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Forum topic by pashley posted 17 days ago 1186 views 0 times favorited 53 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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pashley

1013 posts in 2316 days


17 days ago

Well, I think I’ll get away from my opinion on tools for the time being, lol.

I would like YOUR advice on a project I’m contemplating; not a wood project per se, but a “tool” of sorts. If you use iPhone apps in the workshop, this question is for you.

I’m currently designing an app that is truly helpful – at least it would be for me. Here’s the situation – I hope this app can help with – and yes, I know I can just you a pen and paper, but I’m not going that route, so please don’t suggest it.

Like you, I often have to go to the lumber yard for the next project. What I’m doing now is jotting down on paper what I need, for example, Five 6’ x 6” 4/4 QSWO boards, three 6’ x 10” x 5/4 QSWO, and one 8’ x 6” x 5/4 cherry.

Now, I don’t like surprises when I get there – such as forgetting the sheet, or being surprised at the final bill – or screwing up an estimated cost for wood for a customer. Or maybe I forgot to get a box of screws or bottle of glue while there.

So basically, I’m thinking on an app that is a board foot calculator combined with a shopping list. If that would be something you’d use, would you add anything else onto it that would be helpful, some feature, for example? If so, what?

Would you want a way to make out several lists for several jobs? Maybe your situation is you have to drive an hour for your lumber, and you get several job’s worth at a time, and this app would help you keep track? Perhaps be able to email each list to a client?

Thoughts?

-- Have a blessed day! http://newmissionworkshop.com


53 replies so far

View JAAune's profile

JAAune

755 posts in 915 days


#1 posted 17 days ago

An app means you have a smart phone. Would that phone have email or internet connection?

It’s tough to beat the versatility of a spreadsheet so one idea is to make individual spreadsheets for each project which would be done at the shop. Then you’d just need some method to connect to them and view them on the phone.

-- See my work at http://remmertstudios.com and http://altaredesign.com

View dawsonbob's profile

dawsonbob

381 posts in 354 days


#2 posted 17 days ago

There is an app that I use constantly, called “Out of Milk.” It does everything you need, except for board foot calculations. Bosch, and others, have board foot calculators. All of these are available for free. They’re worth taking a look at before building your own. Good luck.

JAAune brought up a point that I should have mentioned. Out of Milk lists are emailable (is that a word?)

-- Mistakes are what pave the road to perfection

View Clint Searl's profile

Clint Searl

1386 posts in 960 days


#3 posted 17 days ago

Not worth it.

-- Clint Searl.............We deserve what we tolerate

View Paul's profile

Paul

449 posts in 164 days


#4 posted 17 days ago

I use “woodworking utilities” app for my board feet calculations and costs, there are soo many of them out there I don’t think it’s worth your time to re invent the wheel.

Paul

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pashley

1013 posts in 2316 days


#5 posted 17 days ago

Would a more comprehensive app be worth it? Say, one including a killer fractional calculator?

-- Have a blessed day! http://newmissionworkshop.com

View JAAune's profile

JAAune

755 posts in 915 days


#6 posted 17 days ago

One thing that’s a pain is adding up the board footage of lumber as it’s picked from the yard. An app that lets you insert board dimensions and automatically tallies up the total in board feet would probably be handier than a fractional calculator.

-- See my work at http://remmertstudios.com and http://altaredesign.com

View gtbuzz's profile

gtbuzz

342 posts in 1040 days


#7 posted 17 days ago

Well this is certainly a boring thread :)

I’ve had thoughts about this in the past, and I’ve tried writing up a couple of board feet calculators apps for myself, but in the end, I always just found the spreadsheet to be more convenient. Reason being is that I end up grouping together all of the materials I need to make rough estimates of what size boards I want to look for anyway, and invariably at the lumber yard I go to, it never seems to match up. I end up just mentally pairing up parts with individual pieces of lumber and keeping a tally of it on my printed-out spreadsheet. It’s certainly not the most efficient way, but it hasn’t failed me yet and it’s not like I have a frown on my face when I “have” to go back to the lumberyard to get some extra stock that I didn’t account for.

One idea I have had that would help that would be a way to input a BOM for parts, and when I get to the lumberyard, I input the dimensions for boards I like and the program automatically figures out what goes where and what else I have to buy. Problem with that though, is that I’m only a hobbyist and I don’t do nearly enough volume to make the effort I’d have to put into writing the program anywhere near worth it. Secondly, I find myself picking through boards and choosing ones for interesting grain patterns for specific parts. It makes the logic behind that all that much more complicated.

My ultimate dream would be to take that and automatically feed it with data from my CAD program and it creates its own BOM based on thickness and available stock sizes. But in the end, it’s not worth it for me and my weekend hobby.

