How hard is AutoCAD and CabinetVision to learn???

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Forum topic by , posted 02-25-2014 11:39 PM 3547 views 0 times favorited 25 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2387 posts in 3570 days

02-25-2014 11:39 PM

Sort of an off question I suppose. I have my mind set on my future. I am 41 years old, I love what I do but there are certain drawbacks. No medical insurance for my wife and daughters, that is a big deal. And, for the past 2 years my right foot has become excessively worse. It is tolerable but the pain can get intense. Not to mention my left shoulder dislocates easily (due to past injury I obtained serving our country). I know I should go to the doctor someday (I actually do have full medical coverage from being a disabled vet). But I have one eye to the future and I love what we do with regards to cabinets. My current position as owner means I have an extremely wide varied experience level and I have a strong suite in most things to do with custom cabinetry from design to installation / final finish out. I can definitely see myself loving life long into the eve of my life doing something in the custom cabinet industry. Why it took me so long in life to find my passion with custom cabinetry I will never know.

So from time to time I browse for employment offerings. I have determined one of my strengths that I really enjoy is design and drafting projects. I utilize cabinet planner for simple cabinets with 90 degree angles and I use sketchup for all specialty and angled cabinets. I can use sketchup really easy and I actually learned sketchup very easily, never any issues with the program as I can make it do whatever I want it to now.

In fact, our current project has 60 cabinets total, and 16 cabinets utilize 22.5 degree angles as the kitchen design is set on 4 angles of 45 degrees. I drew all 16 cabinets in sketchup so that they would be built accurately.

In the Navy I was an IT so computers have been a skill that comes easy to me.

I do believe my body has some good life left yet, not to say I am washed up as of yet. In fact, I built 37 cabinets Saturday, Monday and today and that included cutting out cabinet parts. Of course the face frames were already built (they were built on Thursday), and I just build the cabinet around the Face Frame. I cut through 30 sheets of 3/4” birch the first 5 hours on Saturday, then assembled 7 cabinets the last part of Saturday, then I built 16 cabinets yesterday and 14 today.

But I do want to look to a future where I move on from where I am at right now and maybe join a larger team at a larger shop and get an opportunity at what would be a fun career. I do believe I would need to learn AutoCAD and or CabinetVision though.

Does anyone have any advise?


-- .

25 replies so far

View GOOD LUCK TO ALL's profile


418 posts in 1751 days

#1 posted 02-26-2014 12:30 AM

If your going to be building Kitchens then I would say go with the cabinet vision. It will do everything you need it to do from giving you cut lists, figuring your material and hardware costs, plugging in labor costs and will also layout custom built cabinets. It’s designed for Cabinets

View madts's profile


1862 posts in 2363 days

#2 posted 02-26-2014 12:39 AM

Cabinet vision took me about 18 months to master. I worked in a shop and to courses. Of course I had to do other things.

-- Thor and Odin are still the greatest of Gods.

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2387 posts in 3570 days

#3 posted 02-26-2014 12:39 AM

Thanks Kevin,

I just looked and CabinetVision looks very thorough, I am thinking it would not be difficult to learn. The site does not give prices. It is probably pretty expensive, but they offer a 30 day trial.

-- .

View lepelerin's profile


495 posts in 2348 days

#4 posted 02-26-2014 01:21 AM

The best way to answer your question is to test and use the programs. Play with them and appreciate them or dislike them.

You mentioned that computers have been a skill that comes easy to you. .... Did you not just answered your own question :)

AutoCAD once you understand the concept and know the command is not that difficult. Once again only practice will make it easy. I did have to write some scripts for AutoCAD to automate some process.
CabinetVision, would definitively look like the program you are aiming for is you want to design cabinet. Why not play with it and find it the hard or easy way. I do not know this program.

Everybody will find the learning curve different. Some will find it easy, some will find it hard.
I managed a large IT infrastructure for 15 years but cannot use Sketchup, simply because I am not interested in it.
Could I write complex scripts, automation commands, etc … yes simply because I did like it and had a lot of practice at it. Was it easy at first, absolutely not.

