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By Eric The Viking
#1246155
I love Sketchup, because it lets me quickly fiddle about with details, produce multiple versions, etc. I can also print out "just the awkward bits" if necessary, and so on. I can also keep a detailed model of a component (part of a model) for re-use at a later date. I can switch between imperial and metric units instantly, with no significant loss of accuracy, so, for example I can do a metric model, but add-in imperial parts as necessary. This is handy in an old house when modern materials are involved.

It doesn't replace a pencil and paper, nor a whiteboard, nor story sticks (occasionally!), but I certainly wouldn't want to be without SketchUp, and the more I use it, the more I enjoy using it.
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By Zeddedhed
#1246517
I pretty much exclusively use Sketchup for working drawings. I have a computer in the workshop and find it very useful to refer to a drawing to check a dimension or to be able to alter the drawing if the client calls and asks for a change.

A lot has to do with how fluent you are with a computer and the software. I can draw up a full set of bedroom furniture with all the relevant joints and board sizes in less than 45 minutes and that will then last throughout the project. The same drawing gives me accurate pricing information, optimises sheet cutting layouts and gives me the finished price including hardware, edging, sheet goods, solid timber - the lot. It can also generate the necessary orders for me to send to to suppliers.

Granted it has taken a bit of work setting things up to do this, but it saves me a considerable amount of time.

But I still carry a notebook and the obligatory stolen screwfix pencil....
By Bodgers
#1246533
Fusion360 here. Free for hobby use. I found it easier to learn than SketchUp. Is parameter based (unlike SketchUp) so if you change one dimension it is easier to resize things.

Plus if you do CNC sometimes (like I do with the XCarve) the CAM mode is excellent.



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By worn thumbs
#1246607
I have never used sketch up.I have used several different CAD programs and in the distant past I sometimes used a drawing board.I can see the drawing board from where I am sitting and it must be twenty years since it saw any use.I don't belittle drawing at a board,but a computer is faster and more accurate,not to mention light years ahead when you need to modify your work.

Similar to others posting here I learned the basics with a copy of Turbocad which I believe cost a tenner at PC World.It became clear that it was a little out of the main stream and that Autocad was dominant in the business world (this was the nineties) and so I took the basic Autocad course at the local college.The cost of Autocad at the time was a bit steep for my level of use,but it was a bit of an advantage when I got a job at a company with Autocad LT in use.I used a few lunch breaks to draw a small table and increased my familiarity with the features that went beyond the college stuff.

A year or so later I had the chance to learn the basics of ProEngineer.That was a challenge and I never became profficient,but I could see the value of a parametric modelling program as you could just click on a feature and watch the object change shape on the screen.From observing my much more adept colleagues I could see them assigning material properties to each model and then being able to determine the weight and centre of gravity of an item.This became more impressive when they built up an assembly with several parts made of different materials and the same properties could be determined.Obviously this level of capability came with a hefty price tag.

A bit later when I felt the company was circling the plug hole and not long for the world I moved on and found myself in a workshop where the manager had used Microsoft Paint to sketch out the things we were to make.The fellows on the shop floor thought this was CAD.....He had been given the elbow a few weeks before I started and the owner of the company was keen to use technology to improve efficiency.The boss bought Rhino and I remain convinced it is the best combination of features and value on the market.Fusion may be good and popular as well as free;but so was Photobucket.

For home use I dabbled with Qcad (its now Libre Cad) and for a free 2D drafting program it was reasonably good and capable of exporting dxf versions so that I could circulate them to associates with other programs.When Draft Sight became available I installed it and found the familiar Autocad type screen very helpful and stuck with it for a while.Recently I have been using Freecad as the cost is good-the clue is in the name-it has lots of modules and is a parametric modeller if you need one.It also includes a drafting function for basic drawing and more interesting for me,there is a CAM module.So I can design an item and then generate a toolpath for my almost complete baby CNC router.The great range of file types that can be opened or exported also means that sending a file to somebody else is not a problem and things too big for my tiny machine can go to anybody with a suitable machine.

The plan is to make model components or other stuff that will fit a 380mmX280mmX70mm work envelope.While it may not be everybody's idea of woodworking it means my mistakes are in pixel form and the machine can do accurate and repetitive work while I get on with other stuff.I still have a way to go with the plan and Freecad isn't the easiest to learn,but I do commend it to all of you and the youtube videos have been a great learning tool.As an open source project maintained by enthusiasts it won't be removed from the market place and the adventurous can sign up for the daily updated version to try the latest and greatest tweaks and features.
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By Eric The Viking
#1246627
Bodgers wrote:Fusion360 here. Free for hobby use. I found it easier to learn than SketchUp. Is parameter based (unlike SketchUp) so if you change one dimension it is easier to resize things.

Plus if you do CNC sometimes (like I do with the XCarve) the CAM mode is excellent.


Sounds good, but on a point of info, you can put numbers into SketchUp - I do it all the time for simple things. And that includes radii, angles and distances.

