easier way to measure and cut drywall?

I'm putting up drywall (actually wood panel but the application is the same) for the kitchen and I found it very tedious to measure with ruler and measuring tape.
I have to measure
width of the drywall needed, both at the top and the bottom in case it is not square height of the drywall (some wall passes under a window frame, so the height varies) openings for receptacles, switches, pipes
then I have to transfer the measurements to the drywall and cut them. This is time consuming and error prone.
Is there any device that would ease the measuring part of this job?
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I don't know of one. You could use a story stick - use any stick to transfer one distance to another location - but you will still have to do this for each 'measurement/ distance'. It might be a lttle faster.
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John wrote:

Hang over what you can and cut out after.
--

dadiOH
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Yes, a 48" drywall square. I just bought one for $ 12.99
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What I have in mind is something like this:
a laser projecting device that I can put in the kitchen, then aim the laser dot at a reference point (e.g. the corner of where the drywall should go), push a button to store the reference point, then aim it at another point (e.g. another corner of the wall) and push a botton, then aim it at a corner of a receptacle, push a button, etc
then I take this device to the garage, and it projects all the reference points on a piece of drywall that I can then mark and cut. Does something like this exist?
If not, another possibility is to use a digital camera to take a photo of the desired location, then use some software to mark and measure the distances and angles. I know some counter-top makers use this method (saw it on TV), but I don't know what software they use. The software would need a way to calibrate and compensate for the camera lens distortion. This method only generates a list of measurements which I still have to manually transfer to the drywall, so it is not as nice.
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I've seen them when the pros did a drywall job on the house across the street from me. After cutting, they put a GPS tag on the drywall to be sure it was taken to the right room and properly oriented. There were two guys on the drywall team, two (lesser skilled) guys doing the transport from the room to the temporary shop setup, then one guy did all the cutting with a CNC router. Initially, there was a setup tech to put the GPS system on the house and make the tags for hte machine shop.
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Edwin Pawlowski wrote:

Sounds like an open shop operation. Unions usually require two guys for the CNC work.
R
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Heres one way to do it:
Start by buying a 48" drywall square.I just picked up one for $ 12.99 Then. for example.. a 4 X 8' piece with one box cutout. Measure out from one SIDEwall to the box.. lets say its 16 1/2" allow "X"" for the box so the box cutout is: 16 1/2" ~ 20 1/2" "out" I allow an extra 1/8" to 3/16" for "fitting" . I do the same with the distance from the other ENDwall and get the measurement "down" once you have the two sets of measurements, use the drywall square to mark out the true position of the box.. then I place a box over the marked area, draw a line around it and cut.
If its an octagon box (essentially round) make the two measurements out to the center point. Repeat on the board and cut out the circle. "Measure twice, cut once" is a famous quote Practice practice..you'll get better
Now if you had a sheet of cardboard from an old fridge box..you could practice on that.
The pros now start to hang the board intact and make the cutouts in place with a RotoZip. I bought a "no name" Craftsman RotoZip clone at Sears for $ 59.00 and it has a circle cutter, side handle, and even a plunge router type housing that comes with it.
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I've seen this done. I've also seen the wires inside that box destroyed. If you used the outside of the box to guide the RotoZip the cover plate won't cover. If you use the inside of that box as a guide, you'll be doing damage to the wires in that box. If you cram those wires deep into the box beyond the reach of the RotoZip, you'll be crimping the radius of the bends in those wires beyond the 5 times the diameter of the wire that is permissible. That stresses the insulation which can and will cause shorts and electrical fires later.
I know some people do this. :-) Sheetrockers and electricians have to dig deeply into their box of diplomatic skills to get along. I don't want to cause drywallers any extra pain, but I do not believe this is good practice on a regular basis. It's actually worse than the tape and bed guys wiping the mud off their blades in the switch boxes, innit :-)
Randy R. Cox
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Huh? If you use the outside of the box, once you get good at using the RotoZip, the cut should be barely a bit's width wider than the box.
Even if the person hanging the drywall is sloppy, the finisher can easily finish around the box.
I've seen much worse work from hangers pre-measuring for the box or using lipstick to mark the back of the drywall.
You are using a tracing bit, right?
--
Doug Boulter

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