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Where do you design at?
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Chase Norton
(Micronorton) - F
Where do you design at? on 01/26/2012 00:07:15 MST Print View

I've been using pencil and paper for the past projects I've had. I am wondering if anyone here uses any computer software/websites for designing their gear and if so, what?


Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Where do you design at? on 01/26/2012 00:11:47 MST Print View

Promise that you won't laugh.

I've used Powerpoint for a shelter.


Chase Norton
(Micronorton) - F
Re: Re: Where do you design at? on 01/26/2012 01:16:11 MST Print View

Had to shown your designs at a meeting? ;-)

Dustin Short
(upalachango) - MLife
Re: Re: Re: Where do you design at? on 01/26/2012 01:25:04 MST Print View

I tend to use excel to work out various dimensions in an attempt to optimize a design. I'm pretty good at visualizing things in 3D, but as I become more proficient I'll probably start using Solidworks more. I also find that Illustrator or Photoshop can be handy for making patterns and doing some puzzle piece fitting to reduce the amount of fabric scraps.

Jeff J
(j.j.81) - F

Locale: Oregon
Both free on 01/26/2012 04:26:20 MST Print View

I use pencil and paper to do the rough work and figure out what I'm doing. I've been putting the design into Google SketchUp to get dimensions that are "too much work" to figure out by hand, assuming not too many curves.

Kevin Beeden
(captain_paranoia) - F

Locale: UK
re: Where do you design at? on 01/26/2012 06:09:02 MST Print View

Pencil & paper for doodling ideas.

Paper, cardboard, sellotape, string, etc. for building models of ideas.

Excel, AWK, PostScript and SketchUp for converting scribbles into prettier pictures and design templates (e.g. AWK scripts to design tent panels and basic clothing pattern blocks, or to auto-generate PostScript or DXF files).

Michael Duke
(mpd1690) - F
Re: Re: Where do you design at? on 01/26/2012 07:53:02 MST Print View

Ha I have a similar tool Bob. I uses Paintbrush. A free paint program.

Ultra Magnus
(Ultra_Magnus) - F
Re: re: Where do you design at? on 01/26/2012 09:35:14 MST Print View

"Excel, AWK, PostScript and SketchUp for converting scribbles into prettier pictures and design templates (e.g. AWK scripts to design tent panels and basic clothing pattern blocks, or to auto-generate PostScript or DXF files)."

You're nuts!

I'm lazy and don't have much artistic talent so I draw 2d sketches in SolidWorks DWG editor which is kind of a lame AutoCAD clone, but then work out more complex ideas in SolidWorks. I can do lofted sheet metal parts to generate flat patterns that I can transfer to fabric. I make drawings dimensioned with X-Y coordinates for complex curves. It would be really nice if we had a big pen plotter that I could print them out in full scale though. :(


John Donewar
(Newton) - MLife

Locale: Southeastern Louisiana
Re: Where do you design at? on 01/26/2012 10:43:49 MST Print View

In my head, which is then transferred to a pencil and paper sketch.

From the sketch it is transferred to the material of choice and a piece of MYOG is born.

Geometric formulas are helpful on shelters but nothing beats string, sticks and a tape measure for real world results and measurements.

I also use Lance Marshall's catenary curve calculator for ridgelines.

Lance's Primitive Web Page ;-)

Click on Catenary Curve Spreadsheet and follow the instructions.

Party On,


Kevin Beeden
(captain_paranoia) - F

Locale: UK
re: You're nuts! on 01/26/2012 12:05:49 MST Print View

Quite possibly... but I guess we use the tools we're familiar with.

AWK is a compile-free language that can do most things, and is great for parsing text files (e.g. body dimension files).
PostScript is great for drawing accurate designs using line primitives. You've seen the sort of thing I can do with it (no names, no pack drill of course...).
Excel is good for the more interesting maths, especially the Solver when I can't figure out an analytical solution (e.g. designing the SqueezeBox angles, designing an SLCD).

I wouldn't necessarily recommend using any of these tools unless you're already familiar with them, but I have about 25 years experience with the first two...

SketchUp, on the other hand, is great to use, once you understand how it 'thinks'. I've posted a few pictures on BPL of designs I've knocked up in it; bivvy tent, Skins pack, finned HX.

bivvy tent using two walking poles as supports
possible webbing system for Skins backpack
heat exchanger and insulated Rexam King can

(jpovs) - F - M
- on 01/26/2012 15:17:50 MST Print View


Edited by jpovs on 02/02/2015 07:33:05 MST.

Sam Farrington
(scfhome) - M

Locale: Chocorua NH, USA
Where do you design at on 01/26/2012 18:26:23 MST Print View

Henry told me to use Cadware for tents, and his tents look pretty good.
But I am going to learn French first, before I try Cadware.

