Digital Designs

When you think of woodworking tools, you probably think of things like hand planes, table saws and even edge banders, not computer programs. However, today’s technology provides powerful tools for professional woodworkers. AutoCAD, AutoDesk’s Computer Aided Design program, is a drafting tool that can you can use to draw, engineer and present projects. Prior to 2007, Rivendell did all our drawings manually. Investing in AutoCad for the past five years has made a huge difference in our business.

“The biggest difference is drawing to scale,” Nandi explains. “You’re never just approximating, you always know exactly what things are. Your drawing is as accurate as your information.”

“It’s really helped improve our entire process,” said Jeremy. “We’re able to quickly produce accurate drawings in AutoCad, which translates into faster, better builds on the shop floor and in the field.”

These guys should know. They’ve both taken AutoCAD and AutoCAD Advanced college courses. Jeremy even became a Certified AutoCAD Associate in 2012 and is working towards Professional certification in 2013.

“We’ve gotten better as users of AutoCAD over the years. We’ve developed our skills as and found more uses for it,” Jeremy asserts.

“One way we’ve improved our use is through Jeremy’s development of blocks,” said Nandi. Blocks are already completed, dynamically adjustable, drawing elements that you can modify for use in your project. Block attributes, such as dimensions, can be displayed in a spreadsheet format, or tables. “Jeremy has created tables that have streamlined our methods of ordering and cutlisting.”

Rivendell expanded into the AutoDesk Product Design Suite about a year and a half ago. We’ve been finding advantages elsewhere in the package as well. We’ve been progressively using more of the 3D programs such as Inventor and 3dsMax to augment AutoCAD’s 2 dimensional capabilities. Currently, we mostly use 3D for client visualization or to break down a complicated part of a project. We look forward to creating more 3D models in the future. These allow us to look at jobs from multiple angles and eliminates the need for several different drawings of 2D views.

We’re also looking forward to doing more drafting work. Our skills are at a level that allow us to provide these services professionally. We can draft projects for architects or translate clients’ hand drawings into engineered designs. We’d be happy to draft and design your project, even if don’t choose us to build it… although we’d be happy to do that too!

Introducing RivBot

We love CNC machines, so much so that we built our own. RivBot (as we’ve come to call him) is a 3-axis CNC wood router – or, in simpler terms, is like a printer that cuts wood.

This project started late last year, when I discovered the book Build Your Own CNC Machine by Patrick Hood-Daniel, and learned of a community of hobbyists who use simple materials and affordable electronics to build do-it-yourself CNC machines. Before long we’d constructed our very own, and on Sept. 10th, 2010 RivBot spoke his first words: Hello World!. It took us a bit of time to configure our new tool, but by December we’d learned how to properly control our wily young robot (Hello World! 2).

RivBot is our first introduction to the exciting world of numerical control, and bridges the gap from virtual desktop to physical workshop. This new tool expands our current skillset to include intricate cutouts, complex designs, and even 3D profiling. We’re still discovering for ourselves the possibilities and applications that an automated tool offers. We’ll be posting more reports and project photos as we continue to explore new techniques in 21st Century woodworking.

Stop by our Open Shop (Feb. 3rd, 5-7pm) for a personal introduction and live demonstration!

New Sign

We just mounted a new sign in our front window. Looks pretty sharp if I do say so myself! I redrew our company graphic in AutoCAD, all clean and perfectly scaled, then sent it to our sign-maker in DXF file format.

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