You can also scale in proportion extremely easily, but I don't think you can do it by ratios. I bet there's a Ruby plugin to do it though.

I also agree there is a learning curve to SU, and one biggest issue for me is the approximate nature of curves. That said, there are Bezier plugins available, and I've had it doing complex 3D spirals, and screwthreads (simpler) in the past.

The biggest issues however are two things:

1. no native Linux binaries (I've been told there won't ever be any, either).

2. the licencing arrangements - I'd happily pay for a licence, but the full one is unaffordable and has professional features I'll never use. I also have no need of nor interest in the cloud-based version, mainly because of the CPU overhead (browsers are already one of the most processor-intensive applications out there for a normal non-gaming machine, this makes it worse).

So I have a bit of a love-hate thing going on. I really enjoy using SU, and it's very helpful (avoided so many expensive issues by modelling before picking up tools), but I really need a transition plan in case Trimble's marketing team does something else antisocial, to finally make it impractical for me to use.
By Yojevol
#1246655
I was going through some old files the other day and came across some sketches which were the start of an ambitious 'Dining Table and 6 Chairs' project. As this thread reappeared just recently, I thought I might be able to use them as a further contribution to this hand sketch/draw vs CAD debate.
This project started with a request from an old friend to design and make a new dining suite. The first step was to produce half a dozen sketches of designs which I thought might appeal. There was a design feature which I had come across in Fiell's book '1000 Chairs'. In particular Riemersmid's Arts & Crafts design for a 'Music Chair' :-
1280345.jpg

The obvious unusual feature is the link from the back down to the front legs. This was the inspiration for one of the 6 hand sketches I put up for consideration:-
Chair.jpg

The cross lattice in the back was a particular preference requested by the customer (who is always right – yes/no?). This was the design which was basically approved with a few comments to be attended to.
So this is when I abandoned pen(cil) and paper and started putting mouse to screen and eventually came up with this as a more definitive proposal:-
Chair2.jpg

One of the comments on the sketch was that the back top rail was too straight and looked uncomfortable. So I put some curvature on it and twisted the sides inwards to match. This meant they could no longer be attached directly to the front legs, hence the cross rail between them. I didn't want the sitter's ankles making contact with the cross rail, so I had to raise it up, thus putting a tighter radius on the side curves. From this point they were referred to as the 'hockey sticks'
This drawing was reviewed and I tried arguing that the cross lattice in the back was doing nothing for the design aesthetics; I wanted emphasis on the verticals (after Macintosh).
Not to be beaten I got into the workshop and made up a full size model out of scraps. I attached the lattice horizontals on with tape for easy removal. I invited the clients round for a viewing – 'Great, just what we want'. I then whipped off the horizontals and they immediately changed their minds and accepted my point of view. Lesson learnt – 3-D models can have a big impact. Result:-
Chair3.jpg

Having got the agreed design, I could then use the CAD model for developing jigs and fixtures. These are a number of bezier curves used to make pattens for the hockey sticks:-
Chair Curves.JPG

This is a jig for routing the tenons on the ends of the hockey sticks:-
Jig.JPG

Just need to print off a drawing or two to take to the W/S knowing that all angles and dims are exactly correct.
So this is how the design turned out in reality:-
DSCF0035.jpg

My point in all this is that the various media we have available to us to represent the desired design can all have their place in the process. We in our generation have the luxury of CAD in various forms to suit any pocket. Just think what Riemersmidt would have done with this facility. My advice wrt CAD is to get stuck in right at the start of your journey into the WWW (wonderful world of wood). Learn as you go in tune with efforts in the workshop.
Brian
By Bodgers
#1248303
Eric The Viking wrote:
Bodgers wrote:Fusion360 here. Free for hobby use. I found it easier to learn than SketchUp. Is parameter based (unlike SketchUp) so if you change one dimension it is easier to resize things.

Plus if you do CNC sometimes (like I do with the XCarve) the CAM mode is excellent.


Sounds good, but on a point of info, you can put numbers into SketchUp - I do it all the time for simple things. And that includes radii, angles and distances.

You can also scale in proportion extremely easily, but I don't think you can do it by ratios. I bet there's a Ruby plugin to do it though.

I also agree there is a learning curve to SU, and one biggest issue for me is the approximate nature of curves. That said, there are Bezier plugins available, and I've had it doing complex 3D spirals, and screwthreads (simpler) in the past.

The biggest issues however are two things:

1. no native Linux binaries (I've been told there won't ever be any, either).

2. the licencing arrangements - I'd happily pay for a licence, but the full one is unaffordable and has professional features I'll never use. I also have no need of nor interest in the cloud-based version, mainly because of the CPU overhead (browsers are already one of the most processor-intensive applications out there for a normal non-gaming machine, this makes it worse).

