Success with the program

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Tim Massa
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Success with the program

Postby Tim Massa » Wed, May 30 2007, 4:16PM

Hi All,

I've been using e-cabs for about a year now and it's been an amazing program. After reading a past e-cab magazine article on 'change is good' it occurred to me to try and do just that. I've recently attempted to try the services of a Thermwood CNC shop for a kitchen I'm doing. It has not gone well. The nesting issues have been numerous and the machine has been doing alot of unexpected things. In short I was hoping that there might be any small shop owners, like myself, that have had success in subbing out their mill work to a Thermwood CNC shop and could you offer any advice that would keep a job running smoothly and out of the weeds. Is there an approach you take with the designs of your boxes, such as \"keep em simple\" or some other aspect of the designs that will keep the job running smoothly. The CNC shop owner and myself are feeling at wits end and thought that maybe there is advice that would help us from other shops that are collaborating and finding the effort successfull.

Respectfully,
Tim Massa

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Postby Michael S Murray » Wed, May 30 2007, 5:02PM

Tim,
I am a small shop and I have a cnc, and I provide a cutting service. I have cut up a lot of cabinets, most trouble free. It does take some work to get your files right and yes, you can miss some things occasionaly, espescially when you build something for the first time or build a new library that has a couple bugs in it. I do have several librarys of kitchen, bath and commercial cabinetry that has been cut several times and I have no problems cutting up a large kitchen in 4 or 5 hrs. max. trouble free at the machine and assemble like a dream. IT probably wont happen for you the first or second time, but dont give up. When you get in the groove you'l never go back.
Lots of smart guys here on the forum, free for the asking.
As far as the machine doing a lot of things unexpectedly, well, lets just say from experience that it will throw one at ya every now and then that cant be figured out, but most of the time I find it to be only doing what you asked it it to do :lol: :lol:
Mike Murray
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Postby Forrest Chapman » Wed, May 30 2007, 6:26PM

Tim,

It sounds to me like the cnc guy is new at this as well or he should be able to help you thru the first couple of jobs. The first priority is understanding how your designs will affect machining. This will require someone with experience in both ecabs and rolling nest. Otherwise your both in the same boat. Post a couple of files your having trouble with and explain what the unexpected results are. Maybe a few of us can look at them.

Forrest

Roger Kirkpatrick
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Postby Roger Kirkpatrick » Wed, May 30 2007, 7:59PM

Yes it does sound like the CNC operator has limited experience.
I send out all my job to a very experienced shop, because that is all he does.
Experience on your end and his will smooth out the rough edges.

Just a thought on your end to keep it simple. Limit the flip operations required in your design.
Example - cabinet backs should go past the decks and tops. Use a butt joint.
This works fine for base cabinets but not wall cabinets. I use 50% blind dado for the box and 100% thick through dado for the backs.
Be very careful with grain direction on corner cabinets. If you are using plywood check the grain direction for shelves, top and deck. The program treats them differently.
Always nest your design on your computer. You will quite often find your mistakes before cutting up material.
Good luck.
The WoodCrafter

Tim Massa
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Postby Tim Massa » Wed, May 30 2007, 9:04PM

Thanks for responding guys,

The issues that we've been having are the enormous amount of time spent in the software trying to figure out bugs in the program as well as the nesting of the parts when their are part editor cuts involved.

Currently the blind dadoe is giving us the worst trouble. I have drawers designed using the blind dadoe as well as the cabinets and assemblies. The kitchen is fairly customized and I have pulled from almost all areas of the program to design it. Part editor, stretcher editor, edge band editor, etc... I have hit a bug in almost all areas of the program on this job. Now that I have rebuilt the same cabs a multitude of times (to shake off the bugs) and it's finally getting nested the machine is milling the blind dadoes very poorly. The material thickness of the sheet stock that was run could not be adjusted for because some of the part editor cuts caused the program to default back to the original material thickness. Then there's the issue of the dadoes....
Dadoes are being milled much longer than the tennon length. About 3/8 inch past either end of the adjoining tennon . Tennon thickness is 1/4\" (50% material thickness of 1/2\" baltic birch ply set in construction parameters). Tennon shoulders are proud of the rest of the material. I will post images of what we have been getting.
Then there is the blind dadoes incorporated into the cabinets. Again at 50% material thickness, 3/4\" material. The results are off the chart and have to be seen to do it justice.
I could go on but I have to get back and redraw the cabinets yet again to eliminate any blind dadoes that I can. I have attached an assembly to show some of the kookie designs that I've done, based on client specification. Herein is the dilemma. The cabs are designed using the software's avialable utilities. This has been a great selling tool on this job. Clients seemed really dazzled that they can have it their way. My thinking has been if they want it and I can design it they can get it. This might be an overreach from what I'm currently expierencing, though, and I would really like to know if I'm being realistic, given all the bugs with the software. Is there anyone doing more custom designed cabs than just straight forward boxes with drawers and doors, and are you able to get them thru CNC smoothly and quickly? This current job is literally costing me.

