D&RGW K-27 Project - CAD Programs

After I realized I would have to make my own driver set I ran into a slight problem because I can't really tell what they look like from the Brewster plans. The spoke and counterweight arrangement and all the driver details are hidden behind the frame pieces on the drawings (and in every photograph I have found).

I decided I would draw my own driver blueprint in a CAD (Computer Aided Drafting) program, so I got out my $10 EasyCAD CD-ROM and drew a few circles. EasyCAD is great for quick, imprecise, 3D pictures, but it is not at all suitable for precise details. EasyCAD traded off too much CAD functionality for "ease of use". I soon tossed EasyCAD & went looking around the Internet for a better program.

The main feature I desired was the ability to directly type in the dimensions of an object when creating it. If I want to draw a forty-inch circle centered on the origin I want to just type the exact dimensions. EasyCAD and several other low-end CAD products force you to hand draw the object and then re-edit it to enter precise dimensions. I also wanted dimensioning capabilities, multiple layers, and easy re-scaling.

Oh yeah, it has to be cheap too!

CadVance is giving away their 3D version 6.5 for free at:


I downloaded it, loved the price (free), but was still not satisfied.

I found another completely free 2D CAD program at:


I downloaded it, loved the price (free), but was still not satisfied.

Then I found DeltaCad at:


This program does exactly what I want it to, it is reasonably priced at $20, and I am very happy with it. It isn't 3D, but I haven't really needed a 3D drawing anyway.

Then I found IntelliCad 2000 at:


This program is definitely the best ***Totally FREE*** CAD program available! IntelliCad 2000 is directly compatible with AutoCad 2000 and has all the industrial strength features I would ever need. IntelliCad 2000 is a full-featured program, not a demo or a crippled shareware type application. The reason IntelliCad 2000 is free is a little convoluted, but basically Microsoft released the source code to the public when it bought Visio (IntelliCad's former developer). Microsoft has never been interested in producing a CAD program, so they helped set up www.intellicad.org to keep the application alive. Several companies belong to the IntelliCad consortium and have the right to sell or give away the basic program. Cadopia was one of the first companies to release a full version of IntelliCad 2000.

Great program.

Great price (***Totally FREE***).

I found that redrawing the drivers from the Brewster plans is not a whole lot different from drawing from a photo. It is easy enough to measure the outside diameter, but almost everything else is hidden from view. I measured & drew what I thought the spokes should look like, but it didn't look quite right. I could not tell what was wrong, but I just had a feeling I was missing something. My solution was to get out a four-foot square piece of plywood and start drawing a full size driver. It really helped to see the full size driver as I tested out different size spokes, spoke lengths, and hub diameters! I wanted something that would look correct and fit my axle shaft and Grandt Line tires.

I settled on three-inch wide spokes with a fourteen-inch hub around an eight-inch axle. These dimensions may not be accurate, but they "look right" on my plywood. Maybe someday I can measure one of the existing K-27s to make sure.

Final Result


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