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  1. #1
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    can123's Avatar
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    Best House Design Software

    I had managed to borrow a friend's computer in the hope that I could use his CAD software. Sadly, I am far too old and dull to learn it. Is anybody able to recommend a software which would allow me to draw accurate house plans, please ? I don't want to use an online planner. I don't want to have to spend the rest of my life trying to get to grips with a complex program like Turbocad. Is there such a thing as a user-friendly house design software, please ?

  2. #2
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    Try Microsoft Visio or smartdraw. Both easy enough.

  3. #3
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    Try Punch Home Professional Design Software. An American friend of mine sent me a licensed copy years ago and I have never looked back.

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    for some reason, my suggestion of using paper and pencil was dumped by some mod

    It was not a frivolous suggestion and should be considered

    most of the design software produce pathetic results unless you have used them for ages; even thenm they tend to be plastic and do not give the feel paper and pencil do
    I have reported your post

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrAndy View Post
    for some reason, my suggestion of using paper and pencil was dumped by some mod

    It was not a frivolous suggestion and should be considered

    most of the design software produce pathetic results unless you have used them for ages; even thenm they tend to be plastic and do not give the feel paper and pencil do
    Your suggestion was easy to adopt as I have drawn countless plans using paper and pencil. I just wanted to make something which looked more professional. The only application I feel confident with now is Paint.

    3D programs look good but I wanted something that produced plans which looked like blueprints, i.e. 2D.

    Smartdraw, Punch, Chief Architect are all expensive and have too may "bells and whistles" for me.

    I'm not sure why anybody would seek to delete your contribution.

  6. #6
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    I Use Google sketch-up Google SketchUp
    It is free, and it is easy to use, If you decide to use it , there are many tutorial videos at Youyube.
    Here is some of my work with limited experience,in the beginning it might be a little frustrating, but with a little practice.... and as I said it is free.
    The sooner you fall behind, the more time you have to catch up.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by can123
    I just wanted to make something which looked more professional
    One of my life's pinnacles was to produce 3D architectural computer models. After many hours of creating, amending and producing multi positioned, "views" of these models on computers costing 100,000's the paper prints were "traced" over by Architects, by hand, to present to the clients.

    It was felt that millimetre accuracy, perspective, texture and clarity were superseded by preconceived assumptions of what an Architectural drawings should look like.

    It was at least a creative and money making niche at the time. You might find that your hand drawn plans, with smudges, revisions and notes, will hold more memories in later years
    Last edited by OhOh; 15-04-2012 at 08:19 AM.
    A tray full of GOLD is not worth a moment in time.

  8. #8
    FarangRed
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    I was also going to suggest the Google one, like most things they have a learning curve I found Google pretty easy.

    I used to be good at doing drawings in my younger days at school we called it technical drawing, then I spent most of my life in the shopfitting industry, most shop fitting companies had what they called a setting out department where they could produce full size drawings.

    From them drawings virtually everything could be made in the workshops before being sent out to site, architects drawing were never accurate enough.

    The good thing about CAD is you can change it easily not so easy on a sheet of paper.

  9. #9
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    Embarrassingly, I started training as a draughtsman and can draw on paper as well as anyone, but I can't get the hang of these programs.

    The other problem is that when you print them out, unless you have access to a pro printer, they'll be too small to work from. It seems a lot of effort for some pretty pictures.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by can123
    I'm not sure why anybody would seek to delete your contribution
    maybe because I made a little fun of your previous remarks to me?



    Quote Originally Posted by Marmite the Dog
    The other problem is that when you print them out, unless you have access to a pro printer, they'll be too small to work from. It seems a lot of effort for some pretty pictures.
    agreed with that

    I find using a pencil and paper works very well; for some reason you get a better feel for what you are doing and often find that any design faults stand out immediately

    with the drawing programs, you get so involved with the process that the end result becomes blurred in your mind

    yes, prettier maybe

    so, draw the plans with a pencil and pass them on to someone who can reproduce them professionally for any planning application and for the builders to work from

    a 3D version is essentially a waste of time unless you are trying to sell the building

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marmite the Dog View Post

    The other problem is that when you print them out, unless you have access to a pro printer, they'll be too small to work from. It seems a lot of effort for some pretty pictures.
    True difficult to print, but no true that they are just pretty pictures, they actually contain more information than paper blueprints.
    The home in my picture is to scale, I first marked where the footings for my columns would go, then I drew sq 3ft by 3 ft and with one command I made it grow exactly 4 inches,then in the middle of it I drew a 4inch by 4 inch square and command it to grow 3 ft. unlike paper I did not have to redraw the foundation and column 10 times, I simply copied it and pasted it in the desired locations., then I connected all the columns with beams, 4in x 6 inch.I then pulled a 4 inch floor slab, and on top of it pulled 10 ft columns on top of the foundation piers. I repeated this process until I had the skeleton of the building and placed the whole thing in a layer, then I build the stairs and placed then in an other layer, filled in walls in an other layer, roof , etc.
    In essence i virtually build this home before I laid a brick.
    This allowed me to do several things that I could not do in paper. I can place furniture to scale in the rooms and walk around it, if I don't like the size of a room or location of a component I can adjust it or move it. I can remove layers, such as roof or walls and look in a room, since everything is to scale I can take my virtual tape measure, measure any distance and get an accurate measurement in both metric or US measurements. All the information necessary to build this home is in this pretty picture.
    I can rotate the drawing and look at it from any direction, and slice it like an MRI .
    I can place my 3D drawing on the internet and have an other sketch-up used access it and modify it, if desired.
    All things very difficult to do with paper
    and all on a free program. Not bad in my opinion and definitively not just a pretty picture.

