RLD

draw me a picture

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What drawing program do you use or reccomend. Where can I get it and how much does it cost.

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I use soapstone on the shop floor. Costs about a dime for a stick of soapstone. If I'm feeling artsy, I dig a piece of charcoal out of the bottom of the woodstove and draw on a piece of paper.

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Old geezer here - #2 pencil, ruler and large eraser - about 25 cents ... sorry, couldn't resist - I know nothing of drawing programs
:lol:

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What drawing program do you use or reccomend. Where can I get it and how much does it cost.


Hi,
Have a look at my blog. http://artisans-in-iron.blogspot.com/
Rhino3d is US$995 but you can download the program and try with 25 saves. There isn't anything better for the price.
There's a few free programs you can use, but most of them are clunky and don't allow dimensioning and 2d drawing.

Cheers,
Rob Kenning
Secretary
Artist Blacksmiths Association South Australia.

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Interesting question RLD, I didn't think my IT knowledge was gonna be of much use on IFI, but here we go.

First it's important to specify what exactly you want to use it for. Since this is the blacksmithing forum I suppose that is what you want to use it for.

When I read the comments on using a pencil or something similar it kinda makes me smile, I'm guessing these people are of the pre-PC generation :P and you could say they are not an answer to your question. HOWEVER they have an extremely well made point. Aren't you over-complicating things by using drawing software to draw stuff for blacksmithing? (don't get me wrong, I love fancy IT solutions, but I believe they should serve the proper purpose) What I like about blacksmithing is the kinda back-to-basic way of working; for most things you don't need an elaborate drawing. Most of the times I think things out and make the correct fit at the forge.

So in my opinion a quick sketch is often preferred, drawing on the floor (in my case on concrete tiles; I forge outside) is useful when you need your piece to have a certain shape, because you can place your piece on the drawing to check its shape.

But I still haven't answered your question. For sketches on the computer I often use MS Paint it can't do much, but it often does the trick. For decent 2D drawings you could look into photoshop, but it's quite expensive.
3D software (my personal favorite) is an awesome tool, especially for those complicated designs. I started with 3DS Max which is a high-end 3D developing enviroment mostly used for videogames and movies, it's almost infinitely powerful, but it's more of a 'freehand' 3D tool in addition it's extremely expensive 3,500USD or something and takes a lot of time to master. For technical designs I love Solidworks, it's fairly easy to use with beginners experience and can create very complicated designs. It can even do strength tests en motion simulations of your designs, but again it's expensive.
On the cheap side (read free) are tools like google sketchup, which was already mentioned, and Blender. I have no experience with sketchup, but I've heard it's fairly easy to use. Blender is a good 3D design application, capable of handling a lot of things 3ds max can too.

I hope all this is of any use to you. If you're a bit more specific about what you want to do with the software I might be able to offer some extra tips!

NN4N

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Gents,

A spiral note book works well. Keep it handy, use it to jot down information and sketch out your ideas or observations. The concept here is to have a handy method to record the ideas and a place to keep them. The KISS principle usually works the best at least from my own perspective. Additionally the notebook process serves a a great rough log of shop activities and good ideas.

I have used ACAD for years at work and although it is the engineeeing industry standard it is time consuming in regard data input, it obviously requires the operator to know the program and it is pricey to purchase. The plus side of ACAD is that it draws in full scale, prints to user defined scales and it electronically stores and transferes data.

Peter

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I second Google sketchup - amazing and free

also see "Vectorworks" http://www.nemetschek.net/


good luck

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I used autocad and cadkey for about 15 years. They are fine tools, but you will find yourself putting in a lot of time to learn how to use them. Would you rather forge, or draw? Another thing is having a powerful enough computer ($$) to run the program. After you buy the software, in a year, or two, you will need to update ($$) to the newer version. There is also the question of technical assistance ($$) when you run into a problem. If you don't think that you are good enough to draw with a pencil......take a drawing class at the nearest CC. You may be surprised at the results.

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I use AutoCAD Map3D at work.

It has all of the drafting tools of plain AutoCAD, plus all of the geo/mapping, GIS stuff.

My experience is fairly limited to the 2D world, but it has all of the 3D capabilities as well.

I have done a little extrusion and rotation, but never any real 3D drafting.

I really need to spend some time learning 3D side.

