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02-24-2012 10:47 AM
Well, I think it's kind of silly to compare sketchup with a professional CAD software. That's not even comparing apples to oranges--more like apples to watermelons.
I agree with George in his above statement that sketchup has plenty of accuracy and functionality for woodworking. I am sure that sketchup will easily fill your average woodworkers requirements, so it's a great place to start. I believe what George is trying to say is don't dismiss sketchup so quickly, give it another try, you may find out that you really don't need a more sophisticated program.
My situation is rather unique among woodworkers--I have a CNC router. And unfortunately the router doesn't know how to convert the segmented lines back into a curve. And that is basically why I don't use sketchup for my final models.
02-24-2012 04:34 PM
For the record, SketchUp will do really high precision. Go to Model Info --> Units and set decimal instead of fractional. Precision options go all the way to 0.000001". Good enough for my metal working requirements.
Check out this cube dimensioned and drawn to 1/10000 accuracy.
The capability is not well known because few have any need for it.
In my opinion if anyone with zero CAD experience decided to learn CAD, SketchUP would be the easiest to master. The hangups I hear about are caused by expectations based on past CAD usage.
Just my two cents.
03-19-2012 04:18 PM - edited 03-19-2012 07:47 PM
Once I started using SketchUp, my productivity, accuracy and enjoyment of woodworking as a hobby went way up and my errors and 'do-overs' went way down. Yes, there is a learning curve, but the free online resources are there to help you over any hurdles. I like the fact that I can create cutlists, section views and work at any level of detail that's required. With the Pro version ($495), I can also print components to any custom size PDF file and have them printed on 4' wide paper at Kinkos which is a great way to make templates for chair legs, etc.
With the power, functionality and low cost of SketchUp, it is a no-brainer decision if you are up for the learning curve challenge. Personally, I would never start another project without first modeling it in SketchUp.
Nearly completed headboard:
03-20-2012 11:19 AM - edited 03-20-2012 12:40 PM
I did make it myself using a piece of software I wrote called Lamination PRO. It's a 3rd generation design made from a laminated board. And here is how you can make it yourself.
The laminated board was made from 7 pieces of wood which I cut at 15 degrees into 1-1/2" strips:
I then glued the strips into a board, flipping every other strip left-to-right. I then cut that board at 25 degrees through the centers that had the declining patterns:
I then glued those strips into a board, but didn't flip any strips. I then cut that board at 35 degrees through the centers of each left strip:
This is what each of those strips looked like:
Finally, I took each of those strips and cut them horizontally through the center and flipped the bottom half left-to-right:
I wrote this software several years ago for segmented woodturners, but have lately been working on a greatly expanded version for woodworkers. I hope to have it finished in about a month and, with permission, I'll post a link to the trial version.
This isn't intended to be a commercial post, but since this a forum on woodworking software and there isn't much of that available, this seems to be an apporpriate place to talk about it.
04-25-2012 04:38 PM
I've got to agree that Sketchup is a very powerful program. The learning curve isn't anywhere near what a traditional CAD program would be. Plus the core functionality of the free version is identical to the paid version.
07-15-2013 12:15 PM
I have used Sketchup (free version) a number of times and I have created some moderately complex models. I have followed a fair number of the tutorials and read numerous help files. I was a software engineer for 16 years and I have a degree in Mechanical Engineering.
One person commented that they could make cutlists in Sketchup. I've seen no such feature in Sketchup. Further, I find Sketchup to be painfully inadequate with regards to the use of text (not 3D text) to annotate models. Finally, I would like my woodworking design software to:
1) Generate materials lists using a database of the standard wood products that are available at any lumber store
2) Generate cutting diagrams using the same database
3) Notify the user when a small change in model dimensions would result in fewer materials needs/less waste.
Can Sketchup do these things?
Can any of the other free software do these things?
Can any of the <$300 software do these things?
Thanks in advance,