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General Information:

  1. Will the software run on a Mac?
  2. What is the difference between the RainCAD™ and Pro Contractor Studio™?
  3. Will any of the RainCAD™ AutoCAD® Editions run on AutoCAD® LT?
  4. Will the RainCAD™ or Pro Contractor Studio™ programs open dc2, dw2, or dcd drawings from previous RainCAD™ or EcoCAD™ programs based on a version of DesignCAD?
  5. How long does it take to learn?
  6. How long does it take to complete a design?
  7. What kind of computer do I need?
  8. Do I need to purchase any additional software such as AutoCAD®?
  9. Can I import or export drawings from other CAD programs?
  10. Do I have to pay for technical support?

Drafting / Design:

  1. How hard is it to get the property into the computer?
  2. Does it do the design for you?
  3. Can you do the irrigation and landscape design on the same plot plan?
  4. Does it create a material takeoff or an estimate/proposal?
  5. What equipment comes standard in the databases?
  6. Is it easy to draw a curve?
  7. Can I scan in a plot plan?
  8. Can I fill an area with a brick or some other pattern?

Printing / Plotting:

  1. Will it print on my dot matrix, ink jet or laser printer?
  2. Do I have to have a plotter to print on big sheets of paper?
  3. Lines drawn on the screen look jagged. Do they print that way or are they straight?

Will the software run on a Mac?

All of our programs are developed for the PC. All of our programs will run on a Mac, only if the Mac is running Microsoft® Windows® as the operating system. This can be done using a third party program such as Parallels.

What is the difference between the RainCAD™ and Pro Contractor Studio™?

Pro Contractor Studio™ is easier to learn and use and does not require a third party CAD program such as BricsCAD® or AutoCAD® to operate. The Online Learning Center with video tutorials on how to use each command in the program is available for Pro Contractor Studio™. Pro Contractor Studio™ landscape designs include gradient blends of color and transparencies for nicer looking presentations. Pro Contractor Studio™ may be purchased as a subscription based program that allows a user to “pay as you go” without a large initial investment in software or as a direct purchase of a full license.

The RainCAD™ BricsCAD® Edition program requires a full working version of BricsCAD® Pro or Platinum (64-bit only) from Bricsys® to operate. RainCAD™ will not run with BricsCAD® Classic. BricsCAD® Pro or Platinum is not included with any of these programs and must be purchased separately. A written tutorial manual is available for download in an Adobe PDF format to guide the user through the process of creating a landscape or irrigation design.

The RainCAD™ AutoCAD® Edition programs require a full working version of AutoCAD® (64-bit only) to operate. AutoCAD® is not included with any of these programs and must be purchased separately. No version of the RainCAD™ AutoCAD® Edition software will run with any version of AutoCAD® LT. A written tutorial manual is available for download in an Adobe PDF format to guide the user through the process of creating a landscape or irrigation design.

Will any of the RainCAD™ AutoCAD® Editions run on AutoCAD® LT?

No. The AutoCAD® platform offers fully extensible drawing and application customization through APIs (application programming interfaces) such as Visual LISP™, VBA, and ActiveX®. AutoCAD® LT is not an extensible product.

Will the RainCAD™ or Pro Contractor Studio™ programs open dc2, dw2, or dcd drawings from previous RainCAD™ or EcoCAD™ programs based on a version of DesignCAD?

No. You will need to keep your old RainCAD™ or EcoCAD™ program based on DesignCAD to continue work on old drawings. You could export the drawings to a DWG fromat and open them in the AutoCAD® or BricsCAD® Edition programs, but the programs will not recognize irrigation or landscape materials. You can import the AutoCAD® DWG drawing into the Pro Contractor Studio™ software using the File > Import command, but the program will not recognize irrigation or landscape materials.

How long does it take to learn?

That really depends on the person and their previous computer skills. If you already know how to use a computer with Microsoft® Windows®, you have a head start.

The Pro Contractor Studio™ program includes a complete Online Learning Center with video tutuorials on all of the different commands. This is the easiest CAD program to learn.

Depending on which version of the RainCAD™ software you have, there are eight to eleven lessons in the tutorial that accompanies the program. Each lesson takes approximately one hour to complete. Once you finish the tutorial and create a couple of small residential or commercial designs, you should be up and running. From this point on, the more you become familiar with the software, the faster you will get.

How long does it take to complete a design?

This depends on several factors:
  1. How big is the plot plan?
  2. How much detail to you want to add to the drawing?
  3. How well do you know the program?
For example, there are some experienced users who can draw a piece of property (say a single dwelling on a lot that is 120' X 80'), layout the sprinkler symbols, group them into zones, pipe the zones together, place the control valves, and run the mainline in thirty to forty minutes. If you want to size the pipe, calculate system hydraulics, add hatching for a brick patio or sidewalk, create a material takeoff, create a legend, and add installation details, it may take up to an hour to an hour and fifteen minutes.

What kind of computer do I need?

Please refer to the section on System Requirements on the product information page associated with the software program of your choice.

Do I need to purchase any additional software such as AutoCAD®?

If you purchase Pro Contractor Studio™, the answer is NO. Pro Contractor Studio ™ provides everything you need other than the operating system itself!

If you purchase the RainCAD™ BricsCAD® Edition program, the answer is YES. You will need to purchase and install BricsCAD® Pro or Platinum (64-bit only) from Bricsys® for RainCAD™ to operate. RainCAD™ will not operate with BricsCAD® Classic. BricsCAD® Pro or Platinum (64-bit only) is not included with RainCAD™ and must be purchased separately.

