Best Way to Design Work?

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TKKids

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TKKids
I know there are various free programs out there, but what do some of you guys use?

I have looked at SketchUp and I guess I am too simple minded to get it to work right.

I really want something that is simple and I can enter in dimensions.

Thanks
Tim
 

PeteQuad

New User
Peter
I have hand drawn stuff, but am putting my mind towards working with Sketchup, which seems to be the most versatile way to go. I'm at the point where I can do some basic stuff, I just need to figure out how to make it a bit quicker. The best way to learn seems to be to watch the tutorial videos. Just set aside a half hour here and there and watch them.
 

Mike Davis

Mike
Corporate Member
I am still a firm believer in note book paper and a sharp #2 pencil.

But, I never have worked off formal plans. I took two years of drafting in high school and had a course in reading blue prints in trade school (required course in machine shop) in which I corrected a mistake in the book and got the only A+ ever awarded by my teacher. I even worked in AutoCAD for a while drawing machinery.

But when it comes right down to it, I would rather design as I build. If I know the the major outside dimensions I can figure out the rest. Plans are only good if I need to exactly copy someone else's work and don't have the piece to look at. And I never really need to copy anyone else's work.
 
M

McRabbet

I use SketchUp and TurboCAD. SU is actually fairly straightforward once you get into it -- I'd recommend you give it a chance and look at the videos here and maybe buy his book. In addition, there is an excellent blog called Design, Click, Build on Finewoodworking.com that focuses on SketchUp and there are many videos on You Tube, starting with this one by the author of the first link above.
 

PeteQuad

New User
Peter
I should have mentioned, I also have a blackboard in my shop and do a lot of drawing on that. It's easy to refer to from across the room and I don't lose it like I used to with paper.

Thanks for the SU links, I will check them out.
 

ErnieM

Ernie
Corporate Member
I use DeltaCad which is a simple 2D Cad program. I found it relatively easy to learn but is powerful enough to do complex rendering. http://www.deltacad.com

Recently I decided to try (for the 3rd time) Sketchup. This time, after about 30 hours of head scratching and watching tutorial videos, I've had some success. Here is a photo taken in my shop of a completed instrument called an Ottavino.



Here's my Sketchup rendition of the same instrument.



The rendition came out pretty well but it begs the question - "is it worth the time". So far, my answer is no - especially if your project contains a lot of curves. Using Sketchup for drawing curved surfaces like the curved side of a piano or harpsichord, or the front of a Bombay chest is far from quick and simple. Using a Cad program like DeltaCad such a line is simple to do by using a spline line which is fully adjustable. On the other hand, a 2D Cad program will not let you see all sides of your project like a 3D program like Sketchup will.

My other concern is with accuracy. I took the dimensions for this model directly from my Cad drawing. Because I need full sized plans that are very accurate, I use decimal measurements rather than fractions of an inch. A few thousandths of an inch can spell the difference between success and failure when making a musical instrument. While Sketchup allows decimal measurements, I found that parts didn't line up correctly even though the measurements were correct. The problem could be due to my lack of a complete understanding of the program, but, then again, maybe it isn't.

In reality it's a moot point for me because the free version of Sketchup does not allow you to export full sized .dwg files that are needed by my print shop to print out the full sized drawings. The pro version does but it's not worth the cost of the program. So, for me, the basic advantage of Sketchup is the ability to see your design in 3D from any angle.

The good news is that Sketchup (basic version) is free and DeltaCad has a free, full featured Demo that you can download. I think the program is about $30.00 should you choose to buy it.

Why not try them both and see if either one fills your needs?

Ernie
 

Trent Mason

New User
Trent Mason
I used sketchup once to design a small table for our porch and it took me more time to design it than it did to build it.

But when it comes right down to it, I would rather design as I build. If I know the the major outside dimensions I can figure out the rest. Plans are only good if I need to exactly copy someone else's work and don't have the piece to look at. And I never really need to copy anyone else's work.
I'd say that pretty much describes me as well. But then again, I'm not building harpsichords either. :eek: Very impressive (as usual) Ernie. :notworthy:

Cheers, :eek:ccasion1

Trent
 

christopheralan

New User
Christopheralan
I am still a firm believer in note book paper and a sharp #2 pencil.

But, I never have worked off formal plans. I took two years of drafting in high school and had a course in reading blue prints in trade school (required course in machine shop) in which I corrected a mistake in the book and got the only A+ ever awarded by my teacher. I even worked in AutoCAD for a while drawing machinery.

But when it comes right down to it, I would rather design as I build. If I know the the major outside dimensions I can figure out the rest. Plans are only good if I need to exactly copy someone else's work and don't have the piece to look at. And I never really need to copy anyone else's work.

I'm with Mike. I like to figure as I go on most projects. It gives me the freedom to change things around if I don't like the direction that I am going. I just have to remember that if it is to be mass produced, I have to also wright as I go and take pictures.

I have done concept drawings for my customers and just use that as a guide.

I only use formal designs and patters as ideas and inspiration.
 
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