symbols for fixtures, transformers, valve boxes, heads, etc...

I would highly recommend it as I have found three major advantages...

1) Looks ultra professional to bring a plot plan out to the job and have it cleanly presented to a customer.

2) You can virtually replace the need to show your guys every step of the way if they are a bit green, teach them to read a simple plot plan and life is much easier.

3) It basically acts as a customer agreement, you get them to sign off on a plot plan and you have piece of mind immediately that "hey, both the customer and I are on the same page" because the proof is on the paper.

bmwsmity
02-24-2009, 09:43 AM
I've been thinking about this recently, as I currently do all my drafts by hand. One question I've had is what kind of printer do you need to print these out and how much do they run?? How much is a basic CAD program for simple irrigation/lighting designs?

Thanks for the input.

GreenLight
02-24-2009, 10:03 AM
BMW, you don't "absolutely" have to use a different printer. Obviously if you can afford it a plotter is a great investment and much easier to read since the layout is large. Plotter's run anywhere from about $400.00 to infinity...I use a fairly good hp black and white plotter and it cost me about $700.00 5 years ago...Im sure you can get it less now.

If now isn't a good time for a plotter, you can generally still use your base 8 x 11 printer, you would just set it up in print preferences of your prog.

Unfortunately the money is usually in the software, im not ultrafamiliar with all of them, but I use auto cad light and it cost about $800.00...For landscaping Eagle Point is VERY good in combination with some form of Cad, but once again this can be a 3000.00 investment and is not worthwhile unless you are using it for a bunch of plants, hatching, etc.

bmwsmity
02-24-2009, 10:50 AM
greenlight...thanks so much for the info!

LightYourNight
02-24-2009, 06:24 PM
what is the difference between the eagle point software and a landscape cad design program like drafix's pro landscape?

GreenLight
02-24-2009, 06:41 PM
No problem BMW, good luck with your purchases and hope they work out for ya...

LightYourNight - I can't speak for Drafix, but I did look at their website and that is impressive software and probably a bit more user friendly. As for Eagle Point, it is extremely elaborate and probably complete overkill if you are not a serious landscape designer (which im not, I just so happen to have the software based on some previous work with another company.) It's not a super powered 3d base application, there are better choices. On the flipside, it's more of a professional wizard. IT has a giant plant database that breaks everything down into climate zones and growth patterns and even has grown pattern coverage rates for every plant based on length of time. It has every plant symbol imaginable and even makes suggestions for planting zones and what not. It also has the software brain (drafix probably does too) where lets say you have a 12X20 area that needs to have a groundcover, you simply enter in the gallon size or cup size of the ground cover and it hatches the plan and tells you exactly how many of each individual plant you need...It has many bells and whistles, but like I said, it is COMPLETE OVERKILL if you are dedicated to irrigation, lighting, etc. It's definitely angled towards landscape installation.

LightYourNight
02-24-2009, 07:00 PM
Thanks greenlight. I use Drafix... its ok. What software is everyone else using?

GreenLight
02-24-2009, 09:10 PM
To be quite honest, that Drafix software looks top notch for the landscaping field. With a price tag of $1400.00 it must be good because most landscape based software can't pull off a $100.00 price tag unless it's considered "professional designer worthy", you definitely see a bunch of crappy stuff out there that is really meant to sucker in a homeowner who is trying to build his dreamscape with a bunch of simulated stuff..

I honestly can't speak for others though, because I have no idea. To be honest I use cad only because that is what was taught when I was in college for landscape design and that was 10 years ago. (honestly though, Cad is not terribly user friendly for strictly landscape design in my opinion and that is why I integrated it with another program).

That drafix software looks really good, im impressed by the presentation. For all I know that could be the highest rated and most popular landscape software there is, it's quite possible im just a dinosaur using outdated technology. My general opinion is, it's not rocket science, if you find a program that you are comfortable with and has a professional final product then you are a step ahead of a lot of people.

Lite4
02-24-2009, 10:23 PM
I use the RainCad suite. It has a Design CAD platform it is based on. It is also compatable with standard Autocad and Autocad Lt. programs in a DWG drawing format. It is mildly technical and has a bit of a learning curb, but I like it because I can put out professional quality line drawings so, engineers, architects and other designers can import directly into their CAD software and incorporate into their design packages also.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
02-26-2009, 02:43 AM
This is an interesting and timely topic (for me). I am just in the process of choosing a CAD program to bring into my business. I have arranged some training with a local Architect who is willing to walk me through the basics and get me started. I am a bit overwhelmed by the cost of AutoCAD LT 2009 at over $1300 USD.

I have found a product called TurboCAD Deluxe 15 by Imsisoft. It appears to have all of the functionality and compatibility we would need for our work, at a fraction of the AutoCAD price. Keeping in mind that I am not interested in creating basemap layers but rather working with drawings that are already prepared by others and simply adding lighting systems to them.

Does anyone have any experience with TurboCAD from Imsisoft?

Lite4
02-26-2009, 08:37 AM
James,
That is the program I use. It is the platform I use to run (or used to run) Rain Cad with. I use the TurboCAD almost exclusively now without the Rain CAD part of it. It will do everything you want it to do and then some. They have some online tutorials that will get you up to speed fairly quickly. There is a lot of functionality with the program and it renders very professional results. What I like about it alot is the fact that you can import drawings from architects and create additional drawing layers right on the same drawing. You can turn their layers off so you can clean the clutter so to speak and you don't have to go out and measure all the buildings and hardscape if the architect has already done that for you. It is an amazingly powerful program for the price.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
02-26-2009, 09:06 AM
Thanks for the info Tim. I am purchasing it online right now based on your recommendation.

Have a great day.

Lite4
02-27-2009, 08:04 AM
Thanks for the info Tim. I am purchasing it online right now based on your recommendation.

Have a great day.

Good deal, you won't be disapointed.

trailboss
02-27-2009, 10:19 PM
I use Drafix Pro Landscape and really find it helpful. I can usually get a plot plan from the homeowner or builder and import that file into my software to save a good bit of time.
Steve

bmwsmity
02-28-2009, 10:12 AM
you can use a plotter with TurboCad, right? most plotters say they're for AutoCad...not sure if there's a difference???

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
02-28-2009, 10:16 AM
Yes, TurboCAD will print to a plotter or a printer.

Lite4
02-28-2009, 10:54 AM
Yes, TurboCAD will print to a plotter or a printer.

Yep and Yep.