PROS / It has numerous maneuverable custom tool palettes, giving you lots of design space.
CONS / The PDF manual covers all versions of TurboCAD software, but doesn’t provide comprehensive help for people using the deluxe edition.
VERDICT / TurboCAD Deluxe is extremely affordable CAD software with a bevy of features that help you to learn it in a reasonable amount of time. It’s easy to use and provides time-saving tools to create designs efficiently. Overall, it’s the best CAD software we reviewed.
Editor's note: TurboCAD Deluxe 2016 is now available. Clicking the Buy button will take you to this version for purchase. The manufacturer lists the new version as offering the following features: new slots tools; improved house wizard tool; new active drawing components and backup of open documents. We will evaluate, rank and review the 2016 version when we next update the CAD Software reviews. Meanwhile, enjoy our review below about TurboCAD Deluxe 2015.
The best CAD software has a well-organized interface, adept design tools and plenty of support. Many programs have custom tool palettes, but TurboCAD Deluxe has custom toolbars that are maneuverable so you can move them around or snap them into place so they stay out of your way while you're designing. With such tools as hatching and transparency, this program lets you get a comprehensive view of your design regardless of its complexity. You’ll be able to put all types of textures and materials into your design.
If you don’t have a lot of experience using CAD software, there is a tool that walks you through the process of creating a design. There are great support options to help if you have questions as you learn the program, and the interface and editing tools are generally intuitive. This affordable CAD software is a step above consumer-grade CAD programs, which is why we named it our Top Ten Reviews Gold Award winner.
TurboCAD Deluxe has more design tools than many of the best 3D CAD software programs. If you're working with architectural designs, the wall tool and the house wizard will be particularly helpful in your creation process. The house wizard walks you through a setup process where you select the number of rooms, types of rooms, dimensions and more. There are also hatching tools and transparency options for the creation process when you want to see all aspects of your design without rotating. After you've finished designing a model, you can use the render tools to make it look as realistic as possible. This easy-to-use CAD software makes adding lighting effects and textures or materials like brick, marble or wood as intuitive as possible, and your model will look like a real object instead of a wireframe. So from beginning to end, 3D models are easy to design, so you should be able to create the look you envision.
When editing your designs with TurboCAD Deluxe, you'll have a wide range of tools to use. If you need to convert 2D designs to 3D, the extrude function can do that for you. You can generate 2D drawings from 3D models as well. Polar tracking, or the snap tool, helps you move your elements to precise locations for easier modeling. Tools like the layer manager keep track of all the components of your design much like a layer manager in a photo editing program. Using the point marker is especially helpful in architectural designs so you can mark elements when you share your designs with collaborators. Color and text editing also helps customize and organize components of your drawings. All of these tools aid in the render process and help you make accurate-looking, advanced components with this computer-aided design software.
CAD programs can be a bit tricky to use, but in the case of TurboCAD Deluxe, an easy-to-use interface makes all the difference. It's simple to customize, move and resize the toolbars. From the Options tab, you can choose from 11 different toolbars to add or remove from your workspace, including style manager, materials and environments. This CAD software has a setup manager for when you want to customize your design from the very beginning of a new project. A command line and a macro feature also allow you to work faster and more efficiently. Macros allow you to consolidate strings of frequently used commands into keyboard shortcuts to save you time on tedious tasks. Not all CAD programs have macros, so TurboCAD Deluxe stands out when it comes to convenience and speed.
This software enables seamless workflow to and from other design applications with extensive file compatibility. The software supports 28 industry-standard formats, including WMF, PDF and DWG, the native file format for most CAD software applications. The DWG format is designed specifically for 2D and 3D drawing, and you can open, view, create and edit imported DWG files with this program. Using DWG and DXF files, you can import dynamic blocks as simple blocks.
The software also allows you to import and export SKP and DXF files, which are formats compatible with Google Sketchup and AutoCAD, respectively. To save a design as an image, you have the option of saving as a JPG, BMP, PNG or GIF image file. For 3D printing, you can also save files in STL format with this CAD drawing software.
Help & Support
IMSI/Design provides excellent help and technical support for its CAD software. To learn more about the application and its features, you can search the built-in knowledgebase or find tutorials on the website. The in-software PDF manual is extensive although not comprehensive. The same manual isn't available online; instead, an online wiki takes its place. One problem with the PDF manual is it covers all versions of TurboCAD software and isn't geared specifically toward the deluxe edition. So you may have difficulty finding answers to issues you're having with this edition. There are a number of places you can go to find answers, however.
For direct technical support, the company offers phone support and an online ticket system as well as an online chat feature. Other manufacturers only provide free support for a limited period of time after you purchase your software license. However, IMSI/Design provides you with unlimited support for the life of your software. This means you can talk to technical support, watch free tutorial videos and have access to both the online and in-program manuals. You can connect with other users through online forums on the company website and get answers to questions via hundreds of well-organized posts. TurboCAD also has an extensive library of training videos available on the company’s YouTube channel.
TurboCAD Deluxe is excellent 2D/3D CAD software that appeals to a wide range of users, from inexperienced beginners to expert users. While CAD software is quite complex and always requires a learning curve, this software has tools like the house wizard that let you learn its complexities quickly. With time-saving features like a command line and macros, this software also lets you work efficiently. While the software and corresponding help manual aren't without flaws, the shortcomings are minimal. The TurboCAD knowledgebase and video tutorials are more than sufficient in providing the assistance you need. This design application is worth the investment if you’re seeking powerful yet accessible CAD software.