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Woodworking software consists of the computer programs that are mostly used to help manage the business side of a woodworking service, but there are also tools and programs for hobbyists who are just looking to make shelves, tables and other wooden objects. There is a large amount of variation among woodworking software, because some are made for managing customers and invoices, others are for assembling woodworking plans by using standard materials and may have a three-dimensional (3D) rendition, and some work with cutters. Most programs will combine several of these features but will specialize in one or more features.
Managing a woodworking business can be tough, but managerial woodworking software attempts to help the owner and workers. This type of software usually has tools for making and building digital replicas of wooden objects but tends to focus more on making invoices and managing material use and costs. These programs typically have a large library of standard woods to make the plans, and will charge the customer based on the wood type, how much is used and the complexity of the plan. There might also be a function to work with databases or spreadsheets to help organize invoices and part numbers.
Assembly woodworking software is more about assembling a woodworking plan. With this software, a woodworker is able to make a digital plan in which he or she enters the measurement for the wooden pieces and might be able to assign a wood type for the piece. The sides are then put together, and the plan is assembled for easy use. Some of these programs will project a 3D rendition of the plan, allowing the woodworker to view possible errors or challenges in making the object.
Cutting woodworking software is made to work with lathes and other automatic cutting units. This is more for woodworkers who create aesthetically complex pieces, such as ornate banisters, and who want to save time by making a program do the work or who want to avoid human inaccuracy or error. The design interface for the pieces might be more complex, requiring the woodworker to have good technical skills to use this type of program.
Most woodworking software will combine several of these features. For example, a managerial program probably will cover assembling the pieces and making a 3D plan, and it might include plugins that enable it to work with a cutter. Before purchasing any woodworking program, the woodworker should check the features to make sure that it works for his or her needs.