Design Software

Hey all, I'm a computer guy. My brother does fine woodworking. He is opening up his own shop soon. We got to talking and he asked me about CAD software that he could use to help him design. Ideally, this software would help him to create cutlists and would optimize the amount of wood he needs to buy.
None of my brother's colleages use CAD software, nor does his previous boss and mentor. I was thinking perhaps some folks in this group could help with recommendations.
He specializes mostly in making furniture and cabinetry. I guess he does a lot of display cases for shows too. I appreciate any and all help.
--Thummp
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I recall a review in one of my magazines that rates DesignCAD 3D Max as the best overall. I don't think it would produce the cutlists, but it was the best from a design standpoint. There are some cheap or even free programs out there for doing cutlists.
Jeff

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Thummp
Check out Cutlist Plus at http://www.bridgewooddesign.com /
I've used it to do several different projects and its saved me a bunch of time and efficiency. It does produce cutlist (as the name indicates). I'm not sure what else is out there but I found this program helpful.
todd

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snipped-for-privacy@defenestration.com wrote:

I've used a variety of CAD programs over the years starting with CADDAM on an IBM mainframe 20 years ago. For most of my work now, I use a pencil and paper.
The problem with trying to automate things like cutlists is that you will want to hand select the boards (and parts of boards) for grain and not follow what the computer tells you. (It would be fine for MDF/melamine cabinets I guess)
One of the most useful programs that I've ever used on the computer for woodworking was called Vellum. It didn't do 3D, and I didn't use if for most work. Where it really shone was that it could tell you when you were exactly radial, or tangential to a curve (at any point) or when you were bisecting an angle or a line and other geometry assistance. Some of these features have found their way into other programs now. This is of use when trying to make a multi-part frame that will later be routed into an ellipse or other shape. I was able to use the program and some geometry to build frames with segments that all had the same mitre angles but different lengths to build various ellipses. It is much easier to cut a part to exact length than it is to cut a precise mitre angle (for me anyway)
Sadly the low end version of Vellum is long gone and I've trashed my copy at some point. However, 'professional' versions are available.
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On Tuesday 01 Feb 2005 5:16 am, Rob Mitchell scribbled:

I still use mine, called DrawingBoard LT, which I bought for my Windows 6.1 486DX (IIRC). Does everything like like Rob says. Wonderful little program. Too bad it's no longer available. There was a thread on this back in '96 or '97 when they offered us wreckers a cheap version.
--
Luigi
Replace "nonet" with "yukonomics" for real email
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Windows *6.1* ?? I'd believe _3.1_. "Windows 95" was the immediate follow-on to 3.1. <grin>
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On Wednesday 02 Feb 2005 6:04 pm, Robert Bonomi scribbled:

Obviously IDNRC, suffering from CRS. ;-) Like I can't remember whether my routers are a 690 or a 390 and either a somethingsomething17EVS or a somethingsomething13EVS, to bring it back on topic.
--
Luigi
Replace "nonet" with "yukonomics" for real email
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On 31 Jan 2005 17:55:02 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@defenestration.com wrote:

I'm degreed in Computer Science and Mechanical Engineering. CAD is nice, but I find drawings made with pencil to be my best tool for design. It takes awhile to learn CAD software, and the good ones are not cheap. CAD won't tell you anything about stresses either.
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Short of AutoCAD, TurboCAD is one of the best. It does take some time and effort to learn to use it well. The best thing about TurboCAD is that it is available as a free download at http://www.al-ki.com/tcad/download.php as "Free TurboCAD Learning Edition."
Mr Fixit eh
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I'll second that recommendation. I've used TurboCAD to design my kitchen cabinets and it was very hand to see everything in 3D. I also used CutlistPlus after I created my drawings. I didn't mis cut any parts due to wrong dimensions on the design.
It did take awhile to get used to drawing in 3D (I had very little previous CAD experience), but once I figured out how to snap objects to each other, things went pretty good.
TurboCAD will also do a 'competitive upgrade' from competing programs. When I bought my version, I was able to get the Pro version for $150 instead of the $500 or so it was retailing for a the time by mentioning I was upgrading from Corel Draw (I know that was a bit a stretch :-) but they accepted it).
The other thing I don't like about TurboCAD is the upgrade pricing once you own a copy. TurboCAD seems to come out with new versions about once a year and the upgrade price (for the Pro version) is always $200 even if your jumping multiple versions. I'd prefer a more gradual scale depending on how far you're jumping versions (i.e. $100 for 9.0 to 10.0, $150 for 8.0 to 10.0, etc...)
Jeff
Mr Fixit eh wrote:

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Not the case. It cost me $99.00 to go from Turbocad 9 to 10. If I had been using a previous version, it would have been $200.00.

