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polsol 25th November 2012 09:28 PM

CAD for parts placement?
When designing what goes where (PCB's, transformer, other hardware etc) in an enclosure, or even determining the required enclosure size to fit the components, is there a simple, dimensionally accurate, CAD program that is suitable?
In particular, I'm trying to find a CAD program that can be used for plotting drill holes, annotation (text) etc in enclosure bases, panels etc.
DWG compatibility would be preferred.
There's a plethora of CAD programs around, many of which would be overkill (and have an associated steep learning curve) for what I require. Added to this is that some of the simpler commercial CAD packages don't seem to have demo downloads (e.g. Turbocad Designer).
2D CAD would, I think, be sufficient but comments from members would be appreciated.

DUG 26th November 2012 01:10 AM

I use A9CAD at home because it is free.

It draws the shaped I need and has measurement functions.

There is a bit of a learning curve as I have used AutoCad (2D) at work.

The symbols are very similar (most the same) but they do some things slightly different.

I'm not sure it would be the complete package you are looking for...but it is free.

farley 26th November 2012 01:34 AM

You might take a look at DraftSight from Daussalt. It is close to AutoCad and it's free.
Free CAD software * for your DWG files: DraftSight - Dassault Systèmes

dangus 26th November 2012 08:43 AM

I was going to suggest A9CAD as well.

The low tech approach is to use paper with a grid and the actual components or paper cutouts to represent them.
Free Online Graph Paper / Square Graph Paper PDFs
A university book store should have engineering note pads with a grid pattern that's good for sketching stuff.

marce 26th November 2012 12:00 PM

I second DraftSight, it is effectivley a free Autocad.

polsol 27th November 2012 12:55 PM

Thank you to one and all. Some very helpful information presented.

As Dangus suggested I looked up the online graph paper and that takes me back more than a few years I can tell you! Actually enjoyed doing the work 'manually' rather than sitting in front of a PC and having first to learn a new program before becoming productive.
It's quite therapeutic :)
So, I'll meander through the suggested prormas and and as I have time but for now - and particularly because I'm looking at 'one-offs' I'll stick to graph paper for the placing of 'internals'.
Now where's my T square, compasses et al ....

However, for front panel design I will need a program for third party machining. Any views on a simple program for this?
Full CAD is over kill at this stage but still need DWG for the target supplier


marce 27th November 2012 02:48 PM

Again Draftsight, you dont have to use all the features.

rsavas 27th November 2012 04:26 PM

One option is, for front/back panels, try Front Panel Express: Front Panel Design Software and CAD Conversion Service. It is free to use and you can get them to fabricate or you can purchase optional software to generate ".dxf" files.
Good reviews as well.

polsol 28th November 2012 08:14 AM

Thanks rsavas for your added input.
I looked up Front panel Design and apparently it can now natively output DXF.
However, if I've read it correctly, it's an infringement of the license to use these DXF files to manufacture panels by a different supplier.

marce 28th November 2012 11:10 AM

How complex is your front panel?If its only a coupl of holes scan a quick pencil sketch of it up and I'll see wot I can do.

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