R. L. Davidson
Port Angeles, WA 98362 USA
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Questions And Answers:

Table of Contents

  1. The copyrights on DesignCAD 3D seem to stop in 1993.  Is this software still supported ?  
  2. Are Menus Pull Down ?
  3. Are drawings done in floor plan ... ?
  4. Are Counter tops drawn automatically ?
  5. Angle front cabinet?
  6. Full door base ?
  7. 3 Drawer Base ?
  8. Radius End ?
  9. Angled stiles ?
  10. Micro Base?
  11. BDS-42 w/recessed front?
  12. Curved cabinets?
  13. Splayed Cabinet?
  14. Finished backs?
  15. Flutes?
  16. Arched top cabinets?
  17. I am using Sheetlayout v 7  and I noted that you can produce parts list and export them to other programs.  Have you ever known them to be used together.
  18. Can the end panel (bulkheads)  be made from timber in the std  framed way?
  19. Can special sizes be catered for? 
  20. How long does it take to learn how to use Designer Plus?
  21. I can't get DesignCAD 3D to work
  22. no wooden frames around the cupboards?
  23. We use 16m.m. to make our carcass;
  24. Do you use m.m. in your measurements?
  25. Can we build corner cupboards in an "L" shape using your system?
  26. Are the kitchens in 3D?
  27. Do we need other software to support this software?
  28. Is there an agent in Australia?
  29. I use DesignCAD 3DMax to design kitchen floor plans for my customers. Will Designer Plus let me turn my 2D floor Plans into 3D drawings?
  30. Hardware requirements
  31. When I try to run the program I get a message that says "this system does not support full screen mode

Is there an agent in Australia?

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Do we need other software to support this software?

Designer Plus requires DesignCAD 3D v4 (included with download) to operate.  This is a DOS program but as far as I am concerned it is easier to use and more reliable than the new versions.  However you will probably want (and I recommend) a Windows version for printing and editing the final 2D drawings.  Any 2-3D Windows version of DesignCAD can do this, but to do a shaded drawing (like a cartoon picture) you need a 3D version.

If you think you want to texture map drawings (apply pictures (wood graining etc)  to the surfaces of the drawing) to make photo type pictures of your drawings you need more.  Besides the basic Designer Plus and DesignCAD 3D v4 you also need: DesignCAD 3D Max).  The textured drawings can be printed with an output as that shown on the web site. 

For Photo Realistic renderings you will also need a "RENDERING ENGINE" and the more expensive they are the better job they do.  But unless your clients are very demanding and willing to pay "big bucks" (US slang for a lot)  I wouldn't even consider rendering, and I have only used texture mapping or shading a few times.  These advanced features take a lot of time to accomplish and require a lot more computer than the simpler line drawing.

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Are the kitchens in 3D?

You work in real full sized 3D space - means that there is a dimension that is not readily viewable in either plan or elevation view but you must keep track where you are working.  You can create 2D drawings from the 3D master in any viewing angle to create the selling and shop documents.  Refer to the Designer Plus manual for how this is done.
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Can we build corner cupboards in an "L" shape using your system

2 door pie-cut (L shaped) corner cabinets can be made with equal or unequal side lengths with Designer Plus as a standard cabinet.  Lazy Susan cabinets however cannot, both sides are equal.
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Do you use m.m. in your measurements?

Designer Plus can use mm, cm, or inch units for values.  To select between use the 'Start New Drawing'  from the main menu.  Inch units is the default.
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We use 16mm to make our carcass;

This is the same as 5/8 or 0.625 inch units (16/25.4).  Designer Plus and DesignCAD don't care what kind of unit you work with (could be ant legs).  In the setup programs you set values for the sizes of things you use.
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no wooden frames around the cupboards?

We call this type of construction frameless, and yes Designer Plus works with this type of construction.  This type of construction was the rage for about 10 years but we're back to mostly traditional construction methods again here.  I think this happened because of the cost, the hardware needing adjusted periodically, and Victorian styling being "in" now.  And who knows what's next.  
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I can't get DesignCAD 3D to work:

The most common reason Designer Plus will not work is that the path is set wrong for where the program looks for components;   under FILES use - set path,  each path value must be complete.

The second is the line color being set the same as the background.  The program is working you just can't see it.  Edit the line color 1;  tools - shade - color edit.  


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Why is Designer Plus free?

Designer Plus is not a mystical program, practically anybody with the need and ambition to try, could create a comparable program.  Designer Plus was not developed with the intent of selling it to anyone, so development costs were covered in the day to day operations of Kitchen Consultants, a retail kitchen dealership in Port Angeles, Washington USA.  

DesignCAD 3D is an obsolete program by computer standards but it is still functional, and the drawings made with it are 100% compatible with the latest versions of DesignCAD.  

My offering it to others free of charge was based on the fact it is obsolete, I don't need to protect my business from this any longer and helping someone with some ambition succeed.

