Anyone know of a decent free/cheep program for designing projects?

I am looking at building a 18 foot Jon boat and I want to design it on paper/the pc first I would love to be able to find a program that I could design it in 3d so it was easy to change/add/remove things on the fly to see what I like before going and buying my materials.
I have tried a few programs so far with no luck I need something simple preferably something geared toward woodworking.
If all else fails I gues I will break out the paper and pencile but I just though there had to be a better way, sofar im not seing it :(.
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learn.
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I tried it out funny I kept skipping over it because I figured it wasn't what I was looking for, so far its the easiest thing I have worked with but its still a bugger.
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If that's the only project on the horizon, break out the pencil and paper. I have used Turbocad for many years (mostly 2D), making one to three drawings per week. It is frustrating to me to KNOW that the command is out there somewhere, but to spend a half hour trying to locate it. I used to get going pretty well on the drawing and then get stumped for a while trying to figure out how to do this one thing! I almost force myself to draw up even the simple things, just to keep conversant with the software. Also, every time thay upgrade the program it gets harder to use, and they seem to always move some menu items around to who knows where. People who use a CAD program all the time tell me how "easy" this one or that one is, but their is a tremendous amount of rote learning involved in any of them as far as I can tell.
I don't consider myself a dynosaur, either. If you were asking whether to use pencil and paper or a spreadsheet, I wouldn't hesitate to get you involved with a spreadsheet like Excel.
When I saw the first reply to your request, I downloaded Sketchup myself. The tutorial is kinda neat, but in 4 or 5 minutes, you are back to the rote learning part in order to become productive, as far as I can see.
Again, if you are young, and you expect to be building a lot of things in the future, get into some kind of CAD because that's the way the world WILL be and you want to be able to BS about it at the coffee shop. But, if you just want to get that boat built, get out the pencil and paper.
I'd like to see more people respond to your question!
Pete Stanaits ------------------------
redice wrote:

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spaco wrote:

paper. It takes so much effort to operate the software that I lose track of the drawing that USED to be floating around in my head. But a pencil ... now that's something I already know how to use.
A few quick lines to get the concept down on paper and then a detail drawing or three to work out any remaining puzzlers.
Bill
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On Fri, 13 Jul 2007 00:40:50 -0400, BillinDetroit

If it is mostly straight lines then sketchup works really well and easily. I find being able to put in the major features and then spin it around in 3D to look at it from multiple perspectives something I just can't get from a pencil drawing. I will sometimes even leave off the details and then pencil them in on the printout because it's easier that way.
For a boat, well I think sketchup will just give you a headache.
-Leuf
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Leuf wrote:

projection works well for me with the two / three plane views if I need to show detail. From these, I can do a quick section view if I need to nail things down in even more detail.
I'd LIKE to use a drafting program if only because they usually do the math for you ... that is, you can draw a bunch of details and dimension them accurately about as fast as you can click a mouse. And it's easier to send a drawing in that format than it is to scan a sketch.
Maybe I'll give it another swing ... I have Sketchup installed.
I think you have just said the magic words that justify buying plans if I ever get around to making a boat in my basement. ;-)
Bill
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Thanks for all the replies we pretty much gave up on the designing and are just going to do it as we build it, me and my father both can see things in our head pretty darn well and once we get talking we can usualy figure stuff out we bought all the framing materials we will be needing and decided to go with a 5 foot wide hull by 16' long and 6 foot wide at the top of the transom based off of our other boat then probably 18 foot from the transom to the tip of the bow but that hasn't been decided yet were going to frame out from the transom up to the start of the bow then figure that out. Oh ya and 2 foot hight sides with a cut out in the transom for the motor.
Will have to take some picture of the process should be intresting, will be a while thought have to do some other stuff around here first.
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Mon, Jul 16, 2007, 4:53pm (EDT+4) snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com (redice) dt sayeth: Thanks for all the replies we pretty much gave up on the designing and are just going to do it as we build it, me and my father both can see things in our head <snip> decided to go with a 5 foot wide hull by 16' long and 6 foot wide at the top of the transom <snip> Oh ya and 2 foot hight sides with a cut out in the transom for the motor. Will have to take some picture of the process should be intresting, will be a while thought have to do some other stuff around here first.
That was a lot to wad thru, until I got to your pst.
That's the way I figure t, yu see one Jon boat, you pretty muc know how tey're designed. But the question is, do the thingsin your head talk to you too LOL
Width. That's one part where I don't agree, I'd go with straight up and down sides, for a number of reasons. EAsier, faster, you look over the side without leanin and tht tips the boat less - stabeler. Two foot high sdes is good, especially if you've got kids in the boat. But I would not cut out the transom for an outboard, I'd put a mount outside. Or, if I did cut out, I'd aake a well forward of that, so there ould be no cut out lower than th sides - no telling when you could get a wave from behind.
Pictres are good. But only links here. If you post the pictures themselves, do it on a.b.p.w news:alt.binaries.pictures.woodworking
JOAT I do things I don't know how to do, so that I might learn how to do them. - Picasso
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Wed, Jul 11, 2007, 6:01am (EDT+4) snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com (redice) doth come in and sayeth: I am looking at building a 18 foot Jon boat and I want to design it on paper/the pc first I would love to be able to find a program that I could design it in 3d so it was easy to change/add/remove things on the fly to see what I like before going and buying my materials. <snip>
What's to design? It's a John (Jon) boat. You could almost go out and make one in less time than it would take to 'design' one.
I've thought before about gtting a PC, in large part so I could get some design programs, incloding for boats. Then when I came to my senses, stayd with pencil and paper. If I want '3-D', then I make real 3-D. I use poaster board and hot glue and make a model I can actually hold in my hands. You can see things you do or don't like about the design a Hell of a lot faster and easiir that way then you can with a so-called '3-D' view on a screen or piece of paper. Besides, then you get a littlee boat to play with too.
JOAT I do things I don't know how to do, so that I might learn how to do them. - Picasso
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On Jul 13, 1:38 pm, snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (J T) wrote:

