CAD program - Where to begin

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wrote:

Don't laugh, I recently bought some NEW drawing tools, as I prefer them to CAD for many projects. <G>
Barry
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At the risk of getting my head taken off for presuming to teach CAD drawing, when I barely get by in it myself, I'm listing some of the things I've shown other guys to help get them started. I use TurboCad Pro Version 5.0 and I don't know how it will compare to the version you are using. I don't draw the way I show below but it takes you through a few of the very basic steps.
1.    Open Program. 2.    Screen 1 - Select: "New From Page Setup Wizard." (NEXT) 3.    Screen 2 - Select: "English." (NEXT) 4.    Screen 3 - Select: "Fractional." "1/64"." (NEXT) 5.    Screen 4 - Select: "Let TurboCad Get Paper Size From Default      Printer." (NEXT) 6.    Screen 5 - Select: "Absolute." "1 : 1 (Full Size)." (NEXT) 7.    Click "Finish". 8.    You Should Now Be At The Drawing Screen. 9.    Go To Diagonal Line Icon on the Toolbar. Click and Hold until drop down menu of icons shows. Click on Rectangle Icon. 10.    Move Cursor to Lower Left Area of Screen. Click and drag      rectangle up and to the right. Don't worry about the size of the rectangle. Do not click again. 11.    Hit "TAB". "Size 'A' Box" in lower left corner will be highlighted. Enter 24 for width of rectangle. 12.    Hit "TAB". "Size 'B' Box" in lower left corner will be highlighted. Enter 48 for height of rectangle. 13.    Hit "ENTER". 14.    At top of screen click: VIEW then ZOOM then EXTENTS. 15.    The screen will resize to show the whole rectangle. 16.    At top of screen click: MOD then SNAPS then NEAREST ON GRAPHIC. 17.    Move Cursor close to lower left corner of rectangle. Click and drag up and to the right. 18.    Enter measurements in "Size 'A' (width of original rectangle) and 'B'(whatever height you choose) Boxes as above,     using "TAB". Hit "ENTER". 19.    Go to Double Rectangle Icon on the Toolbar (next to Rectangle Icon). Click on it. 20.    At top of screen click: FORMAT then PROPERTIES then DOUBLE LINE. 21.    In the highlighted box marked "SEPARATION" enter "4in" (without the quotes). 22.    In the "REFERENCE" area click "LEFT". Click "OK" to exit screen. 23.    Move Cursor to lower left corner of rectangle. Click and drag up to the right. Do not worry about sizing it. Do not click again. 24.    Using "TAB" to move between boxes, enter width of original rectangle in "Size 'A' " and whatever height you choose in "Size 'B' ". Hit "ENTER". 25.    At top of screen click: VIEW/ZOOM/ZOOM OUT. The screen will resize.
Now you've done a few of the most basic tasks to make a drawing. Have fun.
Regards, Tom Thomas J. Watson-Cabinetmaker Gulph Mills, Pennsylvania http://users.snip.net/~tjwatson
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On Fri, 07 Nov 2003 12:35:56 -0500, Tom Watson

Please note that MOD should read MODE.
Sorry.
Regards, Tom Thomas J. Watson-Cabinetmaker Gulph Mills, Pennsylvania http://users.snip.net/~tjwatson
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Tom Watson wrote:

As a person who is barely able to get by yourself, but working at it, you are more qualified than an experienced user who has forgotten what it was like to learn. Particularly for those who didn't have a good drafting background to start with.
CAD vs manual drawing is a lot like power tools vs hand tools. If you already know how to do the job with hand tools, then learning to do the job with power tools is easy.
If you don't know how to do the job with hand or power tools and buy a garage full of power tools, you have a steep learning curve ahead of you.
Dick
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Rico wrote:

Not to mention a few missing body parts.
--
Mark

N.E. Ohio
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I started with Autcad R13C3. It was OK but the most valuable thing you can have is a neighbor/friend whom you can ask questions of when you run into problems. I actually started with vs. 10 but took real lessons in vs. 13. Old rule of thumb was buy the even numbered versions; the odd numbered were odd.
On Fri, 07 Nov 2003 12:35:56 -0500, Tom Watson

