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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 bmayer@imsidesign.com.  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.


On TC Deluxe 19: hobby use.

* 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.


V20, V21, 2015/ 16/ 17/ 18/ 19 Pro. Platinum
Deluxe 2015/ 16/ 19
RedSDK enabled
Windows 10 Home Premium 64 bit, 32 GB
NVIDIA Geforce GTX 780m, 1 GB

* 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.


TCW V21, 2015-2019 PP, Animation Lab V5.2 & Redsdk enabled, LightWorks rendering mostly.

* 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 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!


On TC Deluxe 19: hobby use.

* 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.


On TC Deluxe 19: hobby use.

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.


TC Pro Platinum 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016 & 2015 (all with LightWorks & RedSDK) & V21
System: i7-5820K @ 3.30GHz, ASRock X99 Extreme4, 16GB DDR4-2133 RAM, Gigabyte GTX 970, Samsung NVMe SSD 950 (256GB), Windows 7 Pro (64-bit) SP1

* January 02, 2018, 01:01:43 PM
I have to admit that the help documentation is a bit lacking, generally giving a very basic view of a function. I find that TC is very frustrating, I think I am finding a solution to a modelling problem but find it doesn't work and have to try another method. The biggest issue for me is that it fails but doesn't explain clearly why it failed.

I will persevere because I paid a lot of money for the software.


January 12, 2018, 01:25:09 PM
Over the years I have learned a lot of software and went to a lot of seminars lasting from a day to a week, also did college classes lasting a semester or 2. Most give you enough experience so you don't get discouraged trying to figure it out but none give you the ability to completely know the software. It takes time and effort to sit down with it, play and play. 20+ years with PTC five days a week and was always finding something new. Today's software is so sophisticated that even the experts don't know it all.
  I have been very frustrated with TC. Not because of what it does not do but that I know it can do it and just need to keep reading and learning how. I can now open it up and create models of what I want. Six months ago I was going through the training from TC and Paul Tracey and seemed to be not getting anywhere, then it just started to click and with a lot of questions and help here I am getting there.
 Hopefully soon I can show off some of my assemblies as I could in Creo. Past experience in other similar software does help, its just that they do the same thing but get there from different paths. Figuring out those paths just takes time and practice.
Just my 2 pennies worth.

« Last Edit: January 12, 2018, 01:30:42 PM by pt48653 »

Don Pillow
TurboCad Platinum Pro 2016, 2017, BobCad 30-4 Axis, ArtCam, AutoDesk Fusion and Inventor,  Affinity Designer, VariCad 2017, Sketchup 2017, Rhinoceros V5
HMSAdviser  and Predator CNC Editor
+ a lot of Photo Editing and Astronomy Software

* February 23, 2018, 11:27:25 AM
Hey all! Been a while (many years in fact) since I was here last... Yep, still alive and kicking.  ;D

Okay - I’ll throw in my experience with TurboCAD.

Been using TurboCAD since 1994 (now I really feel old) and have created over 150,000 Patent and Trademark drawings using this software. Prior to TurboCAD I did everything by hand using Pen and Ink either on Bristol Board or Mylar. Started with a DOS version of TurboCAD and quickly upgraded to TurboCAD 2.0 Windows version. Price is what first caught my attention. Then it's ease of use and the ability to open many different file types sealed the deal and I was hooked. Have been using TurboCAD ever since.

 TurboCAD’s ease of use and ability to crank out drawings at a phenomenal rate helped me build my business to become a very competitive source for Patent Illustrations. Dakatec.com. With several employees and my son now working for me - I don’t foresee using different software in the near or distant future. In fact I don’t see any other software out there like this one that can even meet our illustrating and CAD needs. TurboCAD for us is like a combination of Adobe Illustrator and AutoCAD - where we need 2D illustrating tools PLUS 3D CAD functionality - the perfect marriage of both for our end product!

From the early DOS version days to current 2017 Platinum Pro Windows version, TurboCAD has always been able to provide us with a viable solution to be a very competitive and successful business. Keep up the good work IMSI!

Dave Kaesemeyer


* March 08, 2018, 11:46:24 AM
Hello All,
 I am a seventy year old toolmaker who learned everything from hand scraping to 4 axis cam through a combination of doing, watching,
asking those who knew, attending some sponsored 3 day seminars for the cad cam software part of things.
 The way that a person learns things is based somewhat on their background. I learned about Turbo Cad from a combination of trial and error using experience with Master Cam, determination, help requests on the forum, and a small bit from the canned training videos which personally left me more confused and frustrated than at the start.
  While we are NOT on the subject, for my purposes, it might help to be able to select a sub type of the product based on the work field.
The architectural segments are of no help in the designing of tooling and prototypes. Overall I do think it is a relatively easy program to use and learn.
Best regards,
Chip Burns


March 09, 2018, 02:04:58 PM
While we are NOT on the subject, for my purposes, it might help to be able to select a sub type of the product based on the work field.
The architectural segments are of no help in the designing of tooling and prototypes. Overall I do think it is a relatively easy program to use and learn.

