It’s hard to believe that the first edition of TurboCAD saw the light of day in 1986, but it’s usually a good indication that a product has found a solid position within the market when 24 years roll by and it’s still pouring out updates. The latest yearly edition of the cut-down version of TurboCAD Professional, TurboCAD 17 Deluxe has now hit the shelves, complete with a host of new features and improvements, plus a valuable collection of tutorials.
If this is your first venture into Computer-Aided Design then you might initially feel swamped with the amount of data on offer. For this reason, it’s highly recommended that you buy the boxed version of TurboCAD 17 Deluxe which includes CAD Fundamentals Training, a clear and easy to follow collection of over 200 interactive videos which will guide you through all the basic 2D design as well as finding your way round the work space. The downloadable version doesn’t include the training, although there is a basic Getting Started Guide.
As with previous versions, you can import designs that have already been created from the two most popular industry-standard programs – AutoCAD and Google SketchUp – as well as 26 others. The page layout gives maximum room for designing on the work space, with menus all around the perimeter that are clearly labelled with icons that reveal their purpose when you pass the cursor over them. There are three operating modes depending on your level of CAD experience, with all the tools displayed and explained in beginner mode, and fewer and fewer revealed in intermediate and expert modes.
As with previous versions of TurboCAD, you have all the necessary design and modelling tools to produce 2D drafts which can then be extruded to 3D models, with a heavy emphasis on architecture and mechanics. Again, as before, you can make use of Lightworks to produce photorealistic objects, interiors and exteriors that can be lit from without and within and (in the case of buildings in particular) walked around and through, so you can be satisfied with your creation from every angle.
So what are some of the new features this year? The Design Director has simplified layer management by adding Line Style, Pen Width and Print Style parameters and there are new layer filters that are DWG file format compatible. There’s now support for AutoCAD Colour Table files and Index Colours have been added to True Colours. Individual blocks can now be customised and edited and the Architectural and Metric templates have been beefed up. In addition, there’s a new Link Wall Segments option and it’s become easier to edit text when MultiText or Text tools are enabled.
Overall, we wouldn’t say that this is a seismic upgrade on last year’s version but at less than £80 you might as well take on board all the improvements, even if you own earlier editions.
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