CAD for Woodworkers: makes it easy to draw woodworking plans
4.1 (39 ratings)
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CAD for Woodworkers: makes it easy to draw woodworking plans

Learn how to draw your own fully dimensioned woodworking plans using the FREE professional CAD program DraftSight.
4.1 (39 ratings)
Instead of using a simple lifetime average, Udemy calculates a course's star rating by considering a number of different factors such as the number of ratings, the age of ratings, and the likelihood of fraudulent ratings.
597 students enrolled
Created by Simon Rodway
Last updated 3/2016
Current price: $10 Original price: $20 Discount: 50% off
30-Day Money-Back Guarantee
  • 2.5 hours on-demand video
  • 9 Articles
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
What Will I Learn?
  • Learn to draw fully dimensioned plans, quickly and easily
View Curriculum
  • No prior knowledge of CAD
  • You will need a computer capable of running the FREE CAD software DraftSight, which should be downloaded and installed prior to taking the course. Additionally, a wheelmouse or equivalent is really useful to allow zooming and panning without accessing screen commands.

Once you have learned the basics in CAD drawing, you will have a skill that will last you a lifetime.

Here's what a recent student on the course, Cady Dodds, a carpenter designer/maker who runs Perfect Space Carpentry, had to say in an email to me:

"The course has been great for me, first step towards electronic drawing.

I sat down this afternoon and drew up 2 elevations for a client, some wardrobes and storage. Although basic I think quite acceptable and took me about 2 hours or so, and after a bit of fettling I got them to print. So I am very pleased."

This was Cady's first ever CAD drawing. The 2 hours it took him, will soon become an hour. The time savings CAD offers you have to be experienced to be believed. What's more, you can send your finished drawing to anyone, anywhere in the world, as a PDF file which they can open to view and print. Its an unbeatable technology, using FREE software!

Here are some of the things the course teaches you to do:

  • how to set up the CAD screen to draw more quickly and easily
  • how to use a few basic tools to maximum effect, and build even complex drawings using simple techniques
  • how to re-use existing drawings to create new ones, in a fraction of the time
  • how to dimension your finished drawings in minutes using powerful CAD tools
  • how to output your drawings as finished scale plans, either printed or as PDF files

Using a project based, step by step method I show you how to draw a complete set of elevations of an Apothecary's Chest.

A PDF version of the plans of the chest are provided to download for reference, and sequential versions of the relevant CAD files for you to work on as you progress through the course are also included. These files are prepared with a range of dimension scales to make it much easier to output your finished drawing, and can be re-used as templates in the future.

The course has 3 main sections

  • Customising the workspace, where you learn how to streamline the CAD screen and tools to get the most out of them
  • The project, where you learn through step by step video lectures, how to draw a complete set of woodworking plans
  • Dimensioning, scales and output, where you learn how to add dimensions to the finished plans and output the drawing to print or as a PDF file
Who is the target audience?
  • The course is designed primarily to teach CAD to anyone involved in woodworking and similar craft and design disciplines.
Curriculum For This Course
32 Lectures
3 Lectures 06:37

Introducing the core principles of the course; that you should only learn the parts of a software program that you need to know and use; that you can streamline these into simple pathways which help you to use the software more effectively, productively and quickly.


A brief description of DraftSight,the CAD software used on the course, and why it has been chosen.

DraftSight: Free CAD software

Just a few pointers on how to get the best out of Udemy lectures, including, and most important, clicking on that HD button to get the clearest possible video picture. Also, a quick run through on the tabs and downloading resources like files to go with the course.

Preview 02:43
Clearing the decks
4 Lectures 21:53

Start the customisation of the DraftSight screen, clearing toolbars and palettes to give yourself a bigger drawing area and simplify the user interface. This customisation is optional, but is recommended as it will help in drawing more effectively and quickly.

Clearing toolbars

Hiding the CCS icon, changing the background screen colour, and setting up the POLAR and ESNAP tool

Customising the workspace

Customising toolbars by adding and removing tools

Customising toolbars

Clearing the decks - reference
CAD essentials and concepts
3 Lectures 06:09

An explanation of how units, scales and size works in CAD programs. Most people are familiar with scale drawings, but in CAD it is usual to draw things full size, and then output at any scale you choose once the drawing is finished.

Units, sizes and scales

An introduction to how we find our way around the CAD screen and environment

Co-ordinates, or where are we?

A short reference guide to drawing rectangles using the coordinates system.

Preview 01:38

A quick way to remind yourself of some of the basic CAD concepts.

Basic CAD concepts
7 questions
Drawing the front elevation
7 Lectures 44:27

Start constructing the front elevation of the Apothecary's Chest, using the RECTANGLE drawing tool, and the MOVE and MIRROR editing tools.

