Computers & Scrollsawing:
The programs that I have used to do woodworking are Corel Draw 5,7,8,9, and Drawing Board. I finally upgraded to Corel Draw 9. Corel 9 has a lot of nice features not in 5-8 but for the normal person using it for scrollsaw patterns 5 still works OK. The big thing with 9 was that I had to increase my HD with it as it takes 211KB just for the program, and I didn't have any room left to do any work in. I have upgraded to Corel 12, but still tend to do most of my drawing in Corel 9. Corel 12 has some new features that seem like they would be nice, but I am just to accustom to the tools in 9 that I hate to change. I do use Corel 12 for file conversions to DXF , because Corel 12 makes a better DXF file.
Corel Draw is a great program for doing name plates. Pick a font that fits to your style, type it out, then move the letters together, weld, size, print, apply the wood, and cut. It's that easy. No more tracing templates and there are hundreds more fonts on the computer than there are letter templates. You can have a pattern like the interlocked hearts on the screen then put the name in it to the size that fits it right; all done right on the screen before you print the pattern for the wood. With a scanner you can scan those sketches and rework them, with node editing, into exactly what you want then print the pattern with any thickness of line that suits your taste. There are many more things that this program does that really make it an asset for the scrollsawer. Corel will even allow you to make your own fonts. I have made fonts now that the base for nameplates is attached right to the letter as you type. Corel has so many features that I have not found or used yet.
I have now started to design my wood gear clocks. All of the design and manual are made in Corel 9 Draw. I have learned a lot about what Corel 9 will do in writing the pattern for the clocks. But I'm sure there are a lot of features that I haven't found yet that may make it easier yet to use. I know I never would have been able to do the clock patterns without Corel Draw. Corel also has Corel Cad trial version with the Corel 7 package. I tried it but it looks way to complicated for me to learn at this time. I may play with it more in the future and change my mind about it. If I do it will be posted here what I discover about it.
I now have Auto Cad 14 that is a lot easier to learn than Auto Cad 12. In Auto Cad 14 there are tool bars similar to those used in Corel, so I don't have to memorize all the keystrokes to do things. I have used the Auto Cad for some of my designs, but I still find myself going to Corel Draw 9 for the biggest share of my work. I find that Cad will do some of the drawings on my clock gears faster than Corel Draw. But Corel still has features that the Cad does not. Right now it is a toss up on what to use, Cad or Corel. I like the Cad for precision on drawings like my clock frames and gears. But to draw the Oak clock where there are the leaves I find that Corel is a lot easier to use. Kind of a technical drawing use Cad, for a line art drawing use Corel.
I also now have Design Cad 2000 that I have started learning. It seems to be a great program. I think the learning curve for it will fall more with Corel Draw.
Of all the programs I have tried, I still go back to Corel Draw 9 as the most used program. Now I also use Corel 12 and the newer Corel X3, but I still like version 9. It seems the more I get into Corel the more I find it will do for me. There is a bit of a learning curve , but well worth the time. I have a page of tips on Corel 9 that will let you see what it will actually do and how.