CAD, Plain & Simple

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Forum topic by bruc101 posted 11-27-2012 05:59 PM 2715 views 2 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1384 posts in 4508 days

11-27-2012 05:59 PM

Since I put up my free plans site I’ve gotten messages from woodworkers here and in several other countries telling me…I wish I could draw in cad but cad is to difficult for me.

Well, I’m here to tell you it’s not that difficult to learn how to draw 2D in a cad program once you learn the basics which is a “piece of cake” with a few simple directions.

I know a lot of guys use Sketchup which I think is a great 3D program and was and is much needed in woodworking. CAD is an important part of our commercial business with 99% of the drawings being done in 2D for our clients to see their designs and for shop drawings to build their cabinetry. When we have to use 3D on our larger commercial projects we use a 3D program called Microvellum….big time learning curve and only 1% of our cad work.

I’ve been asked to start a Blog here on LJ to teach anyone interested in learning how to draw in cad so you can draw and dimension your plan ideas. Once you learn the basics and you start drawing in cad it’ll be fun for you and save you a lot of design time so you can get back in your shop. I’ll cut out all the hog wash and get straight to the point….drawing in cad plain and simple.

I’ll do this with screen shots and plain and simple explanations if enough interest is generated.
If I do this I’ll be using the free cad program DraftSight which is nothing more than an excellent clone of Autocad and can be downloaded from the net so you can follow along with the instructions.

-- Bruce Free Plans

14 replies so far

View darinS's profile


719 posts in 3834 days

#1 posted 11-27-2012 06:24 PM

Thanks Bruce. I’ll follow this because I think this would be a great thing. I know a bit about CAD, so maybe I can learn something here.

Thanks again.

-- Rule 7 - Always be specific when you lie

View a1Jim's profile


118153 posts in 4544 days

#2 posted 11-27-2012 06:36 PM

Wow that would be great Bruce. I’m one off the group that can’t seem to get the hang of sketchup.


View Dragonsrite's profile


136 posts in 4363 days

#3 posted 11-27-2012 06:54 PM

I’ve been using a program called DrafixCAD for maybe 20 years, but I’m always interested in learning new stuff so I’ll be watching.

-- Dragonsrite, Minnesota

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30578 posts in 3305 days

#4 posted 11-27-2012 09:26 PM

I’ll watch. Always good to get a better understanding.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View casual1carpenter's profile


354 posts in 3442 days

#5 posted 11-27-2012 09:39 PM

Bruce, I’d be interested in following this blog myself, I use a different 2D/3D CAD program but learning the basics of 2D drawing would be worth the freeware download and the knowledge would for the most part be universal. If I might question, would the blog cover what makes a proper drawing? If I remember from an earlier post of yours in a different topic, I’d like to have your daughter not compare me with the bonehead intern you had mentioned.

I would like to join the ranks of the others saying thanks for taking the time to do this.

View MrRon's profile


5975 posts in 4210 days

#6 posted 11-27-2012 10:20 PM

I’m not a genius, but I learned Autocad in a month and still learning because my job demanded it.

View 72hw's profile


92 posts in 3078 days

#7 posted 11-27-2012 10:22 PM

I have played with DraftSight and used the excellent YouTube tutorial videos, but something that cuts through much of the fluff and gets right to wood working plans would be much appreciated. Will follow it for sure!

-- “Weird heroes and mould-breaking champions exist as living proof to those who need it that the tyranny of 'the rat race' is not yet final.” ― Hunter S. Thompson

View Richard's profile


400 posts in 3658 days

#8 posted 11-27-2012 10:33 PM

Count me in – I am self taught in CAD and can meander along and mostly figure out how to do what I want.

Sketchup – forget it. I have tried and tried and tried and cannot get anywhere near the level of meager proficiency I have with a CAD program.

-- "It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so." - Mark Twain

View bruc101's profile


1384 posts in 4508 days

#9 posted 11-28-2012 05:31 AM

Thanks for your comments and interest. I started the blog tonight and hope someone will learn from it and be able to use cad to draw their projects in.

casual1carpenter I had to laugh a little when I read your comments about the bonehead intern. My daughters are power cad users in Autocad, Catia and Microvellum and know their stuff with what we use the programs for.
All five of them, and that includes the 13 year old, have a lot of humor and sometimes they use it to get a point across to someone, such as our friend the architect that sent them the drawings and he’s use to their humor.

This afternoon I went into the offices and heard a lot of laughter coming from the 13 year old’s office. This could be dangerous…I looked in the office and her two oldest sisters, now in their 30’s, were teaching the 13 year old how to draw Micky Mouse in 3d in AC. I backed out the door not saying anything and came home. They were actually teaching her how to render lights for effects in 3d and making it fun for her by drawing her favorite cartoon character.

I hope everyone that takes time to read and follow the blog will learn how to draw their projects in the cad program and it be enjoyable for them.

-- Bruce Free Plans

View waho6o9's profile


8964 posts in 3543 days

#10 posted 11-28-2012 06:19 AM

Count me in as well, and thank you Bruce.

View smokey1945's profile


75 posts in 4349 days

#11 posted 11-28-2012 07:24 AM

Bruce I’m going to be following along. But I am old and dumb. So, I don’t know. But I’ll be there. How do I get that CAD program you are talking about? And I might even need help finding the blog you are talking about. Anyway thanks.

-- TheShadeTreeWW If God wanted me to touch my toes, he'd have put them on my knees

View Cornductor's profile


208 posts in 3634 days

#12 posted 11-28-2012 08:54 PM

Looking forward to the postings. I’m tired of hitting my head on the desk when it comes to sketchup.

-- An investment in knowledge pays the best interest. Benjamin Franklin

View bruc101's profile


1384 posts in 4508 days

#13 posted 11-29-2012 04:01 AM

Welcome to the cad zoo Brandon.
Sketchup is an awesome program for what it does but it’s not for everyone just as cad is not for everyone.
Most people give up on cad because of what they think is a steep learning curve.

I hope in the blog I’ve ended the frustrations for anyone wanting to learn how to draw woodworking projects in cad.

When you go to the blog and start reading the instructions and setting up the DraftSight cad program and you have any questions don’t hesitate to ask. DraftSight is a professional cad program and you should be able to draw professional plans in it after you’ve had some experience working in it.

-- Bruce Free Plans

View Seimyo's profile


4 posts in 2973 days

#14 posted 12-01-2012 03:06 AM

I have been using cad software for many years now but I have yet to find something that is simple enough yet specific to our trade/hobby. Currently I am using Cobalt which I like for it’s ease of use but recently I discovered a new player in the market, Sketchlist 3D.

It was claiming to be geared towards woodworkers/cabinetmakers. I downloaded the trial and I liked the approach it was taking. It is not perfect by any measure, but the things that I do like is that it deals with boards not lines. Another, and this is a big one for me, is it has an integrated cut list. Currently I would do the draft in Graphite then go to Cut List Plus and punch in all the board dimensions which opens all kinds of possibility in making a mistake in dimension or grain orientation, and it’s just plain old tedious. Some of the other neat features that are included are all sort of joinery (dados, rabbets, tenons, etc) as well as contour edges. These need a bit more work in my opinion because tweaking the settings is not very intuitive.

I am not a big fan of the way it does the actual shop drawings (rendered with materials not wire frame) but the developer has informed me that they are working on it. In general it needs more information on how to use certain features (there are many tutorial videos on the website but I manage to find a thing it won’t do or I don’t know how to get it to). No curved boards (yet), not that I need that every day but I do have those projects every once in a while. All in all it looks promising if the developer continues working on it and polishing it.

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