    Section plane of drawing (slice)

    .
    examples of layers



  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Buckaroo Banzai
    Section plane of drawing (slice) .
    I am sure you can do all of that and even enjoy doing it

  13. #13
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    I had found the Google program a few days ago and have started the tutorials. We seem to have broad agreement. The sophisticated 3D programs are difficult to learn and the emphasis shifts in favour of understanding the complexities of the program rather than improving the house design.

    Although not strictly on-topic, I would like to raise another point. My house in the UK is essentially an L-shaped corridor with rooms attached. Effective use is made of the land space and I have a 3 bedroom/2 bathroom, kitchen/diner, utility room, lounge, a boiler room and two built in cupboards for storage. Only one room has two doors. The house is well designed and this is due to the corridor. Everything is in its place. In Thailand, I don't see corridors in family houses.

    I realise that the essential thing about my home in Wales, on top of a mountain, is to keep it warm. Totally different in Thailand. It is the lack of "corridors" that prevents me from building a replica of my present home in Thailand.

    The plan I am working on now is essentially a "one storey house" on stilts, concrete pillars, with almost all of the level below the living space being tiled and used as an open space. It looks good but I fear my use of a corridor above ground may lead to ventilation/cooling problems.

    It's a bit of a challenge !

  14. #14
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    you could make the corridor an open verandah running around the house

  15. #15
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    Try sweet home 3d, it is not an online program,you can download it, and you can save all your work/plans to pdf format.
    I use it and it is really good, to scale and more importantly its FREE!

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrAndy View Post
    you could make the corridor an open verandah running around the house
    I forgot to mention that my current plan has a verandah to the to the front and another to one side of the living area. The difficulty in having "my corridor" as an external verandah is that every room would have to be accessed from the outside. When I've tidied my plan a little, I will post a pic of it and others, who know far more about building in Thailand, can pull it to bits and make recommendations as to how it should be improved.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by can123 View Post



    The plan I am working on now is essentially a "one storey house" on stilts, concrete pillars, with almost all of the level below the living space being tiled and used as an open space. It looks good but I fear my use of a corridor above ground may lead to ventilation/cooling problems.

    It's a bit of a challenge !
    Good luck with Google sketch up,I know you will have a lot of fun with it let me know if you have any questions.
    As you can see my design is very similar to what you have in mind. If I can convince my wife to build it. She has some objections to the open space downstairs, she says "snakes will go in it" personally I have never seen many snakes . my argument with her is that if you don't like the open downstairs we can always close it.She likes the conventional two story home with all the useless balconies. I guess having lived all her life with Thai homes she wants something different. But the truth of the matter is that the open space designs in Thailand are there because they work in this climate.
    If we ever build this design I doubt we will ever see the upstairs, probably only go upstairs to sleep. The upstairs in my in laws house main purpose is to keep the sun away , we always spend our time in the downstairs open space. I might have to re think the upstairs formal kitchen as I fear it will never be used.
    The wrap around balcony provides independent access to every room, but more importantly it sades the downstairs.
    Any way, IMHO open and outside spaces is the key to Thai living.

  18. #18
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    A wraparound balcony/verandah was my choice based on Queenslander It provides shade t the walls It offers 4 differing levels of sun and wind In practice us ethe shady sidea below as storage out of the rain and cooking Upper deck offers views and additional storage/perches Decode max weight loadings,if just you in a rocking chair or a party so colums etc strong enough,Also good to plan water escapes so gutters/tanks /pipes.solar etc can blend in at design stage
    I used to have a job at a calendar factory.
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  19. #19
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    You can do both plan and 3d from google sketch up. unless your an imbecile it is straightforward gives help and can be used to varying degrees of quality. If you have a plan you can make it 3d by importing a picture taken from a phone and build up from there.

    I have done both plans and 3d models to help my understanding of building the house and making the best use of space. The builder has used mutual drawing in the dirt, on wood, paper and this is how we came to an agreed understanding.
    Simply use what is best for you, this was what i found worked for me.
    im hot its so hot today.......milk was a bad choice!

  20. #20
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    Google Sketchup requires the least learning curve. Next is Chief Architect Premier ( v13.4.2.7 is I believe the latest).
    You do not like online s'ware apparently yet Floorplanner saves your design on line while allowing you to print out your results. At the very least it allows you practice in architectural design in easy graduated steps.
    My inner cynic is always on alert .

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