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Free Architectural CAD Software DesignWorkshop

written by: Suvo • edited by: Lamar Stonecypher • updated: 2/21/2010

This CAD tutorial will discuss how to start working with DesignWokshop, the free architectural CAD software available over internet.

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    DesignWorkshop is simple and free architectural CAD software useful for creating conceptual 3D architectural plans. In this CAD tutorial we will take an example on how to create a simple home using DesignWorkshop for understanding the architectural CAD package.

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    Working with DesignWorkshop

    • Run the DesignWorkshop application. You will see a window will appear like below:

    DesignWorkshop GUI 

    • All the tools are placed under a single tray called Tools. Some of the useful tools are:
      • Selection: You use this tool whenever you need to select an already created geometry or want to finish any other operations.
      • Line: Use this tool for creating line segments.
      • Block: Most useful, create 3D block of rectangular cross section by using this tool.
      • Poly-wall: Similar to the Block tool but used for creating the blocks of any cross sections.
      • Eye: This tool will help you see all around your 3D architectural model.
      • Zoom: Type the percentage of zoom you want for your model after clicking the tool.
    • On the right hand side of your drawing area you will see a small window named Object Info, which will give you various information about the selected entities. The Vert field here will provide you the extruded height of any entities. After selecting a 2D sketch if you enter a value in this filed the 2D sketch will be extruded to that amount.
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    General rules for Working

    • While creating the line, rectangle, circle and block, you need to keep the left mouse button pressed till the operation is complete.
    • While creating the polyline and poly-wall, you need to release the left mouse button in between picking the different points.
    • Press the number key “0" for keeping the cursor in zero elevation.
    • Press the Alt button while pressing the left mouse button and move the mouse give the elevation to the cursor. In the same line while creating a block after creating the 2D cross sectional sketch if you press the Alt button and move the mouse you can define the extrusion height of the block.
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    Create a 3D Home

    • Click the Block tool.
    • Pick the first point of your block by pressing the left mouse button. The grid will help you picking the point. Keep the left mouse button pressed and complete the rectangle.
    • Don’t release the left mouse button yet.
    • Press the Alt button without releasing the left mouse button and move the mouse to define the extrusion height of the block. You can see the V field value at the lower side of your drawing area for deciding the height of the extrusion while giving the extrusion.
    • Release the left mouse button once the V value (extrusion height) reaches 20". Now your block will look something like below:

    DesignWorkshop Block1 

    • Your cursor is elevated at 20" now al long as you doesn’t press the number key “0".
    • We need to create another block slightly larger in cross section and placed just above the existing block.
    • Click the Block tool again.
    • Click at the suitable location at the screen by keeping the cursor at the elevated location only. Complete the block like below:

    DesignWorkshop Block 2 

    • I have extruded the top block by 5".
    • Press the Select tool and click the top block.
    • You will see two kinds of handles will appear, corner ones are the shapes of solid block and the mid sided handles are the shapes of hollow block. By clicking and moving the hollow blocks you can change the shape of the block. The solid block shaped corner handles are can be used for changing the size of the block.
    • Click the hollow block shaped handle of the top edge of the front surface of the top block and move it toward back without releasing the left mouse button. Drag the mid edged handle at the mid of the side.
    • Similarly drag the back side mid edged handle and you will arrive a shape something like below:

    DesignWorkshop Block 3 

    • Now go to View>Shading and you will see a shaded model.
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    DesignWorkshop is free architectural cad software with some very handy features for creating your conceptual 3D architectural CAD models. The example discussed in this CAD tutorial should be enough for you to start working with the software.