Choosing the Right Woodworking Software To Help You Grow

With more and more manual shops switching to CNC equipment and automated processes, business owners are faced with a tough decision when it comes to choosing the right software to help them drive their production. So, is Microvellum the right cabinet design to manufacturing software for your business? How do you choose cabinet software that is right for your business? The answer to that question varies, but here are a few points to consider.

Do you work with Architects?

Microvellum offers software built on the world’s number one CAD platform – AutoCAD®. For custom cabinet shops and architectural millwork businesses that work with Architects, being able to communicate using the same software platform and file formats is a major benefit. In many cases, engineers already own AutoCAD, but still find themselves utilizing disconnected software that requires duplicated efforts for cabinet processing and/or CNC machine code output. Implementing software that allows you to break this disconnected pattern and work in a single, native AutoCAD environment with improve your workflow and save you time. You may even find that using technology powered by Autodesk gives you an edge up over your competitors.

Do you require parametric cabinet design?

What about parametric design functionality? When choosing a cabinet design software, you should carefully consider the level of parametric flexibility you need.

Some manufacturers have adopted a “non-parametric” system of cabinet making that relies heavily on drawing tools such as AutoCAD for the design and require non-automated processes to complete the submittal and assembly drawings, labeling, cut lists, and other production data. However, this method presents a few problems.

  • When relying on standard or static parts and products that are not parametric, you end up performing unnecessary or often redundant processes that increase production time.

  • This method is also very error-prone and may often result in many hours of wasted time

  • If you are using CNC equipment, you may be also forced to store part drawings with different machine patterns based on a product’s dimensions. Again, another error-prone system, but believe it or not, this is a practice many manufacturers feel they are tied to due to the many hours it took to create such a stock pile of possible configurations.

  • What if a customer wants a non-standard product made? How much production time will be required to fulfill the order?

Traditional parametric products allow for basic changes to common product variables like width, height, depth, shelf quantity, etc. and may be an acceptable system for some manufacturers. However, like the non-standard parametrics, this method has some draw backs

  • Using the method of traditional parametric products, simply controlling the width, height and depth of a cabinet still can cause delays in your production.

  • It also does not enable your company to provide a non-standard cabinet size and or variation of products without performing time-consuming and error-prone tasks

  • If a product is non-standard, drawing time will also increase since you will need to manually update all your drawings – 2D and 3D.

  • If your shop is processing products on a large-scale, relying on this outdated and limited process for engineering products can result in limited production.

  • Traditional parametric products cannot meet the demands being placed on modern-day wood product manufacturers.

Flexible parametric products, such as the ones found in Microvellum’s product catalogs, enable users to completely transform products, controlling every aspect of the size, shape, materials, hardware, machining, and construction. There are a few notable advantages with this method to consider…

  • Flexible parametric products empower you to handle common or standard sized products as well as the non-standard.

  • Changes to cabinets or product dimensions automatically update the associated 2D and 3D drawings.

  • Changes to cabinet design, construction or machining methods can be made on-the-fly using the “power of the prompts” – a user defined interface of variables that define each product that lives in a Microvellum product library.

  • Generate accurate cut lists based on parametric changes made to your products.

  • Users can create their own or manage the logic included with Microvellum’s product libraries.

  • This open-source and completely customizable system empowers users to build products that meet customers construction and machining needs while reducing redundant processes.

What are your CNC connectivity requirements?

When evaluating your software needs, you should also consider how you will integrate it with your new or existing CNC machinery. You have a few options available to you, but obviously, they are not all equal. Most machines come with “onboard” tools or software that will allow you to create parts on the fly right at the machine. This is a very useful feature, but when you are processing multiple projects or need to push production to profitable paces, you cannot afford to have the CNC program creation be the bottle-neck halting production. This method is error prone and obviously time-consuming.

Another option is to use a secondary software application that enables you to design parts and optimize them for your machine, separate from your design and engineering software. Again, these types of software tools are handy and offer a much faster solution for exporting CNC code to your machinery compared to “on the fly or at the machine”, but it still does not efficiently drive your production, since someone still has to create your optimized CNC programs.

A third option is to take advantage of software such as Microvellum, that allows you to eliminate the “human” element by automatically creating part programs. Utilizing software that allows your project managers or engineers to push out projects to the shop floor that already include the optimized CNC programs will save you countless hours compared to any other method. Microvellum creates part programs automatically and stores them in the project folder for easy access, but gives you the option to push them directly to your networked CNC machinery. This empowers your CNC operators to simply browse to the project folder and start running the programs. Seamlessly connect to CNC machines such as Anderson, Accu-systems, Biesse, Busellato, Homag, Multicam, SCM, Weeke, Felder, and more. (view CNC Partners)

Do you build more than simple cabinetry?

Is your existing product offering limited to simple cabinets? Most-likely not, so you may want to research software that gives you the power to design and engineer multiple product catalogs.

From cabinets, closets, store fixtures, office furniture and unique custom products, your software should be able to keep up with the demands of your customers. Microvellum Software gives you the flexibility to organize and categorize your product lines into individual product catalogs, each with its own unique properties and parametric logic.

This flexibility is further realized when it comes time for processing projects. No matter the product, no matter the catalog it’s pulled from, or the project, Microvellum can optimize everything together, keeping track of each individual product and part.

What kind of production reporting will you need?

Some cabinet design software applications offer 100’s of included reports, but do not provide you with the tools to modify them create your own. Many of the included reports may be beneficial, but if you’re like most cabinet makers, you will most likely have a need for custom reporting. So, another big question to ask when evaluating software is, does the software include a tool to make your own custom reports or do you have to learn and purchase a separate reporting software. Microvellum recognizes this need and offers a fully integrated reporting tool that enables you to create an unlimited number of your own unique reports. This powerful tool is included with all Microvellum software purchases for free.

Are you ready to start your evaluation?

Try every feature of our platform for free for 30-days - design, engineer, create sample CNC code, and image what you could do what the power of Microvellum at your finger tips...