Easy-to-use drawing & layout program for woodworking and building projects?

I am looking for an easy-to-use but powerful PC program to help me design and draw projects that I am interested in building such as bookcases, cabinets, closet organizers, etc.
I want something that meets the following criteria: 1. Easy to learn for the non CAD professional, yet powerful enough to draw what you want and with room to learn and grow
2. Ability to visualize projects (preferably in 3D) including with color, texture, shading so that I can get a real sense of how it looks
3. Shortcuts for drawing standard things like dados, rabits, dovetails, standard lumber sizes, standard screw and nail sizes, etc.
4. Ability to generate parts list (preferable)
5. Affordable (<$100, preferably)
I know that there are a number of home design programs but those seem to do too much and not really be good at woodworking projects.
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Fri, Nov 19, 2004, 3:49am (EST+5) snipped-for-privacy@consult.pretender (JeffreyJ.Kosowsky) wants a miricle: I am looking for an easy-to-use but powerful <snip>
Have you ever consider just sitting down, in a quiet place, and thinking about what you want to make? And then taking a pencil and paper, and sketching it out?
Some of my projects, I don't even bother with paper and pencil, unles it's to write down some measurements; the rest of them, I usually just work from a rouch sketch.
I'll be working up a bed design pretty soon. I'll be looking at some plans, to borrow some ideas. Probably have to take some measurements, but basically, it'll all be in my head.
JOAT Measure twice, cut once, swear repeatedly.
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snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (J T) writes:

That is what I do now... just I find it relatively slow and requires a lot of erasure. Also, I sometimes find it harder to catch subtle issues that the scale of my drawings don't show.
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The best program for boats is at www.multisurf.com

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Sun, Nov 21, 2004, 3:34pm (EST+5) snipped-for-privacy@consult.pretender (JeffreyJ.Kosowsky) says: That is what I do now... just I find it relatively slow and requires a lot of erasure. Also, I sometimes find it harder to catch subtle issues that the scale of my drawings don't show.
Erase? You erase? That's probably you problem. I seldom, if ever erase. I start with very light lines, then when I come up with something I like, I go over it with a slightly darker line, repeating until I get just what I want. The lighter lines remain as reference. It goes very quickly. The only thing slow about it is, coming up with what I want. I can't seen any 'puter speeding any part of that up.
"Subtle issues that the scale of my drawings don't show." - I have no idea in the world what that is supposed to mean. I have no problems like that. If it comes out looking good, it's right. If it doesn't look good, it isn't right.
Of course, when whatever is actually made it may be ugly, but in that case, it'd be ugly even if you used a computer to draft it. No "subtle issues" to be caught in that case, some things just look beautiful on paper, and ugly in real life.
JOAT Measure twice, cut once, swear repeatedly.
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Even CAD pro's would like to find that program.

Do you have any formal drafting experience? If not, a CAD program is going to have a steep learning curve.

Harder still.

More expensive.

Still more expensive

Probably not going to happen.

These tend to be toy like compared to a program that you are thinking that you want.
Basically you are looking for something like AutoCAD. A few thousand dollars.
I use AutoCAD LT, Lists for about $800.00 and does no 3D or scheduling.
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Dream on, brother. Ain't no such thing.
Bob
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Apart from the <$100 criteria, have a look at www.sketchup.com ... I like it !
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I grabbed the demo and it seems pretty nice. But's $500! =8^0
$500 is a lot of paper and erasers!
Barry
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As discussed here and in FWW I suggest you try SketchUp. Not a CAD but a design program. Download the trial version and you have 8 hrs of play time.(timer is 'on' only when you are using it). Here are two views of a simple bench. Once you get your 3-D made you can rotate in around any way you want, add shadows and etc and etc... Good import/export and uses Ruby language plugins(some nice little applets available that add to SU functionality.) ..disclaimers go here and YMMV.
http://home.mchsi.com/~lhote5/bench1.jpg
http://home.mchsi.com/~lhote5/bench2.jpg
Larry
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...it's me again touting the features of SketchUp. I spent most of the afternoon learning the thing and put together this lantern model. The animation is a BIG .avi file about 1.8 meg and should load auto in Windows media player. I put in 10 views and the program put in intermediate frames (about 160) to get smooth transitions. The first link is the animation and the second are a pair of lanterns I made previously using advanced pencil technology.
http://home.mchsi.com/~lhote5/lantern.avi <--------not for people with slow connections
http://home.mchsi.com/~llhote/projects/twolanternsbig.JPG

Larry
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I've been playing with Woodworking Projects for Everyone. It has a built in program that allows simpler projects like bookcases and birdhouses to do what you're inquiring about. It is by DesignCAD.
You may want to take a look at it.
Thunder
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Jeffrey J. Kosowsky wrote:

There is an Open Source project under way that might meet your criteria. http://lignumcad.sourceforge.net/doc/en/HTML/index.html
I've looked at it, but have not had the time to download it and all the libraries it needs, and then compile it.
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C.Groth wrote:

I've been using QCAD, it shipped with Mandrake 10, But I can't get it to work on suse 9.2, and I upgraded my Mandrake box to 10.1 and it didn't come with it, I'll give this a one a try
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Jeffrey J. Kosowsky wrote:

CutList Plus http://www.bridgewooddesign.com /
--
dadiOH
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Um that is a great program but is not a drawing program so to speak. It is an optimization program that helps you use your materials efficiently.
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Leon wrote:

Which is why I put it under... "4. Ability to generate parts list (preferable)"
--
dadiOH
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Actually, YOU generate the parts list. I simply draws a diagram of where the pieces should come from.
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