Polyboard: a powerful loft conversion design tool

In this short article and video I show how to design a piece of furniture to fit under a slanting roof truss. The cabinet acts as a separation between two rooms.

Another thing I show is how you can benefit from using different design software according to the task at hand.

Polyboard is in itself extraordinarily powerful and flexible for designing cabinets but you can enhance you design process even more by using it along with other design programs like ProgeCad and SketchUp.

Each program has it strong points and I suggest that anyone who needs to design projects professionally learns to master the basics of one or two.

For instance I started using Autocad for all my designing. Today I use ProgeCad which is basically the same program but cheaper. You can also use DraftSight that’s even cheaper…it’s free!

AutoCad and ProgeCad are very good at quick 2D drafting, so when I have the on site measurements I can throw up a quick 2D drawing of the existing building and the program will tell me if all the sizes are coherent and I’ll be able to get all the precise  measurements I need to use as parameters in Polyboard. I use the same methodology for designing stairs with StairDesigner.

In the example below it takes only a few minutes to draw up the basic constraints in ProgeCad.

Although it’s possible to create a 3D model in ProgeCad it is often quicker to use a free 3D program called SketchUp. SketchUp is free and very easy to use to build quick 3D models. So when I want a quick 3D presentation to show a customer I take the 2D drawing from ProgeCad load it into SketchUp and throw up a 3D model.

To design the cabinet, I take the sizes from the 2D drawing and build the cabinet in Polyboard. This way I have a neat 3D view and all the manufacturing documents.

If I need to present the customer the cabinet onsite I export the 3D DXF Polyboard model to ProgeCad, translate the file to a format that SketchUp can read and insert the Polyboard into SketchUp. (the free version of SketchUp can’t read directly DXF but the paid version can , so if you have the paid version you don’t need to pass by ProgeCad) .

In this way I get to use the best of all the different solutions around according to my needs. As a result my work goes smoother and faster.

Here’s a little video that shows how I design a cabinet in a loft using this methodology;

As you can see the design process is fast and smooth.

With a bit of practice, a project like this can be set up completely within the hour and sent directly to be machined.

Imagine the time saved compared to traditional design or only using CAD.

On of the major advantages of the Polyboard system is that you can actually design with your customer.

Sit down with your customer and throw up shelves, draws, partitions as they see would like to see them.

You show them the instant 3D and you both know the price as you build.

This interactive process will involve the customer in the design and is also a very powerful sales tool, that used well, will certainly ,

build a close relationship with your customers, make you stand out from the competition and help grow your business.

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