First Look Review: DRAFT IT30 Nov, 2005 By: IDSA ,Mike Hudspeth Cadalyst
Free General-Purpose 2D Drafting Tools
Draft it is a simple 2D drafting package for those who aren't concerned with 3D surfaces and solids. It's a free, downloadable application (6MB). With Draft IT, users draw 2D geometry by entering coordinates or by selecting in the graphics window. The dynamic snaps let users either select in open space or use existing geometry to build drawings.
The x,y coordinates are handy and informative. When the first line endpoint is clicked, it rubberbands the line and x and y dimensions. The dimensions are relative to the first point selected. You can change the relative point. It's easy to edit the geometry. Just click on the point that needs to move, and the line again rubberbands with the cursor.
Draft IT comes with most geometry needed for simple drawings, such as line, arc and rectangle. Draft IT features a properties bar for most entities that lets users finetune to their heart's content. Adding text is very easy. It comes in as an outline but prints correctly. Draft IT uses any Windows fonts it finds on the computer. Draft IT has unlimited undo and a good set of online Help examples.
For about $88, users can get additional functionality with Draft IT Plus. It adds import and export (DXF and DWG), ellipses, area fills, crosshatching, polylines, line thickness, layers, selection filters and more productivity tools. Draft IT Plus comes with templates and lets users have more than one file open at a time to cut and paste between them. The free version should include a basic import and export, because the only thing you can do with drawings now is print.
Draft IT is a handy tool for fast, simple 2D drawings. For a production environment, users should upgrade to Draft IT Plus.
Mike Hudspeth, IDSA, is an industrial designer, artist and author based in St. Louis, Missouri.