my CAD Story, Going Native

In 2007, i had begun looking for a native CAD solution for the Mac. My hope was to convert the office i was working at over to Mac. There were only three of us. The owner did not use the computers, so he was okay with whatever we wanted to use. The other person in the firm had seen my struggles with using AutoCAD on my Mac, and was skeptical. So i needed to find something that would be cost effective and perform well and meet our needs. And even if the firm never converted, i still wanted a native solution to use on personal projects.

I had purchased a new iMac Intel Core 2 Duo (which i am still using) in 2007 for my personal use at home. We had to replace our indigo iMac G3 Dv which had served us well for some 7 years, but was just too slow to keep up. I was committed to the Mac platform personally and given my experience on my Power Book, i did not want to continue running AutoCAD through virtualization software and it was still not yet available native to the Mac. After months of google searches and reading architosh, i narrowed my search to five software packages for which i obtained trial software to see which i liked best. They included ArchiCAD, MacDraft, PowerCADD, Concepts 2D, and Graphite.

The iMac i purchased in 2007. Still going strong.
The iMac i purchased in 2007. Still going strong.

My first test was to open the software and if it did not look and feel like AutoCAD, i quickly set it aside and moved to the next option. I guess i was really looking for the easy way out of not having to spend a lot of time learning a new software package. Plus i wanted something that would play well with what we were using in the office. After none of the shortlisted softwares worked anything like AutoCAD, i had to find another way to further whittle down my choices. I continued with the software trials but quickly eliminated ArchiCAD due to price and it just seemed overly complicated for what i was looking for. I really just wanted a 2D package that would allow me draw analogously to manual drafting.

I did not like that you had to set the drawing scale prior to being able to draw anything in MacDraft. And although the price was right, i seem to recall not being particularly enamored with the user interface either. PowerCADD did not impress me either. I really cannot remember any of the specifics. Maybe it was the interface. Maybe it was the packaging. Maybe it was that it seemed more geared towards engineers. Graphite, on the other hand, had great appeal to me. I liked the look and feel of it. It was cross platform, so it could be used in the office even if we did not convert to Mac. But it just seemed priced too high for what it was. At nearly 4x the cost of MacDraft, it just did not seem worth it. I eventually settled on Concepts 2D. It felt the most like AutoCAD out of the bunch, though the tool set was much more limited. Still it had all the basics i thought i needed to craft a drawing. It had decent AutoCAD compatibility and the price was right. But as i got into using it, i found that drawing output was nigh on impossible. It was so counter intuitive and backward, that i never really did get the hang of it.

Doll House Plans and Elevations done in Concepts 2D. c. 2007.
Doll House Plans and Elevations done in Concepts 2D. c. 2007.

I ended up using Concepts 2D for a few personal projects before i gave up on it. Luckily it cost very little, so i was not out very much. As i could not get consistent or replicable results out of it when trying to print, it was not going to work long term. So i began again. Reevaluating the other software packages i had tried. Then i found HighDesign by Ilexsoft...

« Back to Community