When I graduated a few years back from Humber College, I took advantage of my experience with AutoCAD to use AutoCAD LT for my main design and drawing tool to provide me with customer presentations and shop floor documents for projects. AutoCAD LT was a good choice at the time, as I had seen and tried various other CAD packages that I could afford but each of these packages had some limitations to design and outputs that I was not happy with.
Now with the advances in Googles’ SketchUp program, I am using it as my main design, customer presentation and shop drawing documentation flows for projects. The advantage to move around an object makes it a real benefit when discussing with someone how the item will look in it’s final state. 2D drawings just could not provide the same information and prospective.
The learning curve for SketchUp is a bit longer than most CAD packages,as you now are designing in 3D rather than 2D and this takes a little to get use to. However, the advantages of seeing and working the object in the 3D, makes it well worth the time to learn the product. Examples of latest project
To help the SketchUp user, there is also a large core of developers that have built plug-ins for SketchUp to provide quick solutions for various drawing and documenting functionality. As well, there are large number of online BLOG’s and User Groups providing the SketchUp user with lots of background for learning the product and discussions on using the product.
When it comes to the investment in cost to the woodworker, one could say you can do most of the real designs for most woodworkers with the free version of the product. If you require the professional version, which has a lot of improvements and features as to layout and building process of objects,your invest is quite modest at around $500.00 or so (current value at time of this article). When compared to other packages when looking at capabilities and easy of use,SketchUp is hard to beat.
So give the product a try and see what it can do for you.
Here is the link to SketchUp http://sketchup.google.com/
Other links regarding SketchUp, see my links section to SketchUp resources on my BLOG.
See you in the Workshop!