Only yourself can tell but remember all the resources are inside of you.

Good luck in your projects.

View Kryptic's profile


294 posts in 1684 days

#5 posted 02-26-2014 01:54 AM

20/20….. 10k plus updates
Cabinetware…….. 10k plus updates
AutoCad Lite……. a few K
AutoCad Pro…. 10K plus a hundred K in previous bad buys.

and 30 some years later, my pencil is still swimming circles around the crap I spent my life realizing : )

Sketch Up, …. free, if u cant master the free version, then I would not move past that point of zero financial gain

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2387 posts in 3570 days

#6 posted 02-26-2014 02:05 AM

Thanks guys. I do love Sketchup, it is a great program and a great price. I do think I could pick up the skill set for AutoCad and CabinetVision fairly well and quickly.

-- .

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

29385 posts in 2361 days

#7 posted 02-26-2014 02:20 AM

I have gone to school for autocad. Unless you need that much capabilities, sketchup can do most of what we need.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View Kryptic's profile


294 posts in 1684 days

#8 posted 02-26-2014 02:21 AM

and return to the pencil

mind you, it would be rare for a man who owns a pencil, and draws me a picture of his grandiose new design concept, where I could actually visualize his conception, and not want to remove his pencil from his hand and call for his removal of ideas, that affect my profit margin, in a manner that inadvertently makes my life go for a $%#@.

All my life I have cursed these people who have never mastered a pencil and chose the button of a laptop to decide where a dimension starts and stops, let alone an iron that peels wood consistently and perfectly, and have dealt with the consequences of choices there and forthwith, and despite all this, for the first time in my life, I regret not having one now : (

Somebody recently asked a question I think relates, and its that practice makes perfect

View changeoffocus's profile


467 posts in 1641 days

#9 posted 02-26-2014 02:28 AM

Another vote for the trade specific CabinetVison.
I am however totally amazed at the drawings I see on this site generated by Sketchup.
I’ve ran AutoCAD for many years and always felt I was not using 75% of it’s capability.
This is also the way I feel about my woodworking tools.
Good luck, you’ve got a lot of years to work so find something you love.

View WeaverDrafting's profile


1 post in 1574 days

#10 posted 02-26-2014 03:01 AM

Jerry Let me start by saying: THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE!!!

I am a freelance CAD Draftsman, and I use AutoCAD on a daily basis. I have a couple of ‘add-ons’ for the primary AutoCAD program and they make working with specific clients alot easier. Being a freelancer I have done drawings for: Engineers – State Approved Building Plans, Mechanical Jigs & Fixtures, Architects – House & Building Plans, Surveyors – Site Plans, Private Surveys, Subdivsion Plats, Housewives – Room Additions & Renovations and my more ‘repeat clients’ have been in the Cabinetry Trades. I’ve done Shop Drawings for several WW Shops and I’ve used the DrawPower extension for AutoCAD along with straight AutoCAD.
From a ‘Drafting Career’ standpoint I would recommend learning AutoCAD 1st, then if the Shop that you are applying to needs you to learn CabinetVision then by all means get that training too. But the AutoCAD program can be used in a multitude of other construction related trades.

-- Weaver Drafting -- Columbus, Ohio

View realcowtown_eric's profile


609 posts in 1960 days

#11 posted 02-26-2014 03:48 AM

I don’t think yer really asking which design software is best, but how to get on with yer life interests in a manner that helps the family.

Personally I have never had much luck with computerized design/drafting invest time and money only to find that what you have committed to doesn’t actually do some little aspect of a project.

I remember once the cabinet vision folks came to my shop, told me how cabinetvision could save me money by precutting gables….imagine, 10k$ to precut gables….Oh how that sounds so promising, but if a fella cannot precut gables he’s in the wrong business.

.Have you scoped out ecabinets? software was “free” and the business model seems to make more sense…it goes cross spectrum- from design to suppliers and fabrication.Every aspect of the business, including finances.