Learned AutoCAD like it was second nature. Learned how to write custom menus, AutoLISP commands, blocks, wblocks, ad nauseum ad infinitum. Went back to yellow #2 pencil and 9 x 12 sketchbook, haven't looked back. ACAD doesn't give me the same sense of space, weight, or volume that I get from even a roughly executed 2 point perspective pencil sketch. ACAD is good for refining, checking interference between moving parts, but it slows down the initial design stages. Sure, my sketches are loaded with eraser smudges, but do they really matter if I'm the only end user?
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Mon, Jul 16, 2007, 3:03pm (EDT-3) snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com (FatherHaskell) <snip> Went back to yellow #2 pencil and 9 x 12 sketchbook, haven'tlooked back. <snip> Sure, my sketches are loaded with eraser smudges, but do they really matter if I'm the only end user?
Gee, I always do it right th first time, so no eraser marks. LMAO However, I have been known to paint over the smudged lines with white latex, so I could make out the lines I actually wanted to save. That doesn't happen often. Now if it gets that far, I usually just go over it with black marker, then trace on a new sheet, and go from there. Usualy neither is necessary tho. Oh yes, now I prefer thos cheap Pentel type pencil, a dozen or so for a buck or two, work great, and they come with 2-3 spare leads..
JOAT I do things I don't know how to do, so that I might learn how to do them. - Picasso
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On Wed, 11 Jul 2007 06:01:30 +0000, redice wrote:

Don't give up on pencil and paper, it is a very effective design medium.
I think the trick you need is to change to transparent paper, readily available at office or art stores in rolls. This allows you to trace over 3-4 previous versions subtly improving on each version until complete. Re-drawing is then a piece of cake. Start out with a grid paper underneath and buy an architectural and/or engineering scale to maintain real dimensions and you will be amazed at how fast you can do quality drawings.
I use 3D design software at work all day but it's usefulness most relates to production and collaboration issues. The initial drawing still takes as long or longer than a hand drawing.
--
Steve Hall [ digitect dancingpaper com ]

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Fri, Jul 13, 2007, 6:21pm (EDT+4) snipped-for-privacy@SPAMdancingpaper.com (digitect) doth sayeth: <snip> I think the trick you need is to change to transparent paper,readily available at office or art stores in rolls. This allows you to trace over 3-4 previous versions subtly improving on each version until complete. Re-drawing is then a piece of cake. Start out with a grid paper underneath and buy an architectural and/or engineering scale to maintain real dimensions and you will be amazed at how fast you can do quality drawings. <snip>
You could do that. Or use a light box. I use the cheapest oopy paper I can find. sketch my design with light lines, slightly darken whichever lines I like, sketch in new lines as dark as the ones I darkened; repeat, periodcally erasing the unwanted lines; repeat until I get what I want; then usually go over it with a fine tip marker to highlight it. Far as I''m concerned, beats the Hell out of tracing and retracng..
JOAT I do things I don't know how to do, so that I might learn how to do them. - Picasso
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Or do what cartoonists do. Make your rough sketch with a blue pencil, then overdraw with an HB (same as #2) or darker black pencil. Vellum is nice for pencil work because you can erase it over and over again, cleanly, without shredding the surface.

Eventually, you won't even need the grid paper.
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On Mon, 16 Jul 2007 15:12:50 -0700, Father Haskell wrote:

Grids help to keep the logic, especially if you draw freehand. Of course, I'm thinking about architecture, I guess with furniture or curved objects like a boat it may not be as useful. But if you can instantly see how big something is as you're drawing, you don't need to stop every line to measure.
--
Steve Hall [ digitect dancingpaper com ]

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Tue, Jul 17, 2007, 1:14am (EDT+4) snipped-for-privacy@SPAMdancingpaper.com (digitect) doth sayeth: Grids help to keep the logic, especially if you draw freehand. Of course, I'm thinking about architecture, I guess with furniture or curved objects like a boat it may not be as useful. But if you can instantly see how big something is as you're drawing, you don't need to stop every line to measure.
Maybe. Personaly I usually only use grid paper when I come across what's left of the pad, then I normally just use it same as reguar paper. it does come in handy at times if I'm sketching something long, it helps keep the lines parrall faster and easier. The only real use I find for it is if you want to enlarge the whtever on to wood. Sketch out the design on the paper. Lay out a grid on the wood to the scale you want. Carefully copy the lines in the paper sqares to the squares on the wood. You can even do the same by drawing 1/4' grid on a pictue or drawing then enlarging in the sauares on the wood. Low-tech, but works, and you don't need to be a sketch artist to do it. I don't recall the last tme I've done that tho. I also have an as new pantograph that I've nver used. I just prefer free-handing.
JOAT I do things I don't know how to do, so that I might learn how to do them. - Picasso
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