Alternatives to Autocad for drafting ???

hello hello IDesigners…

When I want to draft my final ideas, I prefer to do it the old fashioned way. Call me a freak but this way helps me take my time with detail and identify possible mistakes. Not only that, but I am in denial to use autocad because of its complexity and price.

Are there any cheaper alternatives to autocad? Is there anything free I can use? What are you using for drafting?

Google… what a wonderful tool. Search for free CAD
I’ve been reading a lot about ALLEY CAD as being the best of the free cad packages.

EDIT: didn’t feel like making a new post, but since everyone’s throwing in illustrator, try COREL DRAW… amazing simplicity huge power (more so than illustrator imo) .Never got at ease on illustrator, on Corel it took me 5 minutes.

I use Vellum’s Graphite. It’s a little easier than autocad in my opinion. It’s not free but the learning curve is pretty good. You can always use illustrator too. I know alot of people you still use illustrator for all of there drafting. It’s a longer process but I think they like the stylistic options. In any case drafting by hand although old school is a practice that I still employ as well. It gives you alot more freedom in the sense of detailing and making explorative options. Just be creatove and leave the drafting to the

Here’s another vote for Graphite or Illustrator. IL is tons faster because of the interface once you know it well. Graphite is more accurate like traditional drafting program and friendlier to modify sizes, etc.

My vote would be for Vellum/Graphite. It honestly takes all of 10 minutes to learn, and IMO, beats the hell outta’ drafting by hand! Also, if you’re hell bent on using Illustrator, there are a few CAD plugins that you can get that will make the program much more useful from a drafting perspective.

Which ones, do tell. I didn’t know there were such things. Free?

Which ones, do tell. I didn’t know there were such things. Free?

If you’re referring to Illustrator plug-ins check out CADtools from

As I recall they can be a little quirky but pretty useful once you get the hang of 'em. If you’re an illustrator rendering maniac, they cut down on the dimensioning time immensely…I think they have a demo download for FREE as well…

Personally, I think Rhino has one of the best drafting tools curve wise. I will then export the file to AI to change the line weight.