So I have a bit of a love-hate thing going on. I really enjoy using SU, and it's very helpful (avoided so many expensive issues by modelling before picking up tools), but I really need a transition plan in case Trimble's marketing team does something else antisocial, to finally make it impractical for me to use.
I don't think that's the same thing in SketchUp. It is fully variable based in Fusion. You can parameterise any sizing and scale/resize accordingly without it being destructive.

There is a free version of Fusion. They just don't shout about it.

If you install it, you get the single user/not for profit option afterwards. I have not paid a penny.




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By Eric The Viking
#1248424
Just checked in SU (this isn't my main CAD machine): you can type scaling proportions into SU for 1D, 2D or 3D scaling. This can be a single face/vertex or a complex component (scaled proportionately) Or you can just drag handles.

I think you can also simultaneously create a copy of the object if you wish, which is the nearest I can think of to "non-destructive". But obviously there are also umpteen layers of "undo" and nothing to stop you saving versions, etc, as you go along.

I'm not trying to say it's better than other packages - there are limitations in the way I run it* and there are nastinesses in the way it does curves as polygons (or worse, polyhedra in 3D), but it is very popular.

I have a distinct feeling that a lot of the disparaging voices either learned formally to use old-style CAD packages (and thus feel more comfortable with them), or just haven't looked at what's possible in SU, as some of it is simple, but not instantly obvious.

I also know I can get a complete novice using it productively in about 1/2 hour, which isn't the case for other packages. All my children learned it at school, and occasionally teach me tricks I didn't know, too.

Yes, I struggle to get engineering drawings from it (although even that is possible), but it serves very well for most woodwork applications, and some of the ruby plugins, for example to do threads and spirals, really make it sing.

E.

* I'm stuck at SU 2015, for a start, running in the Wine Windows emulator on xubuntu Linux, but it does run extremely well though, and interacts fully with the clipboard and the Linux desktop, etc.

It's not supposed to, and if I had a full licence, Trimble wouldn't support it under Linux, but it actually works just fine.
By Bodgers
#1248450
Eric The Viking wrote:Just checked in SU (this isn't my main CAD machine): you can type scaling proportions into SU for 1D, 2D or 3D scaling. This can be a single face/vertex or a complex component (scaled proportionately) Or you can just drag handles.

I think you can also simultaneously create a copy of the object if you wish, which is the nearest I can think of to "non-destructive". But obviously there are also umpteen layers of "undo" and nothing to stop you saving versions, etc, as you go along.

I'm not trying to say it's better than other packages - there are limitations in the way I run it* and there are nastinesses in the way it does curves as polygons (or worse, polyhedra in 3D), but it is very popular.

I have a distinct feeling that a lot of the disparaging voices either learned formally to use old-style CAD packages (and thus feel more comfortable with them), or just haven't looked at what's possible in SU, as some of it is simple, but not instantly obvious.

I also know I can get a complete novice using it productively in about 1/2 hour, which isn't the case for other packages. All my children learned it at school, and occasionally teach me tricks I didn't know, too.

Yes, I struggle to get engineering drawings from it (although even that is possible), but it serves very well for most woodwork applications, and some of the ruby plugins, for example to do threads and spirals, really make it sing.

E.

* I'm stuck at SU 2015, for a start, running in the Wine Windows emulator on xubuntu Linux, but it does run extremely well though, and interacts fully with the clipboard and the Linux desktop, etc.

It's not supposed to, and if I had a full licence, Trimble wouldn't support it under Linux, but it actually works just fine.
I did try SketchUp first. It was fine. I used it for a couple of years.

The only reason why I tried Fusion was when I got the XCarve last year - I needed to generate some v carves, and it was the best way to do it.

Once I had got to grips with it, it just seemed easier to use and more powerful to me.



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By Simon_M
#1288657
I have a Mac and I use QCAD. It's a 2D program. The same program is available for Windows and Linux.

I make drawings before turning objects so for me it's sufficient to have a 2D side and top drawing. A sort of 'smart' back of an envelope drawing.

https://qcad.org/en/

There is a "free" version, but I use the Professional version and it's not expensive to buy.

They also have a tutorial book which helps if you haven't done any drawing before and the examples use the program so it's quick to get started and it becomes intuitive after a while.

Things I like are the ability to draw circles and overlay rectangles and then dimension the intersections - this saves having to resort to mental Maths. I also like mirroring and replicating around a circle - typically easy to do with CAD.

As an example I recently cut a '12 sided' wheel rim from a piece of ash and I wanted to know the outside length for each piece (and width of stock to use) to cut using a segmenting jig sufficient for a finished inner/outer radius.

Worked a treat and I can also print drawings 1:1 or scaled to fit A4 or in sections to use as a template etc.

I have a plastic see-through folder to put the drawings in - nothing seems to last five minutes in the workshop.
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By ScaredyCat
#1320742
I've had multiple attempts to work with sketchup but I find it infuriating. It's always grabbing the wrong edge or moving along the wrong axis. drives me mad. I spend more time fighting with it than actaully working with it.

I can see the value it it, easy measurements, there's a cutlist generator.. many good things bu, good lord I hate it.