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Looking for TurboCAD Tales Contributors
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* July 29, 2014, 04:46:02 PM
We are looking for people to tell us how they've successfully used TurboCAD for  home, hobby or professional design purposes.  If you are interested in contributing your story, along with any content that would help  illustrate it, please send it to [email protected].  We greatly appreciate any submissions.

Bob Mayer


* January 20, 2017, 11:03:47 AM
Interesting no-one has responded so far!

I can describe how I've successfully failed to use TurboCAD, for hobby purposes (model-engineering) so with no tutorial support.

My feeling is that the chances of teaching yourself any CAD programme (I've tried others), are very slim indeed no matter how much engineering knowledge, conventional manual-draughting experience and general computer-using background you have.

I bought a copy of TurboCAD plus a supposed training-video, on CDs, from an Avanquest sales stand at a model-engineering exhibition. (Avanquest claims to be a software developer but I think it's really only, or at best is mainly, a retailer of others' software.) With it was a reference to a self-employed TurboCAD consultant trading as PaulTheCAD

I installed & registered it happily enough. When I tried to follow TurboCAD's own instructions I found they would fail within about 3 or 4 repetitions. Since nowhere did the instructions explain anything, I could only assume I'd made a mistake so tried again. After several attempts with great care to follow the instructions exactly but with the same result, I contacted Paul and explained the problem.

He asked why I was using ESC to complete each move.
"The instructions tell me to do that".
"Which instructions? You don't use Escape!"]
"TurbCAD's own", I said. "On the official CD sold with the programme itself!"
"Oh!" Paul sent me a USB stick with, he said, a training video he'd made himself.

Actually I had three problems, the more important being no definite way to make the cursor release one object to start another. I assume basics like that are common to most CAD products so not described on individual ones because "everyone" already knows them.

Once I'd bought a pair of speakers so I could play the thing, it was really just a display with running commentary of an expert using TurboCAD. You cannot learn to use extremely complex software from a video.

I gave up and put the CDs away for months, but have just tried again.
The problem is that the "Help" menu offers either a very large pdf file that is only an aide-memoire for experts, or yet another video - which demands trying to install perhaps the least reliable major software going, that wretched rubbish Adobe, every time!

I have tried to find a book on learning TurboCAD (or any similar CAD if only for the general basics) without luck. All I found was a TurboCAD manual for over £150, on Amazon or e-Bay. Cheap for an engineering company or a college. I can't afford that. 

Really, CAD programmes, like the more advanced photo-faffers, are professional tools intended to be taught in full-time, formal courses that explain what the features actually mean, and how to make them work. The idea implicit in advertising them at craft-hobby shows, or as in the question here, that anyone with basic computer and engineering-drawing knowledge can learn them, is false. You need proper instruction in CAD generally, and you won't find that without spending industrial fees on professional courses.

TurboCAD, like AutoCAD, Fusion, Solid-Works/Edge or any other CAD application, is not for self-learning. I'm glad I have kept my manual drawing-board.


* January 20, 2017, 11:52:30 AM
Afraid I don't agree with Nigel's viewpoint at all, 'cuz I learned whatever I know about TCad solely through experimenting, reading the Help file, and posting questions in the Forum. No lessons or tutorials or classrooms.

Henry H


* January 20, 2017, 01:47:18 PM
I agree with Henry as i did about the same thing myself when i start to use/ learn TurboCAD, only difference is that i also look at some video's, still do on youtube.

I started with my "bible", the TC manual with paperback, later i find out about the http://www3.turbocadcommunity.com/tiki-index.php that was basically written by user's, in other words not in a programmers language, so even if they explain the same thing, there was some point in there that was easier to understand for me than the "bible".

Then i start try to solve the different usercase inside this Forum, and read the correct answer/ way to do it if/ when i failed in the attempt.
And i still do that if it is in my field of interest.


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* January 20, 2017, 01:54:43 PM
I have been successful with TurboCAD due to my persistence and mechanical knowledge. While it's taken me some months to get my designs right in all respects, the time spent has been absolutely worth it.


