eCabinet Productivity

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Ralph Balanik
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Re: eCabinet Productivity

Postby Ralph Balanik » Mon, Mar 28 2016, 10:55AM

Good morning ,
In staying with the theme of streamlining office processes can anyone recomend a hardware configuration that will improve rendering performance or at least speed up the process by settings adjustments. I currenty have a core i5 4670k processor running 3.4 GHz, 16 gigs of 1600MHz ram, 240 gig solid state drive, 64bit windows 8.1 pro. I have a K 2200 Nvidia workstation card. I am not that hardware savvy so I am not sure what if any change might make a significant improvement. There are times however when I think things should move along much quicker than they do.

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Re: eCabinet Productivity

Postby Leo Graywacz » Mon, Mar 28 2016, 1:24PM

Rendering performance is strictly CPU driven. So you would need a faster speed processor. Since the program doesn't use multiple cores, it's just brute force speed.
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Kerry Fullington
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Re: eCabinet Productivity

Postby Kerry Fullington » Mon, Mar 28 2016, 5:17PM

Ralph,

As always, make sure you have up to date graphics card drivers.

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Re: eCabinet Productivity

Postby Ralph Balanik » Mon, Mar 28 2016, 5:58PM

Thank you for the feedback. I suspect that a faster processor might require a different motherboard and different memory. Would a larger graphics card do much? Would the investment save a significant amount of time in anyone's opinion and if so would you share your opinion as to what might be a good way to upgrade? Is the software itself a big limiting factor?

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Re: eCabinet Productivity

Postby Mark McCallum » Tue, Mar 29 2016, 9:04AM

I have been thinking about this question of Kerry’s for a while.
And I have been waiting for that magic bullet tip,
But………… no big magic bullet.

And I think perhaps, or I get the feeling the users here in the forum are into custom jobs, and I wonder if the guys that don’t frequent here do more flat pack or standard, no adjustment type jobs.

When I first started using the program I was looking for “The Best Way”
The thing is, as far as I can work out there is no best way.

Yes it is better than pencil and paper cultists, but no, it’s not a magic cure all.

For us the time problem comes in when I customize everything.
And unfortunately I attract customize jobs.

But for the everything standard, type of kitchens I find it quicker to use the batch cabinet method, the global modification feature in there works well and seems to have no glitches.
But as soon as I start customizing a job, time just starts disappearing.

So it is kind of reassuring to hear that it’s just not me that is not liking the time to get a job ready.
Which keeps the playing field level I suppose.
But please, bring on the day when it takes only an hour to 2 hours to get a kitchen ready for the workshop, In reality for a more complex kitchen it takes me more like 2,3,4 days.

I could do it quicker if ………There were no interruptions, all the information was at my fingertips, the customer had no last little details to sort out, my brain was crystal clear and I was MOTIVATED…......

I used to do almost workshop ready drawings for quotes but nearly always the customer changes some details which requires many more hours of double work to get the job ready for the factory.
Unless it is a worthy kitchen or we really need or want the job, I don’t present 3d drawings for quotes any more.
I gave up on the line drawing editor

We don’t do face frame work, its 99.8% all frameless.
Of late I have been drawing up plans in another drawing package to get my final sizes.
I still do a rough pencil layout and sketches with the customer for quoting) (no computer work in front of the customer is a rule I adopted from experience)
But with these new cad drawing programs I find it a lot easier to pre draw and pick up mistakes and work out the finer details to the millimeter without touching a calculator or using pencil and paper.
I find this faster than working things out in the room editor.

To be honest I haven’t spent enough time in the room editor, but the associating and disassociating from walls, the select a wall and go to elevation readjust come back do it again is not time friendly for me.
From what I can gather I think most of the users here use the room editor. (so I’m obviously doing it wrong, but this is my work method)



The main way I have been doing things is to form assemblies in the cabinet editor.
I might break a kitchen into parts. Sink side, fridge side, BBar or stove
I seem to always be varying units so I put together assemblies and use the rotational and wire frame modes to try and pick any errors I make, also it has the 3d distance tool which is good for fast verification.
I try and use all the shortcuts D, shift O, Ctl A, Shift P, A, etc, but it still is time consuming.
My rational is If I have to do a 3d presentation I think it is quicker to drop 3 assemblies into the room editor than 15 or 20 units. (I do like the the feature I just recently noticed, where display panels with scribing allowance can be added in the CE but the assemblies still locate in the room editor flush to the wall.)

