Tips & Tricks: Designing - using a computer

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Forum topic by MsDebbieP posted 11-05-2011 11:44 AM 1738 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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18615 posts in 3585 days

11-05-2011 11:44 AM

Topic tags/keywords: design computer tips tricks

what are your tips & tricks re: designing projects using a computer?
ex. Sketchup Tips

(also add links to helpful blogs etc that are related to the topic)

Gateway to all Tips & Tricks Topics

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

12 replies so far

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18615 posts in 3585 days

#1 posted 11-05-2011 11:54 AM

some LumberJocks postings re: Sketchup tips

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

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Don Butler

1081 posts in 2819 days

#2 posted 11-05-2011 01:00 PM

I use SketchUp extensively and especially when designing cabinetry.
It allows me to model every detail in exact scale and accurate dimensions.
At times though, I will use it as a sort of scratch pad, not worrying about scale or dimensions, just working out a concept so I can see it in 3D.
I also have a number of other imaging programs including CorelDraw Suite, Paint Shop Pro and Gimp.
If I like what I see in SketchUp the image can be sent to another program that renders a photo-realistic image.
The computer is my most heavily used tool.


-- No trees were damaged in posting this message, but thousands of electrons were seriously inconvenienced.

View Roger's profile


19714 posts in 2228 days

#3 posted 11-05-2011 03:18 PM

my “sketch-up” is a pencil & paper with some really ruff drawings.. lol that’s probably why it takes me 9 months to do a project. hahaha

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed.

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Bill White

4408 posts in 3384 days

#4 posted 11-05-2011 03:52 PM

When I was in the cabinet business, I used Cabinet Visiion. Liked it a bunch. I only do smaller stuff now, and have not tried to get plugged in to Sketchup.


View casual1carpenter's profile


354 posts in 1900 days

#5 posted 11-05-2011 11:15 PM

I use a ViaCad program myself as my brain just could not wrap itself around the sketchup program. It is not free and proprietary file format does make sharing those files is a bit of a challenge for me, however it does import/export to other formats as well as pdf. But the level of detail in design that one can archive allows me to view the completed project and construction methods / sequences before I even order lumber, never mind put a cutter to wood. Cad programs vary in abilities and complexities and approach things differently, what is good for the one person is not always good for the another.
trial programs are available on their website as well as a user forum, and I imagine similar programs also have trial downloads.

View CanadianWoodChuck's profile


402 posts in 3338 days

#6 posted 11-06-2011 12:45 PM

I use Sketchup extensively for every project. It’s like building a proto type of the project before actually cutting any wood. I design completely right down to joinery to avoid any problems when doing the actual build. I also teach Sketchup to a woodworking night school class.

-- Wood Chuck (Bruce)

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Craftsman on the lake

2506 posts in 2862 days

#7 posted 11-06-2011 01:41 PM

Hmm.. being a retired computer/science teacher with a masters degree in computer education I rarely use a computer for this type of thing. Go figure….The process I use is to spend a few days to a year thinking about something. I design and build it in my head so many times it seems already done. Before I build it I make some rough sketches with dimensions on paper. And by using this method I sometimes have to alter my plans on the fly as the reality of the thing develops.
My use of technology is mostly to research techniques and designs that others have already built to get ideas.

I think programs like sketchup are wonderful tools though. My way of doing things in the shop just never moved in that direction. I use technology for virtually everything else.

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

View StumpyNubs's profile


6830 posts in 2225 days

#8 posted 11-06-2011 03:55 PM

I watched a couple of free instructional videos and learned sketchup in a weekend. Now I can’t live without it. A big part of woodworking is making as few tiny mistakes as possible because they all add up over the course of a project. Making a complete Sketchup model may add to your design time, but it makes things MUCH nicer in the shop and saves three times the time in the long run. (And that’s a new record for using the word “time” so many times in one sentence…)

By the way, EVERYONE please do me and Charles a favor: click over to the Charles Niel vs Stumpy Nubs contest thread and help judge the boxes! Then come back here and continue your discussion with the warm inner feeling of having done another good deed…

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21459 posts in 3275 days

#9 posted 11-07-2011 11:36 PM

Sketchup and turbo cad. Sketchup is particularly good because you can see how an idea will turn out before you pick up a lump of wood.

-- Grumpy - "Always look on the bright side of life"- Monty Python

View lew's profile


11266 posts in 3179 days

#10 posted 11-08-2011 06:57 AM

When DaveR was a member, he helped Betsy learn to use Sketchup. The entire post is listed here-

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View Roz's profile


1693 posts in 3210 days

#11 posted 11-23-2011 06:18 AM

I am with Craftsman on the lake. I too have a history with computers and never use one for my planning. Pencil and paper after months of thinking about it.

-- Terry Roswell, L.A. (Lower Alabama) "Life is what happens to you when you are making other plans."

View 404 - Not Found's profile

404 - Not Found

2544 posts in 2393 days

#12 posted 11-24-2011 02:06 AM

I’m looking at sketch up at the moment, but I have drawn up everything to date in Adobe Illustrator. It’s especially good for drawing templates for curves which I print out on my A3 printer and spray adhesive down on to mdf (join multiple tiles for big stuff). Everything fits perfectly every time. It’s also very easy to build in offsets for router bushes.

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