I’m thinking sales might be one avenue to explore, buddy.

Everyone of yur suppliers relied on salesmen, and they do make a good buck too, especially the good ones.

I’m sure you have had salesmen come to the shop and try to sell you stuff, and in an instant you know that they are just there to make the sale, but then there’s others that take a glance at yur equipment and make some comment that says “I have some idea about what yer doin and what’s going on” and you feel an instantaneous bond. Maybe they offer you some perspective or advice, perhaps a story or tool, and you feel a bond developing…That salesman could be you!

Years ago I picked up a really old copy of “salesman’s handbook” and noticed that the highest salary was paid to glass salesmen. Neither you nor I would have ever thought that rational. I don’t know if it is the same today, but the point is that there are some strange things out there in the business world.

To my mind, it is more likely to find an employment niche within that ecabinets multi-spectrum business model, rather than limiting yourself to one platform of “design” software. particulary with a “hands on” or “know and do” background, an asset you cannot just toss aside.

I know one of my suppliers (richelieu hardware) has employed many folks with hands on experience for their sales force. Love it. You walk in with a query or a problem and a bunch of ex-cabinetmakers say, check this out, or I know the solution, or a blunt “u can’t get parts for that anymore” There is life beyond doing the day to day work when the body ain’t up to it anymore. AND you could keep the woodbutchery as a hobby-I wish I had that luxury), maybe a little cash on the side (did I say that?) AND maybe get the health care benefits as well.

Good luck to you Jerry, explore the ancilliary opportunities with aggressive gusto! nobody is gonna do it for you. put aside the fear to knock on doors fella. Not all opportunities are on the web….I keep telling that to my kids to no avail. I have great faith in the “warm body” perspective.

All anyone can say is “no”

Not advice, just perspectives….


-- Real_cowtown_eric

View Kryptic's profile


294 posts in 1684 days

#12 posted 02-26-2014 03:55 AM

alls I can say is is that almost every soul I have ever met, owned a pen at some point in their life, and they put their pen to paper, be it through a program, a paint brush, or a dream

at the end of most of my days

most dont know piss from paint

the odd one is smart

find them

and surround yourself with them

View Kryptic's profile


294 posts in 1684 days

#13 posted 02-26-2014 04:13 AM

there is a defining point in life

its that the pen defines your name, and you define that point : )

View Rick's profile


9705 posts in 3056 days

#14 posted 02-26-2014 06:13 AM

Something Like This Cryptic?

My Country Kitchen Wall Trim “Drawing” ....First. 1/ A Couple of Sharp Pencils, Tape measure, Rough drawing, CORRECT Measurements. 2/ Then onto My “Little Board” to Turn Out THIS:



Which Turned Into This:


Then The “Ceiling Beam Layout” Same Procedure:


Which Turned Into This:


I have degree in Architecture from W A Y B A C K !! ;-}

Mechanical Pencils with about 6 different hardness’s of leads, Erasing shield, Line drawer, T-Square and 3 other squares, ERASER, Lead sharpener, 3 French Curves, and more.

You found somewhere to SLEEP so you could get back at it and get your Full Set Of Working Drawings in on time. You were also Marked on the Quality of Your Hand Lettering and the “Darkness Strength” of Various Lines.

You also LEARNED a Hell Of A Lot About Construction.

-- LIFE is what happens when you're planning on doing Other Things!

View ex-member's profile


186 posts in 1798 days

#15 posted 02-26-2014 10:29 AM

I think I agree that drawing with a pencil is actually quite difficult. I started my working life as a draughtsman. I studied how to draw….for a long time…before I could say I was a draughtsman. I still draw with a pencil but it’s what I know. If what you know and use now is working, I’d stick with it. AutoCAD is expensive and difficult Sketchup is free and easy.

[edit] I just re-read your post. If you’re asking what software to learn in order to become a working draughtsman. I’d suggest a college course in draughting, they will no doubt use Autocad and it will serve you very well in future job searches.

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