Introduction and seeking direction

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Introduction and seeking direction

Postby justSteve » Tue Jan 13, 2009 3:13 pm

Greetings...it's great to find such an active SU forum of woodworkers. Here's hoping my questions and learning curve will help expand the niche's knowledge base even a little.

I picked up a home design program (Punch Software) quite a few years ago, so when my wife and I decided to design and build our house i didn't look at SU - wish i had. Punch did a pretty good job for us with the floorplan and framing process - the 3D flyarounds are actually very good. But now, with the shell of the house completed, it's time to turn to the finish work. Unlike sane owner/builders, Paula and I have chosen not to etch our design decisions in concrete (at least until the concrete truck was in route). The ability to live inside the space before interior walls are raised has allowed us to get a much better sense of distance and proportion to traffic flow and room dimensions.

So now we have a very good sense for the best place for a reading nook in the sun room, storage cabinets in the utility room, a deeper layer in the walk-in closet and so on. This is where I'm hoping to tap into the power of SU. I'm hoping I can design the interior space with enough detail to take into the shop - ideally armed with a cut list.

From what I can tell - this seems a realistic expectation for an experienced user but I'm starting pretty much from scratch. I'd would be depending on Dynamic Components that I don't think exist - things like joinery profiles that can be dropped on a cabinet door's stile. OTOH, if one has access to, for example, a catalog of router bits that include dimensions, how hard is it to produce that capability?

I know cabinet design software exists but it's pricey and proprietry with (i think) nastier learning curves - it seems like SU has the power needed and, from the looks of 3Dwarehouse activity, has the momentum of user community to fill this sort of space.

But then, perhaps not.

Any thoughts how much i should depend on SU to address this needs as I go forward would be very helpful. Pointers to others who've used it in this fashion as well.

thx
--steve...
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Re: Introduction and seeking direction

Postby Dave R » Tue Jan 13, 2009 3:46 pm

Steve,

Yes, SketchUp can do what you need but as they say, you need to learn to walk before you run. I use SketchUp to design pieces of furniture and take them to shop drawings and a cutlist. Some of this is for myself and sometimes its for others. when I do it for myself I can usually reduce the amount of detail I need to show in the shop drawings because I know what I need to know from working on the drawing.

Learn to use make components and work at high precision and you'll be fine. I use Fractional inches for my working format and 1/64" Precision. I don't tend to work that precisely in the shop but I prefer to draw at a higher precision.

Here are some examples for you.

This was done for someone else. I still need to complete the construction documents for it.




A bench for my shop. Probably the shorter one. Waiting for the weather to clear so I can go get the lumber.


A cabinet (not my design) drawn with detail for construction drawings for Fine Woodworking.


A bed drawn to joinery level for a client to build.


A clock drawn with plans for a high school woodworking program to build from.
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Re: Introduction and seeking direction

Postby justSteve » Thu Jan 15, 2009 2:00 pm

Appreciate the feedback, Dave. I'll be approaching most of my projects in a slightly different angle than a conventional woodworker in that I'll be designing/building 'built-in' rather than stand-alone pieces. So I think one of my first tasks is going to be learning to model rooms.

I've worked my way thru the video tutes and am ready to start with some real-world stuff. Any idea where I go to see an example of modeling a full room?

thnkx again
--steve...
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Re: Introduction and seeking direction

Postby Dave R » Thu Jan 15, 2009 2:30 pm

Modeling a room or built-ins isn't really any different than modeling anything else. I don't think you'll need to model the room to really high detail to get a built to fit. Get used to making components to keep stuff separated.
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Re: Introduction and seeking direction

Postby Peter Gunn » Fri Feb 20, 2009 2:37 pm

Dave:

Looks like you're going to build the pipe clamp bench from FWW. I built it some years ago pre-SU. Love your model. Just be aware that the heads of the pipe clamps that run perpendicular to the length of the bench tend to flop. Engaging them with a clamping block is a bit of a pain. I think you can make a batch of clamping blocks of various lengths that would fit over the heads to keep them vertical. I've enjoyed my bench, though I'd make some mods if I were doing it again to fit the way I work. Good luck.
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Re: Introduction and seeking direction

Postby Dave R » Fri Feb 20, 2009 2:47 pm

Peter, thank you.

Yes, I am thinking about building a 6' version of John White's "New-Fangled Bench." Thanks for the hint on the clamps. I was thinking of adding small blocks to the chop to keep the clamps upright. I had also thought that it wouldn't be so hard to add some friction devices underneath for the pipes to slide into. The friction could be adjusted to keep the pipes from rotating on their own.

What changes would you make?
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Re: Introduction and seeking direction

Postby Peter Gunn » Fri Feb 20, 2009 4:51 pm

Dave:

Well, I’d eliminate the front pipe clamps! I rarely use them. You don’t need all that clamping pressure, and it’s much faster to clamp something to the front edge of the bench by removing a few MDF inserts and using some Bessey tradesmen clamps. I also use Besseys to clamp the bottom of the board to the planing beam if I need to make the workpiece as secure as I can. And, of course, by eliminating the pipes, you don’t have to drill all those pesky holes!

I’ve got the smaller jorgensen clamp heads as seen in the article. I like the ones you’ve included in your drawing. Easier to manipulate.

I took the planing wedge off since I kept running into it! It’s easy enough to clamp a stop to the front edge or just clamp the workpiece to the edge and the planing beam without a stop, depending on the size.

I think John added a torpedo level to one end of the planing beam since that article came out; I haven’t done that yet but it’s a great idea.

I’d make the bench a little deeper front to back. I have it stuck up against one wall in my garage and have found that a little more space to throw the rasps, planes, marking guages etc. while I’m in the middle of work would be nice.

Finally, I’d revisit the design to insure that wood movement is accounted for in keeping the benchtop flat. Some of the doug fir planks are perpendicular to the top and, of course, move with changes in humidity. My top isn’t dead flat (not that I ever expected it to be) but I don’t recall if I actually glued the perpendicular pieces to the horizontal top pieces to insure that any movement of the perpendicular pieces occurred below the top.

I work in an old garage that has a sloping concrete floor so I have one end blocked up which makes chopping on the bench a bit vibratory, if you know what I mean. But it’s been a good bench. Hope this helps. I’ll be out there tonight. If anything else occurs to me, I’ll let you know.
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Re: Introduction and seeking direction

Postby Dave R » Fri Feb 20, 2009 5:12 pm

Thanks for that stuff Peter. Good points to consider. The planing stop does seem like a good thing to get snagged on. I just drew a different workbench plan for a client. It has a twin screw vise on the front left corner. I think if/when I build the NF bench, I might just plan to put in two sets of holes for the pipe clamps at that end and leave them there.

The pipe clamp head I drew was just the one I had on hand. I do like the crank type handles.

Recently I received a clamp with the Multi Angle Work Holder for the Router Boss. The clamp is amazingly secure. I think I would drill dog holes in the top of the bench to fit the post on the clamp. You can see it here in this image.

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