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Tue, Feb 1, 2005, 8:57pm (EST-3) snipped-for-privacy@earthlink.net (CW) says: Not the case. It cost me $99.00 to go from Turbocad 9 to 10. If I had been using a previous version, it would have been $200.00.
Hmm, cost me zip to go from scrap wood to scap cardboard. If I had went to paper, it would have cost me about 50 cents. I alredy had a pencil.
JOAT Intellectual brilliance is no guarantee against being dead wrong. - David Fasold
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vaguely proposed a theory ......and in reply I say!:
remove ns from my header address to reply via email
.02...well... .06 or so...
I have to admit that I have only used DesignCad 3d for maybe 12 + hours or so. But of all the ones I have tried (and even those I coul;d not possibly afford), it has made me feel most hopeful of ever mastering 3D without too much frustration.
I have used a little 2d package called DeltaCad for yearws. It's so easy that it's not worth not using! <G> I will see how I go with DesignCad in 2d mode instead.
IMO the biggest advantage about drafting packages is not drawing, but changing.
Even dimensioning can be dodgy, IMO, because you can be trapped.     - A lot of drawings will give gross dimensions, then leave you to work out the finer bits. There are reasons for this.         - A lot depends on what you start with etc.         - The drawing could become so full of dimensions it would become almost unreadable.
    - If you rely on the PC for dimensioning, you don't think, and place, then trust, a wrong dimension. Again we are talking not trained draftsmen, but Joe Average.
I have just bought DCad3D Max. It's rated as easy to use, and is relatively so. It works well, and is very big B ft B. But like most 3D software, its problem is the little surprises, and the need to work on 3-space. eg suddenly you can't select something, and have to revert to another view to find out why. This is not exclusive to this programme.
It has hundreds of features, which sometimes actually get in the way of simply doing the job bit by bit, as one would with a "very accurate pencil". Every job produces another piece of learning curve, until you have done a lot of work. This can be frustrating. ADd 3d and you have quite a hill.
You can learn these things, but the problem is, if you use the programme to design something that will take a few weeks to build, then you have to re-learn the programme, unless you spend every night keeping in tune.
I did not pay very much for it and enjoy using it, but I am not sure that it's worth the trouble as a drawing tool, apart from the "wow factor" of being able to rotate the thing and look at it, or unless I was using cad-controlled gear.
I may revert to pencil sketches, and a 2d package that's easy to use to get dimensions. I reckon I can produce a plan, side elevation and end elevation quicker than I can a 3d drawing. I even reckon I could change all three views, cold after a couple of weeks away from the package, than I could in a 3d package. It worked for me so far, and it worked for draftsmen for quite a while before that. It was the architects and artists that needed the filled-in 3D. <G>
It's easy to get a 3d view that _looks_ good, but when it comes to details like joints and fasteners, you are fiddling about again, unless you are real power user. The very fact of 3d gets in the way of a work drawing, except to a regular draftsman.
I have one possible use. I own a largish property. I want to place the contours in there and then render a 3d view. Again it's really only for kicks, as you can learn to read a contour map a lot damned faster than a 3D drawing package IMO, and the Council is not going to ask for 3d renditions.

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I use a product by Microsoft called Visio. I have designed a number of pieces with it and it's dead on. It's designed based on a "Stencil" metapor so you drag and drop to create the drawing. It's not 3D, but it very accurate and quite easy to use.
For the Cut List, I use CutList Pro.

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AutoSketch works well for me. I think 3D is over-rated for cabinet and furniture work. I do the initial design on paper then poke it into AutoSketch for dimensions and material sizes.
However, for most simple projects I just build it.
Dave

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On 31 Jan 2005 17:55:02 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@defenestration.com wrote:

I work for a company that makes store fixtures and displays.
We just purchased quite a few seats of AutoDesk Inventor.
I just put it on my box today - will report as I get into it.
I used TurboCad when I worked for myself - because it was cheap.
tjwatson1ATcomcastDOTnet (real email) http://home.comcast.net/~tjwatson1 (webpage)
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Look up SheetLayout SL7. I've used it for about 5 years to input cutlist and layout pieces on both plywood sheets and lumber stock.

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On 31 Jan 2005 17:55:02 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@defenestration.com vaguely proposed a theory ......and in reply I say!:
remove ns from my header address to reply via email
Been thinking. snipped-for-privacy@defenestration.com
Do you have a Windos problem?????? <G>
However, back to the OT topic....
What I am trying to say is, if you rely on software to do the job, you lose that edge that the artisan has. You get tied up in the doing of the drawing. It's fun, but unless your mate has a laptop and wants to be the smooth salesman who can let _you_ learn drafting on a 3d programme and allow him to sell the _idea and image_ on the laptop, with your PC input on the background, then until he has multi-clients and has whole houses to "walk thru", then treat 3d modelling as a luxury.
OK. I have a programming background. Not with wood/metal, but with bussines databases. There is a break point. The line is blurred. Where does the manual system have to become Windozed? The line is blurred.

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Hello there, You may like to check out our PLUS 2D software for Panel Optimization. The light version should suffice for rectangular parts. You can download a demo from www.nirvanatec.com regards, s.shrikanth
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