TurboCAD 2D Macintosh is an easy-to-use 2-D CAD (computer-aided design) application aimed at both professionals and non-professionals. Its straightforward interface will be familiar to anyone with experience using CAD or drawing programs. It includes all of the typical tools, such as multiple line types, polygons, double lines, curves, and dimensions—as well as drafting aids like object and grid snap.
The application comes with a symbol library of over 8,000 objects. Most of the symbols are generic, but they are a useful resource, particularly for the non-professional user. Layer support includes the ability to hide and show, manipulate colors and ordering, and the ability to create layer sets. The Layer Manager palette is the most user-friendly I’ve seen in a CAD program.
TurboCAD 2D can import and export an extensive number of file formats, including design industry standards like DWG, DXF, IGES, and ACIS SAT. However, TurboCAD 2D cannot handle paper space (printable sheets made up of multiple views of other parts of drawings), and cannot import page layouts from AutoCAD utilizing paper space. TurboCAD 2D can also import and export the Adobe Illustrator format, making it a great tool for illustrators who need to produce scaled, accurate drawings. Although TurboCAD 2D is a 2-D program, it has a model-to-sheet tool that can import 3-D CAD files, which gives Illustrator users additional flexibility.
A downside to TurboCAD 2D is in the way it handles units of measurement. The units can be displayed as decimals or fractions, but all input and editing is accomplished purely in decimal format. This makes it difficult to input fractions. This might be a show-stopper for architects, who typically work in feet and inches—or for anyone who can’t quickly do decimal-to-fraction conversions in their head.
IMSI markets TurboCAD 2D as a tool for non-professionals, such as homeowners doing their own remodeling or students working on school projects. While TurboCAD 2D may be one the easiest CAD programs to use, beginners would need to immerse themselves in the application for a day or two to become proficient at producing useful drawings.
Macworld buying advice
TurboCAD 2D Macintosh is a terrific value for professionals looking for a full-featured 2-D drafting application or for a homeowner or student looking for an application for creating CAD drawings—provided you can do the math when inputting decimal measurements.
Greg Miller holds a Master’s degree in architecture and is chief technology officer of RDC Interactive, which specializes in new media for the AEC (Architecture, Engineering, and Construction) and publishing markets.
TurboCAD 2D Macintosh sports an interface that will be familiar to anyone experienced with CAD programs.