Top 5 CAD Software for Furniture Designing

The Top 5 CAD Software for Furniture Designing

Published by - On September 23, 2013

The purpose of this article is to determine, on the basis of selected criteria, the top 5 CAD software for designing furniture. The software selection criteria include

(a) Ability to perform design tasks, (b) Ease of use, (c) Difficulty and time required for the learning curve, and (d) Cost.

The reasons for using these criteria to select the top 5 furniture design software are detailed in this article.

Well-known Furniture Design Software

Before selecting the top 5 CAD furniture designing software, it is a good idea to list some of the well-known furniture designing CAD software and their capabilities.

  1. DesignCAD® provides 2D (2-dimensional) functionality and limited customization. It costs about $100. It has reasonable support for CAD file formats. It has a fairly steep learning curve.
  2. AutoCAD LT® provides 2D functionality but no customization. It costs less than $1000.
    It has a steep learning curve. It has limited support for CAD file formats.
  3. CADopia® provides 2D functionality and reasonable customization. It costs about $500. It supports many CAD file formats.
  4. SketchList3D® provides 2D/3D functionality but no customization. It costs about $500.
    It does not have a steep learning curve. It has limited support for CAD file formats.
  5. SketchUp® provides 2D/3D functionality and some customization. The professional version costs about $600. It does not have a steep learning curve. It has reasonable support for CAD file formats
  6. RhinoParametrics® provides 2D/3D modeling and customization. It costs about $1000.
    It has a reasonable learning curve. It has limited support for CAD file formats.
  7. eCabinets System® provides 2D/3D modeling, customization and rendering. It costs less than $200. It has a reasonable learning curve.
  8. Master-Design Art-Shop X-Lite® claims to have both 2D and 3D capability. It is either free or inexpensive. User reviews indicate that its functionality is inadequate and that it has a steep learning curve.
  9. Edraw® apparently provides 2D functionality which is not feature rich for designing furniture. It costs about $150. It does not support popular CAD formats. It is easy to use.
  10. ArchiCAD® provides 2D/3D functionality. It provides 3D rendering and customization. It has support for many CAD file formats. It costs over $4000. It appears to have a reasonable learning curve.
  11. Vector Works® provides 2D/3D functionality and customization. It supports many CAD file formats. It costs about $3000. It appears to have a reasonable learning curve.
  12. Sweet Home 3D® provides 2D/3D functionality but lacks customization. It has support for few CAD file formats. It is free under the GNU® public license. It appears to have a reasonable learning curve.
  13. Chief Architect® provides 2D/3D functionality and limited customization. It has support for few CAD file formats. It costs about $2800. It appears to have a reasonable learning curve.
  14. DeltaCAD® provides 2D functionality and some customization. It has limited support for CAD file formats. It costs about $50. It has an easy learning curve.

Criteria Used to Compare Furniture Design Software

In order to select the top 5 CAD software for designing furniture, it is necessary to use the criteria mentioned in the introductory section of this article. When available, user comments and ratings are used to assign weights to criteria that are used to compare software packages.

  • Functionality is an essential feature. If the software lacks essential features for designing furniture, then it should be eliminated from consideration. Because functionality is essential, it is assigned a weight of 10, on a 0 – 10 scale.
  • Closely related to functionality is rendering and customization. Software which is feature rich and customizable earns a weight of 8, and software which is neither feature rich nor customizable earns a weight of 1. When 2D software is capable of 3D rendering, it should earn a weight of 4 or 5.
  • 3D capability, because it enables the designer to visualize object in isometric and oblique views, is assigned a weight of 8. 2D capability without 3D rendering is assigned a weight of 4.
  • Ease of use is an important feature. User reviews and comments provide the information required in order to assign weights for ease of use. Easy-to-use software earns a weight of 7, and difficult-to-use software earns a weight of 2.
  • Closely related to ease of use is the learning curve. An easy learning curve earns a weight of 7, and a steep learning curve earns a weight of 2.
  • The ability to support CAD file formats is an important feature. A bitmap or raster based software should support the most popular formats such as .png, .jpg, .tiff, .pgm, .pcx and other bitmap formats. Vector based software should support the most popular formats such as .cdr (CorelDraw®), .ai (Adobe® Illustrator), .gem (GEM metafiles), OpenGEX, IGES, U3D and other vector formats. Software which supports many formats earns a weight of 5, and software which supports minimal formats earns a weight of 2.

Table 1 provides weighted comparisons for 10 software packages selected from the list of 14 software packages.

These 5 software packages were eliminated from consideration: DesignCAD®, AutoCAD LT®, Master-Design Art-Shop X-Lite®, and Edraw®.

Software Function Ability to Customize 3D capability Learning Curve, Easy to use Support for CAD formats Cost Total Score
CADopia® 5 3 4 2 4 7 25
SketchList3D® 9 0 8 7 3 7 34
SketchUp® 9 3 8 7 3 7 37
RhinoParametrics® 9 7 8 6 4 6 40
eCabinets System® 9 8 8 6 4 8 43
ArchiCAD® 9 8 8 6 5 3 39
Vector Works® 9 8 8 6 5 4 40
Sweet Home 3D® 9 0 8 6 2 8 33
Chief Architect® 9 2 8 6 2 4 31
DeltaCAD® 5 7 4 7 2 8 33

Conclusion

From this study, the conclusion is that the top 5 software for designing furniture are:

  1. eCabinets System®
  2. RhinoParametrics®
  3. Vector Works®
  4. ArchiCAD®
  5. SketchUp®

Of honorable mention are SketchList3D®, Sweet Home 3D®, and DeltaCAD®.

– The CAD Chief

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