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This may not be for everyone, but somebody needs to mention it.
You can get a very sophisticated 3D CAD program free for individual use, fully functional with no time limit, from www.ptc.com. It is called ProDesktop, and it is made by the same folks that produce ProE and sell it for big money to big companies.
ProDesktop has a tutorial that takes a while to get through (any good CAD program has so many features and controls that it will take a while to learn) but if you do the tutorial and then jump into a project, you will learn to do a lot with little effort.
My first project with this program was a swivel-topped cabinet for a dollhouse stand, and my second was an equatorial platform for keeping a telescope pointed at a point in the sky. In both cases the drawings had moving parts that let me move things through the range of motion to see what they looked like and check for interference. In general, you design parts (alone or in the context of the main assembly) and then put them in the assembly with particular alignment/distance constraints to other parts, and it is possible to define constraints that allow controlled movement of parts. This was especially important for the equatorial platform, which was quite complex mechanically.
I had only a little CAD experience (early Autocad) but got through the tutorial OK.
There are probably dedicated programs for such things as cabinet layout that make specific types of projects much easier with less learning curve, and for material planning and cutting it would be hard to beat Cutlist Plus, but this software is really outstanding and free, so if 3D CAD interests you, check it out.
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Martin;
The 3D CAD package you mention looks interesting, but when I go to their site, I don't see anything that looks like a free download feature. I only see choices that seem to result in purchase options. Am I missing something? Can you give me a more precise link to the "free" software.
I used AutoCAD since about version 4 until retirement (finishing with AutoCAD 14) and since retirement I have been using IntelliCAD, however I have never done 3D since it seemed so daunting a task. Sure would like to give it a try if I can find a link to the free software package.
Brian
| This may not be for everyone, but somebody needs to mention it. | | You can get a very sophisticated 3D CAD program free for individual use, | fully functional with no time limit, from www.ptc.com. It is called | ProDesktop, and it is made by the same folks that produce ProE and sell | it for big money to big companies. | | ProDesktop has a tutorial that takes a while to get through (any good | CAD program has so many features and controls that it will take a while | to learn) but if you do the tutorial and then jump into a project, you | will learn to do a lot with little effort. | | My first project with this program was a swivel-topped cabinet for a | dollhouse stand, and my second was an equatorial platform for keeping a | telescope pointed at a point in the sky. In both cases the drawings had | moving parts that let me move things through the range of motion to see | what they looked like and check for interference. In general, you | design parts (alone or in the context of the main assembly) and then put | them in the assembly with particular alignment/distance constraints to | other parts, and it is possible to define constraints that allow | controlled movement of parts. This was especially important for the | equatorial platform, which was quite complex mechanically. | | I had only a little CAD experience (early Autocad) but got through the | tutorial OK. | | There are probably dedicated programs for such things as cabinet layout | that make specific types of projects much easier with less learning | curve, and for material planning and cutting it would be hard to beat | Cutlist Plus, but this software is really outstanding and free, so if 3D | CAD interests you, check it out. |
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Sorry. I found the link. It is http://www.ptc.com/products/desktop/express/license.htm
Brian
| Martin; | | The 3D CAD package you mention looks interesting, but when I go to their | site, I don't see anything that looks like a free download feature. I only | see choices that seem to result in purchase options. Am I missing | something? Can you give me a more precise link to the "free" software. | | I used AutoCAD since about version 4 until retirement (finishing with | AutoCAD 14) and since retirement I have been using IntelliCAD, however I | have never done 3D since it seemed so daunting a task. Sure would like to | give it a try if I can find a link to the free software package. | | Brian
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Martin;
I finally found and downloaded the Pro/Desktop CAD package. WOW! Thanks for the link. I am most impressed!
Now I just have to spend a lot of time to unlearn AutoCAD/IntelliCAD techniques and learn the 3D techniques in Pro/Desktop. This is a VERY NEAT package. Just what I have always wanted to do - be able to simply create 3D drawings of my woodworking projects. Can't wait to get my first one done. As I try to cut holes (dados, etc.) in my stiles, I find that I am missing some of the techniques to move to different work planes, etc. so I go back and redo the tutorials. (Better luck next time?)
Thanks again.
Brian
| This may not be for everyone, but somebody needs to mention it. | | You can get a very sophisticated 3D CAD program free for individual use, | fully functional with no time limit, from www.ptc.com. It is called | ProDesktop, and it is made by the same folks that produce ProE and sell | it for big money to big companies. | | ProDesktop has a tutorial that takes a while to get through (any good | CAD program has so many features and controls that it will take a while | to learn) but if you do the tutorial and then jump into a project, you | will learn to do a lot with little effort. | | My first project with this program was a swivel-topped cabinet for a | dollhouse stand, and my second was an equatorial platform for keeping a | telescope pointed at a point in the sky. In both cases the drawings had | moving parts that let me move things through the range of motion to see | what they looked like and check for interference. In general, you | design parts (alone or in the context of the main assembly) and then put | them in the assembly with particular alignment/distance constraints to | other parts, and it is possible to define constraints that allow | controlled movement of parts. This was especially important for the | equatorial platform, which was quite complex mechanically. | | I had only a little CAD experience (early Autocad) but got through the | tutorial OK. | | There are probably dedicated programs for such things as cabinet layout | that make specific types of projects much easier with less learning | curve, and for material planning and cutting it would be hard to beat | Cutlist Plus, but this software is really outstanding and free, so if 3D | CAD interests you, check it out. |
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Once you get used to it, you will find that buiding your project first on the computer saves a lot of mistakes and gives you the chance to see exactly what it is going to look like before you do it. All my projects are done in 3D (Turbocad Pro) first.