I often take Screen shots in the cabinet editor of relevant details, then take them into photo shop or use the sniping tool to edit details, then print them and clip them to the job board. Or sometimes I print the screen shots straight out and just hand write the details down onto the printed drawing. (I wonder if that would be quicker for face frames than using the line drawing editor with fancy arrows)
When I put the job into the workshop it seems to help with explanations.

From the cabinet editor I go to the batch cabinets or into the room editor, but lately since I have been pre drawing everything sometimes I am going to the batch cabinets area first.

I then do the printouts for the factory.
which are the cut list, batch cabinets and the sheet nest diagrams, and then put them together with the workshop floor plan with elevations from the Cad drawings well as any screen shots of assemblies or cabinets with annotations and notes.

When the job is ready to be cut I gather the guys around to talk through the job so they all can hear, ask questions and hopefully they are looking out for each other. (I only do that for more complicated jobs)
The reason for this is because when I talk I must use complex higher cabinetmaking jargon that quite often is “misinterpreted”. (Seriously! It’s not my communication method that is bad)
I try and present them with this as close to the time I have done the cultist and when the job is ready to be cut, so the information is as fresh as can be in my mind and I can spot any spot any weird “Stuff” that seems to happen all the time.

The guys in the factory hate my cutting lists (the printouts from eCabs) But they don't realize how lucky they are and it is still easier for me, (not better), than my old way.
The names from different libraries bug them, the multiple parts listed randomly confuses them,
The standard names that are applied to parts, (deck or stretcher) when they are new starters, always has them asking me, "can you change them? "

The cabinet numbers work for me but when you get 2 or 3 assemblies and you have BA1C1 and BA2C1 and BA3C1 they don’t like it, let’s face it, if they wanted to be in an office dealing with paperwork they’d be doing our jobs

So that’s my rough method for using eCabs
No great insights, no great shortcuts just a lot of ramblings, kind of like my jobs really. :lol:

I am sure some of Scott’s great excel skills are exactly what I need to learn and do… But…….
The program is amazingly flexible, versatile and a wonderful tool. But………

As a final line, I haven’t used or assessed the expensive or for that matter any other kitchen design software.
Do they have great time saving features or are they still less than perfect, and are we just spoilt with ecabs?
or is the $20 to $50 grand worth the benefits?

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Re: eCabinet Productivity

Postby Stuart Douglas » Tue, Mar 29 2016, 12:43PM

For us the time problem comes in when I customize everything.
And unfortunately I attract customize jobs.


Hit the nail right on the head. We are a custom shop. Mostly frameless, institutional casework. BUT, every job has half a dozen weird or souped up versions of cabinets I've built hundreds of times. Plus we add in a few residential runs here and there for people in our network circles, family, friends, etc. There is no magic bullet. Ever.
My 2 cents:
The excel videos and tutorials are solid gold. I'll be taking a community college course in Excel/Access real soon. It will be worth every dime.

Spend time getting your library cleaned up. Develop logical directory trees for types and frequent dimension changes.

Keep a system of continuity. Start with a scaleable seed that has defaults set and locked or set in scaleable increments. Start with THAT seed every time you find you can't use something you already have programmed.

The LDE is not the best tool for the job , 99% of the time. Use what works for you and don't worry about it. It's still there if you need it.

Don't take my word for it. Keep trying different things. Keep reading this thread. The moment you stagnate is the moment you start to lose the money you could have earned.
Stay positive. This might not seem like the fastest way to do things but it is light-years faster than the old way and exponentially more accurate. And if you keep at it, you will find the fastest way. :beer:

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Re: eCabinet Productivity

Postby Ralph Balanik » Tue, Mar 29 2016, 1:27PM

To paraphrase an anecdote sent by a friend," there are unlimited opportuniites to learn a lesson until the lesson is learned". In dealing with customers I used to use a standard checklist of all of the items that had been asked for from my different customers, such as built in cuting board, glass doors, tile splash, crown mold, sunshine ceiling etc.. As time has passed and my workload has relaxed, I have gotten away from some of these practices. The extra work it has created in do overs of 3D renderings, changes to cabinets etc. has taken up much of the time my relaxed work load has afforded me. Every time I take a moment to think about problem solving something I used to do comes back to me. The ways of accomplishing the work have evolved but the work hasn't changed much.

