CADintosh 5.3.1, by Lemkesoft
Posted: 6-Aug-2005

4 out of 5 Mice

Vendor: Lemkesoft Type: SHAREWARE

Reviewer: Narinder Dogra Class: PRODUCTIVITY
     
$33   Download

Overview
CADintosh is low cost 2D AutoCAD tool that runs on the Mac platform for home or home office use. CADintosh is best used for technical and architectural drawings. Other 2D CAD products that provide similar AutoCAD functionality, such as Microsoft Visio, can run around $400 in price. Professional AutoCAd tools run into the thousands of dollars. CADintosh can be downloaded and tried out for free, and costs only $33.

Features

  • runs native on Mac OS X
  • it is shareware - so, try it before buying it
  • it is a 2D-CAD program for electrical, mechanical and architectural drawings
  • interactive window redrawing (you can work in the same time of the window redrawing)
  • number of elements limited by memory
  • pen oriented mode: 8 line widths/line colors/pens
  • individual mode: line width from 0.0 to 99.99mm, pattern and colors
  • it has a lot of tools like lines, arcs, dimensions, splines, hatching etc.
  • import and export HPGL, DXF and PICT
  • 6 line types (solid,dash,dot-dash,phantom,zigzag,dotted)
  • 32000 groups
  • 1024 layers
  • alternative units in inches or freely definable
  • shareware version has a simple layer filter (easy to use)
  • registered version has an additional extended layer filter (named filter sets, palette with name of filter)
  • shareware version has internal symbols (number of symbols only limited by memory)
  • registered version has additional external symbol libraries and more simple work with symbols
  • user preferences saved in the drawing


Requirements

  • Macintosh Power PC with MacOS with 8.6 or higher, or Mac OS X
  • 32 MBs of free RAM


Set-Up
CADintosh is a downloadable disk image, only 16.9 MB in size. Once downloaded, you just double click on disk image and drag the CADintosh icon to your application folder. Couldn't be any simpler.

In Use
CADintosh is loaded with tools! It includes three tool bars: one at the top, another for element selection in the lower left hand corner, and a floating tool box. When I opened up CADintosh, I was also presented with five floating palettes: color palette, coordinate palette, information palette, pattern palette, symbol palette, layer filter table, view pallet and set palette. With so many tools and options at an engineer's disposal, creating 2D drawings is shear joy!


CADintosh basic application window

The floating tool box contains all the major functions needed to produce and edit a drawing. Clicking on a tool button activates the tool. Holding down the mouse button brings up a sub-menu with different functions of a particular tool.

I opened up a blank sheet and turned on the grid (optional), and found that working with tool palette is very easy. Select a desired function from the tool palette, move the cursor to the blank sheet, and click and draw. The user may change the attributes of the elements being drawn or already drawn using the attribute palette. The attribute palette actually guides the user in creating a drawing.

Describing each and every function in CADintosh is beyond the scope of this review, but I will try to summarize some of the functionality (for more information, I recommend downloading the product and reviewing the user's guide).

The Line tool contains 13 different functions. A Line is defined by characteristics, such as Pen, Style, Group, Layer, Length, and Endless Status. The characteristics can be set using the tool bar in the lower left-hand corner of the display. The functions of line tool include Point-to-Point Line, Parallel Lines, Parallel Lines Tangent to an Arc, Lines at an Angle, Lines at an Angle to another Line, Perpendicular Line, Tangents, Tangent to two Arcs, Tangent at an Angle, Tangents perpendicular to a Line, Tangents at an Angle to a Line, and Change line Attributes.

The CADintosh tools includes:

  • Line tool (13 functions)
  • Circle tool (7 functions)
  • Arc tool (7 functions)
  • Text tool (8 functions)
  • Dimensions tool (12 functions)
  • Trimming tool (5 functions)
  • Transform tool (7 functions)
  • Graphics tool (10 functions)
  • Clearing tool (3 functions)
  • Fill tool (5 functions)
  • X-Line tool (9 functions)
  • Special tool (8 functions)


The Graphics functions lets the user change object parameters after they have been drawn. The Clearing tool lets the user delete or clear one or more objects. The Fill tool basically fills the space enclosed by objects or between objects with selectable patterns. The X-Line tool is an excellent tool for creating polylines and curves. It creates a line joining more than two points, and the line may be a straight line or a curve, or a number of lines at different angles (e.g., forming a staircase).


