If I could weigh in here --
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 --
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
Do what feels right and works for you.
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.
The list goes on.
Know how to draw? Drafting, not sketching. If you don't, these programs will
not help you.
$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
$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.
Try the 3d, free, program from Google - called Sketch Up. I downloaded
it a couple of days ago and it seems to have potential as a furniture
I've personally used Argon for 3 years, and while it has a steep
learning curve, and is expensive, it does work well.
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.
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
I posted this over in abpw. I am posting it here for the folks who don't
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.
On Mon, 28 Aug 2006 12:42:56 -0400, "Lee Michaels"
I, too started with mechanical drawing waaaay back in '63. Started
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
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