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PeteM

Layout Software: Good for Beginners +

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Most experienced woodworkers I know pooh-pooh the need for layout software (aka "cutlist" software).  Why?  Because they don't need it.  Many new woodworkers simply cannot envision the project or how to arrange the cutouts from stock.  There is a large segment of the population that lack that mental skill; some can develop it over time, others have to find substitutes.  My thought is that the current body of experienced woodworkers are largely those that have the knack, and those who lack it simply drop out of the practice.  It makes for a narrow, and maybe narrowing, field. 

     If you have the opportunity to encourage a newcomer, consider suggesting they acquire that software (I use CutList, but there are others; I do NOT include CAD software such as Sketchup:  it's a different animal).  Perhaps after a few years they won't need it.  I once took an aptitude test that told me I'd be a poor engineer because I don't visualize easily.  True about the visualization, but as it turned out, not a limit if you work around it.  I've used the layout software for over a decade and still find it useful.  (IOW, I'm still lousy at visualization!)

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I'm with ya. My visualization skills are less than adequate. But then, my realization skills are worse. :(

 

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I always found cutlist to be extremely useful, at least with sheet goods. It's one thing I really missed when i switched to a Mac, they don't support the Mac platform.

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I too have used Cutlist for several years. And their customer service is pretty good too.  They have helped me several times reload the program due to crashed hard drive, new computer, upgrade from W8.1 to W10, etc. 

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Look into Google Sketchup - i have used that a ton - there is even a plugin for cutlist that works pretty well.  It used to be a free download - not sure anymore - been a while since I downloaded it.

 

Relatively simple to use, but does take some computer knowledge.  If you have any specific questions I would be more than glad to try to answer them.

 

I did a video and posted on Youtube awhile ago showing cutlist I used for a project for our church - a cabinet for our choir to hold our books and binders- check it out: 

 

 

 

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Thanks, Pete I am going to give it a try and I hope it works for me. Sketchup and I don't get along.

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