QCAD - getting started guides.

Discussion in 'CAD Corner' started by adrian, 29 March 2014.

  1. adrian

    adrian Flying Squad

    Unaccustomed as I am to public speaking I find myself in the slightly unusual position of having published a couple of short guides to using QCAD.

    I've posted in a couple of other threads my initial attempts at getting some etchings done, for which I used QCAD, a free open source (in places) CAD package. This has prompted a couple of queries from members interested in how to use the software themselves. Hence these video guides.

    I'm a rank amateur both in video blogging and CAD drawings so any suggestions or feedback on either front are gratefully received, any way these are first couple of videos to test the waters, if there is sufficient interest and my rambling dialog isn't too excruciating then I'll churn a few more out.

    The first one covers the basic setup of QCAD, drawing preferences, layers.

    I then move onto drawing a line, entering values on the command line, absolute and relative values.

    Finally a bit more about snap points for connecting lines, snapping to points and copying lines.

    If this has proved useful then please let me know, also any requests for clarification or subsequent videos?
  2. Len Cattley

    Len Cattley Western Thunderer

    Hi Adrian, had a look at your instructions and found them very usefull. I would like to see more of them as it would help me to understand what I need to do.

  3. SteveO

    SteveO Guest

    Excellent idea Adrian. I use Illustrator at the moment but I'm looking for something more CAD oriented. I don't want to jump the gun here, but will there be a 3D series to follow on? Maybe using the QCAD drawings as a base?

    Following with great interest.
  4. Railwaymaniac

    Railwaymaniac Western Thunderer

    Following with interest - yes. Great interest. More lessons, please . . .

    Oddly enough, this reminds me of computer intro courses back in the 1980s when folks were all trying to learn assembler code for for the first microcomputers.
    The writers of (say) ZORK could never have imagined some of today's full immersion 3D games, and in the same sort of way I'm thinking that over the next decade or two the laser cutting and 3D printing industries could also blossom out of all current recognition.
    I can hardly wait . . .


  5. Steph Dale

    Steph Dale Western Thunderer


    Quick techie question on exporting the completed artwork for etching. Looking at the feature set on the website link you posted, I assume you sent it as a .dxf? Or did you print as camera-ready?

    QCAD looks a useful little program, but there are a few features I make use of in TurboCAD which aren't supported by the free version. For Eu42 it's not bad value for the 'Pro' version, but I'd also have a look at TurboCAD 2D or DeLuxe if you find you want more features; they're very similar in price plus you get decent support and very useful on-line community presence. The interface of the two products looks very similar, they may even be based around the same engine. Worth remembering that in the dim and distant past TurboCAD was also freeware, I've been a user since those dim and distant days...

  6. adrian

    adrian Flying Squad


    I just sent the drawing as a .dxf file once I'd scaled it to 7mm:1ft. Not too sure what is required for "camera ready" (splitting out the various layers?) so i left it to PPD to sort out.

    I have used TurboCAD in the dim and distant past (286/386 - Windows 3.1 when an extra 2Mb of memory was £20). I've a drawing on file somewhere of Bluebird K7 done in TurboCAD, but never kept up to date with it. I still look at it occasionally and would consider it again if I ever get stuck in QCAD.
  7. ZiderHead

    ZiderHead Western Thunderer

    This great stuff Adrian, thanks for posting. Ive been wondering what to use to design some etches since my copy of Illustrator CS2 no longer works with OSX (grrr!) and I'd heard good things about QCAD so installed it a while back, but didnt really get the hang of it with a brief tinker. Hopefully I can use these tutorials for my conversion :thumbs:
  8. adrian

    adrian Flying Squad

    and the next instalment. I think I'm wittering on too much as this ended up at 18 minutes long. Probably too long for one guide. I'll try to make the next one shorter I promise. This time I've drawn out the basic outline for the tender frame, so it covers the basics of drawing lines to dimensions, modifying lines to get them to intersect and finally trimming lines to end up with the basic outline.

    The works drawing I'm referring to is a copy from NRM I got many moons ago for the Midland 3250 gallon tender, this has subsequently been published in the Wild Swan Midland Engine book No.2 on the Class 3 Belpaire goods engines - page 34 if anyone is following along with the book!!

  9. SteveO

    SteveO Guest

    Very good. I'm wondering if it's possible to make multiple selections? For example, instead of moving the sides of the axle guides out to their positions one by one, you could select all three similar sides to move out, then again for the other sides. This would make a 6 operation task into a 2 operation task.
  10. adrian

    adrian Flying Squad

    You certainly could - I told you I was a novice! If you select the first line then hold the shift key it allows you to select additional lines. Keyboard shortcut 'mv' for move and it will move all 3 at once. Thanks for pointing that out, I'll have to remember that for next time.
  11. Len Cattley

    Len Cattley Western Thunderer

    I managed to finish these instructions (thanks Adrian). The only problem I have is that when I load the programme it hasn't got the status bar below the command bar. I am using Qcad do you know how to load it?

  12. adrian

    adrian Flying Squad

    The status bar at the bottom can be switched on and off under the "View" menu, alternatively the keyboard shortcut is "G,S" and should toggle it as well.
  13. jamiepage

    jamiepage Western Thunderer

    Can I add my thanks for these tutorials.
    I am working through them and hope to apply the knowledge to my next project.
  14. Len Cattley

    Len Cattley Western Thunderer

    Thanks Adrian, don't know how I missed that, can't wait for the next installment, also can you tell us how to make rivets and indentations to punch rivets?

  15. adrian

    adrian Flying Squad

    Thanks for the feedback - I'll get onto the half etch rivets in one of the next instalments but they are nothing more than a small circle drawn on the half-etch layer and then filled for that layer. I'll cover the outline layer and fill first but extacty the same process is used for the half etched layers as well.

    In the mean time the latest update - although I tried to keep it shorter it still ended up over 12 minutes. Is this too long - should I try to keep it to 5 - 8 minute chunks?

    Anyway this update covers using some of the curve fitting tools to build up the detailing on the side frame.

  16. Len Cattley

    Len Cattley Western Thunderer

    Hi Adrian, it's fine for me I can always pause it if I want.

  17. jamiepage

    jamiepage Western Thunderer

    As someone who needs all the help I can get, the longer the better. It works very well to run it through once, then recap, pause, scratch head, fiddle about, forward, pause, etc as necessary.
    Thank you.
  18. SteveO

    SteveO Guest

    Length not a problem here either. I think it's better to have task-defined lengths, just like you seem to be doing, rather than having to split something over a couple videos. Really enjoying it!
  19. Len Cattley

    Len Cattley Western Thunderer

    It would be nice to see the rest of these instructions

    adrian likes this.
  20. adrian

    adrian Flying Squad

    Hi, no problem I will get a couple more done this weekend. I've just been totally maxed out with supporting the Leigh Show and I'm trying to organise 2 Scout camps at the same time!! [Well one in May and one in June!]
    If nothing appears after the weekend then please please give me a knudge to remind me.