Studio of Bill Ooms

Bill Ooms

Software for Woodturners

The ability to simulate an object is an important tool for an artist. For wood artists, there are a number of software tools that I've used over the years. Many of them are of broad interest, and I've made them available to others to use.

The COrnLathe software is the latest software that I use on my Computerized Ornamental Lathe (COrnLathe™) project. It provides a 3D view of a final cut surface from an ornamental lathe. This allows the artist to plan the location of cuts more carefully to achieve a desired end result. The software would be useful to those with any kind of ornamental lathe. However, it also generates the g-code that drives a computer-controlled stage on an ornamental lathe to make the cuts on the surface of the work.

The Indexer software is applicable to more than just ornamental turners. It drives a stepper motor connected to the spindle of any lathe for use instead of a traditional index wheel. Any number of holes can be programmed, multiple wheels can be defined, and paterns defined so that you can select certain holes and skip other holes. For more information on the hardware requirements, see the Computer Controlled Indexer project.

The PenChuck software provides a basic visualization of a rose engine pattern. Turners with a Rose Engine lathe will often mount a pen in place of the cutter and place a paper card on a special chuck. Then one can see an approximation of the cut pattern at various locations on the work piece. This software simulates that capability on a computer. This permits a quick look at the kind of patterns that can be made from common rosettes. This software is most useful to the ornamental turners with a Rose Engine lathe.

BowlShape was one of the early releases. It allows a user to draw an outline of a bowl or vase, and then view the resulting shape in 3 dimensions. This allows the artist to properly design the size, shape, and proportions prior to going to the shop to make the piece. This software is useful to the broad category of wood turners.