Terry Trimble
(socal-nomad) - F

Locale: North San Diego county
Where do you design at? on 01/27/2012 11:43:17 MST Print View

I always have a small sketch book with me to sketch all kinds of design ideas and art drawing that come to me.
I have took advanced mechanical and architectural drawing classes through out Junior high and High school. So I used yard stick, ruler, french curve and I use poster board for my patterns.
My packs were simple 4 sided square or back and front/side wrap pack at the beginning.
Lately I have been adding more complex curves I purchase a Bendable ruler to use instead of french curve.
I wish I knew how to use CAD so I could design the more complex curve packs that the big manufacture are putting on that market today.

I did have Lowe Alpine Arizone 45 pack I was able to purchase on sale. I liked the design But I want more of soft back rucksack instead of framed pack.

So I took my seam ripper and took the whole pack apart traced each piece and made it a little bit larger rucksack. It was basically a reverse engineering project to see how easy it was to sew and learning exercise for me. I am just really amazed have a lot of respect at how the large manufacture are able to make complex curve designed equipment and have it all fit together. It was neat learning project.

Ultra Magnus
(Ultra_Magnus) - F
Re: Re: Where do you design at? on 01/27/2012 12:14:05 MST Print View

"I use Pro/Engineer Wildfire 4."

My condolences...(j/k)

I also use Pre WF5 (Creo Elements 1?? I'm really confused by their name changes)...but if I ever have the choice, I'll always go to SW. I know there are some advanced things that Pro can do that SW can't, but seriously, it's not worth it (at least for me). IMO- Pro E's code base is just way too old and needs to be scrapped, and designed new from the ground up, maybe hiring some of apple's UI engineers along the way.


Chad Ware

Locale: Northwest Georgia
+1 for ProE on 01/27/2012 15:44:46 MST Print View

I use ProE Wildefire 4 and modify the unbend parameters for the material. I've never had a flat pattern miss yet.

Ultra Magnus
(Ultra_Magnus) - F
Re: +1 for ProE on 01/27/2012 15:59:53 MST Print View

"I use ProE Wildefire 4 and modify the unbend parameters for the material. I've never had a flat pattern miss yet."

That is a fantastic tool in Pro. I learned Pro at a sheet metal job shop and we bent a lot of stuff at odd angles, so that was very nice. Plus it does bend reliefs really well. SW can't compare in that regard. But I haven't done nearly as much sheet metal in SW so I can't really make a fair assesment of SW's sheet metal capabilities.

But on the subject of MYOG, I have been able to use SW lofted sheet metal features to generate fabric flat patters that turned out great. Made my bivy that way- it was overkill but still fun. I tried doing lofts in Pro (I think they call it something different) and failed miserably... I also tried out some tent designs using lofted sheet metal features. I save the flat pattern as a dxf and offset the edges for the seam allowances.


(jpovs) - F - M
- on 01/28/2012 04:44:46 MST Print View


Edited by jpovs on 02/02/2015 07:32:26 MST.

Corey Miller
(coreyfmiller) - F

Locale: Eastern Canada
I don't sew. on 01/28/2012 22:51:37 MST Print View

90 percent of my projects are to reduce weigh, but not from my big 4. I usually sketch and then build or cut. I paid the money for the expensive gear but I come here for my DIY idea's

So pencil and paper, I don't need to built a tent, backpack, mattress, ect. I just need to cut down weight on the rest of my gear.. Sometimes that means cutting the top off of a toothbrush instead of carrying the whole thing.


Edited by coreyfmiller on 01/28/2012 22:52:33 MST.

Christopher Wilke

Locale: Colorado
Re: Where do you design at? on 01/30/2012 19:11:18 MST Print View

Most of my MYOG project have been pretty simple at this point so paper and pencil have been fine. I go to Solidworks occasionally for anything a little more complex. I use it everyday at work, though, so it's pretty quick to model my ideas.

Being pretty tall (6'3"), it's also a useful tool to model shelters on the market to see if I'd actually fit in them. Disappointment usually follows ;)

Andrew Schriner
(lettheguydance) - F

Locale: Midwest
re: Where do you design at? on 02/01/2012 14:27:05 MST Print View

this is worth taking a look at:

I've used the above to get an idea of how certain 2D shapes will behave when sewn together in 3D. For detailed pattern making I used Solid Edge 2D (free) because it allows me to use formulas for dimensions. Just the other day I modified my softshell climbing pants pattern for my buddy who is taller than me, and then just printed a new one. That ability also makes prototyping (or rather making modifications after each successive prototype) much easier, compared to my old method which required lots of retracing by hand of paper patterns.