However if you want the raw code I am holding that to be a thank-you to those who contribute to maintaining this site on the web.

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When will there be a Window's version of Designer Plus?

Not by me

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The copyrights on DesignCAD 3D seem to stop in 1993.  Is this software still supported ?

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Are menus Pull Down?

Yes and no. To access Designer Plus from DesignCAD 3D you press the space bar and type "cab" and press enter, or use the cabinet pull down menu from the DesignCAD main menu. The pull down menu will access many of the Designer Plus programs.  There are some short cuts but this accesses the main menu. You then select what you want Designer Plus to draw. Then Designer Plus instructs DesignCAD 3D to perform the same steps to draw the item as you would have done one keystroke at a time. After the item is drawn it is blocked and defined as a solid automatically so you can copy, rotate, delete, or move it as a single unit. At this point Designer Plus is terminated and control is returned to DesignCAD 3D.

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Are drawings done in floor plan then extruded to 3D or do you draw in 3D?

You draw in real, full size 3D space.  You can set the view to 2D, for plan or elevation, but you still have X Y Z coordinates to work with.  For example assuming base cabinets are setting on the floor the elevation (Y) will equal 0.  Base cabinets are referenced to either lower rear corner, and wall cabinets to an upper rear corner. These reference points were chosen because base cabinets usually set on the floor, and wall cabinets usually have a common top height. But any item can be placed anywhere in 3D space.

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Are counter tops drawn automatically?

No. There is a specific program for drawing counter tops. (CTOP.BSX )   This eliminates the construction lines between each cabinet that would need to be edited out if a counter top were drawn on each cabinet.

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Full Door Base?

All door and drawer base cabinets can be modified to no drawer in Designer Plus.

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3 Drawer Base?

After selecting a drawer base you are asked how many drawers are in the stack, Designer Plus will draw up to 6 in a standard stack and allow split top drawers (side by side). A standard drawer base uses a standard height drawer head at the top then evenly divides the balance of the cabinet. A custom drawer base defaults with a standard top height (modifiable) then asks for the height of each drawer for the balance.

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Radius end?

Use the panel and filler from Designer Plus, then using the DesignCAD 3D command "fillet edge", radius the edge to whatever you need.

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Angled Stiles?

Set 4 points and use DesignCAD 3D’s plane command.  Or draw a 2 point box and rotate it.

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Custom cabinet not directly supported ? 

Not directly supported by Designer Plus it would have to be drawn using 1 or 2 other cabinets, parts or DesignCAD itself.  If you use standard sizes, draw this cabinet once and save it to disk, you can then recall and insert it whenever you need it. This is how symbols are created and stored. Designer Plus draws a cabinet with a plain door blank for each of the overlays turned on. Styled doors if desired are drawn over the plain door blanks. NOTE, symbols are the normal method of drawing kitchens using CAD, but if you load a drawing then stretch it to fill a different space the scale of the cabinet parts will change. Stretching a 30 inch cabinet to 36 inches will increase the door spacing on that cabinet 20%.

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Radius cabinet? 

Designer Plus has full support for institutional type radius cabinets.  That is to say Designer Plus will draw any arc segment of any radius inside or outside curved cabinet.  However there are no styled doors or part listing available for radius cabinets at this time.

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Splayed Cabinets?

Is this a cabinet with an angled front? If so, these require more work to draw than other cabinets. There are step by step instructions for this in the manual.

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Finished backs?

Designer Plus has plain or styled panel drawing. You can also put doors on the end, or back of cabinets.  As well as 2 faced peninsula cabinets.

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Yes, in the styled door menu.

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Arched Top cabinets?

There are several styles of shaped top sections on wall and tall open shelf cabinets only.

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Sheet Layout Programs:

The part-list is saved as an ASCI text file which can be opened and parsed in any good spreadsheet.  You can then sort the parts to get those using the same materials together then copy and paste them to another sheet, this forms a cutting list.  I would imagine that if Sheetlayout v 7  and your spreadsheet are both Windows programs you can copy and paste data between them.  However you may need to reorder the columns so the data is in the correct order.  The order of Designer Plus' part- list export is: quantity, simplified nomenclature, item, width, length (example - 1 30W5033 top 18.75 49.00).  The Program is setup for imperial measurements, but the program can handle metrics, run the set ups and change the values that you use.  The only difference between the metric and imperial is the text size, the CAD program works with full size units of any sort.  I use Snap-It v2 for optimizing and it is a simple copy / paste to transfer data.  Download Designer Plus and try it.
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Framed End Panels:

