Design Software

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Does anyone know of a good (but affordable) software program that can be used for designing woodworking projects? I haven't located anything in the local shops --
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Why bother with CAD stuff when it is so quick and easy to do by hand? Jim

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I won't bother explaining. If you really want to know, ask any draftsman (besides me).
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Yes.

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I use a computer/printer for even simple chores like shopping lists, personal notes and addressing envelopes. It's fast and easy and leaves a trail of results. Whenever I send out a letter or pay a bill where I have to address the envelope, I add it into my Word table of addresses, which not only lets me print out the envelope but is a reference for later. Using a CAD program for wood designs is analagous. Using the computer is a lot more efficient for me than trying to make and keep paper records.
I was interested in what others use for their woodworking designs, and got quite a few good ideas. Thanks to all. -- Regards --
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Boy,
Boy in the year hiatus that I took from reading the rec, this newsgroup has gotten pretty snippy.
To answer the question about needing CAD, it's like any tool in your shop. Drafting by hand is like using a hand plane for jointing. It's slow (some might say tedious), but it's relaxing, gives you a more intimate connection to your work and can be done with a minimum of investment. But..would I trade in my 6" jointer? Heck no and I wish I had an 8 incher. I'm fortunate enough to be able to use Autodesk Inventor during lunch hour or after work. This is a full blown solid modeller that does shop drawings almost automatically and photo realistic renderings. I recently did a table and modelled each and every component with every mortise, tenon, chamfer, etc. Now each stick has its own print iwth a plan view, two elevations and as many details as I need. Frankly it makes 2-D CAD nothing more than a glorified sketcher on the computer.
The real advantages to CAD of course are that it's easy to make changes, it's easy to draw exactly to scale and make sure that parts are going to fit (if you make them right). Some will say they are more creative or artistic with a lead pencil. For someone like me who did hand drafting for two semesters and CAD since then, CAD makes me a better designer.
Do what feels right and works for you.
Matt
CW wrote:

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I don't have a jointer. I do use a plane. I also use cad.

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Super.
CW wrote:

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I totally agree,,, up to a point. LOL... Relaxing until you discover that you have made a mistake and find that several LONG lines need to be moved over and you do not yet own an electric eraser.. :~)
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I do both. Actually, AutoCad and hand sketches. I gave away my electric eraser though.
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Everybody wants something "affordable". Everything that has been sold since the beginning of time was affordable, to someone. Here's a list. Not in any particular order. Turbocad Intellicad Autocad Autosketch Deltacad Solidworks Proengineer Solidedge Designcad Datacad The list goes on. Know how to draw? Drafting, not sketching. If you don't, these programs will not help you.

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$0 -- google sketchup relatively easy to learn and good woodworking following. very few limits (export formats and photo-realistic rendering) versus paid version
$130 -- Design Intuition is a program specifically targeted to woodworkers, has free trial that is disabled to prevent saving and printing http://www.gizmolab.com
$0 -- Alibre design is a 3-D modeling program that is in some ways more sophisticated than sketchup, but also has a steeper learning curve. Limited number of parts could limit usefulness of free version, although "parts" in the program lingo does not necessarily translate to "pieces of wood".
Check out http://www.woodbin.com/ for more answers to your question.
--
Alex -- Replace "nospam" with "mail" to reply by email. Checked infrequently.

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JimR wrote:

Some on here are a full working version,some you have to pay an small fee. http://www.architectafrica.com/bin0/practice.html
--
Sir Benjamin Middlethwaite




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JimR wrote:

it a couple of days ago and it seems to have potential as a furniture design tool.
I've personally used Argon for 3 years, and while it has a steep learning curve, and is expensive, it does work well.
Rick http://www.thuderworksinc.com
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"JimR" wrote in message

I'm partial to AutoSketch only because it took the place of/is the same program as QuickCAD, once the subject of a magazine article about its suitability to woodworking, although I used it long before that.
Once a $50 program, it now runs about $120, IIRC.
The program is about as intuitive as they get, and has a plus in that it will open and let you manipulate AutoCAD files.
CAD is helpful in the shop. Rarely do I do a project without extensive CAD drawings. The ability to print parts to scale to use as templates is something I would not like to be without.
YMMV ...
--
www.e-woodshop.net
Last update: 8/21/06
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I just ran into an announcement about ProgeCad LT which can be found at: http://www.progecad.com/ - I havent tried it but it looks promising. It's based on the Intellicad model and is compatible with the Autodesk .dwg format.
The learning curve will be a little steep, so if you want something a little easier to learn, I'd suggest Sketchup as posted earlier. I played with it a little bit some time ago and it looks like it has potential.
HTH Bill
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Yellow pad and several of them pencils.... Learning curve is very low and you can use it for fire starter for the projects that did not quite make it....
JimR wrote:

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get binary newsgroups. *************************
I am going to weigh in here in this discussion of old graphite based drawing programs versus electron based programs.
I too, took machanical drawing in school. Where (and when) I grew up, it was mandatory. (Along with home economics for the girls) I have used that formal training countless times throughout my life. To this day, I can bang together a drawing and have something made up of wood or metal.
I have used a few consumer CAD programs over the years. I am presently using CAD Pro. I haven't used it much, but it looks good so far. Any kind of CAD experience makes the learning and use of any other CAD program easier. And any kind of mechanical drawing experience makes learning CAD easier.
I am a graphics tablet kind of guy. Those quarter inch grid pages have prototyped up more projects than I can remember. Including all those who then migrated to a formal CAD drawing.
I have worked as a writer as well. Even there, I do all my original notes and outlines on paper. Then I go to the word processor.
There is something comforting and traditional (Neander?) about using a writing instrument and paper. It is good for my soul. I still use modern tools. But the traditional ones feel good to me. I will continue to use them because I am just more creative with them. And there is an element of creative sensuality about them as well.
Recent on DIY, they had a show (Ultimate Workshop?) about a builder's expo. There was a product that I have not been able to locate. It is a small, ridged drawing platform that you lay your paper on. There is a grid pattern etched into the board. Your pencil then follows the grooves in this base.
It is like graph paper without the visible graph pattern. I would kill for one of those. I am a big believer in getting those creative ideas down on paper. Being able to look at the drawings without all those little boxes on the paper would be nice.
Lee
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On Mon, 28 Aug 2006 12:42:56 -0400, "Lee Michaels"

getting paid as a draftsman in '69 and worked on drawing boards until '91. When I first switched to CAD (MicroStation), I would sketch out my work, then transfer it to the computer.
It wasn't long before I became comfortable with CAD and it soon became quicker to create an accurate sketch in cad than an inaccurate one by hand. Once you become familiar with the tools, many tasks are MUCH quicker in cad.
My $.02 worth Bill
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