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Author Topic: Software for planning wood bookcases/cabinets/tables etc?  (Read 36977 times)
mouser
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« on: February 06, 2007, 07:38:21 PM »

Anyone know of any specialized software for helping you plan woodworking projects like bookcases, cabinets, tables, etc?
Im planning on building some bookcases and my computer is asking me to let it help..
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cranioscopical
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« Reply #1 on: February 06, 2007, 09:40:04 PM »

Depending on how early in the process of selecting lumber you intend to begin, this calculator for board feet might be useful: http://www.newwoodworker.com/ref/brdfeet.html
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Chris
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« Reply #2 on: February 06, 2007, 09:46:19 PM »

There are a few other basic items on this page... worth a look http://www.woodbin.com/
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Chris
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« Reply #3 on: February 06, 2007, 11:05:38 PM »

Most CAD programs have a feature that will lend itself to specializing.  You might already have what you need if you have a CAD installed. 

Some that I have used are...

Minos - Free, cryptic and spartan, but lightning fast!
TurboCAD - Major contender to AutoCAD (or at least wants to be.)
IntelliCAD - Free(?) AutoCAD clone.
Pencil & Paper - Free, Y2K Compliant and well-proven.

« Last Edit: May 13, 2009, 01:39:38 PM by CodeTRUCKER » Logged

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mouser
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« Reply #4 on: February 06, 2007, 11:43:13 PM »

thanks for the great woodbin.com find chris  thumbs up

Farmsteader thank you for that summary - that pretty much describes what i expected - paper and pencil are probably better for me.

Im going to be building a full wall-to-wall floor-to-ceiling bookcase.  I have some books that describe the process and equipment and i plan to rent some power tools for a weekend since it seems wastefull to try to buy all this stuff for just one project.  Wish me luck!
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« Reply #5 on: February 07, 2007, 12:26:41 AM »

Good Luck!  Thmbsup

I have built a number of items myself.  Once you have something drawn up, I would be happy to look at your plans and offer what ever I could.
« Last Edit: May 13, 2009, 01:39:57 PM by CodeTRUCKER » Logged

I applaud those that refuse to commit "intellectual suicide."

Truth, unlike opinion, tradition, etc. will always be able to stand on its own.  Truth is not a static, but a living entity and will perpetually impart life; therefore, any "truth" that does not or can not impart life can not be Truth.

I am persuaded the only reason bad men have succeeded is not because good men have done nothing, but that good men did not do enough.

An Open Letter to My Friends


Notice: - Unless stated otherwise, I receive no compensation for anything I post here.
mouser
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« Reply #6 on: February 07, 2007, 12:35:14 AM »

thanks farmsteader i will probably take you up on your offer to look at my plans in a personal message when the time gets nearer  thumbs up
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app103
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« Reply #7 on: February 07, 2007, 01:05:18 AM »

Considering the weight, and the fact that you rent an apartment, you might not want to build that all in one piece.

Bolstering a bookcase. Installing a wall-length floor-to-ceiling bookcase? You may have to strengthen the floor first. The average floor is built to withstand a load of 50 pounds per square foot, but the load of a filled bookcase is easily greater. Talk to a building inspector, carpenter, or an engineer before proceeding.

You would have to bolt it to your wall and/or floor/ceiling to ensure it didn't tip over and kill you.

How would you ever get it out if you ever move?

I would probably build that case in parts of a width that would fit through my door.

Something like this:  


http://www.blackanddecker...D=p_2_51_16109_16124.html


Something like this could be another option:



http://www.rd.com/america...200009/bookcase/main.html

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f0dder
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« Reply #8 on: February 07, 2007, 06:06:22 AM »

Quote from: mouser
Im going to be building a full wall-to-wall floor-to-ceiling bookcase.  I have some books that describe the process and equipment and i plan to rent some power tools for a weekend since it seems wastefull to try to buy all this stuff for just one project.  Wish me luck!
In the end, you'll probably be cursing and swearing and regretting that you didn't just buy some standard modular bookcases, though. At least I know I would.

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« Reply #9 on: February 07, 2007, 07:24:08 AM »

In the end, you'll probably be cursing and swearing and regretting that you didn't just buy some standard modular bookcases, though. At least I know I would.

Heck no... it's great fun (and tribulation which did result a quite a bit of cursing and swearing): but I'm glad I did it. Though when I built our bedroom cupboards it took a lot longer than a weekend!

- Perry
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« Reply #10 on: February 07, 2007, 09:59:03 AM »

I did some elaborate cabinets using Visio. It is simple to use and easy to learn unlike some cad programs. In assembling the cabinets, I found a source of  hardware ( http://www.quinkotek.com ) similar to the hardware provided with the precut computer furniture and cabinets. This hardware allows you to assemble or take apart and reassemble your furniture. It works with clamps that are not visible after assembly. The cutting of the wood requires quite a bit of accuracy. The cutting service offered at some wood suppliers might not be adequate. I used a kitchen cabinet manufacturer for my cutting needs and the assembly went perfectly.
If you would like to see some pics, let me know and I will see what I can come up with.
JR
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JR
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« Reply #11 on: February 07, 2007, 10:09:41 AM »

Pencil and paper guy here.

