"In the past, we've done design work with 2D CAD, which was fine, but there are always changes along the way, especially after you present the first draft of the design. It usually meant a lot of redrawing," explains Kelsey. "After going through three or four different changes in the frame widths on kitchen cabinets, I said, 'there's got to be a better way than this,'" recalls Kelsey. "I had to go through every single cabinet and change every part three or four times in our old 2D CAD before the customer finally gave the OK."
Solid modeling has become the Rockaway Beach woodworker's newest fascination. The software allows him to easily reproduce the furniture concept he has in mind, and then, when the scale and size of item needs adjustment according to a client's wishes, he can change the entire design in a few mouse clicks. Solid modeling, Kelsey believes, is the solution to time-consuming re-work.
The Long Search for Wood-Friendly Software
The full advantages of 3D CAD have been slow to come to the woodworking world, even though the technology is in practice in many other fields of design. Brand name solid modelers in recent years had been geared for gears: they were bulky software packages meant for large mechanical engineering firms. Their features were powerful, Kelsey says, but the multitude of commands became too complicated to remember. These applications preferred crunch millimeters instead of thirty-seconds of an inch, and were overpriced for an individual woodworker.
Kelsey sampled several programs custom-made for wood products with 3D capabilities, but these lacked the same power. They were good for plywood-type construction like mass-produced case goods, and not much else. They did not offer the capabilities for the advanced curves and joinery of Kelsey's more sophisticated furniture designs. For many years, there were no practical forms of 3D CAD for wood; the solutions either cost too much or offered too little.
"With a parametric modeler like Alibre Design, I can change dimensions rather quickly. I create the look of the design, then fiddle with the dimensions and scale afterward to fit the client's requirements," says Kelsey. "The application also has all the power of the more expensive modelers, so I can easily add more complex curvatures. It turned out to be a very good tool for woodworking design."
Customers typically do not pay for drawings; they pay for the finished product. All the more reason, Kelsey argues, to create design plans as efficiently as possible. "If you're not getting paid for drawing, why waste extra hours drawing when you can avoid it?"
For more information about how Kelsey Woodworks has been using Alibre Design to save time, rework and money read the full case study at http://www.alibre.com/success/customerstories/cs-200605-kelsey.asp
About Kelsey Woodworks
Kirk and Connie Kelsey create specialty woodworking designs for furniture, cabinetry and case goods. Kelsey Woodworks is based in Rockaway Beach, Oregon. For more information, please visit www.kelseywoodworks.com.
For availability and upgrade information, and to enjoy a 30-day free trial of Alibre software, please visit www.alibre.com.
Alibre Inc. develops and markets Alibre Design, the fastest growing parametric 3D solid modeling software for mechanical design and manufacturing. One-fifth the cost of comparable software, Alibre Design delivers quick ROI, ease-of-use, rich functionality and unique real-time support, and is enabling small and medium-sized businesses and workgroups to put 3D CAD on every engineers desk, similar to utilities like Word or Excel. Alibre also delivers Alibre Design Xpress, the industry's only true 3D parametric modeler available free of charge. Alibre Design is available in thirteen languages and distributed worldwide. Founded in 1997, Alibre Inc. is privately funded and based in Richardson, Texas. For a free trial of Alibre Design, please visit www.alibre.com.
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