Segmented Turning Software

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Review by OSU55 posted 03-18-2015 03:18 PM 6628 views 4 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Segmented Turning Software No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

I became interested in segmented turning because of the flexibility in design it provides. There are a lot of ways of approaching the design, from guesstimating, laying it out full size on paper, building your own spreadsheet to auto calculate segment sizes etc., using some online calculators, or software. I found all of the online calculators worked, but didn’t help with overall layout and design. I was about ready to start building my own spreadsheet calculator when I found this product by Bill Kandler, Segmented Project Planner, He allows you to download a free copy to use for 30 days. It allows full design access, but is limited to printing out only 5 layers of information – buying the software ($37 to $47 depending) provides full printing and upgrades.

Another software option is Woodturner Pro. Reviews I read said it works fine, but is more limited than SPP, which was the conclusion I came to after reading more about it.

I downloaded the free version of SPP and started playing around. After a few hours of familiarization and playing with different program aspects and designs, I did a 5 layer design and made a bowl, my 1st attempt at segmented turning. All went pretty well, and I will do a project entry for the process and finished bowl. I have since made others designed with SPP.

I won’t go into detail about how to use the software – you can go to the site above and download it to check it out. While a bit dated and imperfect, I found the program easy enough to learn and use. Like any new software, one just has to learn how to use it. It was a bit confusing the first hour or so until things started to fall in place. I can move around in it and do various designs rather quickly now.

IMO Bill has done a very good job with the software design for its intended purpose. He has included tutorials on how to do various things, including 4 ways to approach design within the software. I like that I can design on a computer vs paper, save my designs, and let the software do all the calculations and print out a cut sheet, especially as I make tweaks to the design. Wall thickness, glue up allowance, saw kerf, and other variables are adjustable parameters in the program. While software isn’t required for segmented turning, it just makes it so much quicker and easier. $37 isn’t much compared to the time savings if you plan to do very many projects.

The only problem I found with the program so far is when making a full surface, i.e. a platter. Allowing the program to auto calculate, it appears the program will calculate pieces that will overlap and interfere with one another in the center. You want a 1/2” inch or so hole left in center (to be plugged) so the pieces will be able to be glued up. You can manually change aspects of the design and the program quickly recalculates piece dimensions, etc., which is how I made corrections. That’s the only flaw I have found so far.

Download the program for free and try it out.

View OSU55's profile


1834 posts in 2108 days

3 comments so far

View ken_c's profile


324 posts in 3281 days

#1 posted 03-18-2015 04:06 PM

thanks for the review

View Ken90712's profile


17570 posts in 3308 days

#2 posted 03-19-2015 08:13 AM

Very interessting, Ill have to look into this. Thx

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View michelletwo's profile


2755 posts in 3134 days

#3 posted 03-19-2015 09:53 AM

I have had this for years, and I don’t like it for a few reasons, one of which is since I build from the bottom UP, and the program works from the top down, I find it frustrating. I went back to graph paper and a pencil. But it is an ok program.

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