The average home builder could go his or her entire life without drawing a line in CAD, but it'd be a shame. Three-dimensional rendering programs like CAD let you, or someone else, visualize what you're about to build with high accuracy. That lets you suss out potential problems, sort out fine details, more easily outsource parts of the build and share your groundbreaking designs with your peers (or your wife). CAD software is also useful if you're producing drawings of extensive projects, or drawings that need to be revised frequently, or drawings on which multiple people are collaborating. Paper and pencil drafting methods, themselves far from easy to master, fall short when projects get bigger - especially absent a team of draftsmen working in your shop. For me, the need to share and collaborate on drawings was the final straw that pushed my drafting into the modern age. And fortunately, there are a lot of inexpensive options for someone just dipping their toe in the CAD waters. Here's a run down of the options I considered and the software I chose.