Software applications play an ever more prominent role in the world of woodworking. The closely woven “biosphere” of woodworking markets and supply chains stretch across the landscape of projects. This includes work originating at designers and retailers, through custom fabricators of one-off efforts, and on through large-scale manufacture of institutional casegoods, business casework, hospitality or healthcare build-outs and furnishings.

Even the smallest wood craft firms must be able to present projects and capabilities to a public that increasingly seeks goods and services online. A woodworking business Web presence must be as refined as the woodwork being crafted.

Cabinetmakers and custom architectural millwork shops also must be able to provide ever-finer virtual catalogs of components and realistic renderings of proposals for designers, architects and construction contractors . . .or accept and capture those creative designs for precise translation to drive CNC cutting, routing and other computerized machinery.

Beyond all that, there are the basic tools of operating a woodworking business, everything from computer estimating and sales management systems, order-entry and job planning and scheduling systems, bar-code based inventory and asset controls, all the way to comprehensive, grand scale enterprise resource planning systems.

At IWF 2010, August 25-28 in Atlanta, exhibitors have generated more than 120 separate entries for software-related offerings and computer numerically controlled machines and tooling being presented at the show — quite apart from integrated drivers within other machinery also on exhibit.

In the weeks preceding IWF, several major releases and significant updates were announced, such as applications from Microvellum (CabinetMaker 7.0, shown on p. 36), 20-20 (Design Version 9 and ShopWare 6.5), KCD Software (Version 9) and Planit (Screen to Machine S2M upgrades in 2011 R1).

Here’s a run-down of preshow announcements. The latest news of software applications from IWF is being posted continuously at
At IWF, Planit will show Alphacam 2010 R2 — the newest version of its CAD/CAM software, with enhanced 3-D machining support for rotary axis attachments, an enhanced 2-D pocketing engine, the ability to wrap toolpaths/geometries around other 2-D geometry, and new “Fabricate” geometry editing tools. Alphacam also has enhanced automatic tool side and start point options, solid body/face support for 4/5-axis tool angle control and 3-D projecting/wrapping.

Planit’s Cabinet Vision 2011 R1 expanded Assembly Wizard allows users to specify sophisticated construction techniques previously only available through heavy customization. Added are the configuration of blind dado, fixed dowel, and typical RTA construction techniques.

Planit says its screen-to-machine solution, the S2M Center, previously only available to Cabinet Vision and Cabnetware users, is now offered as a stand-alone solution. This means it is usable by any CAD user who needs a solution to get individual or batches of DXF drawings from “Screen to Machine” as Planit brands the offering. In addition, the application’s True Shape Nesting engine has been rewritten, which Planit says improves both processing time and delivers yield improvements of nearly 60 percent. The addition of 6th Face Nesting and Common Line Cutting round out are examples of the new features available in S2M Center 2011 R1.

Planit is also showing Cabinetvision, and Cab-2-Nest software at IWF 2010, which provides a turnkey solution for nested-based wood products manufacturing. Cab-2-Nest drives manufacture of kitchen or commercial cabinet jobs with minimal set-up, designing and sectioning cabinets for output of code to nested-based woodworking machinery.

Cab-2-Nest also lets users configure cabinets individually, including quantity and positions of doors, drawers, shelves, and roll-outs, then automatically generates the programs to run the CNC machine.

20-20 Technologies launched its ShopWare applications last year at AWFS. Based in Laval, PQ, 20-20 Technologies specializes in 3-D interior design and furniture manufacturing software. Its ShopWare Solutions line is targeted at improving the business processes of small and medium-sized cabinet makers in the commercial casegoods industry.

ShopWare integrates orders that come from 20-20 Design applications, used by kitchen and bath and interior architects and designers. At IWF, 20-20 Technologies will show the latest iteration of ShopWare, release 6.5 (release 6.4 is already being distributed). At IWF visitors will be able to see 20-20 Technologies Version 9 of 20-20 Design software, shown at Neocon and released in July.

20-20 Technologies says its software suites span the range of woodworking industry usage, all the way from creative design through development of catalogs of cabinetry and other product offerings, capturing planning files and converting them to drive CNC routers on the floor. The company emphasizes scalable adoption of its solutions, through a modular approach that provides for add-on migration path as systems are customized. Connecting design to production eliminates errors from data re-entry.

The ShopWare line includes:
• ShopWare CAD: AutoCAD-based software for customized furniture and wood products;
• ShopWare Cut Planner: to optimize cutting patterns;
• ShopWare Drill-Mate: Instantaneous part machining for custom-sized parts;
• ShopWare OrderManager: Process orders from showroom to shipping dock;
• ShopWare Product Planner: Parametric bill of materials and part listing;
• ShopWare Quik Trak: labels parts and products automatically.

Microvellum announced the availability of CabinetMaker Version 7 in June. This is its first wave of fully .NET, Version 7 products. Microvellum says this version of CabinetMaker combines the power of AutoCAD 2011 Microvellum intelligence, providing both a simplified front-end tool for designers and a production tool for custom woodworkers building residential kitchens, baths, closets, or storage systems.

CabinetMaker Version 7 features Quick-Draw 2-D functionality, rendering 2D shop drawings from 3-D photorealistic rooms drawings. Its ViewCube technology navigates within drawings. It also develops professional quotes, and features nested-based optimization, advanced part processing technology and management of CNC g-code generation.

CabinetMaker also features built-in room component libraries including brand-name appliances, home electronics, cookware, etc. AutoCAD based, CabinetMaker can import .3DS, DXF, or DWG files, which are the most widely used 2-D and 3-D drawing file formats. It can generate walk-through animations, and the CabinetMaker product library includes the complete line of Osborne Wood Products island legs, corbels, table legs, furniture feet, and wood onlays.

Upgraded features
KCD Software is now shipping Version 9 upgrade. Among new features:
• 3D Express View for quick 3-D views, with perspective guided by the mouse.
• Change Color Group — changes the color group by room.
• Beaded Face Frames — frame cabinets can now have beading on them.
• List of Cabinets — hinging information can be exported as a text file.
• Osborne Library — a library of Osborne Wood Products has been added.
• Print Preview — now available on cutlists and drawings.
• Save Current View as Image — saves on-screen views as Bitmap or JPEG files.
• Import 3D DXF files — adds DXF mesh files to a library.
• Import Drawings — imports drawings from E templates.
• Save Notes — saves frequently used notes to be added to drawings.
• New Textures — features new wood grains and granites.


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