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I perfer a bound notebook to a spiral, they seem easier to keep track of and tend to stay neat for me. Once the wire is smashed the spiral notebook doesn't work right anymore.
Phil

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Don,

2d for production prints and 3d for conceptual analysis. Rotation is good for mechanical clearances, i.e. doors hinges and other moving parts that need to fit through a range of motion. CAD, compared to mechanical drawing, the end product is the same in both systems. As the manufacturer or the "artist" you still need to conceptualize the final product before you invest the time and materials in the work. 3d projections are a handy tool for our pursuits. Speaking to ACAD specifically, drawing in 3d is not that dfficult because most of the snap point functions transfer. The trick is thinking in 3d as you build the drawing and look for (learn) the appropiate ACAD command lines. As a simple example, circular projections from 2d become elipses in 3d, thus the selection is elipse and you have to pick the projected plane so that the orientation works. Simple stuff but when you are delaing with CAD systems the devil is in the programming and if you don't use these function all the time the learning curve is challenging.

Peter

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Makes you wonder how folks managed without it. Obviously this glorified office equipment has wormed its way into all aspects of life.

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Graph paper and a pencil suits me. Then again so do a "T" square, scales and squares on a proper drafting table. A drafting machine works too. All it took was 6 semesters of schooling to load my mental toolkit so I can adapt to whatever's at hand.

I never did like Autocad for it's tendencency to be a showcase for software author's rather than folk who just need a useful tool. Google sketchup made my day in about two hours on first introduction replacing Auto desk products.

So, that's my toolkit now, Google sketchup and paper, pencils, scales squares and or chalk, blackboard or the floor.

Frosty the Lucky.

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I'll put in my 2 cents here - Google Sketchup is great in its free version - I have know a smith here in Colorado who has painstakingly made a library of smithing templates from twists and bends to 8+ bar basket twists! If you pay the trivial amount for the registered version, many of those templates are downloadable. I have seen quite a few Sketchup files in various smithing blogs, so even if you don't use it, it is handy to have installed.

I've heard a lot of people using AllyCAD - again free but the registered version is much more versatile.

I've tried Sketchup and AllyCAD but I am more comfortable with my graph paper and pencil. Got a cool graph paper "book" bound with about 500 sheets of graph paper - keeps all my sketches in one place!

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Even though I am an IT guy I prefer pencil and paper. I can take it with me to the forge, coffee shop, work etc. I agree with an earlier post. Take a drawing class. You are not painting the Sistine Chapel so you should be able to come up to speed pretty quick. Software takes a fair amount of time to learn compared to basic drawing skills. If you are set on using software and money is an issue Sketchup is a nice tool. I know several folks that have used it an done some amazing things with it. They just had to spend a lot of time getting to know the software. I think Frosty has it right, get some graph paper,a #2 pencil and go to it.

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I'm a CAD guy during the day, and for smithing I too prefer pencil & paper. Jake Powning is a master swordsmith & carver, and, as a result, he also has become a great renderer. he's not the only one; There are a few more out there like him. Good enough for them, good enough for me.
look at this http://www.powning.com/jake/commish/progress4.shtml

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I am also an IT guy that used to do CAD work many years ago and I prefer paper and pencil. You can Google Free CAD Software or Google Free Drafting Sortware and find a bunch of programs to try. I tried a couple for laying out my basement floorplan but in the end went back to good old paper and pencil.

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I am a pencil paper guy too... of chalk and wall or soapstone ans sheet metal.... that being said... if I wanted to do something really big, I would use ACAD or DynaCAD in 3D to make sure it would fit in the building... or throught the doors ...I also have been know to use it to calculate or generate the curves I want, plot them, and then make a jig that will make thousands all the same....

I like computers and gadgets, but they have their place...

I kind of agree with the comment that the programs tend to emphasize the authors work not mine. I think CAD is good for drawing complicated machinery, bridges, buildings, large complicated repetitious objects.

But then, thats just me....
Cliff

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Yes I have - not any time recently though. And I wasn't thinking about that when I sold my projector yesterday... Oh well... But they are great for drawing your layout work on the layout wall but be careful that your original drawing is to scale! The margin of error increases dramatically under magnification! That's why I am now depressed about my computer-connected projector that I sold yesterday...

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