A New View Mode

QCAD 3.4 has been released today with a new view mode and support for custom properties.

The new view mode displays a drawing using screen-based linetypes instead of drawing unit based linetypes:

Screen-based Linetypes

This is particularly useful for users who are working in larger or smaller units than Millimeters, Centimeters or Inches. In such drawings, linetype patterns are usually too small or too large to be visible in model view.

Consider the floorplan at the right which is constructed in Meters. Interiors are shown with a dash line pattern. However, in the model view, the line pattern is too dense to be visible. To show the line pattern, you would have to switch to the print preview and adjust the drawing scale appropriately.

Starting with QCAD 3.4, you can use the new view mode to switch from drawing unit based linetypes to screen based linetypes.

Once this view mode is activated, QCAD displays dashed lines with screen based dashes. This means that dashes are defined in pixels rather than drawing units. Zooming in and out has no effect on the density of the pattern in this view mode.

Since this view mode mostly makes sense for users working in units other than Millimeters, Centimeters or Inches and only when working in the model view, there is also a new application wide preference available to automatically switch this view mode on when working in the model view and switch it off when working in the print preview. This preference can be adjusted under Edit - Application Preferences - Graphics View - Appearance - Linetypes - Auto switch linetypes.


QCAD 3.3.2

This latest update of QCAD comes with a new tool to perform arbitrary matrix transformations (shown at the right) and adds support for non-uniform scaling of arcs, circles and ellipses.

Further, the info tools can now optionally add the measured results to the drawing and block attributes are now also supported in part library items.


Block Attributes in QCAD 3.3

QCAD 3.3 has been released with a focus on block attributes. Block attributes can be used to define variable, dynamic text entities in blocks. Watch this screencast for a brief introduction on creating and using block attributes with QCAD.


QCAD 3.2.1

QCAD 3.2.1 is now available with two new tools and the usual bug fixes.

First, a new construction tool for inscribing ellipses into quadrilaterals has been added. This can for example be useful when creating isometric projections with angled sections through round parts as shown at the right. The auxiliary construction in blue is used as quadrilateral for drawing the inscribed ellipses in the front view and in the isometric view.

Ellipse inscribed in a quadrilateral.

The other new tool is a convenience tool for clipping or clearing rectangular areas for example to create a detail view as shown below. Especially for complex drawings, this tool can be a lot more efficient than exploding and trimming each entity to the rectangular area.

Clip selection to rectangular area.

As you might have noticed, QCAD is now also on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter for those QCAD users who like to hear the latest developments about QCAD through social media.


New Circle Tools

QCAD 3.2 has been released this week with four new circle tools:

Circle tangential to an entity and through two points. Circle tangential to two entities and through a point.
Circle tangential to two entities with given radius. Circle tangential to three entities.

Perhaps surprisingly, most of these solutions are not at all straight-forward to find without the use of a CAD system. The problem to create circles that are tangential to three given circles, lines or points is sometimes referred to as the 'Problem of Apollonius' and has been solved by various mathematicians over the centuries.

Depending on the exact geometry of the tangential entities, there can be multiple (not always obvious) solutions to the problem. QCAD lets you pick the desired solution in the final step of the appropriate tool.

In the example at the right, the three dark blue circles were chosen as tangential circles. QCAD previews all eight possible solutions so that the desired solution can be chosen by simply clicking next to it. In this example, the innermost circle is chosen, shown in green.

I hope these tools will further boost your productivity!


QCAD 3.1 Open Source

QCAD version 3.1 has been released today!

QCAD 3.1 adds various improvements and new features to QCAD but probably the most important news today is that starting with QCAD version 3.1, QCAD is now available under the GPLv3 (open source software) as a free download to anyone.

QCAD 3.1 is an easy to use, complete 2D CAD system for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux. It offers a complete set of general purpose CAD tools and uses the DXF format as its native file format. Additional power-user tools including DWG support and enhanced DXF support are available as QCAD Professional through proprietary add-ons. QCAD Professional can be purchased for a small license fee. All proceeds are reinvested into the future development of QCAD.

QCAD can be easily extended through its very powerful and complete ECMAScript (JavaScript) interface. Since almost the entire Qt and QCAD API are available to scripts, there are no limits when it comes to extending QCAD through scripts. For extensions in C/C++, a plugin interface is available as well.

If you are interested in contributing, QCAD is hosted on github and all kind of contributions are welcome (development, documentation, translations, etc.).