If you purchase any one of the RainCAD™ AutoCAD® Edition or programs, the answer is YES. You will need to purchase and install the version of AutoCAD® (64-bit only) associated with your RainCAD™ software to operate. AutoCAD® (64-bit only) is not included with RainCAD™ and must be purchased separately.

Can I import or export drawings from other CAD programs?

The Pro Contractor Studio™ will import or export AutoCAD® DWG or DXF drawings through release 2010.

The RainCAD™ BricsCAD® Edition program requires BricsCAD® Pro or Platinum (64-bit only) from Bricsys® to operate. BricsCAD® saves its drawings in an AutoCAD® DWG file format. The program will export your drawings to additional DWG formats, DXF, WMF, EMF, SVG, DWF, PDF and BMP file formats.

The RainCAD™ AutoCAD® Edition programs require AutoCAD® (64-bit only) to operate. You will have the ability to import and export drawings based on the capabilities of your release of AutoCAD®.

Do I have to pay for technical support?

No. Technical support via the Support section of this website for any Software Republic product is FREE. We do not offer telephone support.

You may receive tehnical support from Bricsys® on the use of BricsCAD®. You may receive technical support from Autodesk for any questions relating to the use of AutoCAD®. They may require you to purchase a support package to receive technical support on the use of the commands within their programs.

How hard is it to get the property into the computer?

It's really very easy! There are multiple ways you can enter the plot plan.
  1. You can draw the plan with the keyboard and mouse.
  2. You can type in the information using an X, Y coordinate system, or a distance and angle system.
  3. You can import a raster image such as a bmp, jpeg, png or tif. You can design directly on top of the image, or you can trace over the image and then turn off the image itself.
  4. You can also open an existing AutoCAD® DWG drawing file into the BricsCAD® Edition or AutoCAD® Editions. You can import an AutoCAD® DWG file into the Pro Contractor Studio™ software.

Does it do the design for you?

No. Although the software will do a lot of things for you such as automatic pipe sizing, hydraulic calculations, distribution analysis, create a symbol legend and calculate a complete list of materials, it does not do the entire design for you. We refer to the software as a design tool, not a designer. If you go to the store and purchase an accounting software program, it does not make you an accountant. The same is true for RainCAD™ or Pro Contractor Studio™. Although these programs are great tools, you must have the knowledge to create an irrigation or landscape design.

Can you do the irrigation and landscape design on the same plot plan?

Yes. In any version of Pro Contractor Studio™ or RainCAD™ you have the ability to draft on multiple layers. Each layer is like a separate sheet of paper. You will draw the plot plan on several layers, the irrigation on other layers, and the landscape on additional layers. To view or print only the irrigation portion of the design, simply turn off the layers that hold the landscape material. In addition, Pro Contractor Studio™ will allow you to create separate sheets of paper specifically for placing irrigation components on one sheet and landscape materials on another.

Does it create a material takeoff or an estimate/proposal?

Yes. Simply click on Material/Estimate from the Calcs drop down menu. Select the categories to appear in the report and sort them in any order you desire. Click on the OK button and the program will calculate a complete bill of materials. The program will calculate all of the materials necessary to install the design and price them according to the information in the databases. RainCAD™ will also calculate the change in direction fittings in the field such as the 45°, 90°, and tee fittings.

Click here to view a sample Material Estimate Report.

What equipment comes standard in the databases?

Pro Contractor Studio™ and RainCAD™ come complete with irrigation equipment from Hunter, Irritrol Systems, K-Rain, Nelson, Netafim, Rain Bird, Toro, and Weathermatic. In addition, there are databases with Febco, Watts, and Wilkens backflow prevention devices. There is a database of water meters ranging from 5/8" up to 6" in size. The pipe database includes 17 different categories of pipe in both English and Metric Units of measurement. The categories include poly, PVC, copper, and galvanized. Pipe sizes currently range from 1/2" to 12" in size.

You may add additional equipment to any of these databases in the RainCAD™ programs. The databases for Pro Contractor Studio™ are maintained by the developer and are available for download at any time from the Tools menu.

The programs also include a database of more than 2,500 individual plant listings. The plants are broken out into six different categories. You may add categories and plant material to the database.

Is it easy to draw a curve?

Yes. Select the Curve, Polyline or Spline command depending on which program you are using by clicking on a icon, pressing a hot key, or from the drop down menus. Once the command is selected, simply click on the screen with the mouse to set points. A curve will appear on the screen. It will bend at each point set.

Can I scan in a plot plan?

No. You can import raster image files such as a bmp, jpg, png or tif and load them onto the design screen.

Can I fill an area with a brick or some other pattern?

Yes. There are many different hatching patterns available in Pro Contractor Studio™, BricsCAD® and AutoCAD®. You can select the layer on which to draw the pattern, the color, the angle, and the scale of any hatch pattern. Pro Contractor Studio™ will also allow you to fill an area with a tiled image.

Will it print on my dot matrix, ink jet or laser printer?

Yes. You may print to any printer you have as long as you have the correct device driver to run the printer. If you have any questions on device drivers, call the manufacturer of your printer.

Do I have to have a plotter to print on big sheets of paper?

No. To output to a large sheet size when you do not have a large scale plotter, make use of a program such as Adobe Acrobat and print your drawing to an Adobe PDF file. You can then take the PDF file to your local copy center such as a Kinko’s, Office Depot, Office Max, Staples or Kwik Kopy for output to paper.

Lines drawn on the screen look jagged. Do they print that way or are they straight?

Lines may appear jagged on the computer screen because the screen is made up of small individual pixels. When a drawing is sent to the printer, the lines and curves will print as smooth objects without jagged edges.
      
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