May 2008


President's corner

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President's Corner

About CAD: from the VP (while the President travels in China)

Tim Killen talked about CAD -- specifically Google's Sketch Up -- at the March meeting, and I'm wondering if it might become a turning point for at least some BAWA members.

When our March group was asked who might be interested in a Sketch Up class with Tim, all but a few hands were raised (a milestone). In the past 10 years we have had some discussion on CAD for woodworking, but nothing stuck. This product, Sketch Up, possibly because of Tim's calm mannerism and approach, seems to appeal to our group -- at least half a dozen members are checking ads and stores to purchase a laptop (me included) to be ready for the class.

The times have also changed -- laptops are now fairly dependable and widely available, no longer cost-prohibitive and (at least for me) the appeal of using the laptop while watching TV is the icing on the cake. In the evenings, we will no longer be wasting time, but using TV only to occupy the time between seminal design moments with our CAD software (if we follow Tim's lead and watch with the laptop on our laps).

I am wondering how the widespread use of this software within our Club might affect our meetings. Perhaps more use of drawings in PowerPoint presentations, or bringing in a few CDs during Show 'N Tell to let members study the exact dimensions of that new jig. And printouts of the project will show that are not visible on the completed project.

Most members allude to time spent designing, drawing, making models or mock-ups to figure out the design. Will Sketch Up allow better mastery of skills because of less time spent on designing and making models? Will it allow us to think through a project more thoroughly, which will result in better design and construction?

The adoption of Sketch Up may be a significant change for at least some BAWA members, and it will be interesting to see where it leads us. Sketch Up might make a significant impact on our design process, and how we communicate our ideas with others, all of which should have a positive effect on our favorite activity! Besides, no clamps or glue need to use the software.

Jay Perrine