CADintosh drawing tools

The Special tool is the Daddy of all tools in my opinion, as I used it the most, and found that it was great for increasing my productivity. It lets you move objects, draw ellipses and erase areas on a foreign drawing (not created on CADintosh). The Erase function of the Special tool gives extra punch to CADintosh against the competition. In the engineering field, we always come across drawings created on a drawing board before CAD tools were available. To make changes to such a drawing (once scanned in), Erase is very useful for easily cleaning it up. Just scan an existing foreign drawing to tiff format, erase unwanted areas and add whatever you want using CADintosh.


CADintosh Circles

CADintosh draws perfect circles effortlessly and precisely. A circle is a very basic element of a drawing and very widely used in any drawing. Drawing Arcs is another strong feature of CADintosh. Precision of a free hand arc is based on individual judgement, so it's nice that CADintosh has an automated Arc tool.

Lines are equally good, but I struggled with the line ends snapping to the grid. I had problems starting and ending a line between the grid lines. I could have drawn the lines with grid turned off or specified the length of the line using the dialog feature, but it is time consuming following those routes. Text works fine except I could not make the text bold. Using bold text is important in creating the company logo on a drawing. Drawing text at an angle is a great asset in the text tool. Say you have drawn a line at an angle (35° clockwise). You want to add dimensions to this line at some distance parallel to the line. That's where drawing text at an angle becomes very handy.

Copying and cutting a section of the drawing works sometimes, but does not seem to work at other times. It appears this function may be unstable.


External drawing scan

I scanned a foreign drawing comprised of lines, circles, and text and created a TIFF file. I then used CADintosh to import the TIFF file to begin working on it. I deleted one element of the drawing using the Erase function, and that worked perfectly. Then I added a similar element to the tiff file, including text. It worked like charm except I could not make the text bold. The CADintosh User's Guide shows Text Type as an option in the Text tool, but I could not find it in the tool (a minor irritant). Adding notes with a pointer on the drawing worked well and I was very pleased with it.


Working with a scanned drawing in CADintosh


I was also pleased with the Dimensions tool. The Dimensions tool allows user to insert dimensions on any element of the drawing. However, applying tolerances did not work. As an electrical engineer, this was of no consequence for me, but it may be important for a mechanical engineer. Trimming, Fillet and Chamfer tools worked quite well.

I had problems with the following features (they either didn't work, or didn't work as I expected):

  • Stretch
  • Apply Group
  • Apply Layer
  • Apply Width
  • Edit Element
  • Hatching did not work with rotated objects
  • Ungroup Polyline
  • Change X-Line Attributes (would not select)
  • Move Objects (works OK with individual lines and circles but not with polylines)
  • Send an Object to Back
  • Ellipse (does not draw clean ellipse)
  • Selectable/Not selectable
  • Select framing


The rest of the other functions and features worked and worked well.

Support
CADintosh includes a well-written User's Guide. A problem with the User's Guide is that it expects the novice user to know a lot about different formats like PICT, DXF, and HPGL, etc., and engineers such as myself simply are not familiar with all those formats. Even though CADintosh is loaded with functions and features, I didn't find them all necessary, so it was a bit overwhelming finding the tools that I needed. The User's Guide is almost necessary to help weed through them all.

There is also a Library that you can freely download from the CADintosh web site that includes additional components. There was not a lot in the library, but what was there worked fine.

Summary
CADintosh, designed for 2D technical drawings, is a great drafting tool for Mac users. It is an inexpensive tool that every engineer using a Mac may find useful. It is loaded with drafting tools and features, but does include its share of frustrations. I would say 80% of the tools and features worked as expected, but the others did not. It appears that it is still under development, but considering it's low cost, it is a worthwhile investment. Even though the developer of CADintosh is promoting it as a 2D application, you can use CADintosh for some 3D drawings, such as isometric views. If you are one of the old timers like me who have worked on drawing boards creating isometric drawings like valve assemblies, with some effort you can create 3D drawings using CADintosh. The biggest thing I found missing from CADintosh is a comprehensive symbol library. It is too much of a time investment to create your own basic symbols, and so professional CAD designers may not get all that they need from the tool. For the novice user, the User's Guide lacks some details that may keep you from feeling lost. CADintosh is a great tool for engineering students, and well suited for simple applications, such as your garden layout or furniture layout in your house. It's a free download, so if you have some time, I highly recommend giving CADintosh a spin.


Pros

  • Inexpensive
  • Loaded with tools and features
  • A superb Erase tool
  • Export drawings in other formats
  • Can be used for 3D isometric drawings


Cons

  • Absence of useful symbol library
  • User's Guide does not match features of the product
  • Steep learning curve for finding the features you need
  • Not fully developed product
  • Some drawings do not print as perfectly as they were displayed

Overall Rating

4 out of 5 Mice