designing on paper

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I've been woodworking for about 10 years now and have built many projects using detailed plans. I've also done a few designs of my own. I'm realizing that I need to learn how to produce detailed drawings of my concepts to help avoid design mistakes midstream. Not to mention to have something to show my wife what I'm building. Right now I just have to describe it the best I can and then say "trust me, it will be nice."
I looked into taking a drafting class at the local schools, but can't seem to find a non-CAD drafting class (I want to start on paper). I also found it difficult to find books on this subject as well. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to teach myself designing on paper? BTW, my drawing skills are somewhat lacking, so I need to start at the basics here.
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Another related question: I've also looked quite a bit online for relatively inexpensive designing software suitable for woodworking. I have either found useless software that is very difficult to use and not very efficient or very cool, but expensive software. Has anyone found anything in between that is useful?
I'd still like to learn by hand, but with limited drawing skills, I was looking for a software package to improve the quality and give others the ability to understand my designs.
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I use KeyCad but learned the basics in school woodshop years ago on how to draw your project. Its not real hard to do depending upon how big a table you have. Basically KeyCad makes you calculate the measurements as if you were puting it on paper I just like the ability to cut and paste. Here is the link if you want to look at it.
http://compwizz.safeshopper.com/40/165.htm?742
-- Log

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Might try your local library for old drafting textbooks. Libraries seem to abound in out-of-date books... Since cad became the rage, no one is writing, much less selling drafting books. Too bad. It's much faster to learn to draft than to learn cad. You'll need a minium of equipment to start: small drafting board, t-square, couple of triangles, scaling rule (to draw to some scale, say 1/4 or 1/8), compass, drafting pencil, sharpener, eraser. No need for fancy, expensive drafting sets just to start. I'd try to find books that had lessons in them to get started. Hope this helps.
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On 21 Jan 2005 10:23:41 -0800, " snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com"

===================I am now in my 60's.... and I "learned".. woodworking from my Dad.. who was a draftsman ... BUT he never sat down and "drew" up a complete set of plans in his life that I know of...
He did make rough sketches for a basic design all with correct demensions etc and he did make enlarged sketches of some of the joints...again with measurements....
I continue to use the same methods...I sure can not draw either but to make something like a end table or chest of drawers or a desk you really do not need to be an artist... I will admit to a "few" screw ups.
Bob Griffiths.
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It has been about 15 years since I last looked at it, but Frank Ching's book "Architectural Graphics" is a standard. It covers all types of drawing and does not limit itself to "drafting". Looking at ebay I see it is selling for anywhere from $0.99 to $5.00.
The techniques in there will come in handy when you need more than an isometric drawing to show to your wife.
-j

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On 21 Jan 2005 10:23:41 -0800, " snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com"

go to a book store. go to the oldest store in town, the one with the oldest books, the oldest booksellers and the been at that location the longest.
look for a really old copy of architectural graphics standards.
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Architectural Graphics Standards does not teach you how to draw/draft. It is useful if you want to find out standard width of parking stalls or flashing details, but it won't help this poster as much as many other more topical books will.
-j
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This doesn't answer your question about learning how to draw on paper. I guess that's been covered--get thee to a library or bookstore.
On the subject of CAD software, I realize it is expensive but may I suggest a different way to look at it? Think of it as another workshop tool. One that will help save you money and time in mistakes not made. I doubt that anyone would argue against proper planning.
I find that by the time I've completed a drawing whether with paper and pencil or on the computer, it feels almost like I've built the project once and I go out to the shop with much more confidence.
http://www.woodshopphotos.com/albums/Dave-R1s-Album/shopcab3.jpg
The link is to a drawing of a cabinet I built for my shop. although you can't see it in the drawing, all parts were drawn as individual pieces and "assembled" to make the cabinet. Duplicate parts were drawn once and copied. Everything was worked out in the drawing down to the joinery.
No, the software wasn't as cheap as a pencil and a pad of paper but it is makes it easier for me to make 3D views which I am able to do on paper. It also lets me "walk" around the model to ensure I haven't missed something.
My .02
Dave
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Does it have a name?
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Guess who, yes, it does have a name. The software that I use is called SketchUp ( http://www.sketchup.com ). It was developed as a tool for architects to do design work. It isn't really a CAD application although it has the ability to do dimensioning and can be a very effective tool for woodworkers. I have several CAD programs as well but I've found that SketchUp has a much shorter learning curve and is more intuitive to use. The company's site has tutorial videos under Training if you'd like to see it in action.
I also use a 2D CAD application called Anvil 1000 which is ancient but very effective. As CAD software goes, it is about as easy as you can get. It runs in DOS so it doesn't have a pretty GUI but it runs faster than AutoCAD or other similar software. That program and a bunch of drawings will fit on a 1.44Mb floppy and will run from the disk. That makes it very portable. Unfortunately, Anvil 1K would be tough to find any more. Admittedly, since I bought SketchUp, I don't use Anvil as much as I did before.
Dave
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Thanks. Try DeltaCad. Very intuitive and effective 2D drafting. Solid Edge has the edge over a lot of 3D modelling software.

