Pros / The user interface is very easy to navigate.
Cons / This software does not support files for 3D printing in DGN and STEP formats.
Verdict / DesignCAD 3D Max is one of the best choices for a CAD program due to its reasonable learning curve, long list of versatile features and thousands of free models and symbols.
DesignCAD 3D Max is a feature-rich, powerful program that is also affordable. If you can live without a few professional features, this easy-to-use CAD software is the best choice for producing 3D and 2D architectural designs, engineering prototypes and other models. This software has a strong emphasis on architectural designs and has all kinds of symbols and models that will help you learn how to use the software because you won’t have to create designs from scratch. Out of all the products on our CAD software list, DesignCAD 3D Max wins the Top Ten Reviews Silver Award for value, an intuitive interface and a superior lineup of features and tools to save you time and to boost your creative productivity.
- Ease of Use
- 2D/3D Symbols
- Free Models/Components
Like its name suggests, DesignCAD 3D Max is a heavily design-based 2D and 3D CAD program. Like the best 3D CAD software programs, this one has both drawing and modeling tools similar to those found in professional programs like AutoCAD. Helpful features like hatching and texture tools allow you to customize your models for easier creation and more realistic rendering. Photorealistic rendering capabilities can turn your computer-generated models into realistic renderings of furniture, prototypes and mockups. Transparency options and lighting effects help you to better visualize your creations before you're able to hold them in your hands.
Unfortunately this program is lacking a house wizard, which helps you create an entire building blueprint based on your input and dimensions. This is a nice tool that helps you come up to speed on the software more quickly, but even lacking this feature this software is intuitive and relatively easy to learn. The collection of 2D and 3D symbols and models the software comes with certainly helps with the learning process. With over 10,000 symbols to choose from, you can use any to indicate where you'd like to place features. Also, the software comes with 600 complimentary models, so if you don’t want to start from scratch, you can add in a patio feature or kitchen sink without creating every detail yourself.
Editing tools are an important part of any CAD program, and DesignCAD 3D Max doesn’t disappoint. All the standard features are included as well as some specialty tools. This 2D CAD software is equipped with snap tools and polar tracking, text and color editing, and a layer manager. You can also use the point marker to number and indicate aspects of your drawing or design. The software also allows you to convert 2D drawings to 3D designs, and 3D designs to 2D drawings. Not many CAD programs have both features.
This software has text editing and color editing, so you can adjust the height of the letter and the spacing between letters. You can vary the coloring of the models and shapes in your design to give it a more realistic and visually interesting look. This software has most of the editing tools you will need to create a wide variety of designs.
A number of factors contribute to DesignCAD’s learning-friendly work environment, most notably the customizable features and time-saving tools. Navigating this CAD software is much easier than many of its counterparts because of the customizable tool palettes, which make it easier for you to find your favorite tools and commands. A measure command tool is a quick method of measuring each element of your design so all of your creations end up precisely the right size and dimensions.
If you want to collaborate with associates or partners on designs, DesignCAD will allow you to import existing designs in a number of different file formats. Saving and exporting are simple to do so you can easily share your finished or in-progress designs. If you keep inputting the same commands over and over again, you can use the macros feature to save your work and speed up the progress. A setup wizard is also available so you can create a new project with your individualized parameters from the very beginning instead of setting each factor separately.
DesignCAD supports numerous file types so you can readily import existing designs and export those you’ve created using the CAD software. DesignCAD is compatible with all AutoCAD files and layouts (DWG and DXF files) – welcome news for current AutoCAD users looking to switch to a more affordable program. It also imports HPGL, WMF and XYZ files and exports all those file types as well as RIB, VRML, WPG, DWF and PDF. RIB files are commonly used to send scene data in modeling software, including CAD, and computer animation programs. VRML stands for Virtual Reality Modeling Language and is used to interpret 3D information on webpages and other formats. WPG files are generally used for sharing clipart images in CAD software and word processing programs. DWF files are used to share CAD drawing data with outside sources.
Finally, DesignCAD supports several image formats such as JPG, BMP and TIFF. This allows you to easily export any images of your designs, including those created through photorealistic rendering. DesignCAD 3D Max supports STL and SKP files for 3D printing purposes. Additionally, this software can export in PDF format, although it only allows you to view it in 2D, you cannot rotate the PDF image to view from different angles.
Help & Support
DesignCAD 3D Max is a stellar application in and of itself, but its supplementary help and support options make it even more so. The in-program manual is a wonderful resource for training yourself and navigating through the learning curve. The software’s manufacturer, IMSI Design, provides free email technical support and telephone support for sales and installation inquiries. The website hosts a DesignCAD community where you can find additional help and tips through user forums and groups. Although free video tutorials are usually available with CAD packages, DesignCAD requires you to buy an additional training CD.
With 2D drawing and 3D modeling capabilities and a load of architectural features, DesignCAD drawing software is a versatile design programs suited for a wide array of designs and projects. It has robust functionality, but is easy to use with customizable features and preinstalled models and support options. This software supports a wide selection of file types, so you can import existing designs from other programs and export designs you create. With its impressive functionality, DesignCAD 3D Max is one of the best consumer CAD software applications on the market.