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Best Drafting Tools for Millwork in 2024

Top Drafting Tools for Millwork in 2024: Expert Picks

Millwork drafters face a daunting task in selecting smart drafting tools amid numerous options to stay efficient. Here, we present six standout choices including AutoCAD, Autodesk Inventor, SolidWorks, Microvellum, Cabinet Vision, and 2020 Design, each offering tailored benefits and industry acceptance.

In 2024, millwork drafters have a multitude of smart drafting tools to choose from. Choosing a drafting tool that aligns with your current skill set and is forward-looking can be a difficult decision.

A typical millwork drafter deals with 2D drawings, PDFs, hand sketches, rendered views and CNC files for different purposes. To be viable, the tool must also have wide industry acceptance and strong compatibility with other applications used in the industry.

To help you with this decision, we have looked at the best millwork drawing drafting tools available in 2024 and shortlisted six options. These include AutoCAD, Autodesk Inventor, SolidWorks, Microvellum, Cabinet Vision and 2020 Design.

AutoCAD

autocad for millwork casework drawings

In the millwork manufacturing industry, where 80% of professionals use AutoCAD, it’s essential for millwork design engineers to adopt this software. Using AutoCAD ensures seamless compatibility and streamlines the approval process with architects who predominantly use this platform.

AutoCAD also integrates with other Autodesk products like Inventor, providing a comprehensive suite of tools for both 2D and 3D design. It also integrates with platforms like Microvellum, enhancing its utility in the millwork domain.

It ensures precision in custom cabinet design, aids collaboration, and offers features like smart block placement and improved markup assist.

AutoCAD drafting tool benefits millwork designers in the following ways:

  • Detailed Component Information: AutoCAD allows the designer to create comprehensive technical details about the furniture products and their internal part alignment.
  • Accuracy and Precision in Millwork Quantity Takeoffs: AutoCAD allows the user to create and use 1:1 scale drawing as the base for calculating accurate millwork quantity takeoffs. This reduces the risk of over/underestimating materials and minimizing waste.
  • Efficient Design Modifications: A small percentage of the industry uses 3D ISO views in AutoCAD to edit millwork designs, which otherwise would be difficult. This helps stakeholders understand designs better, saving time and enhancing flexibility.
  • Convenient File Formats: It offers multiple file formats like IGES, STEP, DWG, DWF, and DXF for seamless communication across platforms and teams.

Pricing

AutoCAD’s standard subscription, including upgrades and customer support, is priced at $1,600/yr.

Autodesk Inventor

inventor for woodwork 3d modeling

Autodesk Inventor’s parametric 3D models act as a ‘single source of truth’ both for 3D work and 2D drafting. This ensures design data consistency and reduces errors on the shop floor.

Designing and modeling with Autodesk Inventor benefits the woodwork industry in several ways.

Inventor’s CAM feature generates CNC programs for model geometry. It creates furniture skeletons based on volumes and design complexity. It also offers a library of customizable joinery components to speed up the design process and ensure use of standardized parts.

In addition, Inventor also facilitates easy material assignment for cutting data, and automated model and drawing development with high accuracy.

Inventor’s compatibility with other CAD apps, like AutoCAD, helps to translate complex designs into tangible products and optimizing drafting workflows.

Woodwork for Inventor – A Partner product

  • Woodwork for Inventor provides tailored solutions for specific needs of woodworkers that are not covered by Autodesk Inventor’s general design tools.
  • It offers flexible wood material management, CAM functionality for CNC program files, and adaptability for customization in furniture manufacturing.
  • With a global reach and partner network, Woodwork for Inventor is used across different markets and industries.

Pricing

Inventor has both subscription and pay-as-you-go models. Users can buy tokens for daily access. Its subscription plans range from monthly $305 per user to $7,320 per user for 3-year terms.

Get millwork drawings in Inventor without paying for any licenses

SolidWorks

solidworks for millwork 3d modeling

SolidWorks excels in powerful 3D CAD modeling for millwork and woodworking with features such as enhanced assembly workflows and improved part modeling.

SolidWorks offers opportunities to improve top-down or in-context assembly design. This is beneficial for items like cabinets, where resizing an outer model automatically updates all components and drawings.

SolidWorks comes with partner products like PASCAM, SWOOD Design, etc. enhancing the efficiency of developing production-ready millwork designs.

SWOOD Design

solidworks swood 3d modeling
  • Capabilities: It includes parametric assembly functions, material management, automatic data export, and parametric modeling. It allows for the insertion of connectors, managing grain direction and panel thickness, and exporting lists, such as cutting and hardware lists.
  • Benefits: It offers automation and the creation of production-ready designs. It supports the design of various furniture types like kitchen, bathroom, shop fitting, and vehicle interiors. Using SWOOD add-ins for SolidWorks speeds up the millwork design cycle by 30-40%.

Pricing

The pricing for SolidWorks ranges from $3,995 for a standard license, with an annual subscription of $1,295, to $7,995 for a premium license with a $1,995 annual fee.

Specialized Industry defined tools

Apart from the popular drawing drafting tools listed above, there are other specialized software that cater to the unique needs of millwork projects.

Microvellum

microvellum for woodwork design drafting

Microvellum is a CAD/CAM/CIM platform that integrates with AutoCAD and is used for projects in residential cabinetry, architectural millwork, and commercial interior fit-outs. It includes industry-standard CAD toolsets, customizable product libraries, and flexible engineering tools.

Its integration with AutoCAD offers machine-agnostic capabilities and open product libraries that can be easily configured. It also includes a built-in report designer and actively incorporates user feedback into software updates.

Cabinet Vision

cabinet vision drawings modeling

Cabinet Vision provides solutions for designing, bidding, costing, and manufacturing in custom cabinetry and millwork.

It features tools for producing photo-realistic 3D renderings, custom programming, troubleshooting, and technical help.

Cabinet Vision is used extensively by millworkers and cabinet makers to create millwork shop drawings and comprehensive build packets for production.

2020 Design Live

2020design kitchen and bathroom drawing

2020 Design Live is a kitchen and bathroom design software, offering tools for space planning, 3D visualizations, photorealistic renderings, and 360° panoramas.

It provides real-time access to manufacturer products and catalogues, an advanced lighting wizard, and a catalog of kitchen design style options. It also supports decorative cloud items and SketchUp integration.

The software also helps to change colors and dimensions of multiple items quickly, ensures flexibility, and provides immersive design experiences through VR.

2020design kitchen and bathroom rendering

Conclusion

The choice of drafting tool in millwork depends on the specific requirements of the project and the designer’s expertise. Autodesk Inventor and SolidWorks are strong contenders for 3D modeling and complex project assemblies, while AutoCAD remains a reliable option for 2D drawing drafting. Microvellum offers specialized solutions for woodworking, making it a unique choice for certain projects. Balancing functionality, ease of use, and cost will help you in selecting the most appropriate tool for your millwork design needs.

Author TrueCADD

TrueCADD is a leading CAD drafting services and BIM modeling solutions provide company in India. At TrueCADD, we provide high quality and cost-effective CAD outsourcing services to worldwide customers such as architects, designers, engineers, contractors, manufacturers, fabricators and building owners. Our flexible in-house capacity, combined with our vast experience and strong resource base help us understand the requirements of international clients and provide reliable CAD outsourcing services for a wide spectrum of industries.

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