2011.01.22

Relearning CAD

22.23.27 - Mark

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been knocking together a few tables. Nothing special, a few small workshop tables, a desk side table for a photo printer and scanner, and most recently a work bench for a local non-profit.

In a consumerist country, I absolutely could purchase all of those tables. Light weight, standard sizes, virtually no labor involved. However attractive folding tables are rare and subsequently tend to be expensive (if they’re even for sale) and the relatively weak commercial ones cost more than the lumber for a larger, stronger table that, if you have access to a few power tools, can be built in a few hours.

As someone who has a decent workshop, and a bit of a collection of nails, bolts, screws, and an assortment of other hardware my parents have amassed over a few decades, my only real costs was for lumber and my time.

While I didn’t dream up the plans on my own (I largely drew from The Wood Whisperer?s Outfeed Table video when I wasn’t reverse engineering an existing bench table) I did have to run out the math on my separate projects. Figure out the layout and assemble and figure out the cut list so I wouldn’t overstock myself.
Now, as much as I enjoy technology, on these projects I usually pick up a pad of Doane Paper (Grid + Line paper = Awesome) and draw out my plan. While I do take electronics into the work shop, next to a table saw or drill press, a good pencil and a pad of paper is both far safer and more user friendly than a laptop.

However after finishing the project, a couple people asked me about making more of them, and while I could redraw the plans or throw it on a copier, I decided to fire up SketchUp.

It’s been a few years since I last played with it, and what I remember about it was mostly not getting it to work well. 3D is nice, but my high school drafting class was basic 2D. However a few videos, a bit of playing, and a handful of restarts, I managed to draw out the plans. I doubt I’ll play with SketchUp enough to plan out masterpieces, but for the right job, it’s a decent (free) tool (once you figure out how to use it effectivly).


Parts List
Cut List

Files
Hand drawn plans (JPG, 1910px x 1463px)
Rendered Plan (JPG, 1215px x 942px)
Table SketchUp File (67.9 kb)

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