This is part one of a two part Instructable detailing how to design and build a table using 123D Design and 123D Make.  In this part I will show how to quickly use 123D Design (a free and, I think, easy intro CAD tool) to design a custom table in about 5 minutes.  There are many ways to create a table, so don't take this as gospel, but it is a pretty quick way to try out a bunch of designs.

In Part 2 of this Instructable I cover how to build the table quickly using 123D Make.

By following this Instructable you should be able to quickly design tables and other similar objects with whatever dimensions and looks you'd like.

Required Materials:
-A computer (Mac or PC)
-123D Design (Download it here) [NOTE: The online and iPad versions have significantly fewer editing abilities, so you won't be able to complete this instructable without installing the "desktop" version.  Sorry.]
-If you're using a laptop you'll probably want a mouse

[If you already know some CAD, feel free to skip over reading this next part.]
This Instructable is also an introduction to CAD (which stands for Computer Aided Design).  CAD is the basic name for any computer program used for creating representations of physical objects.  In the professional world CAD is used for designing airplanes, skyscrapers, blockbuster movies, and nearly anything else you can think of.  We're not going to create anything nearly so complex, but using this tool you can begin to design and eventually build intricate and attractive real-life objects.

Step 1: Which Way Will it Stand?

For anybody new to CAD, one good principle is to always design your parts in the orientation they would be in in the real world.  We could start drawing our table on the ground plane (the grid we can already see), but this would result in a table floating on its side, which can cause problems in the future and is generally just poor form.  For anybody used to professional CAD programs, like SolidWorks, Inventor, or Pro/E, the way to do this orientation in 123D Design is different (for example, there are no reference planes), but just follow along and you'll quickly get the hang of how to do it.

[For new CAD folks: there are many ways to create objects.  Perhaps the most fundamental ones is to create what are known as sketches (2D closed shapes) and then do operations on them (e.g. Pull or "extrude" it straight out into the 3rd dimension, "rotate" it around an axis to create an axially symmetric object like a doughnut or axle, "sweep" it along a predefined path, etc.).  In this Instructable I'll show you how to make a relatively complex sketch and rotate it to make the design you see in the intro.]

[For folks with previous CAD experience: Just as a heads up, 123D Design is not a history-based modeler, which can be pretty different.  Super well defined and constrained sketches are harder to do, but by playing around you can pretty quickly figure out some other ways to do what you're used to doing in professional level CAD.  For instance, once you add a filet the dimensions will disappear, but you can later use the "Press/Pull" command to change the radius to what you need.]

My favorite way to select where to place my sketches is to create a cube and use the sides as planes on which to draw my sketches.  Adding a cube is super easy in Design; simply select hover over the "Primitives" drop-down at the top of the screen and click on the cube button.  You can scale this cube to whatever size you want, but for this Instructable I'll just use the default cube and place it anywhere on the existing plane.

To be clear, you could use the final real-life scale for each of these steps, but for this Instructable I made my table at a small scale, just to get the look right (I re-scale it in the second part of the Instructable to get it to the eventual size I want).  It may be better to do it to scale at first, but I was being lazy.  So it goes.

By the way, as you go about using the program you may notice some small text show up below your cursor.  These are step-by-step tips that will help you understand how to use the tools in the program.  Paying attention to them can be quite useful.
Thanks for publishing this project! I have only began to tinker with 123D for some fiberglass projects I am working on.
I didn't even think about using this method for doing fiberglass layups, but that's a great idea! I'd be very interested in seeing what you end up making with it.

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