I use both.
Given a choice, I prefer crude pencil and paper drawings and write the measurements on them. I have an old Leitz drafting set with two compasses and a dividers that my parents gave me when I was a child. I keep a spiral notebook in my shop for notes as I work. Wherever I go, I carry a zip-up clipboard (binder?) and mechanical pencil in case I feel like working on design ideas. I am slowly accumulating some interesting designs that I want to try.
I also reuse file folders, taking one out for each project to keep the loose papers together until the project is done. At that point, the papers are stapled and stored for future reference, and the folder is ready for the next project.
Sometimes I use a computer for scale drawings. I am working on a baby rattle with hollows drilled using Forstner bits. For that, I had to use a computer to "see" how much clearance I could get from the cavities when I turn the rattle, so I could figure out which Forstner bits to use and how deep to drill them.
I will post the drawing here, but keep in mind that it is a crude personal drawing intended solely to get measurements. The diagonal lines in the "hole" section are my careful scale measurements to see how much clearance I would have for woodturning. I can read the exact length of the lines from a display when I click on each one. My goal was a minimum of 1/8 inch all around. That's close. Eeek!
Notes on the drawing and rattle:
The measurement choices are my own, but credit for the basic design concept must go to others in my local woodworking club who showed me their rattles. I wonder how they figured out their measurements? I never found out. If you look at my drawing with intent to copy it, you should know that I decided to skip the third 3/8 inch drill hole on the actual rattle. Two concentric holes seemed good enough. I drilled both halves of each "ball", not just the one half shown in the drawing. I put 28 stainless steel ball bearings in each side, and they sound good in mahogany, but I am not done with the woodturning yet.
For computer drawings, I use an old program called Canvas X on Mac. I use it because I know how. I have to run it in a virtual machine with an old Mac operating system, then export the PDF for printing. It is far easier for me to spin up a virtual machine than it is to learn Sketchup from scratch, so sorry. Sketchup skills would be useful, but I would rather play with real wood in the shop than sit at my desk learning Sketchup. I spend too much time on computers as it is. :-(
P.S. My current design effort will become the holiday gift for my spouse's large family, which must be replicated many times. For the first time, I find myself making a scale model from cardboard first. Hey, whatever works, right? In addition to the cardboard model, I may have to make a computer drawing, to get accurate angle measurements.
Crude computer drawing of a baby rattle design. No way anyone but my spouse gets to see my hand drawings; I would be embarrassed. :-(
Last edited by Tool Agnostic; 09-08-2019 at 09:35 AM.