Interior Woodworking Specialists Builds with Flexibility & Integrity
IWS has built a staff of seasoned personnel with a reputation of broad experience, pride in craftsmanship and the ability to deliver both complicated and off the shelf solutions to our customers. The integrity of what they supply from the bid to the installation shows in their professional approach and their desire to supply the very best.
The key to their success comes from running a well managed small business that supports their dedicated family of employees and includes our extended family of vendors and customers.
They take the team approach to everything they do. They involve all the right people and create a winning attitude that allows long term relationships to be built and maintained. IWS works under the belief that their reputation and signature is on every piece they deliver and that’s the way they like it! IWS applies the same quality to production runs as it does to custom runs, ensuring that the inside is as strong as the outside is beautiful. That is one reason their customer base is so loyal — If they say they can do, they do it. Their slogan is, “If you can draw it, we can build it.”
Justin Mason from Interior Woodworking Specialists sat in one of our recent Tech Talk events and had this to say about their Microvellum Software experience…
Microvellum: How are you doing Justin?
Justin Mason: Doing well, how about you?
Microvellum: Can you tell us where IWS located again?
Justin Mason: Yes, I’m with Interior Woodworking Specialists, in the greater Seattle area in Washington State (United States).
Microvellum: Ok, great. We’d like to learn about what IWS does and how you use you’re Microvellum Software. Can you tell us a bit more about your company?
Justin Mason: Well, the majority of our business comes from commercial projects. We do corporate TI, which includes casework, reception desks, wall paneling. We do a lot of retail store fixtures, display fixtures, cash POS, entry ways, and a lot of wall paneling. We also do restaurants, anything from bars from bars to booths. We also do a lot of design build. Radius, curve, arch… On a daily basis we have to work with so many different types of materials. All kinds of woods. Solid woods, plywood, veneer, reclaimed wood, plastic laminates, plexiglass. We do some solid surface work. We have to engineer for metal stone, glass and I really think Microvellum helps us in that way, because it’s in AutoCAD. You can draw and engineer things that all fit together and just work.
Microvellum: How long have you been using Microvellum Software?
Justin Mason: Well, Interior Woodworking Specialists has had Microvellum since 2006, but I have been using it for about 4 years.
Microvellum: And how many different machines do you have connected with Microvellum?
Justin Mason: We have 2 CNC machines out in the shop. One point to point, one nested-based auto-loading CNC and a beam saw utilizing ALIS for printing labels.
Microvellum: What version of Toolbox are you running right now?
Justin Mason: We run all of our live production through the Toolbox v15 R2 release. There are 6 draftsmen using the system. I also have the R3 release in Beta, which I have tested quite a bit and have run a few projects through to production.
Microvellum: Why is it that you have a Beta version?
Justin Mason: I’m part of the Microvellum User Advisory Group – you guys are so kind as to let me help.
Microvellum: Let me ask you, in that Beta version, what are some of your favorite features?
Justin Mason: Well, what’s meant a lot to me lately is the Stay-Down Nesting – it’s been working very well for us. The overall user experience – I think you’ve come a long way; like the search feature, you open up your jobs and see 50 jobs, you just start typing the name of the project you’re looking for and it isolates all the projects. It’s really easy to find any project. Solid model analyzer has come a long way. We use it for just about every project that we work on.
Microvellum: Can you explain how you use Solid Model Analyzer?
Justin Mason: Microvellum is based in AutoCAD. So, you can draw 3D solids to represent pretty much anything. Sometimes we get a custom diewall or a corner or an angle cabinet. It’s much easier to just draw it in AutoCAD as a solid. With this tool you can analyze the solids, build out a cutlist, assign materials, and automatically name all parts. You can then assign it to a Work Order, send it to the CNC machine and have it cut out and machine all the parts, with very minimal work.
Microvellum: So, it turns the solid into a regular Microvellum product for you from Solid Model Analyzer?
Justin Mason: That’s right, and you could save it back you your library if you need to. It’s created from a 3D solid, so it’s all hard numbered parts, but you could add parametric logic to it for future projects.
Microvellum: What type of library do you have and which version?
Justin Mason: When we started with version 7, we had the version 36 library. As we progressed we advanced to the version 39. At the first of the year, we are going to switch to version 42 of the Frameless Library. I know there are a lot of great ways the products are built in that library. We do have our own IWS way of building products, how we do backs and diewalls and removable backs. We’ve learned to coral or harness our custom global variables and prompts in a certain area, so when it’s time to move to another library, we can just open up Library Designer and we can just drag and drop from one library to another.
Microvellum: That’s really smart. So what you’ve done is put the custom variables you created in a certain area, so when the time comes, it’s a lot easier to move ahead to a new library and easier to migrate. Very smart and way to think ahead. Awesome.
As an end-user and member of the User Advisory Group, how have the changes to our development process impacted you?
Justin Mason: In the last year, or year and a half, we’ve seen a lot of stability improvements. The support site has come a long ways too. I can imagine the support tickets are down too. I know we’ve put a lot less in ourselves. A lot of our support tickets now are “Hey, how does this work?”, not “hey why doesn’t this work, I broke it”.
The reports that we get with Microvellum have also improved a lot. Things like Sub Assembly prompts, when you have a door, a subassembly in a cabinet, now we can open up the prompts without having to drill down, and down in… it was a little confusing before. You’ve given us a few buttons and paths to help. Things like short cut keys on the keyboard. Now we can type a quick command like “MVP” and open up the prompts. From drafting to engineering, the way we interface with the software has come a long ways.
Microvellum: You are a member of the User Advisory Group, how do you feel being a member has benefited you?
Justin Mason: The group is kind of fun. It’s like being with a team of collaborators, building, and all working towards the same goal. The guys in the group are from all different places, so we all have our own way of building things. We have people from California, Alabama, Washington, South Carolina, Tennessee, Florida, Kansas, Kentucky, New York, and Oregon, so we are from all different places and we all have our own ways of building things. So when we get together and figure out how we should refine or add a feature, we’re not just saying “This is how we do it, so this is how it should work”, “that’s how Microvellum should work”, It’s more like “Let’s make this software work for everybody” I think that’s a really big part of it. It’s very interesting to see how people build things with this influence of knowledge and skill.
Microvellum: Do you feel that you suggestions are being heard by Microvellum’s development team?
Justin Mason: Well, we are the end-users and we are adding input to the development of Microvellum Software, so we are not just testing, we offer ideas on new features and we discuss how we can refine existing features. Things like, Auto naming reports. It may be an easy thing to implement in the software, but we have to ask, “do people really need that”. We then have Isaac, the product quality manager, saying “yes, a lot of people need that feature”. I’ve seen in my time, you have implemented an idea that I have put in and now it’s in the software. So it’s really nice to see the software is developing on user input.
In total, we have about 17 people using Microvellum from design, engineering, estimating, and production. We are running Microvellum v15 SQL Server on the OEM 2015 product.
To learn more about Interior Woodworking Specialists, visit their website: interiorwoodworking.com
Company: Interior Woodworking Specialists, Redmond, WA (USA)
Contact: Tracey Hepner, CEO
Shop Size: 30,000 sq. ft.