Thanks Daz ( Darryl )
Using TCW 2015, 2016 & 2017 Platinum, Animation Lab V5, Graficalc, Lightworks mostly
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* January 20, 2017, 04:29:35 PM
I think of CAD as being like driving a car.  You learn the generic basics in driver training, and it's usually the family car or your instructor's that you learn first, and it's not always easy.  Afterwards, the controls are arranged differently in each model that you drive, even when they're from the same manufacturer (and haven't there been a few complaints about that in TC over time?  Sweeps that used to be extrudes, modifies that used to be formats or edits.... I don't customise because each new release "persuades" me to familiarise myself with new tools that I might ignore because they're not accommodated in a custom UI) .    I've used TC profitably for my own business and hobby uses since V5 until now, developing with the program, along the way I've been able to adapt competently to other CAD apps while subcontracting, with relatively short acclimatisation, using the same-controls-in-different-places analogy. 


* January 22, 2017, 12:35:26 PM
For many years I have been using turbocad for professional drafting, tried other cad programs and always drifted back to TC. To me TC is a good all-rounder and well suits my needs. Like Murray, I am self taught, trial and error, forums and TC community, my teacher. Getting to know and to be productive with TC took sometime and it would have been great if a well structured teaching resource  was available to lessen the learning burden.
I have trialed both Cadsoft and Chief Architect and was extremely impressed with the learning videos available, it took very little time to get up to speed with both programs. I would suggest that it would be a significant benefit to TC users (both new and old users) if the turbocad people were to produce similar learning videos. I have made this suggestion several time and I am sure that there would be an increase in the use of Turbocad if this resource was available.
« Last Edit: January 22, 2017, 12:37:07 PM by Bob Burgess »

Robert Burgess. Using Platinum 21 - Windows 7

* January 28, 2017, 03:12:00 PM
Yikes. If I were to have the opinion of Nigel I do not know what I would be doing today.

I am not saying 3D Cad is easy, but with persistence and so much help from this forum, I truly believe all that I am doing today was born by using TCAD. 

TurboCad, IMSI products the wonderful people on this Forum have impacted my whole life. When I started in 2000, I barely knew how to start a computer and I was no spring chicken, even back then.

17 years later, a variety of 'additional' software combinations actually have me working on a product promo for the Border Wall.

While TCAD was used for some preliminary design studies the final output also involved a video editing program and advanced animation with Lumion.

I think I will write to Bob as he asked for stories and for me TCAD is my greatest story ever lived, as far a business is concerned.


I will post this again but as long as I am here, this is result that we hope to have the new Administration look at and accept Reco Cement made here in Wisconsin.


Couldn't get hyper link icon to work.

Jack Zimmer

* February 14, 2017, 02:56:51 PM
Thank you for the encouragement, chaps. It's not even easy to log in to this forum at times, nor to post anything once here thanks to that 'Captcha' thing being almost illegible!

Murray Dickinson has hit the nail on the head. Given we all know the basics of engineering drawing as such, his analogy with driving is good in that you need to learn to drive then become familiar with the quirks of the particular make and model you buy.

The problem I see is that TC (and other packages I've sampled) assumes that we all know the basics of CAD software before we even touch any given CAD package. Finding that information is a nightmare, I suspect because as computers become ever more ubiquitous, software publishers become ever more sure "we all" know the principles just as the motorist looking for a new car already knows how to drive.

With the greatest respect, a forum like this is something of a deterrent too, because a quick glance down its questions reveal they are predominantly about the most obscure items; some apparently on topics closer to operating-systems and file-handling than drawing things. if you struggle to so much as draw two lines on the screen you feel totally out of place among all that display of PhD-level skill and experience.

OK, how about the training videos?

Well, when I bought TC complete with an alleged training video on a separate disc. I followed the instructions very carefully only to find that after a few iterations of the same command the requested ESC key had changed its function from completing the given move, to deleting the whole drawing so far! This happened every time I tried so it was not a one-off miss-key on my part. "Paul The Cad" (a UK agent) kindly sent me a video he'd produced himself but to me it was just someone demonstrating what TurboCAD does, rather than how to make it do it.

The on-line videos from the Help menu... they rely on Adobe Flash Player, which must be least useful and most unreliable software published, because it does not load fully, let alone run, and offers no help or support whatsoever!

