Saturday, August 1, 2020


I am trying to draw a fairly complex part (actually two parts that fit together), so that I can produce a fairly detailed set of instructions for machining those parts.  Drawing and dimensioning by hand is bringing back the ghost of Mr. Pound, my 7th grade Mechanical Drawing teacher.  It is not a pleasant haunting.

I need to draw several rectangles representing side and end views of this object, marking drill holes and places where I will mill away sections of a rectangular solid.  

I have never successfully  used a CAD package before.  I was able to draw a rectangle.  But how do I specify its dimensions and ideally having those dimensions appear next to the rectangle.  If I designed a CAD program, you would select the object, right click and pull a dimensions or position menu out and fill in numbers.  But that is not obvious how to do.  Even if you are not a LibreCAD user, but are familiar with other CAD programs, you might have a clue to share.

Yes, I have tried to use Fusion360 and ended up utterly stumped.  I know that in most startups where I worked, I was on the left side of bell curve, but I never thought of myself as stupid before attempting to draw stuff in Fusion360.

Found it: Typing @x,y.  So obvious if this were not a GUI.

LibreOffice Draw is easier, but how do you change the number of significant digits on measurements?

I managed to do pretty much what I wanted in LibrOffice Draw, but I still cannot figure out how to get three digits right of the decimal point.  The dimensioning line feature is not quite as simple to use as it should be:


  1. I checked out LibreCAD when looking for a 2D CAD program, but settled on QCAD. Everything you described is doable in QCAD Vommunity Edition.

  2. AutoCAD was the only program I've had trouble figuring out without assistance. I took a class on it at a local community college. The big concept that isn't obvious, and isn't highlighted well in the books I'd seen, is the distinction between model space and paper space. But there are lots of other things that were worth getting in a class.

  3. Can't imagine why one would need a program to draw simple shapes. Coulda drawn it with a pencil in way less time.