View Paul's profile

Paul

449 posts in 164 days


#8 posted 17 days ago

My personal view on apps is go big or go home.

Pashley, your asking to develop a new product that already exists and has a footing in the free market place as is. If you’re serious about developing an app and have the means to do so, which I believe is apparent in your post you need to look beyond single user applications. There are far too many options for a new app to become relevant.

You need a new idea for an app that doesn’t address what is already out there. To spend time developing your app idea which is already out there seems like a colossal waste of time to me.

The woodworking app I use to figure out cost in board feet even has a dove tail function. I don’t want to burst your bubble but there are a ton of options free or buy able apps for what your looking to do.

Paul

View MT_Stringer's profile

MT_Stringer

1799 posts in 1830 days


#9 posted 17 days ago

I use the Gold version of Cutlist to get detailed cutlist, layouts, cost estimates, etc.
I also have several spreadsheets for calculating parts for doors or drawer fronts.
And sometimes, I make a spreadsheet on the fly if I am having a hard time figuring out some sizes I need.

But like gtbuzz said, what you find at the lumber yard doesn’t always match what you are looking for, especially when buying rough lumber. That stuff comes in random widths and lengths.

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

View Rick M.'s profile

Rick M.

3777 posts in 979 days


#10 posted 17 days ago

Android & Windows both have apps that do exactly those things, I would be surprised if there weren’t already apps for IOS. Your best bet might be to try any existing apps and see if there is room for improvement. There is always room for new apps if you can do it better for the right price.

-- |Statistics show that 100% of people bitten by a snake were close to it.|

View oldnovice's profile

oldnovice

3604 posts in 1966 days


#11 posted 17 days ago

Rick is correct, there are a quite a few applications available for Android OS.

The one that looks most like you have described is Woodworking Utilities a by Mike B. Hill which is free from the Google play store.

I haven’t tried it but the reviews are 3.9 out of 5 which is fairly decent in this digital mobile world!

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

View dawsonbob's profile

dawsonbob

381 posts in 354 days


#12 posted 17 days ago

The thing is, that the wheel already exists. If you can find a way to make your version rounder, with better spokes, than any existing wheel, then maybe — just maybe — you might be on to something. If all you can come up with is a new coat of paint for the existing wheel, well, why bother? There are so many apps that do what you’re talking about, and are free, to boot, that it’s a wasted effort.

-- Mistakes are what pave the road to perfection

View kirbi69's profile

kirbi69

47 posts in 182 days


#13 posted 16 days ago

you need to make an app that has a real time road map linked with gps showing you were all the cop cars near you currently are :)

View KE4NYV's profile

KE4NYV

49 posts in 61 days


#14 posted 16 days ago

Sorry, but as soon as you said iOS only, I was out. I started using Woodworking Utilities for Android recently and I don’t think I would use anything else. Something pretty awesome would have to come along to make me switch.

-- Jason R.

View pashley's profile

pashley

1013 posts in 2316 days


#15 posted 16 days ago

Well boys, at least THIS thread isn’t generating the amount of heat the last one I started….holy cow.

Yes, you are right, there are BF calculators out there – many for free, on Android and iOS. Some of you throw up your hands right there, and say “Why bother then….” or “it’s a colossal waste of time…”

Shame on you! Don’t give up so easily.

Haven’t I taught you guys that people will pay for the best? You can get a hamburger at McDonalds for 69¢ yet people still pay north of $10 for one at a sit down restaurant, for example. People also pay top dollar for Apple computers – for example, the cheapest laptop they have starts at $899, while you can get a Windows machine at BestBuy for under $300. Why are people willing to pay so much more? Not for the prestige, believe me, but for the experience.

It’s not always just about the physical product. In my blog post, The Cheapest Add-On that Sells Products, I give the example of why Starbucks can charge so much more for coffee than a McDonalds can – and no, it’s not based on the coffee itself.

When I started using my iPhone more and more in my shop, I had a hell of a time finding a fraction calculator that had a decent interface. The way you’d enter fractions on most of them was difficult to understand. I mean, do I have to fight a damn calculator now? To top it off, the design looked amateurish. Ditto for a BF calculator. And please, no, I’m not doing those calculations in my head.

I have already designed interfaces for both a fraction and BF calculator. They offer innovations others didn’t think of, yet are very helpful. I’m paranoid about posting the screen shots here of them because I don’t want someone stealing them. Yes, sorry, but I think they are that good.

You have to remember too that when something is made more convenient, people will generally trend towards it, and be willing to pay for it.

-- Have a blessed day! http://newmissionworkshop.com

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