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Using CorelDRAW/CorelDESIGNER for everyday tasks

Posted 22-07-2008 at 00:06 by Alex
Updated 22-07-2008 at 00:09 by Alex

A lot of people think of graphics design when they are talking about CorelDRAW. Printed ads, brochures, web sites, etc come to mind first. I wanted to share some things I use CorelDRAW and Designer for which might give you some more ideas

I like to build things myself. Some small (and not so small) projects happen every now and then. Like building a cabinet, small shelf or doing major construction project like finishing a basement. And each time I'm about to tackle a new project of this sort I find myself wondering how I would have been able to plan it, had I not have CorelDRAW. I find it very easy and fast to do all the planning using CorelDRAW. Below I'll describe a complete project I completed past weekend from start to finish.

I wanted to build a permanent shelf (actually three of those) for a basement storage room. I wanted these shelves to be very sturdy so I can pile a lot of junk onto them without a fear of collapse. First thing I did was to measure up all the walls in the room I wanted to place the shelves in. The room width turned out to be 110 inches. It is not really square and had a little nook (due to a stair well on the other side of the wall), so I planned to use that up by the shelf as well. There is also a drain pipe going vertically by the outer wall:



After I measured everything up, I started Corel DESIGNER X4 and drew the room layout. Since I wanted the shelf to be 110" wide and I wanted to draw everything on a standard Letter paper (8.5") I fugured that 1:20 document scale would be about right, so I used it (double-click the rulers and in the Ruler options dialog click "Edit Scale..."):



After this is done, I can draw using real measurements (inches, feet, whatever) without having to do any calculations.

So, I drew the room walls, and then planned the layout of the shelf. I decided to create a frame out of standard 2x4 consturuction studs and mount them directly onto the walls. The shelf would be constructed using 3x1 lumber resting on 2x2 sleepers which would sit on top of the frame. The shelf would be constructed of two separate pieces - one going along the far side wall and the other perpendicular to it in the nook on the left. I measured the actual wooden pieces to know their exact width, length and thickness (e.g. 2x4 is actually only 3.5" wide and 1.5" thick).



Once this is done, I refined the drawing by aligning everything properly, distributing objects evenly (Align and Distribute comes in handly here).

Then using the Dimension tool I measured each piece of my design (Designer X4 shines here with its completely redesigned Dimension tool!).

Now that I know the dimensions of each plank, I calculated how much wood of each kind I need to purchase. I also used Designer to figure out how I need to cut each stud to end up with the pieces I needed and not wasting too much material. I just drew each stud I needed to purchase at their correct lengths (8' and 10' that I needed) and then just stacked the individual pieces on top of each plank to see how I would arrange the pieces to maximize the wood usage.

I went to Home Depot and bought all the wood I needed, came home and cut all of it right away without even trying to assemble anything. I consulted the item list I created with precise lengths of each piece.



After all the pieces were cut (I used a good quality mitre saw to ensure precise and straight cuts), I just assembled everything according to my blueprints. Here are some photos of how the assembly progressed.

The main shelf:


The corner piece:


Main frame:


Corner shelf frame:


Completed shelves:


I was quite amazed at how well everything fit together and I didn't have to go back and forth between the basement and the garage to cut or trim pieces. The key is to measure everything carefully and then draw to scale. It's very easy to play with different designs in CorelDRAW or DESIGNER once you have drawn correct dimensions of each building piece.

You can download my original Designer X4 drawing which is attached to this post. I have also saved it as CorelDRAW 12 drawing for those not having Designer, but the dimension objects are converted to curves in that file...

Not so long ago I built a stand for my 225 gallon aquarium. I used CorelDRAW X4 to create the design:


Almost-completed stand (you can see the actual aquarium the stand is meant for in the background):



(If you are interested in detailed description of the progress of this project, it is documented here: http://ovas.ca/index.php?topic=28948.0)

When we were finishing our basement last winter, I created all the blueprints in CorelDRAW X4 as well. Wall locations, doors, electrical circuits, floors. Doing everything to scale really helped estimate the costs of materials and ensure minimal waste (e.g. when putting drywall onto the ceiling, I combined 8' and 10' sheets of drywall so there are very little cut-offs).

I used layers extensively to put different elements (such as walls, ceiling drywall, electrical circuits, flooring, etc) onto different layers so I could create different printouts easily for different stages of the project.

Here is my general wall design:


Ceiling drywall placement. Yellow rectangles represent 8' sheets (or pieces of), pink are 10' sheets:


And an electrical diagram with different circuits marked appropriately (not that you can see it from this little thumbnail image). I actually put each ciruit elements on a different layer so I could print each circuit on a separate piece of paper for easy wiring:


Here is how everything turned out:


As you can see, there are many many different uses for CorelDRAW in everyday life. It doesn't have to be art related. Since I have already posted way too many pictures for one blog article, what harm will two more do?

Once we bought our house we were shopping for appliances, furniture, electronics, etc to go in the house. We were looking for a big screen TV but weren't quite sure what size to choose, since bigger doesn't necessarily mean better and too big a TV could just overwhelm a room it is in.

So I took a picture of the room as it was being built. I brought it into CorelDRAW and knowing the width of the room I scaled the picture to have certain scale. Then I got a photo of the TV I wanted from the manufacturer's web site and from the TV specs I got the dimensions of the units in different sizes and placed them inside my "room". We looked at 50", 56", 61" and 72" TVs:



After looking at all of them we decided to go with 61" as it looked just right for the room:



I guess I'll stop at that... Or else I could post pictures all day... I hope you enjoyed this long article and didn't find it too boring...
Attached Files
File Type: des shelf_des_x4.des (42.7 KB, 4317 views)
File Type: cdr shelf_draw_12.cdr (37.9 KB, 4321 views)
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  1. Old Comment
    This was a pretty fun read. I have/plan-to do something similar as well - got a new flat and gonna do some planning/furniture sketching in Corel.

    Although it has to be said without reading and just looking at the pics I was totally sure you were building a sauna
    Posted 06-11-2008 at 07:28 by Joe Joe is offline
 
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