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    Discussion in '2D and 3D CAD general discussion forum' started by VOLKING, Oct 19, 2013.

    1. VOLKING

      VOLKING New Member

      Oct 2013
      Likes Received:
      I've downloaded, bought and tried about a dozen CAD tools. None do what I'm looking for ... So, I'm asking does it exist? If not WHY?

      Here’s the idea for CAD like tool, desperately needed by me (and probably millions of people), although we're not CAD designers, we own a computer and need a software tool to help us design “Real-World†plans using “Real-World†materials. Materials found in Home Depot or Lowes.

      For example: Plans for wooden work stool, using materials from Home Depot.
      Two 2x4 pine 8ft framing studs (actually 1-3/8†by 3-3/8†by 92-5/8â€)​
      16 Cabinet Screws
      Part Number: CSFS-044
      Cost: 14¢ea
      Diameter: #6
      Length: 3-3/4"
      Head Style: Flat
      Driver Type: Phillips
      Material: Steel​

      Then, using the above “Real-World†material, the software tool lets me start creating a design for a wooden work stool.

      The software tool lets me cut the 2 framing studs into 8 equal pieces. BUT surprise, their lengths become 23-7/64†each. Why? Because the stud is actually 92-5/8†and three saw cuts of 1/16†each causes 3/16†wood loss.

      Now we take two short stud pieces, lay them in an “L†and show them screwed together. THEN, the software warns me, “The screw is too long!†Because, 1-3/8†+ 1-3/8†= 2-3/4†which is also the exact length of the purchased screws (2-3/4â€). Even a tiny countersink will cause the sharp screw point to protrude and be dangerous.

      A CAD like tool which uses “Real-World†material for “Real-World†projects.

      For us non-CAD people ... who own a computer.

      Thanks in advance
    3. Aviator

      Aviator Member

      Apr 2011
      Likes Received:
      Hi; I think you may be looking at this from the wrong perspective. It would appear that you are determining the raw material requirements before you begin your design...the traditional approach would be to design first and then determine the raw material requirements. The cut sizes can be defined in the BOM to allow for saw blade thicknesses thus giving the final raw material lengths required.

      With regards to screw sizes these can be predetermined with a fixed maximum length for a particular joint application, so you don't go oversize.

      The majority of 3D Cad products like Inventor, Solidworks , Solidedge etc will do just fine.

      If I have interpreted your requirements incorrectly then please elaborate and perhaps I may be able to assist you further.
    4. cfee

      cfee Member

      Mar 2013
      Likes Received:
      Hi! And good luck! Starting out on a new project like the one you've described always presents start-up challenges, and the ones you've mentioned are not unusual. The age old question - which tool to use - actually predates CAD, and will probably out live it ! SO- how to proceed. Ok, on one level, another user here posts a question about developing a new CAD tool, for his use and to approach a market, but their near term is to meet a schooling need. Its not unreasonable to marry 2 similar needs as yours and theirs ... ! Who knows- you might come up with something a market would get excited about !

      But lets take a closer look at your specific task. First, clearly you have an image in your mind of what you want to accomplish, and by the looks of your parts list, probably have a pretty clear image in your mind of what you'll want it to look like. That places you way ahead in your design process. BUT - and this is KEY - making the design come about is YOUR part. NO SOFTWARE can do that for you, even a system priced in the mid $5k's (US) isn't going to have the internal modules developed that will take a parts list and hand you a design, even a basic one for you to develop further. SO- the only solution is going to be to master a system and use it to execute your design. There ARE software packages on the market that are tuned for specific industries, with data built in to generate material take-offs like the total number of 2x4's you'll need to construct that wall, or the total number of what type of windows to install. They'll even (for this example) automatically break the walls where you want a door ! BUT YOU have to master them well enough to know how to draw the doors and insert windows, in order to get the vision out of your mind and into a "design".

      You're not going to launch a session of AutoCAD, Inventor or Solidworks and get anything like what you're asking for, as they require your mastery, yet don't have the internal modules for automatically calculating material takeoffs for architectural or woodworking projects without either purchasing those modules as add-ons or developing them yourself - again requiring your mastery of the tool.

      That having been said, there are a number of industry-specific and discipline specific tools you might look at that might get you close, from software tools designed for home design or maybe deck building purposes, to small niche products, maybe well into the woordworking community itself.

      When I faced the task before you (I'm sure we've all been there or somewhere nearby...) my approach was to purchase a copy of ProgeCAD - an AutoCAD workalike - that looks and works almost identical to AutoCAD, but at LITERALLY one-tenth the cost to license (and once licensed, legal to use for commercial production work where your client/boss requires AutoCAD) at around $500 (US) as opposed to $5500 (US) for AutoCAD, The least expensive of the 3: ACAD, Inventor, or SolidWorks. There are others on the market at least as good, ProgeCAD is just the one I went with.

      I mastered my tool, and found it to be MORE than adequate and NOT NEARLY the overkill $5500 would be, or attempting to master parametric 3D as required by SW or INV.

      Conclusion - you have LOTS of GOOD options, and the field is open before you. Its up to YOU to make your vision a reality ! And who knows - maybe YOU'LL be the one to develop that magic package that addresses the very need you're seeking !

      Good luck and let us know how it goes !


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