Saturday, September 11, 2010

iphone Apps for the Finish Carpenter

“There’s an App for that” We have all heard that phrase! Before I got my iphone I really didn’t understand what the big deal was. As a finish carpenter, I needed a phone to do the basic things like Email and Text message as well as just be a Phone. I also wanted to be able to get directions to jobsites and appointments as well. Little did I realize the great potential this powerful tool can do for us finish carpenters using iphone’s ability to download custom built apps purchased via Apple App store.

There are countless apps that can help you run your business, and communicate more efficiently with customers and employees. I wanted to find apps that I can use on a jobsite to be more productive. Here are few Apps that I use quite frequently to help me out as a carpenter.


Main Screen Interface

BuildCalc is an Advanced Construction Calculator that offers a lot of specialized features as well as these unique help screens that assist in guiding you through the calculations. In addition to having basic construction math –which you probably already are familiar with- it has advanced formulas for figuring out compound crown molding spring angles, Drywall function (that calculates number of sheets goods needed) as well as advanced memory with M+ and 3 additional slots. These are just a few of the features that I use.

What make’s this calculator app so special are the Help screens. I have always had a hard time remembering how to use these functions, when I need it.

Help Screen Illustration
These Help screens will explain the formula and will show you the correct input sequence by giving you a typical example to follow. Some of the screens will even display a diagram or picture to help explain the formulas. Accessing these help screens, couldn’t be easier! Just touch and hold your finger on whatever function key you need help with, and a unique screen will slide into view. The information on these help screens make it so easy to understand the math, and use the calculator to its fullest. I have also learned how to incorporate other features into my work just by reading these help screens!
Because this app takes full advantage of the iphone human interface guidelines, using these functions is quite fun! The calculator itself takes on a kind of personality with its various clicks, swipes, rotate zoom and slide in help menus, giving it a very fun and attractive interface. I find that having this app on my iphone makes layout of wainscoting and getting perfect crown molding compound miter angle settings very enjoyable. I find that it’s very convenient to have this tool with me on my iphone because it’s always there when I need it, and offers the help I need to use it. That to me is worth everything.

Features that are cool:

-Compound miter angle math for crown molding and simple protractor conversions for setting  your miter saw
-Standard-metric conversions

-“How many “studs needed layout

-SIN COS TAN features


-“Tape feature” that is a history of calculations for recall purposes

-“Roof Function” calculates material for gable end roof (roof area, # of shingle squares, # of shingle bundles, # of 4x8 sheets, floor plan area)

-Drywall function: calculates number of sheets of drywall, sheathing, or plywood needed

-Hip and Valley rafter layout

-The new stair baluster layout 2.0 version ( I use for wainscoting)

Just to name a few!

My Measures

This is a simple app that allows you to take a picture of something and put labeled measurement right on the picture itself. The interface is really easy to use and allows you to put measurements exactly at the point of reference you need. It can do this by using iphones touch screen ability. You can lable your measurements in American standard lengths and Metric units. You can also change the dimensions into different colors to organize them. This app does not take the measurements, you still need to measure the objects yourself with a tape measure, or laser measuring device. But once you have your measurements you then input them accurately on the picture of that object.

I design a lot of my finish work using Sketchup and this app really helps me to cataloge all my measurements that I take from a jobsite for later use in Sketchup, or for reference. I no longer need to carry a digital camera and a sketch book and compile 2 or 3 forms of measurements- just to complete a drawing. Now I can produce all this info on my iphone using this app in just a few minutes-then I can then export the picture file via email to the architect, designer, contractor, or customer, all from the jobsite and not have to worry about uploading and composing that email at home after work. It saves me a lot of time and establishes better communication between myself (who is on the jobsite) to the other parties who need that information.

Now that I have this technology and use it for business I wonder how I would do with out it... :)

1 comment:

  1. Wow! that's a very nice application. Imagine all things in just a click! well, I've also discovered a great way to have small detailed cuts in a project. A friend recommended me this laser scanning equipment as effective way to cut and measure household and construction materials. It is indeed a gift of technology, for everything is machine precise. Hope you can check it out.