Author Topic: Design Software?  (Read 2716 times)

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Design Software?
« on: December 01, 2014, 07:57:13 PM »
It's very expensive.  Does anyone use it?  Which one?  Why?  Help!  I'm running out of oak tag and patience.
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Re: Design Software?
« Reply #1 on: December 02, 2014, 12:35:43 AM »
I do everything by hand (Oak tag), but am slowly moving over to Illustrator. Long backlog of patterns make this a time consuming process.

I chose Illustrator as I am confident in it, while the vector format means I can scale it up/down easily. I also like the idea of files being digital as I can modify notches, drill holes, etc much quicker than with hard patterns.

To be clear, this isn't a true sewn product design software, but more so software so I have digital versions of my patterns, and can easily convert to plotter files when required.
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Re: Design Software?
« Reply #2 on: December 02, 2014, 03:03:00 AM »
Someone over at DIYTac build a pack with some design software, it ended up looking real good. I just can't find the thread, so you have to go look for yourself.


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Re: Design Software?
« Reply #3 on: December 02, 2014, 03:06:55 AM »
Dang it, pressed post too soon.

I've tried to use Solidworks (CAD) and Pepakura (paperfolding tool) to make some packs and pouches. Didn't try it out too much, but it seems like it could work. Pepakura can accept most 3d software files, so you aren't limited to a heavy CAD program. After I unfolded the pieces, I exported it to Illustrator and cut the pieces on a lasercutter (lots of curves and stuff that would be time consuming to cut by hand). One of my designs worked, and the other one was a failure (but I know why). If you have time to experiment with it, then it's a lot of fun.
I really want to try that software the guy on DIY used, hopefully my school will have it.


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Re: Design Software?
« Reply #4 on: January 29, 2015, 02:11:37 PM »
I use StyleCAD for pattern drafting, grading and marker making. Then I export from StyleCAD to AutoCAD LT for post and prep work before plotting to my laser.

Below you can see some stuff I've written about StyleCAD that I hope helps everyone.

Iíve switched all our designers and the factory to StyleCAD. Their cut files cut better with our Gerber cutter than the accumark files did. Digitizing, pattern drafting and grading are a snap. We trained up two people on the system in under a week of them working on it part-time..very low learning curb.
Marina Tellez

Kathleen Fasanella with got me hooked on stylecad.

Hereís some of the stuff Iíve written about them on forums below:
We just installed our CAD system at our new factory in Puerto Rico. Went StyleCAD for the win. We are up to three licenses now (Purchased one and rent to own two)

I completely agree with what Kathleen said about not judging a company by their website. I made the terrible mistake of getting hoodwinked by slick graphics and marketing of the ďotherĒ apparel CAD companyís in the past. Talk to end users and get demonstrations. Ask the hard questions. Downloading a trial version can be a waste of time because you will not know how to use the software and will get frustrated with it. Getting a pro user to demo the software for you is best. I gave up on CAD until Kathleen turned me onto StyleCAD. Iíve used a bunch of them and they all had their issues that were deal breakers (Optitex, Gerber, PAD, AutoCAD, Illustrator+hotdoor cad plugin, TurboCAD, draftsight, coreldraw, mspaint) Iíve got a post in the member forum were I review the main ones.

We also went with an Ioline 72″ plotter and GTCO table digitizer. The next upgrade will probably be a Graphtec plotter that cuts out the pattern paper for the design studio to speed up our prototyping and sample making.
I've used Gerber Accumark, Optitex, StyleCAD, AutoCAD, Adobe Illustrator, Powerpoint and good ole paper to make patterns. I also recently did a 30 day trial of Pad Systems and had several demos by their very knowledgeable technical sales team.

Go with StyleCAD. It's what Kathleen uses and the #1 program in my workflow. It is the most intuitive apparel CAD program with a small learning curve. I've only scratched the surface on how powerful it is.
This level of power and ease of use means more time with your loved ones and less time fighting with a CAD program.

I've also found that StyleCAD lets me design organically almost like I'm working with paper and does not hinder my creativity. Sometimes you get frustrated with the other CAD programs and make compromises on your patterns or design. I have not had to do this yet with StyleCAD.

I can do a better post in the future comparing all the software programs.

Real quick summary:

Gerber Accumark (Windows Only):

-Industry standard apparel CAD program.
-Used by several manufacturers.
-Powerful tool for production, markers and cutting.

-Horrible for designers, you'll end up doing everything on paper and then digitizing it into Gerber. Unless you are an Accumark wizard with 15+ years experience.
-Ok for pattern makers, better for production pattern makers that have heavy experience with Accumark.
-$10,000+ for a single license plus a $1k+ annual software/support subscription.
-$10k-$20k+ in hardware to get up and running (Plotter, Digitizer, PC)

Cost savings options:
-Buy a used system, look on craigslist and ebay.
-I've seen them on ebay for $4k-8k with a plotter or digitizer and it comes with the computer.
-Also, contact your local Gerber Rep. They can introduce you to all your local Gerber users that you can contact to see their open to training you for a price.