Drawing the top and sides

Using the RECTANGLE tool, and editing tools MOVE, MIRROR and COPY, this lecture shows you how to rapidly build a drawing with the minimum of input.

Adding some drawers

Round over the end of the top with the FILLET tool, and then MIRROR the top 2 rows to create the bottom 2 rows of drawers. Using the LINE tool to create a guideline, and then the STRETCH tool to edit the bottom drawer heights to finish the drawers.

Preview 05:38

Construct and add bun feet to the elevation using the CIRCLE and OFFSET tools, and the TRIM tool.

Adding the feet

Using construction lines as diagonals, and the CIRCLE and COPY tools, you will add handles and complete the front elevation

Adding handles

Drawing the front elevation - Reference - Part 1

Drawing the front elevation - Reference - Part 2

Some questions to remind you of drawing concepts in the lectures.

Drawing the front elevation
7 questions
Constructing the side elevation
3 Lectures 16:59

Creating a side elevation using a copy of the front elevation. Changing the width of the copy using the STRETCH editing command. Introduces the OFFSET command to create the side frame, and EXPLODE command to create lines from a rectangle.

Please download the CAD file WW CHEST 2 available with this tutorial.

Drawing the side elevation

Looks at drawing a side elevation detail of the handle, using construction lines and rectangles, and then drawing the outline using the ARC tool.

Please download the CAD file WW CHEST 3 available with this tutorial.

Drawing handle details

Using the LINE tool to create construction lines, and matching the centres of the handle on the front elevation to intersections on the side elevation. Using COPY to put the side elevations of the handle detail in place.

Positioning handles
Layers and dimensioning
2 Lectures 14:48

An introduction to layers and the LAYER MANAGER, looking at the various layer options including locking, line colour and line weight or thickness.

Introduction to layers

An introduction to dimensioning drawings in CAD, including various tools on the dimension toolbar, and a look at dimension styles.

Please download the CAD file WW CHEST 4 available with this tutorial.

Dimensioning drawings
Drawing the front section
4 Lectures 22:52

Create a copy of the front elevation to use as a template, and then add the sections of the drawer frames and guides on the section layer, using the RECTANGLE and COPY tools

Adding the drawer frames

Introducing two new tools, the POLYLINE tool ,and the ROTATE editing tool, this lecture focuses on drawing the side and top frames and panels.

Top and side frame and panel

Adding drawer section

Adding the outer guides or spacers, and then using MIRROR to copy the drawn part of the section across to the other side. Finally, the bottom frame and panel and the fixing dowel for the feet is added.

Finishing the front section
Drawing the side section
2 Lectures 09:05

This lectures shows you how to reuse the sections already drawn through the top and bottom to begin to create the side section. Editand create POLYLINES.

Adding the top, bottom and back panel

Add the drawer frames and drawers sections, using the COPY and STRETCH tools.

Adding the drawer frames and drawers
Scales and plotting to PDF
2 Lectures 28:59

Introducing sheets as different to model space. Taking a look at the relationship between pre-setup scales in the dimension style option, and matching sheets.

Scales and sheets

Looks at how to output your drawings as PDF files which can either be emailed or printed using Adobe Reader. Includes another look at sheets and viewports, and setting up scale drawings.

Plotting to PDF
The next step
2 Lectures 14:35
The next step

Using an example from a set of elevations of a garden bench, the video shows how to set up and draw a template. Construction of a grid using the PATTERN tool is included, and then an outline using the freehand curves drawn with the ARC tool.

Drawing templates
About the Instructor
Simon Rodway
3.9 Average rating
122 Reviews
1,308 Students
2 Courses
Drawing software professional, designer and journalist

Working as an illustrator and designer in architecture and publishing for more than 30 years has taught me a lot about drawing software.

One thing I have learned is that FREE software is as good and sometimes better than the expensive stuff!

So how do you choose which programs to use?

I've done that for you in my courses.

Would you like to learn how to draw accurate woodworking plans quickly and easily using a free professional CAD program? Well, take my CAD for Woodworkers course using DraftSight, a great professional level CAD program similar in commands and structure to AutoCAD.

Would you like to be able to design and draw your projects in 3D? I'm running a course now on Udemy, SketchUp for Woodworkers, for anyone (not just woodworkers) who wants to learn how to use SketchUp to draw smaller projects (ie not a house!)

See my Udemy courses ,SketchUp for Woodworkers and its companion course, CAD for Woodworkers.

Brief CV: I have worked on a wide range of magazine titles in the UK, US and Europe and currently illustrate 2 UK based craft titles, Furniture and Cabinetmaking and Woodworking Crafts, providing plans and 3D drawings as well as articles for both. I have illustrated more than 50 books on a wide variety of craft subjects, and have written extensively in craft magazines on the use of computer drawing techniques in furniture making and joinery.

I have a degree in Architecture, and run LineMine, a website that focuses on design drawing techniques and software.