All Replies on What is the best CAD Software for Woodworking & Furniture Design

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What is the best CAD Software for Woodworking & Furniture Design

by Italo78
posted 11-03-2018 05:28 AM

11 replies so far

View bruc101's profile


1337 posts in 3903 days

#1 posted 11-03-2018 06:17 AM

I use Autocad Architectural Desktop, and I have a degree in Architectural Engineering and that’s probably why I use CAD since I already know it. Our commercial millwork shop now uses Microvellum (extremely expensive and takes much training in it) along with Autocad Architectural Desktop.

If you’re looking for 3d then I think most woodworkers are using Sketchup. Sketchup is an awesome 3d program and well worth learning if you’re a woodworker designing your own personal stuff. Sketchup has a large learning community.

I have a friend that’s an Architect using Sketchup Pro and is doing some awesome 3d work in it.

-- Bruce Free Plans

View bondogaposis's profile


5368 posts in 2712 days

#2 posted 11-03-2018 01:13 PM

I use the free version DraftSight, it is very similar to AutoCAD.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View LesB's profile


2075 posts in 3804 days

#3 posted 11-03-2018 05:19 PM

I use a Mac computer so I chose Microspots, Mac Draft Pro for my 2D drawings.
It is cross compatible with most of the other CAD programs and I found it reasonably intuitive to use.
They offer a couple of versions (grades) and a trial period if you want to try it out.They just came out with a Microsoft version too.

-- Les B, Oregon

View MrRon's profile


5433 posts in 3604 days

#4 posted 11-04-2018 12:55 AM

What is the type of cad drawing you want to do, 2D or 3D? 3D is fine for “concept” drawings, but 2D is better for details. If I were machining a part on a milling machine or lathe, I would use a 2D drawing. I use Autocad for all my 2D drawings and have not seen a need for 3D. I prefer Autocad (mainly because that’s what I learned) and I can use it in any type of drawing; structural, architectural, woodworking, plumbing, electrical. It is a very versatile software. It is a very expensive software, but you can get it free (as a student) as long as you don’t use it for profit.

View lumbering_on's profile


578 posts in 851 days

#5 posted 11-04-2018 01:33 AM

I’ve made the move to Fusion 360 as you can get it for free as a hobbyist. I was using Sketchup, but I didn’t like the move to the web-based version. I also found that after the switch to Fusion 360 a lot of things are much easier than they were in Sketchup. In fact, I now find Sketchup down right clumsy and frustrating to use.

View Rich's profile


4404 posts in 950 days

#6 posted 11-04-2018 01:43 AM

I have SketchUp Pro and it does everything I need. Combined with a rendering package I can show my clients exactly what they will get.

-- Knowledge is not skill. Knowledge plus ten thousand times is skill. -- Shinichi Suzuki

View Al_in_OH's profile


4 posts in 896 days

#7 posted 11-06-2018 04:05 PM

Glad this question was asked. I am also an AutoCAD guy, but prefer not to pay the price for it. I haven’t had the need for a detailed CAD program for design needs as I mostly can do that by hand (quick drawing with dims). What I need it for is to show the customer the design (3D) so I was trying out Sketchup, but like lumbering_on said it is clumsy. I might try Fusion 360 that he/she suggested.

View shawnn's profile


143 posts in 1726 days

#8 posted 11-06-2018 07:58 PM

I’ve used Pro Engineer extensively for years (now called Creo), which is one of the most widely used engineering packages. I have also used Mechanical Desktop and to a lesser degree Inventor, and Solidworks (very little). I did production design using Autocad AME in Release 12… took all night to generate ISO views, running a single view per Pentium workstation… Creo is expensive and probably overkill for most woodworkers but they now offer “pay as you go” service; they also allow a one month free trial version, which you can extend the use of by changing the date on your computer prior to running it. Just mentioned it since, IMO, if you’re going to invest your time in the learning curve you might as well hit the broadest market. I also did a long term live review of Catia V6 just after it was introduced, I wouldn’t have a copy of that if it was free. That was several years ago, it might have matured in the interim but it was a (bad) joke back then.

I have used 2D Autocad since x286 processors and can verify that Draftsight is functionally an exact replica and is free, assuming you can get their goofy e-mail verification to work. There are ways to make it work if it doesn’t after downloading and well worth it considering the price of Autocad. It even uses the single & double-digit hotkeys from Autocad (“L” for Line, “E” for erase, etc.) even when their command has a different name (Erase is actually Delete in Draftsight).

View Italo78's profile


16 posts in 1260 days

#9 posted 11-12-2018 04:04 PM

Thanks to everyone for taking time out of your day to reply to my question.
I have quickly tested the free version of Sketchup and Fusion 360.
Although both software appear to be great powerful tools, I cannot really comment on either since I have only tested the user interface and the tools available for each.
I was planning on testing out Solid Works since that is the cad program that appears to be widely used in the workplace today. I have used Solid Works for work nearly 15 years ago, but I have not used it since (and I can telly you that I have forgotten how to use it).
Has anyone worked with Solid Works for woodworking? I have only found a few SW woodworking videos online but nothing very solid.
Will it take long to re-learn? Does SW provide cut lists?

Thanks again to everyone for your time.


View KamileD's profile


1 post in 425 days

#10 posted 01-08-2019 10:03 AM

Have you looked into Woodwork for inventor? It works with Inventor so it’s not cheapest on the market. Nevertheless, it saves an incredible amount of time by automating BOM, drawings and many other specification generations.
Here’s a link to it:

View BlueRidgeDog's profile


485 posts in 140 days

#11 posted 01-08-2019 11:18 AM

SketchUp for me. Simple, powerful, massive library of components already available.

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