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Why a CAD program? If you are drawing cabinets how abaout a cabinet program?
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Many of us aren't doing this professionally, so why is a Cad program even necessary? I use Fireworks for all my designs. Agreed, it's not 3D, but it's a vector drive program, (points are mathematically calculated), I can design in exact dimensions (eg 8 or 16 points to the inch) and it's reasonably easy to learn the basics. You can save the files to .png which leaves all the behind the scenes mathematical constructs in place for easy editing afterwards. Agreed it's not a cabinet program and but it seems to me that this great push towards cad for most woodworkers is only driven by the desire to use the latest and the greatest just because they're out there.
And yeah, I have and do occasionally use the french curve shapes that my father left me.

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Upscale wrote:

The advantage to learning a CAD program is that it's less specialized. What you learn in a CAD program is applicable to a boat load of other completely unrelated design uses.
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On Sat, 08 Nov 2003 15:35:12 GMT, Upscale wrote:

Can you draw a line from the centre of a line that's 15 points long? Have you got an object snap that will draw a circle centred on the mid-point of any line? Dimensioning? Scaling? Rotating? Mirroring? Arraying? Parts?....

CAD's hardly the `latest & the greatest' ;)
I suppose if I didn't have CAD (AutoCAD LT) & didn't have an engineering background I might not use it and just sketch out designs on paper.
But since I've got it and can use it, I find it invaluable.
If I'd used 3D CAD more when I was engineering then I'd probably use a 3D CAD program, but I didn't so I don't.
It's what you're used to I guess.

I've still got my french curves, adjustable set square etc. but they've stayed boxed up for ~10 years.
Studies where done when CAD came into drawing offices & they showed something like an 8 fold increase in productivity. That's the reason I use it. Even though I'm hardly a professional, I'm getting old & my time is valuable to me; much more valuable than the cost of my software which I've had for many years.
I'd agree with other posters who say that a book on technical drawing is worthwhile whether you use CAD or draw by hand. I'm sure there must be resources on the web too.
First step is to be able to draw to scale using a specific projection eg. 3rd or 1st. (Do they still use 1st in the US?)
BTW, I don't bother with isometric or oblique projections and beginners shouldn't either.
With CAD the things you have to get familiar with first are setting a grid and using object snaps. I think that the more you play around with it, the better you'll get; although it might seem confusing at first.
--

Frank


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Yes actually, Fireworks will do all of those things. Some of them take a little bit of a jury rig, but they're not that difficult to do.

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I have a series of articles on my web regarding woodworking with CAD. It isn't complete but it might help some.
PMB http://benchmark.20m.com
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