CAD/CAM Software: A Woodworker's Primer
Use of CAD/CAM software can improve productivity and profits for woodworking businesses of all sizes.
By Scott Bury
In case you haven't noticed, the wood manufacturing shop today looks very different from even a few years ago. CNC machines are almost considered "standard," even in shops with five or fewer employees. Today's woodworking companies depend on computer technology for their competitive edge.
"Once you base a program in Windows, it's obvious how to use it," says Bob Gowen, president of Pattern Systems. He adds that the question is not how easy it is to create a pretty picture of a kitchen for the customer, but how productive does that software make your business?
Some CAD/CAM systems focus on offering complete systems. Product Planner from Pattern Systems is one example, offering design, libraries of templates, bills of material, rules of construction and a direct link to the CNC router, with G-code so there is no need for a separate program to translate CAM output into CNC machine-readable language, Gowen says. Product Planner also calculates nesting optimization and assembly of all parts, and produces labels for the parts.
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