Woodworking with 3D design references

Stephen Lamb is the founder of Crowne and Skull, a customized furniture business in Newcastle upon Tyne. He developed his own system for incorporating 3D models into his woodworking process, which has dramatically increased his clients' satisfaction.

Before Crowne and Skull, Stephen worked in the theatre industry, doing set builds and installations for North East UK based theater companies. His job gave him the opportunity to access state-of-the-art workshop facilities and tools, and the skillset to use them.

Around 2014, a friend asked him if he would make a desk for their studio. The final product was a success and Crowne and Skull was born. Today, the team has its own workshop and has continued to work with customers to make unique, handmade furniture.

"Shapr3D is my first real experience using CAD from a design perspective. I have played with a couple of other CAD programs, but to be honest, as a bit of a technophobe I was always put off by the idea of sitting in front of a screen to model anything, so I mainly produced sketches by hand."

On the hunt for a stylus compatible CAD

In June 2017, Stephen began looking for a basic CAD drawing program that would be fairly easy to use, not desktop-based, and with stylus compatibility. He wanted something that would enable him to accurately lay out the dimensions and shapes of components, and give him a portable way to accurately express his ideas to clients. After a bit of research, he decided Shapr3D checked all the boxes -- so he got his hands on a light pen and iPad Pro, downloaded the app, and started to play with it.

"For me one of the best things about Shapr3D is how easy it is to learn. My experience with CAD drawing was very very limited, so I was kind of dreading the learning process. However, after downloading the app and watching the first tutorial video, I was able to create a very basic 3D drawing within about fifteen minutes of opening the app."


Woodworking with Shapr3D

With Shapr3D in hand, Stephen’s workflow has changed dramatically. Being able to create accurate sketches and drawings has improved his business from top to bottom - from the initial client meeting forward, Shapr3D becomes a constant reference point for the project.

“The tutorial videos are a great feature and really helped me quickly pick up all the basic functions of the app. Once you have these locked down, producing a drawing couldn’t be simpler. I’m at the point now where I can take a drawing to a client and make any adjustments in real time whilst the client is there. Being able to do so has proven invaluable in helping to secure work and meet client expectations.”

After the final design is agreed upon, Stephen can accurately estimate how much stock he will need, which helps him price a project more effectively for his clients.

Once a build begins, the drawing becomes a constant reference point, almost a storyboard for how a build will move forward. Every component can be grouped and broken down into smaller tasks making the build process more efficient and accurate, especially important for a one man operation.

One of his regular clients commissioned him to make a solid American black walnut dressing table to match in with existing bedroom furniture. The job was a bit unique in that there was already an existing reference in terms of design -- the first thing to do was to take measurements from the existing furniture. From there, he was able to start the initial Shapr3D sketch.

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