Hi folks, I'm out of my depth here but am hoping you can offer some advice choosing software.
I recently began working for a small business in Ontario, Canada that fabricates and installs structural steel. In most cases we get shop drawings supplied, but usually when we build stairs we need to come up with the drawings ourselves.
One of the retired owners of the business used to do these drawings on paper to be stamped by an engineer but he's recently passed away. In the meantime we're paying that engineer to also draw the stairs but would prefer the convenience, cost and time savings of doing them in-house.
Criteria: Ease of Use
I'll be the one making up the drawings. I'm young and computer literate, but my experience with CAD is limited to fooling around with Sketchup to design some furniture and now a 30 day trial of Advance Steel that I'm fumbling through but have managed to make this
. I'd like something with good tutorials and something that can make shop drawings fairly easily. Popularity and Longevity
I'd like something that will serve me well for years to come, and also be compatible with what others are using. Our engineer uses AutoCAD and Revit, which is what got me interested in Advance Steel. Cost
Right now we're paying about $15k CAD annually to get drawings made, so it has to be less than that, and hopefully a lot less.
So far my list of options includes: Advance Steel
- I have a 30 day trial and have been able to design a set of stairs, though it needs work. I've been watching youtube videos to get me through but I could use some online training. Looks like it costs $1,950 USD/year. Tekla
- I've heard its great, but don't know much about it. SDS/2
- A family member uses it in the US and raves about it (also Blue Beam?). SDS/2 offers a 35 hour video tutorial with a 30 day trial for $500 which gets deducted if you buy it. It costs $22k USD to purchase + a $3,500 annual fee, or otherwise its $6,500 annually.
Are there others I'm missing? Which do you prefer? Can you help make a recommendation or otherwise suggest things to consider? Thank you!