AutoCAD LT or Revit LT for draftsman/unlicensed designer


I am not a licensed architect, I graduated from undergrad in 2012 and will be pursuing a masters degree beginning this fall. Between undergrad and now, I had been working for a structural engineer, producing construction documents and conducting structural analysis on residential and small commercial projects. 

I spent the Easter weekend with my family and my uncle mentioned to me for about the third time he wants me to design a pool house for him. We haven't talked in great detail about the project, budget, timeline etc but he said he was serious.

My plan was to draw the building, producing the structural details and getting my boss (licensed engineer) to stamp the set. By the time this project gets rolling, if it is realized, I will be back in school so I will not have access to commercially licensed copies of AutoCAD or Revit.

My question is would you consider it a viable option to purchase AutoCAD LT or even Revit LT as a freelance draftsman/unlicensed designer? I realize they are about 1.1-1.3k a piece but I consider owning one of these programs an investment. During grad school I will be staying with another uncle who is a contractor, so owning dresign software could open opportunities for small part-time projects and potentially generate some cash flow.

To note, a coworker has a new copy of AutoCAD 2006 LT he said he would sell for $400 +/-, would you consider buying this?

Any advice appreciated.

Apr 23, 14 9:36 am


First you have to understand what is main different between CAD and BIM (revit in this case).

This is essential. And then you'll be able to make a decision which one to stick with. Those to almost share nothing in common.

The job you are trying to get done could be handled with AutoCAD or AutoCAD LT. I dont think a pool project need some BIM intervention (IMHO).

But for your future it is good to learn a BIM software, (such as CATIA, Revit,)  because CAD is becoming secondary tool and will be replaced with BIM in following 5 years.

Apr 23, 14 10:47 am

@ David,

Thanks for your advice. I'm leaning towards AutoCAD LT for the sake of simplicity, however I feel owning Revit would pay off in the long run as far as familiarity with the program and marketability when I begin my post grad job hunt.

Any input/advice on the older AutoCAD 2006 LT version or buying/transferring a license from another individual?

Apr 23, 14 11:54 am

$400 is way too much for 2006 LT

you could buy it new back then for $750-800.  the '06 LT is also too old to upgrade.  maybe pay $50 at most ... no maybe $25 but please not $400

Apr 23, 14 12:26 pm

fun fact:  if you use the educational version and plot to pdf, there will be a watermark on it.  if you have access to adobe illustrator, you can open up the pdf and literally just delete the text that's there (did this all the time for school presentations).  or you could just put a white square over it in photoshop.  or better yet, just put an actual paper white square over it and photo copy it.  seriously, the only time you'd need to do this is when the project is done and the engineer needs to stamp it.

i'd say buying it is not worth it, AT ALL.  you'll never make that money back, and you'll probably never need it again once you have a full time job.  i'd recommend getting one of those free drafting programs that are around if you decide not to use the educational version, however bad they are.  its such a small project.

owning that software is not an investment, its just stupid.

Apr 23, 14 12:41 pm


Sorry for misspelling some words. :) 

 As you have already said for the long run BIM is good to learn. Don't get me wrong I am not promoting any software here, but I have seen the capabilities of BIM and the way it simplifies working process. 

As for your question;

I have not worked in AutoCAD since 2006 and no longer can say much about it, especially about LT version, but it still seems to me a bit old. The 2015 has just been released, so just imagine how old version you will have to work in. However, the project you are working (the pool) doesn't really requires any advanced software features that are not in the 2006 version.

Actually there is a free drafting tool... you may try this and save some money :)

p.s. Although I have been working in Revit since 2006 I haven't seen Revit LT yet So I cant say anything.  

Apr 23, 14 2:10 pm

offer $100 for the acad lt 06

i think you can get the latest LT for $800 retail


or just do it by hand, get some portfolio photos, and wait to buy when you get edu pricing

Apr 24, 14 1:02 pm

You may want to consider the AutoCAD Revit LT Suite that costs as little as $300 more than the individual products. It contains both Revit LT and AutoCAD LT. It is a great value for those wanting to dive into BIM but still need the 2d tools of AutoCAD.


Angi Izzi

Sr. industry Strategy Manager - Architecture


Apr 25, 14 8:07 pm

Check out Draftsight. It's free.

Apr 29, 14 9:24 am

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