Does anyone have any patent drawing experience? I'm looking to do it on my own and I figure there's some decent software out there somewhere. Thanks.
For 2d drawings- Draftsight. For 3d drawings- google sketchup. These two software are available for free to use.
You may refer to this link to understand the importance of patent drawings in a patent specification:http://www.invntree.com/blogs/patent-drawings-and-their-importance-in-a-patent-specification
SolidWorks, Alibre and Sketchup etc can be used. Please visit this site for a similar discussion.
SketchUp Make is the free version and works great. I filed my second provisional patent application using drawings created with SketchUp. You can download thousands of models and take parts or shapes from them, ready made. At the time I started on my first provisional, all I had was MicroSoft Paint. SketchUp makes it tremendously simpler and easier. Change the background and parts colors to white, change the drawing style to wireframe. You can set it to show dotted lines for the hidden parts. Rotate the model for various views. This gives you a look like a drawing, which you can copy using print screen, and paste in MS Paint or another program to make your drawings.
An excellent free 3-D drawing tool is OnShape. It is free and runs within the browser so it works on any computer. Surprisingly capable. You can also generate 2D drawings. Much better than SketchUp for precision drawing. The website provides plenty of tutorials also.
Unfortunately, OnShape changed their policies and now the free license doesn't provide for private documents. This makes the software unusable for patent drawing purposes. It is still excellent software and relatively cheap to use. At this point, I would recommend Autodesk Fusion 360 which is free for educational use and for start-up businesses with less than $100,000 of income.
Sign up for a Computer Aided Design (CAD) class at your local community college. With a .edu email you'll have access to the full suite of Fusion360 tools for free. You'll also learn a lot about the basics of design, if you don't already know them. You'll also meet a number of very smart people from a broad spectrum of society.