Google has done it again. On March 14, they bought up a small startup software company called @Last Software. This company produced Sketchup, a 3D modelling tool and sold it for $495.00 per copy. On April 26, Google released it to the world...for free. I should say that you can still buy a professional version of Sketchup, but for the average Jill or Joe, the free version should do nicely.
Be careful...it is very addictive. The easiest way to get started after you download your copy (around 20Mb) is to follow the quick video tutorials offered on the Google Sketchup web site.
We're planning an addition to the house to be built sometime this year. Basically, a 1 room extension, dimensions 14' x 20' (or 4.6m x 6.5m). So I got started, drawing this in Sketchup, just to get an idea what it might look like.
So far I'm up to version 13. Whether or not you can do actual final construction drawings using this, I don't know, the jury is still out on that. It might just be too finicky.
The neat thing is that you can drag the cursor all around and rotate your drawing every which way, see things from the top, the bottom, sides, zoom in for very close detail.
After you download and install Sketchup, you can download my drawing as well. Amazingly enough, the whole drawing only takes up something like a 130 k.