There is the key. Everyone has been drawing in one form or another since
they were little kids. Doing it in cad takes learning to do it completely
different than relying on those motor skills that are so easily taken for
granted. No one remembers what a time they had developing those motors
skills in the first place. The breakover point with cad is when you feel as
comfortable drawing on the computer as you do with a pencil. It takes many
hours before that point is reached. Once reached however, the benefits of
cad quickly become apparent. Is it worth the time and monetary investment
for the average woodworker? Probably not. Those of us that use cad often
forget about the time and effort we have put into it. It may have been fun
for us. It may have been a professional requirement. It's neither for most.
I do believe though that most woodworkers would benefit by a drafting class
of some kind whether they continue using the tools (most often cad these
days) used in that class or not. The basics of laying out and detailing a
drawing go a very long way to making any drawing, be it cad, drafting board
or hand sketch, far more useful to the designer.
> Is it worth the time and monetary investment
> for the average woodworker? Probably not. Those of us that use cad
> forget about the time and effort we have put into it.
Without question, CAD is the only way to go, as long as you make the
database investment which is no problem for a manufacturer with
anything approaching a standard product line.
To design and document a one off, CAD becomes another question, IMHO.
I make literally hundreds of free hand sketches for all kind of
projects, but it is something with which I'm very comfortable.
I put myself thru school slinging lead on a drafting table.
At that point in time, CAD wasn't even a wet dream.
Could I compete with todays CAD jockeys in an industrial environment?
No way, but then again, I don't have to any more.
I got out of the drafting room a long time ago, but still find the
> So, how many guys in their garage workshops fit the discription of "a
> manufacturer with
> anything approaching a standard product line"?
If I may ask, what made you ask that question?
I went through this recently. Here's what I found:
* Pencil and paper - works and is useful for quick sketches, but I care
a lot about proportions and it was hard for me to draw accurately
enough to choose proportions correctly. Of course, then there are the
* DeltaCAD - cheap, has a free trial, and includes a good tutorial in
the help. More accurate than pencil and paper, but is nearly as
difficult to make modifications to the drawing, which I do a lot as I
move stuff around. If you knew exactly what you were drawing ahead of
time, then it would be great, but who knows that?
* SketchUp - It was really difficult for me to place objects in the
right location. 2D is sufficient for me. Struck me as the kind of
tool that you could spend hours and hours drawing as opposed to being
in the shop.
* Visio - I have this for work and find that it is actually the
easiest. Very accurate, allows draw and drop of objects, and allows
you to connect lines, which stay connected as you move. Those are all
very useful as you modify the drawing a lot. You can get a free trial
from the Microsoft site. The standard version, which is all you need,
is about $200, which isn't the cheapest, but is the easiest for me.
A couple of people mentioned SketchUp. SketchUp is great for the design
and concept phase, but it can create dimensioned drawings also Here's a
few examples of what you can do:
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