Do you use any computer based tool for doing project layout?

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FWIW, I like the program a lot. I am a new SketchUp user, but if you would like to see how I was able to use it to help model my shop (to be). Click on the pdf at:
http://web.newsguy.com/MySite /
All of the "fancy items" were download from a library at no cost and resized as desired.
Bill
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Dick Snyder wrote:

Running under Linux, I use VariCAD www.varicad.com
I've been very happy with its speed and ease of use
--

There is never a situation where having more rounds is a disadvantage

Rob Leatham
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I do not care for Sketchup either. I downloaded DoubleCAD and have been using it for a while. http://www.doublecad.com / Greg
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I have used Quick CAD (no longer available) for a years but have started to use Sketchup. I struggled with it for a time, set it aside, viewed the tutorials, tried it again, set it aside, and tried it again with the idea I would learn it some how.... Then while browsing in a book store found Skechup 7 for Dummies ($25). What an eye opener!!! Much better then what can be found online and really has helped understanding its use. Very clear and concise with many illustrations.
Recommended, this time I won't set it aside.
Marty
On 4/10/2010 7:07 AM, Dick Snyder wrote:

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Thanks for the report. I too have put Sketchup down several times. After hints here about it not being "CAD", rather a modeling package, I got a somewhat different perspective of it and that helped. Now, sometimes I "get" it, sorta, and sometimes I just can't seem to grab what I want. Organizing components still escapes me. Maybe "Dummies" would help.
<...>
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I'm more of a Sketchup user than a woodworker. I was a graphic designer. The more I learn about SKUp, the more sophisticated it gets and the more intuitive, but a lot different than Photoshop & others that I'm used to as far as zooming, moving around the screen, etc. It's easier than 3D programs I've used, mostly Strata .... well anyway ... I'm looking forward to getting the Dummies book that I ordered yesterday. And to building my own library. You've got to like the price for Sketchup and it's isn't that limited, especially for real projects as opposed to presentations and print media - resolution is lower. The SU library is huge and the models can be modified (not dynamic models in free version of SU). I used it to rough out ideas for my garage workshop. I really don't know the extent of the library. There seems to be some new area mentioned somewhere I din't expect that has hundreds of models ... and everyone seems to be sharing.

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On 5/1/2010 5:43 PM, gray asphalt wrote:

Not new ... it's called 3DWarehouse and has been around since Google took over the program.
Here's some stuff I've added to it ... knock yourself out as far as sharing them:
http://sketchup.google.com/3dwarehouse/cldetails?mid f1c8d44f47cba8b2c2cd006d206129&prevstart=0
If you have any questions, just ask.
--
www.e-woodshop.net
Last update: 4/15/2010
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As you know, I am already a very satisfied user of SU; my needs are not grand. I ran into a question recently while designing a jig for my bandsaw. At this point it may just be academic, but I would still be interested to see whatever evidence folks have. Obviously SU will allow one to design a jig (for cutting on a BS, say). Does it have a mechanism to allow one to test such a jig (consider, for example, something simple such as a fence)? I suspect the answer is "not really" (and this may be an unfair expectation since it is a "design" tool), but I'll put it out there anyway and and intensionally keep my question vague. BTW, either way, you have already thoroughly convinced me as to SU's usefulness! : )
Bill

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I used AutoCad at work for quite a few years, and also did a lot of learning about how to customize it. It's a great program for drawings and dimensions, but of course it's a bit expensive for personal use. There are free alternatives, like A9CAD, and a 2D program from Siemens whose name I forget at the moment. One of the woodworking magazines online forum had an article comparing a few inexpensive (under $50) cad programs. You might search the web for reviews like that, too.
I've downloaded and tried Sketchup too, when wanting to digitize the house plan drawings for my mother's house. It seems like it's intended for making 3D models rather than construction drawings, though, and I didn't get far with it.
TigerCad is available for download, and I did, but haven't really tried it yet.
Doug

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On 5/1/2010 8:20 PM, DougVL wrote:

I build houses, and for the past few years I've used SU to good purpose when doing so. When taking on a new project, I now routinely transfer both traditional architectural and structural drawings to SU for use in the field on my laptop, often starting out with the site plan, oriented correctly with GPS information, adding the foundation and using "layers" to effectively build the entire house adding _all_ plan details and schedules ... there is nothing like 3D to get folks, including subcontractors, focused on how things go together.
The program runs extremely well on a laptop, even a small one, and the file can be freely given to others quickly and easily, with emphasis on "free". An interested user will find that there are many architectural and engineering models and resources available on the web, and many architects have found the benefits of presenting their ideas using the program, some even migrating to doing complicated construction concepts entirely with the program using the actual fabrication process using layers.
Here's just one example of a engineering resource that is handy"
http://sketchup.engineeringtoolbox.com /
Last year I built a $350k house using nothing but construction plans generated _entirely_ in SU, including a full set of architectural and structural drawings for bidding and building.
As with just about any type of software, the limitations are generally with the user ... this is especially true with SU.
--
www.e-woodshop.net
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I've used Sketchup drawings to pull City of Houston permits a couple of times in years past and, more recently, permitted the breezeway addition for my own house here in the bedroom municipality in NW Houston where I live.
Dave in Houston
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On Sat, 01 May 2010 15:58:12 -0400, the infamous Marty

I'm glad you posted that, Marty. As I scanned the Amazon page for the Dummies book, I found a copy of _Google Sketchup: The Missing Manual_ for $1.25 and ordered it.
$5.24 total delivered price. 608 minty-fresh pages, 2009 vintage!
-- Courage is the power to let go of the familiar. -- Raymond Lindquist
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scrawled the following:

The online reviews of this are on the fluffy side. Perhaps you could post a review after using it?
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On Sat, 1 May 2010 22:15:02 -0700, the infamous " Rumple Stiltskin"

Can do, but it may be a while.
-- Courage is the power to let go of the familiar. -- Raymond Lindquist
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On 5/2/2010 12:15 AM, Rumple Stiltskin wrote:

"Google SketchUp Cookbook"
Not a basic "how to" book, but an excellent compendium of techniques and methods for learning to use some of the basic tools and concepts of the program:
http://oreilly.com/catalog/9780596155100
Again, not something you would read from cover to cover, but as a reference when hitting the wall on how to do many things with the drawing tools.
--
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DeltaCad is free. I downloaded it and tried it once last winter, but it's on a different, currently inaccessible computer just now or I'd try it again for a minute to see how it looks.
Maybe there are some online reviews or comments about it.
Doug

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Oops! Not quite correct. It's free for a trial period, then needs to be registered and paid for.
Doug

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I'd add my recomemendations for the 'sketchup for dummys' book. Despite the patronising name, it's full of useful techniques for modelling with sketchup and getting around its oddities.
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