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Old 04-16-2004, 07:03 PM
Leonard_Whistler Leonard_Whistler is offline
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Default Free sheet metal CAD software.

I'm new the sheetmetal trade (student) and I would like to know of any free CAD software for sheet metal layout. Presently in school we are drafting T's (90 and 45 degrees) and figuring out the hole patterns by hand. There must be a program that does this.

Also in the shop we don't use any templates when figuring out the hole patterns on the T's, we scribe about 20 lines or more onto the sheet metal and then connect the points and cut out the holes. Is this how this done in the industry? I assume that a computer makes patterns and you just trace around it.

I feel that we are doing everything as if it was 30 years ago, and would like to just quit the sheet metal program and try and get hired on as a pre-apprentice or apprentice in the sheet metal trade.


Leonard Whistler
Vancouver BC
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Old 04-16-2004, 07:41 PM
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Bud Bud is offline
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If you're doing it as it was done 30 years are getting more training then most new guys...take it while you can. (you're at a place where we preach the forgotten art I wish they'd teach the way they did 100 years ago.

Even if you work for a shop with the latest technology, you may need to fall back on the fundamentals of pattern drafting. As for not using templates, your the one developing the patterns, don't you save them for other work that they maybe used on. I realize not all would be practical to save but many probably would be.
I'm not sure what you're referring to as "quiting the program", An apprentice program in most cases is a very good thing, you're more than likly not going to move any faster as a pre or apprentice?

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Old 04-16-2004, 09:31 PM
Leonard_Whistler Leonard_Whistler is offline
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ok Bud....thanks for the reply.

We don't use patterns, we scribe everything on the sheet metal. If we screw up a roll, cut, fit, etc. we cut another piece of sheet metal and scribe/measure all over again onto the sheet metal (this could be why the cost of sheet metal has gone up).

I have learned a lot from this course though.

P.S. I have done a yahoo search for free sheet metal CAD software but come up empty. I assume that there is no free software for me to try.

Leonard Whistler
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Old 04-16-2004, 09:35 PM
pricer pricer is offline
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I work in a shop that is filled with the latest technology. When I started in the trade I began to learn the Forgotten Art and I am glad I did, I wouldnít trade that knowledge for anything. I train apprentices from time to time and it seems to me that they pick up on the new technology very quickly. When a machine goes down or it is time to assemble or bend fittings they are lost. Having the understanding of the Forgotten Art letís the modern technology work better for you. It is very empowering when you understand how a pattern is developed.

Donít give up hope on your schooling. Many people I know including myself , learned from trial and error, spending nights trying figure out how to develop patterns with out any assistance, now thatís frustrating. Modern technology is great but without the training in the Forgotten Art, I would be lost. You have a wonderful resource in using this site. There are many experienced and knowledgeable people who are eager to help, especially with the problems encountered with the Forgotten Art. Hang in there! It will all be worth it when you complete you schooling. The sheet metal trade is challenging and rewarding. Remember, if it was easy, everyone would be doing it! Best of luck to you sir!

Thank you, pricer
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