updated 01:20 am EDT, Wed March 30, 2011
Free professional-grade app runs on all platforms
Dassault Systems, makers of the popular Windows 3D design program SolidWorks, has announced that their 2D CAD app for all three major platforms, DraftSight, has reached Beta 2 for Mac OS X. The program is a professional-grade 2D program, but is offered free (activation is required, but costs nothing) for single-user, standalone use. The first Mac beta, originally released last year, will expire at the end of November.
The program offers the full range of 2D CAD features, including a Cartesian coordinate system, polygonal viewports, layers, background masks, dynamic pan and zoom, CTB and STB print-style tables, and dozens of entities, drafting tools, drawing setup and editing tools, along with support for DWG and DXF files and other standard graphics formats, all using traditional toolbars and menus. It comes with many support files -- such as hatch patterns, templates, TTF fonts and linestyle files, and users can import their own .dwt templates and .cui, .mnu and .mns menu files.
The first time a user saves or prints a document, they will have 30 days to activate the product, which will be in effect for six months (thereafter, users will only have to re-activate the software once per year). Both the beta and final product are free of change; the company offers options for extended support, though basic support and training materials -- along with a user-supported community forum -- are free.
The program has been specifically designed to feel familiar to users of other 2D CAD programs, and is also currently in beta for Linux (a final version has already been released for Windows). The company has also announced that they are working on iOS and iPad versions of the software. DraftSight requires an Intel Mac running OS X 10.5.8 or later, and at least 1GB of RAM (2GB or more is recommended).