Solid Edge 2D CAD software for free.

First of all, we’re talking about the CAD where the D is drafting not dispatch. Now that we’ve got that out of the way –

Every once in awhile, you need to look at a CAD drawing natively. GIS software is getting better at picking up the slack; I know ArcGIS is slowly closing the gap. But I’m not made of money & I can’t justify spending cash on drafting software I’ll almost never use. Consequently, I was delighted to see that while browsing Dealnews the other day, that UGS has released Solid Edge 2d for free (in hopes that that you will go on to purchase their 3D version).

I gave them a bit of my company info & tried it out briefly. I’m by no means a proficient CAD user, but what I did notice was plenty of cues to make your experience easier when viewing AutoCAD formatted files. Plus, it exports to Microstation dgn as well, which is a nice little extra.

Just a couple of glaring dissapointments: I got a gig and a half of memory on my box and this thing ate it all up while viewing a parcel quarter-section dxf, which I think is a bit rediculous. I also searched all over for a means to attach a coordinate system to a drawing, but came up with nothing (that may just be my own ignorance). All in all, not very geo-friendly, but it looks like UGS’s bread & butter might be more mechanical drawings & charts, as opposed to parcels, lots & blocks. Still, you can’t beat the price.

Here’s the link to download Solid Edge 2D & try it yourself.

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