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Guess who, I've tried DeltaCAD--it's on my computer. Still not as easy as Anvil 1000. ;)
I think I'll stick with SketchUp for 3D work. Take a look at these. This is just a little of what I've drawn with it.
http://www.woodshopphotos.com/albums/Dave-R1s-Album/roller.sized.jpg
http://www.woodshopphotos.com/albums/Dave-R1s-Album/shavehorse.sized.jpg
The last is a 3-view drawing of a child's sled. This is done with out dimensions but it shows that 2D drawings can be made from the 3D model.
http://hamiltonwoodworks.com/drichards/sled3view.jpg
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The drawings look nice, but what about dimesionining? How does it handle it and will it put the part in proper relationship by size?
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Edwin, dimensioning is a simple thing. I'll post a dimensioned drawing shortly.
As to your other question, I'm not certain what you mean. If parts are drawn to the desired size, they will be in proper size relationship to each other.
It is possible to draw components that can be later inserted into a drawing. Maybe you have a standard hinge that you like to use on your cabinets. You could draw the hinge and save it as a component. Then draw the cabinet and insert and place the hinge component where you want it.
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http://www.woodshopphotos.com/albums/Dave-R1s-Album/shopcabdim.sized.jpg
I just did a quick one for illustration. This is that shop cabinet I built. The tops, doors and slide out tray were left out of the drawing for clarity. I only put in a few of the dimensions just to show that it can do it.
hope that shows what you wanted to see, Edwin.
Dave
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Yes, it is. My other question was in reference to the dimensions. In this drawing you show the base as 3' 2" and the top as 3' 6". If you go into the program and change the base to 4' 5" will the drawing change proportions or just the dimension be noted? Am I expecting too much from a low cost program?
Another way of putting it, will the program allow me to put a 12" diameter dowel into a 6" hole?
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Yes, it will.
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Edwin, the dimensions shown are based upon the sizes things were drawn when I was working out the design of the cabinet. For example the base is drawn to be 5" wide stock (by 1-1/4" milled from 2x6 construction lumber). I controlled the lengths of the various pieces. The dimensioning is simplt derived from the distance between the endpoints selected when applying the dimension.
As far as putting a 12" dowel in a 6" hole, well you could place the dowel through the piece containing the hole but it wouldn't look like a 6" dowel in a six inch hole.
You could change the dimension as you say from 3' 2" to 4' 6" but it won't resize the cabinet. You could, however rescale the piece so that the dimension is increased to the desired 4' 6" if you'd like.
By using grouping and layers you can draw all the individual components so they can be edited indepently from each other.
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What I'd hope to happen is a big error message "you can't do that dummy" and then crash my computer or something.

I sometimes draw things out just to get the cut sizes and figure dimensions. Appearance is not a big factor as I know what it is going to look like. Sometimes I draw a piece out and don't like the proportions. To change the drawing on paper you have to re-draw. The re-scale may be what I'm hoping it would do.
I guess I should try out a couple of programs to see how well I can handle them. They all look so simple when an experienced person is doing the drawing.
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