TurboCAD used to have specialized augments (Mechanical and Architectural) that sold for (if I recall correctly) $100 more than TurboCAD Pro, and Platinum (which included both) selling for $200 more than Pro.

A few years ago, the three lesser-powered versions were removed from the marketplace and Pro Platinum took the place (and price) of Professional.

I applaud the decision.


TC Pro Platinum 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016 & 2015 (all with LightWorks & RedSDK) & V21
System: i7-5820K @ 3.30GHz, ASRock X99 Extreme4, 16GB DDR4-2133 RAM, Gigabyte GTX 970, Samsung NVMe SSD 950 (256GB), Windows 7 Pro (64-bit) SP1

* March 09, 2018, 11:01:40 PM
Me too.

TC20 platinum
TC 2015 platinum
TC 2017 with lightworks

* March 09, 2018, 11:50:53 PM
Nigel I think Chip Burns nails it home "the way that a person learns things is based somewhat on their background" and the way I see it he's spot on the mark. If your still having problems learning TurboCAD then maybe you should buy a tutorial that will lead you thru each keystroke or hire a trainor to tutor you.

TCW V21, 2015-2019 PP, Animation Lab V5.2 & Redsdk enabled, LightWorks rendering mostly.

* November 06, 2018, 04:36:58 PM
I know it's months later, but thank-you Darryl - I do take your point. Unfortunately I've not found a good TC hand-book - if any exists - but I have found a reasonable CAD primer that at least tells you the basics before you battle with the specific software.

I have discovered where I was often going wrong. TC has many traps for the unwary, such as hidden line trimmings, and polylines that aren't. The manual does not mention them, because you are expected to understand the moves you wish to make so only need telling which icons TC uses for them.

I have now used TurboCAD for a few minor projects. These included proving to myself by drawing, the curious fact that 4-jaw chucks will hold hexagon-section bar centrally. I even produced a 3D image of a small 2-throw crankshaft, and brazenly plonked it on the Gallery as a "First Attempt". However, I had had to join all its drawing elements together by manual co-ordinate calculations, and I ground to a complete halt when finding adding the connecting-rods' outlines was too difficult.

You suggest hiring a tutor. That would be neither feasible nor justifiable for me, even if I could find one. Chip Burns had his tuition fees paid, presumably by his employer. I agree with his remark about videos, which I find confusing so demoralising. A tutorial yes, but only if it is a printed book; and I have yet to see one I can afford.

I think it best I use my conventional drawing-board for isometric and assembly drawings, and the harder orthographic tasks (e.g. pitch-circles of features,  interpenetrations, awkward cross-sections); and keep TC only for the simpler orthographic drawings.


On TC Deluxe 19: hobby use.

* November 06, 2018, 05:11:42 PM
Maybe this can be something for you Nigel, you can get it as paperback to.



V20, V21, 2015/ 16/ 17/ 18/ 19 Pro. Platinum
Deluxe 2015/ 16/ 19
RedSDK enabled
Windows 10 Home Premium 64 bit, 32 GB
NVIDIA Geforce GTX 780m, 1 GB

* November 09, 2018, 01:07:59 PM
Thank you Torfinn!

In fact I'd already followed that link from a thread elsewhere here, discussing that very book. I use TurboCAD 19 Deluxe, it is written for TC 2018, so am worried that if I buy it, the differences between mine and TC 2018 will merely confuse me, so I might be better off without it. Even so, it does do what the on-line guide does not do, which is tell you how to use TurboCAD! (I've never see a crane-hook that shape before, though, despite operating cranes at work...  :)  )

I think I've recognised two main problems.

   -   You do need a general idea of CAD principles first, before trying to grasp how to use TurboCAD.

   -   Each move needs certain conditions to exist first, for it to operate. Where I've given up in despair because I can't make certain routines work, often it's because the guide assumes that I understand and have set those internal conditions necessary before I select the routines themselves. Only, I don't and haven't. The manual tells me, sort of, only which buttons to press for the intended result; yet first I need to know TC's route, which is not always at all obvious,  and how to ensure my drawing so far will accept them.

I have found a generic CAD/CAM primer, CAD For The Workshop (Neill Hughes, pub. 2013 in the Crowood Metalworking Guides series, 2013), which should be a big help although it does not instruct in any particular make of software. Its only off-putting facet is that despite being a British publication it spells the "ise" suffix with a 'z', and "metre" (French invention and name) as "meter"!

Unfortunately, I leave problems I cannot resolve, but tend not to return for some time, so forget some of what I've managed to learn so far. I want to be able to draw things to help me make them, but run into the law of diminishing returns which states that the time spent trying to use CAD for the part or assembly soon exceeds that spent drawing it manually and making swarf.

So yes, I am interested and if I can be reasonably sure it won't introduce compatibility difficulties, will see if that book is easily available, in England, at a price I can afford. (Technical books aimed at professional users are usually hellishly over-priced, as the publishers know the employers will pay!)


On TC Deluxe 19: hobby use.