Autocad, Illustrator, any other non apparel CAD software (Windows and Mac)

-Great for doing technical drawings, laser cutting stuff, flats.
-Huge user base with lots of training support available for free online.

-Do not make patterns with these programs. You'll regret it because you (or some poor soul) will have to remake everything in another program when it needs to go to manufacturing.
-What takes a few minutes or seconds in StyleCAD can take hours to do in AutoCAD or Illustrator because they are not apparel CAD programs.
-Your quality and errors can be significant when you use these programs because they do not have the features of apparel cad programs that protect you from common mistakes.
-Doing revisions is a massive time hole that can take tens of hours to do compared to the quick workflow offered by apparel CAD packages.

Optitex (Windows Only):

-Better option for designers and pattern makers than Gerber due to the interface and features offered.
-The software works with a larger range of plotters and digitizers than Gerber.
-Lower learning curve than Gerber but still takes a lot to learn this program.
-Good exporting and importing options but you have to pay a lot more for these modules.
-Lots of videos on youtube that can help with training and they have a pretty good wiki with more training and support info. With their support plan you get access to a lot more training and support documents.

-Expensive program and their rental option is an insult. 11k+ for the basic modules you'll need to do patterns and marking. Don't even bother asking for the rental option.
-I think it was too complex, what took me 5+ mouse clicks to do in optitex I could do in half the time or less in StyleCAD.
-The 3D option did not work for what I needed to do. it should work fine for dresses and apparel that does not require highly complex, multi piece items with layers and objects located between the fabric layers.

PAD Systems

-Cost effective solution.
-Very professional staff that is willing to work with customers to make a deal and ensure that the product is the right fit.
-I can't find my notes on this but I thought it was under 5k for the pattern making option with no marker making module. I remember being shocked at how low the price was.
-Works with every plotter, digitizer, everything. This is a big deal when you find out that your USB digitizer will not work with Gerber or other CAD software packages.
-The learning curve is less than Optitex but more than StyleCAD.
-Powerful and cool features that help reduce mistakes and save a lot of time. They have this feature that ties all your patterns for a section of your garment together so when you change something on one pattern it automatically changes all the other related patterns. Saves a LOT of time. StyleCAD does this too, but I believe PAD Systems was the first to do this feature. The other programs have a few tricks to do this but not as smooth and nice as PAD Systems.
-They have a rental option and should match StyleCADs rental offer.
-Lots of other cool features that'll you'll just need to tryout and have demonstrated by their technical sales team.

-I was told that my patterns were too technical for their program. I do very precise and small geometries with tiny dimensions. Lots of precise stuff for laser cutting. For dresses and standard apparel this program will do fine.
-They do not have a radius tool. I was blown away that they do not offer a standard feature that is in every other program. You have to do this time consuming workaround to get a radius on pattern corners. Making a rectangle with 4 curved corners took FOREVER. It's 3 mouse clicks and maybe 3 seconds in stylecad to do this. This and the fact that the program would not do dimensions as small I required were the deal breakers.
-Very little tutorials and learning documentation. I had to peck through 500 page manual combined with what they showed me in the online demo to start running on this program. The manual is all I could find and that will not change anytime soon. The only real option you have is to pay for training via remote terminal to their computers online if you can't find a local user to train you.

StyleCAD (This is my #1 workhorse now for pattern making)

Pros: everything. just buy this. I spent years in CAD hell until Kathleen introduced me to StyleCAD.
-Go here, watch a few videos and contact their rep below for a demo over the internet.
-The lowest learning curve out of every CAD software I have ever used.
-Workflow is minutes/seconds compared to hours in all other CAD programs for the same operations.
-Simple and powerful features that I have not sean in ANY other CAD program. I can find the center point a line or pattern by pressing a single key. Most powerful and easy to use line and point tools in the game. Adding or removing seam allowances is easy and quick.
-It's a fun program to use.
-Powerful and simple radius tools, pattern creation. They have an entire library of french rulers that you can just drop in to the program and use like your on paper. If you want a custom curved ruler, you can just make one.
-They have an awesome rental option, I pay around $900 every 3 months an my first year goes to my final purchase. Around $7-8k for a license
-No annual software contract fee.
-Huge potential for their 3d software (I'll have to save this for another post does stuff optitex and bronzewear cannot do in my option, best 3D draping for garments and objects in the game)
-Great training and a LOT of free documentation and videos offered on their website.
-You get 10 hours of training included with your purchase or if you rent you have to pay $100 per hour but they credit it to you when you purchase the license at the end of the year. Online training for all the other CAD softwares is $100+ per hour.
-Supports USB digitizers or plotters. They support a big range of devices. Just make sure to talk to them and confirm your plotter and digitizer will work with their software.

-It's not a big company so you have to be patient when going through the purchase process to get setup.
-The same goes with support, if you have an issue it could take them some time to get back to you. They always do and it's very good support.

In summary,
Make your life easier. Buy or rent StyleCAD and learn from my expensive mistakes. Spend more time with your family and loved ones.