I'd make that case modular as has been mentioned. I'd hit the library and see if they have any book from Taunton Press. They have some of the best workworking books around. I say some very good bookcase plans in those books. Maybe look for Shopnotes too. I'm sure it wouldn't be too hard to find PDF versions of them on the net.

Rent a table saw if you can, you'll be making a lot of similar cuts and for something like that, you want them to be accurate.
« Last Edit: February 07, 2007, 10:12:33 AM by Nighted » Logged

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cranioscopical
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« Reply #12 on: February 07, 2007, 11:00:02 AM »

Quote
Mouser: I'm going to be building a full wall-to-wall floor-to-ceiling bookcase.  I have some books that describe the process and equipment and i plan to rent some power tools for a weekend since it seems wastefull to try to buy all this stuff for just one project.  Wish me luck!

I think you'll have more advice than you can handle smiley

Wall-to-wall, floor to ceiling is about as easy as it gets.   

FWIW I'd suggest you consider the following.
  • Don't rely on a lumber store to provide you with accurate cuts if you order your lumber pre-cut. Having a lumber merchant do the cutting saves a lot of tine and mess, but only if he's spot-on reliable.
  • A radial-arm saw, a router, high-quality cordless drill with spare batteries, and a good, long, carpenter's level. 
  • Depending on your construction method, possibly a drill press and/or a dowelling jig.
  • If I weren't ripping my own boards, I'd prefer to use a 12" compound mitre saw for cross cutting, if you can fit your boards into its throat. 
  • You'll also want a roller support of some kind, adjustable to the same height as whatever variant of table saw you decide to use. 
  • I suspect that anyone who's into this will also insist that you need more clamps than you'd ever thought possible...good quality ones, too. You'll need some shim material, also ( easy to make with the compound saw.)
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Chris
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« Reply #13 on: February 07, 2007, 12:29:47 PM »

I'll be posting pictures of the project so you can all follow along and see the masterpiece or the disaster, as the case may be [pun intended].
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cranioscopical
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« Reply #14 on: February 07, 2007, 08:10:20 PM »

Forgive this old saw but you know the drill.  If you get board I fear this project will be shelved.  Forbidden to post another, you say?  Must be a banned saw.

And, yes, I am without shame.
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Chris
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« Reply #15 on: February 08, 2007, 12:55:00 AM »

btw...mouser...if you ever need to build a fence, let me know. I am available and it will be the most beautiful sturdy work of genius you have ever seen. (I need to get pics of the one I did with my dad)
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« Reply #16 on: February 08, 2007, 11:06:35 AM »

For this kind of project, SketchUp is a great choice. MUCH simpler to use and faster to learn than a "regular" CAD program. There's a free version available from Google that you can try out.
http://sketchup.google.com/ It's supposed to be mostly for adding 3-D buildings to Google Earth but you can use it for anything.

Working with SketchUp is much more intuitive than slinging polygons as you must do in many 3-D apps, and much more like working with real objects. Want to cut a hole in a board? Draw the board (elongated cube) then use the circle tool to draw a circle on the board (the pencil automatically snaps to the board's surface) then cut out the circle. If you ever tried to do this in a traditional 3-D app, wrestling with triangulation or subdividing polygons or object intersections, you'll appreciate how radical this simple approach is.

In short, if you want to learn a CAD program, buy a CAD program, but if you want to quickly produce some useful 3-D drawings, check out SketchUp.

Before Google bought them, the company that actually wrote this app (@Last Software) seemed like a pretty cool outfit. I always liked SketchUp, but couldn't afford it at the $500 price point. The full version (now called Sketchup Pro) is still available from http://www.sketchup.com/?id=2

The main benefits for which you need the Pro version are:

  • Export 3D models to CAD and other 3D formats.
  • Export 2D vector images.
  • Create multi-page design documents and presentations.
  • Arrange and annotate multiple scaled images on a single-page.
  • Create customized elements and symbols for your presentations using 2D Vector graphics toolset.
  • Create, document and present your designs using a single software package.
  • Receive professional email technical support.
« Last Edit: February 08, 2007, 11:14:35 AM by Jimdoria » Logged

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« Reply #17 on: February 08, 2007, 09:35:46 PM »

For this kind of project, SketchUp is a great choice. MUCH simpler to use and faster to learn than a "regular" CAD program. There's a free version available from Google that you can try out.

One caveat with SketchUp:  I've found it difficult to do exact dimensioning.  It requires some mouse-and-keyboard-fu, and changing dimensions after the fact is difficult enough that I've found it easier to delete missized objects and start over.  I'd prefer a parametric CAD system for generating plans for fine furnishings; that is to say, anything I was putting inside as opposed to a garage.

