Computer Aided Design Classes

The following two classes, AutoCAD and Sketchup 8 are electives for our career training students; they are also open to the public, space permitting.


AutoCAD is used throughout the cabinetmaking industry and cabinetmakes with AutoCAD training are very much in demand by employers. As the industry has become more technology-oriented, most shops have had to move to computer-aided design (CAD) in order to stay competitive. While there are many people who know how to use AutoCAd, there are very few that also know how to build cabinets; this is a fundamental requirement for cabinet shops before they will hire someone to work in their drafting department. Even if you don't plan to work as a draftsperson, knowing AutoCAD will give you one more valuable skill to add to your resume and make it easier for you to interpret drawings generated by CAD.

All enrolled students (including members of the general public) qualify for a free student copy of AutoCAd with a three-year license that you can install on your PC or Mac laptop. This is a fully-featured version of AutoCAD that normally costs $4,000! The only difference is that there is a watermark that says "Education Version" on any printouts.

You can find detailed specs on the system requirements here.

Course Details

A course for the first time AutoCAD user. Learn to create shop drawings for use in the architectural woodworking and furniture making industries. Classes and exercises will concentrate on techniques for developing shop drawings and designs in cabinetmaking. Students will learn in a "workshop" type class format, observing and following along with instructor-led exercises. Upon completion of this course, attendees will be able to navigate the AutoCAD interface, draft and dimension 2D cabinet geometries using the supplied drawing template, and output the completed drawings to a printer. Students must bring their own laptop to class.

13 Tuesdays
Sept. 11 - Dec. 4
12:30 pm - 3 pm (2 hours lecture plus 1/2 hour lab)

This class is designed to work in conjunction with our cabinetmaking program. It starts the second week of the program and ends just before the design phase of our community projects. Students who have demonstrate proficiency in the AutoCAD class will be encouraged to use AutoCAD to do the design for their portion of the community project instead of hand drawing. Because this is a relatively short course for learning AutoCAD, the goalis to teach the commands that you'll need to create shop drawing like those we use at NESAW. You will be given a template during class that allows you to very quickly generate new shop drawings. Enroll now >>

Sketchup 8

Sketchup 8 is a powerful, free tool that's become very popular in the woodworking community. The power of Sketchup is in its ability to model an object in 3D exactly how it is constructed. You can rotate and view it from any angle, create sections, photo-realistically render it with textures, and create onventional dimensioned 2D shop drawings.

It's a great complement to AutoCAD because it allows you to quickly model any type of project; it would take you years of instruction in AutoCAD to get to that point. On the other hand, it doesn't produce the level of 2D shop drawings that AutoCAD can.

You can find detailed specs on the system requirements here.

Course Details

Learn how to use Sketchup to model a bedside table with tapered legs, mortise and tenon joinery, beveled top, dovetailed drawer trimmed with bullnose cock beadings, and a shaker style draw pull. Discover how to extend the functionality of Sketchup through the use and customization of scripts. Participants must bring their own laptop (PC or Mac) to class with Sketchup pre-installed in order to practice the exercises. Help is provided in class with installation issues.

5 Thursdays
Oct. 11th - Nov. 8th
6:30 - 9:30 pm (lecture/lab)

While this class is not geared specifically towards cabinetmaking, the instructor will spend some time talking about how the program applies to drawing cabinets and generating cutlists. The instructor, Joe Zeh (, has developed a number of scripts that add additional functinality to the program. Students who demonstrate proficiency in the program will have the opportunity to use it in class for their portion of the community project design - either in place of or in conjunction with other methods like hand drawing or AutoCAD. Enroll now >>