I’m all for finding shortcuts or tools that will help me build things more efficiently in both time and material. So, I thought I would share some of the handy woodworking apps that I use on a regular basis for planning and building projects.
I used to draw everything on paper when planning a project. There’s nothing wrong with that at all, in fact, I still do it from time to time. But I have found that I’ve gained a lot more efficiency in my shop thanks to some of these apps. It’s simple…when you have a well laid out plan, things go quicker and you waste less material.
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If you’re not currently using any of these, give them a try and see if they can help you too!
Cut Calculator – $6.99 – iPad Only
Alright, so this one could be a game changer for some of you. It’s all about efficiency and minimizing waste, and isn’t that what we all strive for? Whether woodworking is a business or a hobby, no one likes to spend more than they have to!
I used to use Sketchup to layout my plywood and board cuts. It took a lot of time and since we’re talking about efficiency, this was a waste of just that. There had to be a better way of doing it, right?
I came across this Cut Calculator App for the iPad. You throw in you all of your cuts on various material sizes (and it factors in your kerf!) and BOOM it outputs an optimized plan!! What’s better? You can even make it factor in wood grain or ignore it!!!!!
You can then print, PDF, email, or iMessage your plan. If you get your sheet goods cut down at the lumber store, this is a MUST-HAVE!
The diagrams are straight forward and make it really easy to maximize your sheets. I have even gone into the lumber store with these diagrams and had them cut some of the sheets down to size for me…partly because my car doesn’t fit a full sheet in, and also because it’s just a lot easier to handle.
Fraction Calculator + Decimals – Base App Free – iPhone/iPad
So, I’m no mathematician…in fact, it was my weak subject in high school. It’s a wonder that my day job and my woodworking hobby revolve around math and fractions. Turns out, I was just a bad student…I’m pretty good at math after all!
I found this app a while back and it is incredibly handy. I use it more often than I thought I would. As woodworkers, we typically work in fractions like 3/8″ 1/8″ 5/16″. So when you grab your calculator you always have to convert that fraction to a decimal first. Do you ever find yourself converting a fraction to a decimal on the calculator before you actually do your calculation? Well this takes that extra step away. You can input the actual fractions and get a result in the form of a fraction! It also shows the decimal format of the number below once you hit enter in case you need it.
Say WHAAATTT?? You can add, subtract, multiply and divide fractions right on the calculator? YES, it is a great tool!
The base app is free, and that’s all I’ve ever really needed! The paid version enables you to convert a decimal to a fraction, but in reality, how often do you need to do that!
MagicPlan – Base App Free (Purchase your plans for $2.99 each) – iPhone/iPad
This app is free to use, but then to export to a PDF or JPG you have to purchase one floor plan at a time, or you can subscribe if this is something you’ll be using all the time.
This app helps you create professional floor plans by just using your iPhone’s camera alone. It’s actually pretty accurate considering it is done by AR (Augmented Reality).
It’s worth a try if your using it to calculate the square feet of a room or calculate baseboard trim requirements. You can also use the floor plans it produces and layout furniture, add doorways and windows.
It’s very functional overall even with the limited ability to export on the free version.
I wouldn’t rely on it for exact precise measurements, but it is definitely a helpful tool!
Give the free base version a try!
Board Feet Easy Calculator – Free – iPhone/iPad
Who buys lumber by the board feet?
You know how you sit in the lumber yard with your phone out trying to remember the formula?
I know, it’s really not that hard…just (LxWxT)/144.
But this app just makes it a bit easier and calculates the cost of it for you especially if your working with numbers that are not rounded to the nearest foot.
Just input the required fields and even enter a price in the optional field and BAM, you have a cost!
The app’s completely free so there’s no risk in giving it a shot to see if it would help you at all.
MaxCut – Windows Desktop Only
This program will only work for you Window’s users out there, but it is very similar to the Cut Calculator iPad app above. This one is free.
It’s got a lot of the same features, but works only on desktop. I actually prefer this one if I had to use one or the other, but it’s not mobile friendly obviously.
It maximizes your cuts and you can re-optimize them based on criteria that you can change. You can also tell it to follow the grain direction or ignore it for each cut. You’re plywood game will never be the same after using this app.
This is another free program, but only works on Windows desktops.
SketchUp – Browser/iOS Desktop/Windows Desktop
I have to say that this is an awesome piece of software, but it is not intuitive off the bat. You’ll probably spend a lot of time watching YouTube tutorials to get the hang of it. But, once you do, it will change your game.
Once you get onto using SketchUp to design your builds, you will not look back. I rarely build anything without first drawing up a plan on this program. I find that it saves me a lot of time during the building process. It takes away a lot of the guesswork, and trying to figure things out on the go.
You can use the online browser version SketchUp Free or download the desktop versions. The newer Pro versions will require you to purchase a licence, but you can still download SketchUp Make 2016 for free in the download archives!
You can create accurate plans which will lead to less material waste, less wasted time, less return trips to the lumber yard and a great sketch of the final product so you can sell the idea to your wife…or clients…
Let me know, are there any other apps that you use on a regular basis on either mobile, tablet or desktop that you can’t live without?
Original source: https://www.thediyhubs.com/2018/05/handy-woodworking-apps/