Computer Design of Project

  • Advertise with us

« back to Designing Woodworking Projects forum

Forum topic by John posted 11-17-2007 04:27 AM 1562 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View John 's profile


100 posts in 3938 days

11-17-2007 04:27 AM

I am going to attempt to work with a local sign company to make veneered MDF plaques in an attempt to make some money “sweating for bucks.” I have a pattern made, which I have been using to make veneered plywood plaques, on which I am hanging anlters.

In order to communicate with the sign maker, I will need a CAD drawing. I am not sure ‘exactly’ what this is, but believe it is a software program drawing. I need to know how I go about getting my ‘pattern’ into a CAD drawing? Do I need to find a woodworker who uses CAD? Do woodworkers use CAD, or do I need to try another trade that uses CAD? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

-- Thanks!

6 replies so far

View John 's profile


100 posts in 3938 days

#1 posted 11-17-2007 05:13 AM

The shape is very much like the highway signs used for state routes that run from one state to the next. You’ll know it when you see it, they are black and white. You see them everytime you’re out driving. Take a look next time you’re out. It is NOT the insterstate route signs – the blue and red ones, rather the black and white.

The plaque is 21” tall and about 13 3/4” wide.
Does this help?

-- Thanks!

View John 's profile


100 posts in 3938 days

#2 posted 11-18-2007 12:38 AM

Yes! That’s it! Mine is just stretched out so it is taller, and not as “fat – looking” – and ends up 21” tall and about 13 3/4” wide.

So, how do I get it into CAD? Is this a software package I could purchase and learn at home, or is it a more comlicated package along the lines of InDesign or Pagemaker – which I have heard are very difficult to learn?

I have a graphic design person who has made my marketing materials. Could she lay it out in InDesign and then the file be converted to CAD? Does CAD work this way? Thanks for you time with this.

-- Thanks!

View Catspaw's profile


236 posts in 3837 days

#3 posted 12-16-2007 04:21 PM

I did some searching here for CAD and didn’t find much. I don’t know if most of you tend not to use it or what. There were plenty of Sketchup references in blogs (and maybe good explainations already in those blogs) but nothing to speak of publically in say the Design forum. Is it possible that a CAD tutorial is in order? (look at me… i’ve been signed up for about two days and already I’m trying to tell you how to run the site!)

From what I hear, John, Sketchup might be a good intro for you. There are plenty of ways to get a drawing into CAD. Some very program specific.

Basically you’ll use your mouse to enter or draw things into the program. Sometimes you can even hand sketch then scan it in, giving you a rough drawing that can then be edited and cleaned up. What you’re asking for should be simply enough. Maybe having a volunteer draw it up for you is best while you explore something like Sketchup.

CAD programs have tools that you use to draw various things. Examples are Box, Line, Circle, etc. You can edit these items by moving, re-sizing, trimming, etc. Additional info can be inserted like Dimensions, notes, changing colors for highlighting, etc.

CAD can fool alot of newbies. It seems like more trouble than it’s worth. It’s value is in the fact that once it’s in the computer, any changes down the road are very easy. You won’t have to redraw the whole thing if you change size or orientation and such.

I use TurboCad. AutoCad’s interface is really cryptic and anti-intuitive for me. But I hear Sketchup is so easy. I think you should definitely check it out.

Chances are your graphic designer won’t be familiar with CAD (would know about it but probably doesn’t use it.) Unless you’re lucky to have an independent that has embraced it.

A graphic designer could easily produce a drawing, but, why does the sign company need specifically a CAD drawing? It could be that they use the CAD to produce a file for CAM/CNC….which a physical drawing wouldn’t give them. CAM/CNC = fancy computer machine to cut out your parts.

-- arborial reconfiguration specialist

View John 's profile


100 posts in 3938 days

#4 posted 12-18-2007 10:17 PM

Hey, thanks for the input. By the time you responded to my post, I already had plaques cut by the sign company. In the end, they designed what I needed (for no charge) and cut the plaques for me.

I now have signed up for the Vectric forum and will post some questions there. I want to find out if Sketchup will interface with most CNC companies. If not, then I will need to purchase the Vectric software (or something like it) in order to draw/design a number of other ideas I have in mind.

Thanks again.

-- Thanks!

View MLK's profile


78 posts in 3832 days

#5 posted 12-27-2007 04:27 AM

John, I use a CADD program called Visual Cadd 4.0. I used this program when I was working and continue to use it when designing my wood working projects. The program isn’t very hard to learn, and the cost is about midrange for a complete CADD program.

This is a link to there web page

View Thuan's profile


203 posts in 3839 days

#6 posted 12-27-2007 06:06 AM

I worked with sign companies as well as publishers. CAD such as SKetchup and Computer Aided Drafting works on a 3-D level which is great for CNC machining. Sign shops and publishers works on a 2 dimensional level so they don’t need the over kill of the third dimension. But they do need a file that can stretch and shrink without losing clarity like JPEGS do. So Sign companies likes to use EPS compatible files ( Encapsulated Postcripts) These are files drawn with vectors and lines. much like Sketch-up without the third dimension. I used Adobe Illustrator to draw out the logo or print, send it to the sign shop. Their program is compatible with Adobe Illustrator, or Corel Draw, both can export to .EPS files. This is important because the cutter is like an giant ink jet printer with a pivoting razor as a head that follows the lines and vectors. It cuts out the vinyl stickers for direct mounting or to be used as a template to cut thicker materials. At $600 for illustrator, it’s a huge investment, even for a full time graphic artist. Ask the Sign company what type of files their program can import, then look for cheaper maybe even free-bees that are compatible. Or Do a search for “vector clip art” or EPS Clipart. There are sites with pretty much everything you are looking for already drawn out. There must be a somewhere.

-- Thuan

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics