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Forum topic by Tom622 posted 03-25-2018 03:39 PM 671 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Tom622's profile


9 posts in 835 days

03-25-2018 03:39 PM

Greetings all I’m Tom and I’m new to the site and really just getting into woodworking. I was wondering if anyone could offer some advice on what software to use for designing furniture and other projects. Thank you all in advance.

9 replies so far

View LesB's profile


2553 posts in 4215 days

#1 posted 03-25-2018 05:32 PM

I use both the free version of Sketchup from Google for it’s 3D images and a CAD program, MacDraft from Microspot, an English software company. MacDraft comes in a couple of versions and of course different prices it is solely made for Apple computers. The commercial versions of both products are expensive and I think Sketchup has a internet version with monthly subscription.

Sketchup has what I consider a rather steep learning curve and is not intuitive at all so you will either need to watch a lot of video about it or buy the manual. I use it more for design and perspective purposes then go to the CAD program to draw out details with demensions in 2D.

-- Les B, Oregon

View caboxmaker's profile


280 posts in 1160 days

#2 posted 03-25-2018 07:27 PM

Sketch up for Dummies is a great book for learning Sketchup. I highly recommend the software and the book.

View BFamous's profile


341 posts in 892 days

#3 posted 03-25-2018 08:06 PM

I use SketchUp, and find it somewhat easy. Learning how to do things like draw holes at an angle can be tricky at first but there are tons of tutorials online.

-- Brian Famous :: Charlotte, NC ::

View bondogaposis's profile


5787 posts in 3123 days

#4 posted 03-25-2018 09:32 PM

I use DraftSight free CAD program. I have had trouble trying to learn Sketchup, probably from years and years of CAD drafting in 2D, I just can’t seem to make the leap to thinking in 3D. I hope to though someday.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View Tom622's profile


9 posts in 835 days

#5 posted 03-25-2018 09:55 PM

Thank you all for the feedback, I really appreciate the insight. I’ll checkout sketchup and DraftSight, may use both.

View Clifford91's profile


4 posts in 834 days

#6 posted 03-26-2018 04:19 AM

One more vote for SketchUp. I’ve used it for many different types of projects. It allows you to upload and download other textures and objects you/other people have already made which can make design work much faster. The basic tutorials get you started fairly quickly, and from there the learning curve is pretty steep, in the good way.

-- Good with a hammer, marginal with a tape measure... Still not sure what that level is for...

View woodbutcherbynight's profile


6069 posts in 3181 days

#7 posted 03-26-2018 04:37 AM

A pen, or pencil, even a crayon and some paper, napkins will do in a pinch.

-- Live to tell the stories, they sound better that way.

View Rich's profile


5609 posts in 1361 days

#8 posted 03-26-2018 04:48 AM

+1 for SketchUp. Like others, I came from a 2D background, and it was intimidating at first. I found Bob Lang’s videos on the Popular Woodworking video site to be the ice breaker for me. I then purchased his enhanced PDF file and got a lot farther. It’s an amazing program, and Bob is a great teacher.

Here’s the link to purchase the PDF, I highly recommend it. Even if you’re already using SketchUp, you’ll probably learn new tricks. BTW, his readwatchdo site is full of free SketchUp stuff as well.

One extension for SketchUp I can’t live without is the cut list. If you annotate your design thoroughly, it will not only produce the cut list, but also the total board-feet for your lumber, but the amount of sheet goods as well.

Also, if you have an iPad, the Cut Calculator app is worth far more than the $5 they charge for it. You can do linear layout, as well as area plans. Just tell it what lumber or sheet goods you have, and plug in your cut list and it lays it out for you. You can even choose whether to follow the grain, so if you turn that off, layouts on MDF are far more efficient.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

View Plasmon360's profile


30 posts in 870 days

#9 posted 03-26-2018 05:02 AM

I use fusion360 (google it and u will find it). It is free for hobby purpose. It is oriented for mechanical design but can do furniture too. It produces realistic renderings and drawings as well. These drawings can be used to cutting. There are many videos on YouTube if you want to learn it. I never got a hang of SketchUp.

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