(For those new to the column, Forward Migration is our term for companies moving from Wintel machines to Macs — or at least adding or increasing the number of Macs they use. A Forward Migration Kit is an overview of Mac OS products for a particular occupation, such as photography, optometry, etc.)
This week we’re serving up part two of our roundup of woodworking software for the Mac. Part one is
A large part of any project is the design details and material layout. For this lots of folks use the 2D drafting program,
MacDraft, from Microspot.
Designed for CAD users of all levels, the US$239 MacDraft offers drawing tools, as well as both ANSI and international standard dimensioning capabilities. Its multi-layered, scaled drawing environment supports both feet/inches and metric dimensions. In addition, Microspot MacDraft offers linked dimensioning to automatically update dimensions as you modify components.
MacDraft is built for mechanical, architectural and engineering design, as well as for technical illustration. If you frequently work with AutoCAD files, Microspot MacDraft offers compatibility with AutoCAD and other programs supporting DWG/DXF.
If you have never worked with a drafting program before, you will appreciate MacDraft’s ease of use, which allows you to quickly create professional-quality drawings. Features are designed with the user in mind and rival those of much more expensive CAD programs. You don’t have to think like a computer to use MacDraft. You just sit down and draw.
“It is easy to use and learn, it has an accurate scaled environment and an affordable price,” Robert Coulling, managing director of Microspot, told MacCentral. “We have thousands of users.”
The company has recently released a Mac OS X version of MacDraft, and it now opens DWG files using the Open DWG Alliance Libraries.
Paul King, who designs and builds custom cabinets and furniture, is a big MacDraft fan. He told MacCentral that the program is very easy to use when creating precision drawings, allowing him to focus on the design and how he’s actually going to build the project, rather than how to use the software.
“As I am creating and manipulating shapes in my drawing, I often find errors in my original design concept,” King said. “I am then able to work out a solution right on the screen. Once I finish my working drawings I can annotate it with MacDraft’s auto dimension lines and create working notes using its text tool. I also do my material layout using MacDraft.”
First he makes a material list from the drawing, i.e., the size and quantity of each piece of wood needed. Next he draws a rectangle the length and width of each piece of wood he has in stock for this project. Then King draws rectangles the sizes of the pieces he needs and arranges them efficiently on his wood stock.
“In other words, lay out all of the pieces of the same width in tandem, thereby allowing you to rip them all in a single pass on the table saw,” he explained. “This method has reduced my waste to practically nothing. This can amount to a big cost savings at today’s hardwood prices.”
MasterCarpenter is a shareware program to calculate board feet, spindle spacings, concrete volume, stair dimensions, and more. Unfortunately, it’s an old program developed by
Renaissance Software, and they no longer offer it to the Mac community, according to Frank Campbell. But it works with Mac OS 9.2.1.
a Web site
where I mention it, and I have been sending copies to anyone that wants a copy,” he said. “The author contacted me a year or so ago and also requested a copy, as he had lost the original copy, which he said he wanted to put up on their site. So far nothing has happened. Perhaps if Mac owners contacted him, it might give him more incentive.”
Although not specifically a woodworking product, Mike Clements, creator director of E Factor Media, regularly uses Strata 3D for planning and visualizing his woodshop projects. There’s an entire line of
video editing software.
Recreational woodworker Tim Van Riper said there’s not a lot of Mac software for woodworking available. However, he recommends the
Bench Notes Web site
for some software hints, as well as general info on woodworking. Also, the
Journal of Light Construction
has back issues (although, not software) available on CD-ROM. They’re geared more toward contracting, Van Riper said.
He also likes
NIMCO, which has software that’s oriented more toward safety education. And,
has some Excel workbooks on their software page that can be used on a Mac, Van Riper said.
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