Today I operate from a 1200 sq/ft workshop and so I don't have space for a show room and large sample displays. I am grateful for the opportunity to use technology, 3 D rendering has been very helpful when I get all or most of the info up front before I start. Most recently I sat down and talked to a customer about their wants and needs, created a single rendering, and with just a few changes sold a very nice job. Its nice not to have to drag my next customer into my last custoomers home to look at my work. It's nice to reach across a continent when I have a question and to get answers in minutes. Other than style and color choice, and a few hardware items, the work that I do today isn't all that different than the work I did in the seventies.

In short, a good checklist is going to be one of my next projects. Lesson Learned. ( I will use a word processor to get it done :D )

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Re: eCabinet Productivity

Postby Ralph Balanik » Tue, Mar 29 2016, 2:20PM

Just a note on other software. I used to use a different product for design and sales and it worked well but did not do the work that I can do with Ecabinets. It was much quicker to do a layout but again the custom building business created the need for many workarounds as well. It did not do the kind of renderings capaple with Ecabinets. I know two individuals who use another well known software product for sales and then use Ecabinets to run their CNC. ONe shop uses a ShopBot, the other has a Thermwood. They both said the learning curve and issues they had with Ecabinets was the deciding factor. The range in price for the other programs starts at a monthly fee for rental of about 100.00/month, outright purchase is 1600.00 to 5000.00 just for diesign software and start at around 10,000.00 if you want to run CNC with it. Ecabinets does everthing that these other packages do and then some, but because Ecabinets is very customizable instead of cookie cutter, it means figuring out what works for each individual and setting it up.

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Re: eCabinet Productivity

Postby Kerry Fullington » Sun, Apr 03 2016, 8:32AM

My premise when I started this thread was that eCabinets is what it is and instead of wishing for the software to change I would look for better ways to use the existing software.
At this time the Office is the constraint in our production so I am trying to improve procedures to get the jobs, with correct information to the shop floor in a timely manner.
As for my face frame drawing problem, I think the best method is to use "lean thinking" which suggests you improve a process until the process is no longer needed.
What I think the solution is, to set up kiosks in the major work cells with the eCabinet jobs loaded where the employee with minimal training in the software can pull up cabinets from the job in the Face Frame Editor and get any information they need without the need for me to create a stack of line drawings. They can then look at other information like room placement, fit, etcetera without input from me.
Management is skeptical.

I am now looking into extracting cut list information to take to our three Tiger Stops for face frame, door stile and rail, and drawer box parts. This is a place I can use some of Scott's ideas.

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Re: eCabinet Productivity

Postby Jesse Ogburn » Thu, Apr 07 2016, 6:24AM

This is an interesting discussion. I will agree with Scott and add my opinion that probably the most efficient way of sorting parts is to use macros. This is what we have been doing for a few years. In the beginning I thought that it was an oversight that ecabinets didn't have a way of manipulating the cut lists into something that I could send to the machines on the floor, but I have changed my mind on that a little. It would be possible, I believe, for ecabinets to provide some sort of sorting or formatting options, but when you think about it, every company that makes some sort of computerized cutoff saw or whatever has their own way that they want the cut lists sorted and formatted. It actually makes sense to use macros or simple programs to modify the cutlist to whatever configuration needed.
I have a few macros that I wrote that do pretty well. They need modified a little to make them more efficient, but I'm to busy trying to keep up with work to spend the hours it would take to modify them just to save a couple of seconds here and there :| But there is really no limit to the changes you can make with macros. I have found ways to make up for some of the things that ecabinets can't do at this point like, split panel doors, for instance. Using some logic and string manipulation there are quite a number of things that are possible to do.

Cheers!!
Jesse

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Re: eCabinet Productivity

Postby FredHirsch » Thu, Apr 28 2016, 12:19PM

Like others, been following this thread. Great information. We do commercial. Used to do shops in AutoCAD and then convert to eCabs. No more.... We are now doing everything in eCabs and sending the LDE to the architect. The drawings are not as pretty as the autocad output, but I'm not duplicating work and introducing a whole new level of potential error translating from AutoCAD to eCabs. Since doing this, I have not had any problems with GC or Architect, and my error in the office have gone down to almost zero. There were a number of AutoCAD DXF pieces that were re-used over and over, just converted to DXF and bring into eCabs (countertop buildups, hardware specs etc). The time savings has been good, and accuracy has been great. The LDE doesn't lie and if the architect signs off, that is what the machine is going to cut.

I guess my thought contribution to this thread is.. make a small library of DXF drawing components that you can import into LDE to save time and make it have "the look". Not going back to AutoCAD unless it is something ecabs can't do and I can output the autocad dxf panels to the machine.
Thx
Fred
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