TC's on-line pdf manual is merely a list of TC functions, an aide-memoire for your experienced people. It doesn't tell you how to use each function, assuming you can find it in the book in the first place, only what it does, and then rather vaguely. Certainly doesn't help you understand CAD principles because its authors assume you know them.

I gave up for some time, then found a book: CAD For Model Engineers, by D.A.G. Brown (A British model-engineer), in publisher Special Interest Model Books' 'Workshop Practice' series. It's slightly off-putting thanks to the evident age of the author's own computer in the cover photo - 5" as well as 3.5" floppy drives! Nevertheless I thought it might explain the basics, such as Layers.

So I tried again, yesterday. A heroic 2 or 3 hour battle produced a single view of a rectangle with a notch and two holes. (To draw the outline break across the notch I over-printed that part of the rectangle with a white line, there being no obvious alternative.) Dimensions too, once I'd twigged that some of the menu choices didn't work, and the only one that did would not work consistently, and kept covering the screen with pink lines and crosses to no obvious purpose!

I could have sketched the thing on an envelope and half-made it in that time. Could not even determine how to copy a line or circle - nothing seems to work more than once or twice in the same way, and when I did manage to copy and paste anything I had no idea how I'd done it. It seemed entirely random. The intuitive ways - Select original, Edit>Copy, Select destination, Edit>Paste, or Select and Drag, as with most Windows software - do not seem to work in TurboCAD.

It was suggested I buy tuition but I can't afford that, especially with no guarantee that I would make any sensible progress. So I will probably stagger on a little while longer, trying it now and then when in the mood, but in time will have to decide if it's worth wasting hours and electricity on it. Just as you need formal driving tuition even before you buy the car, CAD is intended for learning in formal courses, not at home, hence the lack of any real literature to help the beginner.

In his book, David Brown says he was able to sell his drawing-board. I'm glad I have kept mine.

Now let's see how illegible Captcha is, this time...
No it wasn't. Try again! It's crap!


* August 05, 2017, 07:53:11 AM
I started with TC and it is a very easy system to use but here is the thing you have to get the basics down that is polylines, work planes,  working in 3D. There should be a tutitorial somewhere you tube or here  for disgrunted users showing how to use the basics and that would help. I have  used TC from all aspects like designing my basement work area, designing a boat launch gate, molding sizes in basement figuring how many and how long molding strips I needed, drill fixtures  to creating a model boat from scratch have parts laser cut and now building it. It has many uses you wouldn't think you would use. I went from v14 to v21
now v21 is absolutely user friendly and has saved so much time the menu windows you can pin on screen and they scroll out and saves so much time not having to go through the menu every time. you can change what in the pop ups to suit your usage so cool. I have learned to  really like TC, once you get basics down, if you don't you will struggle.


* November 03, 2017, 03:43:42 PM
Thank you all for various comments and ideas. This thread started back in January but not long after, I gave up in sheer frustration, and have only recently decided to give it another go.

My main point is that I need a proper manual.
Not the on-line pdf "manual" via 'Help' - little more than a feature-index, not always matching the application anyway. Perhaps the manual was not edited for each version.
Nor videos: I can't learn from an expert demonstrating what TurboCAD can do (and my computer won't run on-line videos anyway!).
I wish to know how to operate it, including what its many non-intuitive terms and concepts mean.

So.... does anyone know of any books on either TurboCAD, or CAD's general principles, at a price the individual rather than a university can afford, and if so, can cite them? I would be very grateful to be able to obtain such a book, though I realise it may be too costly and may not even exist.


November 08, 2017, 02:21:43 AM
IMSI sells 2D and 3D tutorials to familiarize yourself with the various capabilities.  See https://www.turbocad.com/training-certification/, but also look around the web site for other possibilities.  Be sure to note which level of TurboCAD you are using (Deluxe, Expert or Platinum).

Don Cheke sells tutorial projects at his site (http://www.textualcreations.ca/Textual%20Creations%20Shopping%20Page.html) that are tailored for different versions of TurboCAD, so they can incorporate the new functions that have been added.  You can use tutorials described for earlier versions than the one you have, but will have problems if you try to follow a later version.  Also, you should have the Platinum version for most of these tutorials (some of the older ones can be done with the now-extinct Architectural or Mechanical versions).  The Deluxe and Expert versions don't have all the capabilities used in Don's tutorials.


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