Below you will find a SolidWorks “live model” for the Shaker Side Table from the sold-out Autumn 2004 issue. This table is probably the second-most popular project we’ve built (second only to the Roubo-style workbench). In the next two weeks we’re going to announce a new product that will give you access the plans from all of the sold-out issues (so stay tuned).
This nifty drawing was prepared by Louis Bois , a reader and mechanical draughtsman who is fast becoming a vital part of the Woodworking Magazine team. You can open this file using a free little program from SolidWorks that you can download for both Mac and Windows machines. With the program, you can open up these two drawing files and examine the project in extraordinary detail. Even if you have never used a CAD program, you’ll find this program a cinch to use.
When you open up the file you’ll see the assembled table floating in space , this is what we call a “live model.” Using the tools at the top of the window, you can rotate this project in every direction to see all sides of it in its assembled form. You can pull individual parts off and rotate those around to look at all the joinery by zooming in and out. You can strike measurements, look at cross-sections.
Louis also pointed out another very useful tool to me: You can make any single part (or assembly) transparent. Use the “Components” menu on the side of the drawing. Click on any single part, such as “Top -1” and then click the box below that reads “Transparent.” It turns the assembly into a jellyfish-like thing that you can see through.
Thanks to Louis again for this excellent service to the readers of this magazine and weblog.