Matthew very kindly followed up his suggestion of using Sketchup to model the shed, allowing a 3D walkthough, by spending some time doing an initial model of the shed

So awesome!  The machines are not placed for a specific layout, but more of a demonstration of what is possible.

The first shot is a general view, panning around the outside.  The second and third are ones I took during an actual walkthrough of the space.

sku sku3sku2

Made me a bit nervous – is there enough room?!

Of course, no matter what, there is significantly more room than I had.

The Shed zipfile

So thanks Matthew – it is a very cool tool!

If anyone has some alternate layouts they think will work (perhaps using this awesome vehicle Matthew has provided), I would be really interested to see.

Woodcraft App

Recently I have been exploring the capabilities of a new app for the iPad, from Fasterre called Woodcraft.


It is in simple terms, a CAD program for the iPad, and probably not too dissimilar from Sketchup (although I have not played with that a lot).

The app is particularly refined – things work as you’d expect, and a lot of attention has gone into its design.

To start, you can either create a new project from scratch, or download one which other users have made and uploaded for sharing.


Here I am downloading a birdhouse, that I can either build from the design provided, or used as a starting point for further development.

Elements can be added and deleted, dragged and dropped, rotated and precisely aligned with other elements.


There is a main view on the right, and other elevations on the left.  You can easily switch through each elevation by dragging the one you want to view or work with to the main window.  There, you can add and modify elements, add dimensions, and perform basic woodwork functions (tablesaw , saw, hammer (to join elements together etc)).  You can take a photo in the real word, then overlay your project to see just how it will look with the Photograph function.


Where it comes to ordering timber for the project, click on “Bill of Material”, and it will provide a list of the components needed.

As you are designing the project, you may want to work with timbers you already have, or standard sizes that you know are available.  That can be accommodated as well.  Working either with the lumber pile, or the scrap pile.


And being CAD, and that you are working with solids in 3D, you can therefore view your resulting object in 3D as well – very helpful to visualise where you are at in the project design process, and work out what needs to be designed next.


It is quite a complex app given its capabilities, but there are plenty of videos available on their website that will help you get started, then develop your skills with the app.

Apps for the iPad are certainly maturing!

Continuing my backlash against CAD

I am still very much on the traditional pencil and paper design method, and it was recently suggested by Joe that I check out Accu-Line.

To quote from their website:

The ACCU-LINE Drawing System is a patented micro-grid surface that simply slips under a piece of paper and provides a sub-surface template in which a pencil or pen-tip follows in a dead straight line. The same way the stylus in an old record player follows the groove in the record it’s playing.

The Accu-Line drawing surface is embossed with more than 2,500 of these microscopic pyramids per square inch and more than 237,000 per sheet of A4 size paper. These pyramids force the point of your drawing instrument to travel in a straight line within the groove between them.

When I got my slate, I was a bit dubious – I could feel the pattern, but would it really have any effect on a pen running over the paper surface?



Short answer – simply: “Yes”
Longer answer: “Yes, and would you like parallel lines handdrawn perfectly 1mm apart or 2? Very cool.

Both the A4 and A3 slates came on aluminium clipboards (the “Tool Kit” version)- this is definitely a product designed to be used at the coalface – to be used in front of a client, sketching up an idea and yet nailing precise lines without waving a ruler everywhere.  I’m about to make up some toy kitchens, and was explaining to the person wanting one of them what my vision was – the Accu-line would have been perfect in that situation.

They have some other complementary products: a compass/protractor combo

CompassAnd templates

templatesSo continue the rebellion against computer drawings, pick up a pencil and create without restrictions!

(Ok computer design can be very creative, and there are programs such as Sketchup that do work, I just like the physical design process!)

I’ll be using the Accu-line shortly when I further plan out the toy kitchen.

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