Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by rvsuper, Sep 16, 2002.

  1. rvsuper

    rvsuper Senior Member
    Messages: 930

    I'm looking at getting AutoCad for my design software. I know it takes a while to learn but will it work for irrigation design?
  2. dave-man

    dave-man LawnSite Member
    Messages: 14

    Full up AutoCad is very complex. The power comes at a cost. I recall see time-motion-productivity studies that showed the productivity of a drafter working full-time on AutoCad was demonstrably lower on Monday after the weekend away.

    Have you considered one of the lower-end, compatible packages from AutoDesk, like AutoSketch (which I now use in lieu of AutoCad) or AutoCad LT? See the product summaries at,,1090712-123112,00.html
  3. MPhillips

    MPhillips LawnSite Member
    from zone 7
    Messages: 94

    dave the software...which one do you use for irrigation then? I'm overwhelmed my the choices...
  4. soccer coach

    soccer coach LawnSite Member
    from midwest
    Messages: 104

    Auto Cad will be what you want. You would do fine for the LT version. Lt sells for 2000.00. Pro engineering would also work well and only cost around 400.00. To do basic functions of either one will be easy for anyone that has basic computer skills. I use pro engineering for our race car stuff as it also lets me into data that auto cad doesn't.
  5. dave-man

    dave-man LawnSite Member
    Messages: 14

    I would recommend AutoSketch ($90 at PC Connection) until and unless you find there is something you need to do that you can't. I'm guessing never!

    Before you spend more money on another package, take a look at the local community college or county extension for an engineering graphics course. Total will be cheaper and your end capability will be better.

    There is no substitute for skill.
  6. HBFOXJr

    HBFOXJr LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,712

    I use Rain CAD from Software Republic . I also have their Eco CAD and Irricalc programs.

    I like Irricalc. CAD is a waste unless you are into high end stuff or large scale projects. It was worth its weight in gold a few years ago when we took on an 80 acre site of retirement buildings. 4 wells, miles of piping dozens of valves tied together with the idea we could oly get 3 million gallons of water per month for the areas selected to irrigate (not the whole site), and a max of 100,000 gallons per day.

    I had to know the irrigable area in sq ft or acres, water requirements based historic evapotranspiration data and then calculate how many gallons would be required to water the desired area of the whole site and keep with in the available water parameters. I would have been lost with out it.

    The landscape site plan was given to me in Auto CAD 12 format which Rain CAD converted for its use.

    AS builts were easy.

    Residentially it slows down the sales process way to much unless it is a very large AND complex project. I routinely estimate 1 to 2 acre sites and prepare proposals on site and without missing heads or zones. I have so much commonly used info stored to memory as do many serious professionals that it is 2nd nature.

    Athletic fields/complexes are a good place to use the CAD Tool. There is not much of a market here for designs by fee. Engineering firms do them as part of atheltic and park site work and then they are frequently freebies by Toro to get their **** in the door. Commercial sites you gotta wing it. Landscapers get a design but irrigation guys gotta do their own and a take off because the pro's are too lazy and cheap to do a design. Ten everyone is differnet and prices are all over the place. Homeowners won't pay because too many of them regard sprinklers as a commodoty to be purchased by price alone and evey giytells them his system "will cover everything" with out a knowledge or mention of will it really irrigate everything.

    OK, someone elses turn on the soap box.

    EAgle point software is also worth investigating. The store bought CAD stuff is not irrigation specific and not worth investing $$$ or learning skills to use. That doesn't mean it is junk, it measn it isn't irrigation software. Just because it is a CAD program doesn't mean it is for irrigation anymore than my being in a garage doesn't make me a car.

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