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DoubleCAD XT: Free alternative to AutoCAD

This article is not directly related to Blender, but since most artists involved in architectural visualization projects need CAD software like AutoCAD, and for most of us AutoCAD is not an option because of the high cost of the license, I believe that every tip or software that can replace AutoCAD in your pipeline will be a great help. I my case I use QCAD for most of my project, because it’s lightweight software and I can run it on Linux, Mac Os and Windows. Last week, I just found a new option that promises to be a replacement for AutoCAD, it’s called DoubleCAD XT and it’s a freeware developed by IMSI/Design.

Is it really free? Well, this version that I’m using is free for personal and professional use according to the license available on their official web site. It works like this, there are two versions of DoubleCAD XT, one of them is called PRO and comes with some advanced features like constraints to help on 2d drawing, and some extra features. The other one is the free version, which comes only with the basics, requires drawing and creating technical schemes.

Take a look on some screenshots, where is easy to identify the command line, layer manager, draw tool and even a Layout tab at the bottom, with a similar design.

doublecadxt-01

doublecadxt-02

doublecadxt-03

If you are used to the AutoCAD environment, DoubleCAD XT is pretty much inspired by the AutoCAD 2008 interface with the tools and interface organized in a way that resembles a lot AutoCAD. Even the command line and tools are the same. I can say that because with QCAD, there are tools for similar tasks, but with different names and with DoubleCAD XT, the names are exactly the same. The developers compare the software with AutoCAD LT.

For me, who learn to use CAD software in college using AutoCAD and for about three years was responsible for a training program here based on AutoCAD, I feel quite comfortable in the software.

If you are interested in downloading the software, you will have to visit the IMSI/Design web site and fill up a form, and they will send a download link and a serial with an activation code. I still don’t know if it’s possible to run the software in Wine, but I’m using it on OS X with VMWare Fusion with no bigger problems.

What if I don’t need this type of software? Well, even if you don’t use CAD software to draw, there is one great thing about DoubleCAD XT, which for me is quite useful. The possibility to open, edit and export DWG files from AutoCAD 14 until 2009. I’m aware of DWG true converter, but with this software we will be able to edit and not only export the files.

As far as I could test the software, the free version is really complete and I my case it will overcome my needs for 2d drawing. I’m already recommending this software for all my students!

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22 Comments

  1. udey says:

    Great news !! Thx

  2. Severn Clay says:

    Wow, IMSI! I wondered if they had bitten it in the dot-com bust. I used to use Turbocad back right after college, because it was cheap…not a terrible CAD program, plut it was running on a – 386? Maybe 486 at that point.

    I’ll check it out. The interface looks suspiciously familiar…

    FYI, for Linux users out there, ACAD 2000 and VectorWorks ~11.5 run ok on Wine – not great, but well enough. Not cheap, though.

  3. Alain says:

    Brickscad is another alternative, not for free but for about 400 Euro. There is a Linux Version of it as well. It can open DWG Files native from the newest AutoCAD Version.

  4. mehboob sadicote says:

    Thank you for the resource, but there’s no download option for Linux based Operating Systems! I suppose i will have to stay with QCad till then. Wish K-3D had a more comprehensive manual/tutorial.

  5. jlr23 says:

    For those that don’t want to fill out the IMSI forms and wait for an email, it looks like it’s available at download.com too. There’s a serial number at the end of the software overview. http://www.download.com/DoubleCAD-XT/3000-18496_4-10907980.html

  6. Hi, here is the rated list of autocad alternatives:

    ***** autocad lt
    ***** solidworks
    *** microstation
    *** revit
    ** turbocad
    ** archicad
    ** vectorworks
    * pro e
    * architectural desktop
    * inventor
    * autodesk
    * 3ds max
    * hand drafting
    autocad lite
    sketchup
    adt
    autocad mechanical
    chief architect

  7. some body says:

    first, i dont know what the freaking is wrong with everyone’s mind. notice that this download link takes u to a different program to download. second, i’ve already download doublecad from the developer & it simply doesn’t install on a Vista laptop. i believe this is a trick to purchase the pro version. so stop the scam!

  8. phil says:

    downloading doublecad xt without problem. leave email address and some detail (which is not verified) to them and in immediate return email you receive serial, activation and download link. works great on winxp.

    doublecad XT is NOT suitable to alter 3D models. import/opening/viewing of 3D is possible but NOT for creating them. took me one day to find out. do not get fooled by the z-axis or 3d samples coming with it. read comparison between xt and pro version carefully.

  9. Sundar says:

    It is working beautifully on my Windows XP SP1 system. The best part for me is it can open sketchup files, and save as dwg.
    The downside is, it leaves a small watermark on prints.
    Other than that, I think it is a great software, in some respects I find it better than acad.

    Sundar

  10. Sundar says:

    THe official IMSI website did not work for me, however I was able to get it from:
    http://www.cadcourse.net/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWPROD&ProdID=488
    You need to use a discount code while checking out, to download it for free. The code is mentioned on the website.

    …It is working beautifully on my Windows XP SP1 system. The best part for me is it can open sketchup files, and save as dwg.
    The downside is, it leaves a small watermark on prints.
    Other than that, I think it is a great software, in some respects I find it better than acad.

    Sundar

  11. Chrysophylax says:

    Sadly this nice piece of SW does not work under wine. The installation process works fine but the app gets stuck with the splash dialog windows. I think also that all The windows calls would make it very heavy.

    Rumors report the @cad (http://www.atcad.net/) is going to be avaiable both in Linux and Mac in a short time. It’s a Acad LT clone, very cheap.

  12. [...] O problema é convencer esse pessoal a fazer a migração para as ferramentas da Autodesk, com opções tão acessíveis e gratuitas como o DoubleCAD XT. [...]

  13. ahmed sami says:

    i will test it in work

  14. isma says:

    any body know how to install Doublecad XT in linux using wine ?

  15. ingsun says:

    how to install DoubleCAD XT on linux using wine ?

  16. mehboob sadicote says:

    I had tried once, didn’t succeed, maybe i did something wrong; i read somewhere that wine does not support 3D Graphics intensive software, i would be glad to be proved wrong though…

  17. JP says:

    Have Vista 64 Ultimate and DblCad X works great!!!

  18. JP says:

    You failed to mention works with Sketchup files

  19. Jesse V Infante says:

    Does it work with Windows 7?

  20. W.A.Hundt says:

    I am the leagal owner of TurboCad15 and somehow was offered DoubleCadXT, Using it on Windows Prof with SP3. I cannot make up my mind which is better! I love both of them.

    I installed over the last two years or so, DoubleCad on quite a few different machines, The activation code obtained was everytime the same. I hope ISMI do not go down the drain. Would be too sad.

    WAH

  21. jay says:

    FYI, the small watermark that prints through DoubleCAD XT can be disabled by unchecking the checkbox in Print Setup. No biggie.

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