best cad program for furniture design?

for seating, i pike to sketch out ideas, render them in photoshop on a wacom monitor tablet.

for fast form studies in furniture, i use rhino.

for serious stuff i do it in solidworks.

i do photorealistic rendering in 3d viz (export solidworks to rhino as a step, explode the step in rhino, save as a rhino file, import resulting rhino model into Viz.)

have you ever considered the option of using Concept unlimited, or Shark FX as its now known as.

Its a very powerful modeller, easy to use, clean easy UI.

I have used it in a furniture design studio, originally using Rhino, but my boss quickly said, Start using Concepts. End of…

my school’s furniture department teaches Rhino and Auto Cad.

I’ve seen other schools that use Turbo Cad on a mac platform. Has anyone else used Turbo and can you elaborate on it’s usefulness, ease-of-use or lack thereof? For the straight up 2d/3d cad program (not mechanical design version), it’s price is VERY attractive.

Turbocad seems like one of those programs that once you finish school you will have a hard time finding a studio that actually uses it. For the Mac your probably best off with VectorWorks.

I would probably recomend Rhino (also coming out on the Mac soon) as it is the most versatile. I have done rapid prototyping in it with absolutly no problem (saved as an .iges). Anytime a client has asked for a DXF I just save it as one directly from rhino and they can’t even tell the difference (except for maybe the font and the arrows on the measurments).

The best thing about Rhino is that I can make a precise 2d drwaing of my object from the 3d file without having to redraw the entire thing. I find autocad to be an overpriced piece of software for what I do. Maybe its good for architecture , but I don’t do architecture. §I designed a few stands for the design fair here in Milan, Italy in Rhino and had absolutly no problems.

Stefan Krivokapic
co-founder of Fraktal

is vectorworks good for mechanical design as well? like if you want to design drawer-rollers or cabinet hinges & other moving hardware?

yeah agreed, autocad is clunky and way overpriced. I just don’t see the benefit of using it when there’s a whole smorgasbord of inexpensive alternatives.

rhino on the mac… can’t beat that… while it’s pretty nifty, form z has nothing on rhino… certainly not in the licensing department either.

If you have experience in AutoCAD, you can use utilities from They created especially for adapt AutoCAD to furniture design.

if your into getting a job at a major manufacture like HON, or Herman Miller you might give your attention to Pro/ENGINEER. or if your just a Hobie-ist then autocad can waist yourtime efficiently.

A lot of the furniture design institutions will contract a more famous designer in Italy and they deliver Rhino models but the manufacturer will almost always re model (hopefully with integrity) the model using Pro/ENGINEER. so they can teak the draft and what have you…

Pro/ENGINEER is a nightmare for the inexperienced but for the well trained industrial designer… Pro/ENGINEER is a powerful communication tool.

Solidworks for shop drawings and Rhino + Vray for presentations.