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I tried it and found I was wasting more time designing rather than building......90% of my projects are 1 offs so no need for plans to duplicate....I'm a one man shop so in saying that no one is gonna be able to help me anyways....if I design and build something and need to build again, the second time is easier because I did it already.....lol good ol pencil and paper works for me......besides I'm so anal I would end up having a 64 point procedure to cut 3/4" off a 2x4

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Ive always liked the idea of it but never really took the time to learn it..   Im with comp on this one,  for me where im working on peoples houses there would be sooo much detail that would have to go into it for a simple job. it would be nice to give the customer ideas of how things will look but if they arent paying me for the drawings then they aint gettin um :)

when i need a set of prints for a large job i just hire a architect/draftsman and any builtins or similar stuff i build are all one off so its faster for me (i think) to just make some rough hand sketches  

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  • 3 weeks later...

As you all pointed out sketch up is not really practical for a quick design. I do use it though, but I much prefer SolidWorks or Autodesk.

The main problem with sketch up is the fact it is not a true 3d modeling software. By that I mean sketch up does not build 'solids' it builds faces that look like solids, in reality the solid is hallow. That means the software is rather dumb.

Solidworks on the other hand kicks ass. There is a process called weldments. What that does is... You can simply draw lines. For example... Draw 4 lines in the shape of a box, draw a line from each corner of the box in the down direction. You have just drawer a simple table. All it took was 8 lines and about 30 secs. Then you hit the weldments icon and the real fun begins. You are able to select a material, everything from lumber (rough cut or true size), unistrut, pipe, flat/round/hex...etc stock... You select the size, and you assign your selection to the lines.

Solidworks turns the line into the material you just specified, 100% complete with material properties (mass, density, appearance, diminsions, etc) it also gives you the option to specify corner treatment (butt, miter, etc) and quickly position edges. You can import premade fastness that are located inside Solidworks (screws, nuts, bolts, etc) and Solidworks will automaticaly create the hole with proper clearance and counter sink/bore as needed.

But that's not the best part. Solidworks automaticaly generates a cut sheet based on the above. It groupes 'like' cuts and counts them. So.. For about 1min of work you can generate a cut list that is 100% accurate. Pre cut all your material, and assemble.

Solidworks has an add on from a 3rd party that specializes in wood (dovetail, finger/box joint, ply wood sheet cut layout, materials, hardware, etc.)

Honestly though, that software package is $$$$ and Solidworks is better left to mech design then woodworking & home building. Revit is a better choice or even AutoCAD inventor.

Something I think a lot of people don't use when it comes to all the CAD programs, pre made parts. Tons of free stuff out thee, a good drafter is really just a copy past expert. (Not really that simple but..) Sketch-Up has their own free network of fully modeled parts. I have even done a project where I pulled up someone's house in Google earth, imported the satellite view into sketch up, created a solid model from the picture. Searched premade parts for swimming pools, placed a swimming pool in the model, uploaded the model back into google earth. Then showed the clients what their upgrades would look like on their house, in their neighborhood. Start to finish.. About 30 mins.. Its worth the effort if you that big job.

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