Or, you can use pencil and paper, as I did for my headboard, which came out fine.  I'd suggest getting a good, ghosted grid paper; I'm partial to the engineer's computation pad myself.  It is green paper with the grid printed on the reverse so it just shows through.  Of course, I'm an engineering student, and always have this stuff around, so I may be biased.  A light, ghosted grid is essential, though, since it lets you use an erasable pencil without (1) damaging the grid lines, and (2) confusing your lines with the grid.
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Patrick O'Leary
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« Reply #18 on: February 09, 2007, 02:38:49 AM »

Hi Mouser,

Parametrics are good for this kind of task.

Here is a free parametric program which is quite simple to use:

http://www.alibre.com/xpr.../alibre-design-xpress.asp
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« Reply #19 on: March 23, 2007, 10:46:55 AM »

Just a quick update picture of my wall-to-wall floor-to-ceiling bookcase installation so far:



It still needs the adjustable shelves painted and put in, and then trim painted and put on as the "face" of the bookshelves (i.e. all the unpainted face edges you can see will have a nice thick front covering them and making the entire bookcase look like 1 single unit) and covering the gaps in sides and top+bottom.

total size is about 16 feet long by 9 feet tall. bottom section is 12" deep, top section is 8" deep.
« Last Edit: March 23, 2007, 10:49:39 AM by mouser » Logged
cranioscopical
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« Reply #20 on: March 23, 2007, 12:43:58 PM »

Quote
Just a quick update picture of my wall-to-wall floor-to-ceiling bookcase installation so far:
Good to see some progress. It's a shame you can't afford a better carpet, though...
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« Reply #21 on: March 23, 2007, 01:57:50 PM »

Old topic I know... but I'd give a +1 for SketchUp.

I have used it to plan several simple desks / work units with great success. Had no trouble with 'exact' dimensions... far from it. To me it seems very intuitive - snapping lines and points very intelligently, and allowing dimensions to be typed in without the need to switch tools or click in a certain input box.
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« Reply #22 on: March 23, 2007, 06:38:38 PM »

Hope it's solid enough to carry the weight of all them books smiley
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« Reply #23 on: March 23, 2007, 07:34:08 PM »

That's an impressive bookshelf! Will you be filling it with books only, or are other items going to be going into it as well (pictures in frames, stereo, tv, etc.)? Also, I can't tell from the picture: is it bolted to the wall somehow?
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mouser
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« Reply #24 on: March 23, 2007, 07:44:31 PM »

I'm not sure anyone is interested really but let me post some details about the bookshelf and some lessons i learned (keeping in mind that i still have a few more steps to do).

First, regarding anchoring to the wall:
Yes they are anchored to the wall.  The wall is plaster and lathe, and we (my father came up and helped me build it - mother visited and helped paint) hoped to be able to drill into the wall to find the 2x4 studs to attach to, but it turns out that the walls are built with a thin metal infrastructure and so couldn't be attached to.  So instead, we put up 6 floor-to-celing 1x4s and attached them into the wall with expanding anchors.  This basically gave us some planks to attach the pieces to using metal L's that you can't see.

The whole thing is build out of 9 difference components (three 2x6 platforms, three lower pieces which are about 30" high and 5.5 feet long, and three upper pieces which are about 6 feet tall and 5.5 feet long).  The 2x6 platforms are to give it a nice raised toekick look -- but in retrospect using 2x6s unnesc. complicated things because those 2x6s are warped and made things less stable.

The lumber is knotty pine.  Most of my books told me to use hardwood faced plywood, which in retrospect might have been smarter only because a huge amount of time was spent in the lumberyard picking out the best of the worst wood.  One of the lessons I learned in building this is how warped wood is and how tricky that can be.  One serious reason to use plywood is to avoid this.  If i had it to do over again and was sure I would paint, i might use plywood.

The 5.5 foot lengths are too long a span for full loaded shelfs, so each shelf is going to need a mid support -- i haven't figured out the most aesthetically pleasing way to do this, except that im not going to use a full depth middle support, so i hope to keep the appearance of long spans.

It will be filled entirely with books except for half of the lower tall shelves will be used to store my aging record collection.

For anyone considering building such a thing, some lessons:
1) it's a two man job -- you really do need someone to help you clamp, square, etc.
2) tightbond wood glue is too liquidy for anything but completely flush joints (i grew to hate this glue).
3) pipe clamps are wonderful, and you can get a connector to make long 8ft clamps.
4) use a back (1/4 inch plywood is what we used) -- makes the entire thing much more stable and rigid.
5) use the squaring method trick where you measure from opposite corners and make sure lengths are equal (works great).
6) make a "jig" for your circular saw to ensure accurate cuts.

Painting:
The whole piece is painted with primer and 2 coats of semigloss white (actually its an off white), with sanding between coats.  Why not stain it?  I considered staining it but here is why i chose not to.  First, we used not great quality knotty wood (if we had tried to use high quality hard wood it would have cost us in the THOUSANDS of dollars in materials).  Second, i have no experience at all staining wood and i thought the chance of me messing it up and having it look amateurish was very high.  Third, the floor is a nice wood floor and i thought it might be overkill to have a giant wood bookcase also.  Fourth, the walls are white and my intention was to make a nice built-in look that merged into the wall.
« Last Edit: March 24, 2007, 07:00:51 AM by mouser » Logged
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