A cabinet is drawn and a part-list created in a modular format, the end panels are only panels.  The steps you will have to follow if you want to convert an end panel to a styled (frame and panel) end are:
  1. Ungroup (solid free) the entities that form the cabinet.  (You cannot delete an element of a cabinet after it is drawn because it is converted into a solid, this is done to make area modifications in a room easier one point anywhere on the cabinet will remove the entire cabinet.)
  2. If you are using the part-list remove one of the end panels from the part-list, this is much easier to do if you draw this cabinet alone and save it to be reloaded into another drawing.
  3. Rotate the drawing so you are looking at the panel in the x-y plain.
  4. Place points on the outside corners top left and lower right, of the panel.
  5. Run the Doors program and draw the styled door over the end panel.  If this is a cabinet that was drawn with shelves you can see and you have selected all of the end panel for the frame and panel end, the existing end panel is removed and a frame and panel end is drawn.  If this end panel is to be glass framed, by selecting the glass frame in the style you want the end panel drawn can be seen through. 
This is how the desk drawing was made. 
If you are only placing a door styled panel on the end of the cabinet (typically done with frameless construction) then you can use 'door on end'  from the Panels menu (under Misc).  To draw a styled (frame and panel) door you treat this door blank the same as any other door blank.
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Special Sizes:

Not sure what your looking for here, but the program will draw any sized cabinet with any number of door / drawers equally divided on it.  You combine cabinets to make a kitchen.  If you need variable door/drawer configurations there is a program (DORMOD.BSX) which is used specifically for this purpose.  See the unfitted vanity drawing, the cabinet was drawn with 3 doors first, then 2 of the doors were changed to 2 drawers each.  Note that when you change the drawing the part-list is not changed, you must manually remove parts that have been altered and enter new ones if you are going to use the parts-list.  The cabinet itself can be individually customized for drawing the cabinet only (does not effect the part-list), by picking 'Modify Multiple Items' from the MODIFICATIONS window, or if you are using Designer Plus generated nomenclatures select 'Details' at the CABINET TO BE DRAWN SPECIFICATIONS window, and the default will let you change items.
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Learning time:

This is not a 'kitchen in a can' program but a professional grade CAD based communications tool, very good at custom drawing applications.  While you can draw with it, it won't be mastered in 10 minutes (more like 30 hours).  I discourage people from purchasing it if they have not allowed time to learn the program.  I don't want nor need unhappy customers.  
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Converting 2D drawings to 3D:

The short answer is no.  2D drawings have only 2 axis x and y of information in the drawing.  The information needed for the z axis is required for 3D.  You can view in, or make 2D drawings from 3D but to go from 2D to 3D you are limited to extrusions.

See also the question on drawing in 2D

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Problem running Designer Plus in Windows:

Detailed instructions are posted to walk you through installing and setting up the program.  The screen message referred to is a video conflict issue this may be answered in the section detailing downloads and installation. 

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Hardware requirements:

DesignCAD and Designer Plus require very modest resources.  This is because when DesignCAD was written computers were slow and expensive.  Creating a program for the masses which requires the most advanced gizmo to function would have made it  more expensive than the masses would buy.  The recommendations below are based on my experiences.

A Note for Windows XP and older OSs and some VISTA users**. DesignCAD 4.0 will run directly (like any other program only in a DOS window) on the 32 bit versions of these operating systems.  DesignCAD 4.0 will NOT run on any 64 bit versions or any newer OSs. Using an emulator such as MS Virtual PC will work, but not with enough performance to make it practical. Because of the small memories available in 1990, Designer Plus uses a great deal of disk access (freeing RAM by writing it to and retrieving it from the harddrive) which process is very slow in emulation.


**Some video cards may not have DOS support in their drivers, using a different (or older) video card will correct this

Notes on hardware: DesignCAD v4 is a DOS (16 bit) program when using it on multi-core machines it runs only as fast as ONE of the cores. AMD processors are faster than Intel, I do not know why, for example Using a 1.12GHz Pentium IBM T21 as a bench mark:

Intel chips

2.9ghz 1-core 1.7 times faster

3.4ghz 2-core (1.7 ghz/core) 1.1 times faster


1.8+ghz 1-core (1.5ghz real) 1.5 times faster

4.8ghz 2-cores (2.4ghz) 3.0 times faster

6.0ghz 4-cores (1.8ghz) 1.6 times faster

3.0ghz 1-core (3.0ghz) 3.2 times faster

Video cards: I have had better luck with stand alone (not built into the mother board) ATI cards (I prefer Radeon), line weight is better defined and there are less problems when switching from Windows to DesignCAD v4 and back with the Alt-Tab key stroke. Drivers are the issue here newer video cards may not be written with the DOS instruction set and definitely are not tested with them.

Memory: 4gs of RAM on any Windows based newer computer as 32 bit XP can only use that much.

If you are not sure the computer is even the answer to your needs, do not invest money in hardware until you know what you do need.   I started using  DesignCAD 3D and wrote the beginning of what has become Designer Plus on a PC-AT 286/16 Mhz computer with 4 M RAM,  40 MB HD and DOS 4.0 OS.   Most of Designer Plus was written on a 386/33 with the same 4 M RAM and 360 MB HD, inside of Windows 3.1 under DOS 5.0 OS.  So the machine is not the issue,  that you can use it is what is important.

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