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Any suggestions for simple CAD-type application?

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by snowleopard, Oct 23, 2011.

  1. snowleopard

    snowleopard New Member

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    Anyone know of inexpensive cad program with a really flat learner curve? Or better, a site where one can play with pix? It doesn't need to be anywhere of the caliber of a high-end cad program, just give me a sense of whether this could work. I tried a drawing program and that didn't work. Tried printing it up and drawing on that, but this wasn't very helpful either.

    I'm considering an addition on the end of my house, a little bump-out to extend my son's dark small bedroom. He's in the NW corner, one small window. I thought an 8x12 extension, shed roof, one room with a loft would give him a little breathing room, fresh air, a view. Maybe build a little wrap-around deck to the south and west. Then I could steal part of his existing bedroom for an entry-hall closet. Use the header over the existing window for a pass-through door into the add-on. Offset it a foot or so back from the existing front of the house so it looks like it grew, not like it was patched on. Roof would match existing roof in materials, angle, but tie in to house under existing roofline for the same reason. I'm thinking if I keep it to complementary proportions in terms of length to height, it might help.

    I may never get around to this--just playing with ideas right now, but it's an idea I've played with for awhile. I'm having a hard time visualizing how that would look from the outside. I think the decks on the east would help visually balance it, but OTOH, it might look just crunky. Can't guess.

    On the other hand, there can be downsides to getting one's teenagers too dang comfortable . . .

    Any input appreciated.

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  2. fossil

    fossil Accidental Moderator Staff Member

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    If it's all fairly simple & straightforward, I'd probably just sketch it out by hand. For our complex remodel back in Virginia, and then a new building and remodel of the existing house here in Oregon, I used a software app named 3-D Home Architect (off the shelf at any number of retail outlets). Pretty easy to learn, and it'll produce interior & exterior perspective views for you to fiddle around with. By no means a professional CAD program, but easy and useful and fun enough for me. Rick
  3. jimbom

    jimbom Combustion Analyzer

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  4. rkusek

    rkusek Minister of Fire

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    Nebraska
    Any CAD or Sketch program will have a pretty good learning curve to produce something useful, especially if you tried and failed already. I used an outdated CAD program I had from school to do a site plan of our land for the zoning board since we had to subdivide my in-laws acreage first. Plotting the coordiates from the original survey, overlaying in a Google aerial shot and sizing to fit the property corners, worked out great in trying to determine the acreage sizes based on different splits since it is very hilly and over half of it is heavily treed leaving only a few building site options. My drawings worked for the selection process and the zoning board but I spent quite a bit of time re-learning AutoCAD (from about 15 yrs back) to accomplish what we were trying to do. We still had to hire a licensed surveyor to do the split and he produced a drawing that was filed with the court house. I know those with a lot of CAD experience draw out their own homes but I don't think that is for the average Joe. We had a disabled vet architect that worked out of his home draw our house plans. He had done my in-laws about 20 yrs previous and they were happy with his work. We took in a design we found on the internet, gave him the changes we wanted, spent about 4 hours while he produced a rough drawing (no CAD, old school) that looked like what we wanted. I think it took two more visits to his house before we got the final drawings with all the specs and material lists that allowed us to get the building permit and bids from contractors. I say all this because I think you may be better off taking some measurements of your home and finding someone like this guy that could produce something for you in a couple hours for probably $200 tops. The nice thing is they will usually catch all the things we forget too.
  5. snowleopard

    snowleopard New Member

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    I'm pretty comfortable working up the design myself--it's your basic chicken coop, really. This area has code, but no zoning, no building permits required outside of city limits, and so there is a pretty strong culture of buy-a-board-and-nail-it-up construction here. I've even seen some CL cabins listed that I thought might do the job. I just want to be able to visualize clearly. I wouldn't want to have an oops here.

    I think I'll start with the Google Sketch-up and see where I can go from there. Thanks for all the tips.

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