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 one of the most basic CAD programs in our comparison. However, it can still be used to produce 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. DesignCAD 3D Max has an intuitive interface and a superior lineup of features and tools to save you time and to boost your creative productivity, however, more advanced CAD users will find the tools lacking.
This is one of the least expensive CAD programs you can find, only costing around $100. It isn't a bad program by any means but you get what you pay for. Like its name suggests, DesignCAD 3D Max is a heavily design-based 2D and 3D CAD program. It 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, but the 3D modeling tools aren’t as powerful as other programs. Still, the 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 lacks a house wizard, which is a great tool for beginners as it helps you create an entire building blueprint based on your input and dimensions. 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. Also, the software comes with 624 2D designs and 372 premade 3D 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. Unfortunately, this software doesn't have a point marker to number and indicate aspects of your drawing or design. DesignCAD 3D Max also allows you to convert 2D drawings to 3D designs, and 3D designs to 2D drawings, which is impressive considering that this is such a basic CAD program. 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. Customizable tool palettes make it easier for you to find your favorite tools and commands. The included 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.
Saving and exporting are simple to do so you can easily share your finished or in-progress designs. If you keep using the same commands over and over again, you can use the macros feature to speed up the process. 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 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 TIF. 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, but it allows you to view PDFs in 2D. Unfortunately, you cannot rotate the PDF image to view from different angles.
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. Strangely enough, the website only hosts video tutorials for its sister program TurboCAD, but none for DesignCAD itself. And although free video tutorials are usually available with CAD packages, DesignCAD requires you to buy an additional training CD.
With 2D drawing, basic 3D modeling capabilities and a load of architectural features, DesignCAD drawing software is a basic program that is best for beginners or for creating 2D designs. The simple interface makes it 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. However, its 3D modeling tools aren't the most powerful, which makes this program a less than desirable choice for complex projects.