Respectfully,
Tim

Tim Massa
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Postby Tim Massa » Wed, May 30 2007, 9:09PM

O.K. here's the cabinet assembly
(referred to in previous post)
Attachments
Fridge new6.1.esa
(3.55 MiB) Downloaded 74 times

Tim Massa
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Postby Tim Massa » Wed, May 30 2007, 9:11PM

here's a jpeg of the drawer box joint
Attachments
Massa cabinets tenon problems 001.jpg
Massa cabinets tenon problems 001.jpg (268.36 KiB) Viewed 1715 times

Tim Massa
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Postby Tim Massa » Wed, May 30 2007, 9:15PM

here's a couple nifty shots of a blind dadoe attempted in 3/4\" material
Attachments
Massa cabinets 002.jpg
Massa cabinets 002.jpg (356.17 KiB) Viewed 1714 times
Massa cabinets 003.jpg
Massa cabinets 003.jpg (302.66 KiB) Viewed 1714 times

Forrest Chapman
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Postby Forrest Chapman » Thu, May 31 2007, 8:54AM

Tim,

First picture looks like a flip op alignment issue. This is common with small flip ops in that its difficult to get them to hold in the perfect location. If the other end is cut slightly deeper thats your problem. If both ends are the same then its your tool size in the tool manager.

Second picture looks like your adding holes for KD fittings into your blind dado areas. I can tell you they have had issues in the past with this but they were resolved. Maybe something came back with build 3.


Third picture is easy fix. Cut in conventional direction. This may fix your first problem as well.

Forrest

Tim Massa
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Postby Tim Massa » Thu, May 31 2007, 5:01PM

Forrest,
Thanks for having a look. I appreciate all the advice that has been offered here. The problems that I'm expierencing on this job are too numerous to believe. The first picture was not a flip but a blind dado. The second and third pics are of the mortises in the 3/4\" stock. The large half cut-thru circles are concentric with a 1/8\" pilot hole created in the part editor. The idea was to glue the joint, assemble, screw the box off and move on. Only problem has been the software. Definitely not a KDA.
Speaking of parts editor, has anyone tried to re-size their material thickness when writing a twd. file with part editor cuts? How are you making that work? I'm losing my part editor cuts.
Speaking of twd. files I'm trying to nest, filter and write the twd files of each and every cabinet assembly to try and find any problems before the job will be attempted to run tomorrow. If I change the material thickness of the cab materials, for test purposes, the software crashes. If I leave the materials as they are and attempt to save the file there's no problem. I guess a bug at every level is to be expected with this program. This is not free, though. I have paid a lot of money for it in other ways so far and have made none at this rate.
Are there any small shops out there making money by subbing out their milling to a Thermwood CNC using solely the E-cab program? I would appreciate any advice and I'm trying to follow the recommendations posted already. I can't help feeling like this is a lot of smoke and mirrors. The concept is a good one but the program just doesn't seem to be able to deliver with all these bugs. I have hours and hours into it and I'm still hitting them.

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Postby Forrest Chapman » Thu, May 31 2007, 5:44PM

Tim,

Post one of the cabs that you are having trouble with and I'll nest and cut it tommorrow. I'll need the hsf and twd with any thickness change you've made.

Yes there are many shops out there that outsource all parts to a cnc shop using ecabs and do very well at it. Ocassionaly we incounter problems with machining but it is very important for us to watch for design issues, however sometimes we still miss things. For instance recently one of my customers sent me a file to cut. I looked his file over and talked to him about what hardware he was using and everything looked good. However when doing a thickness change the router rebuilt the cabs and lost all the hardware holes. Somehow the default hole pattern had been lost on the cabs. It was definitly unexpected and ended up being machined this way. The bug was traced down and fixed. You will incounter bugs like this with all software. Yet very few companies will fix them as aggressively as Thermwood. Maybe a few of us cnc guys can help ease your mind. Post the offending cabinets and I'll take a look tommorrow.

Thanks
Forrest

Ps.The cnc shop can always call me as well. 864-226-5256

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Thom Davies
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Postby Thom Davies » Thu, May 31 2007, 5:59PM

Hey Tim Hows it going?

Your massa cabinet 003 pic with the big holes over the wot looks like a 3mm hole is the same prob im having @ the mo. Ive sent a email to thermwood about. I have to edit the code for this to stop happening. After its drilled the 3mm holes in the code it goes for (in my case) T1M3, a 10mm cutter and in the code it says \" pocket clean up\" and goes back and does those big holes over the 3mm holes @ the same depth as wot your dado depth is. This only happens when you add a 3mm hole with part editor.

Hope this helps a wee bit. and i know how annoying this prob is!

Cheers

Thom Davies
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Tim Massa
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Postby Tim Massa » Thu, May 31 2007, 6:52PM

Thom,
It sounds wrong but I'm glad you're having the same problem. Now we know we're not crazy! Thanks for the tip. It sounds like I will have to remove all those holes from this job. I'll put it on the list of things to do.
Forrest, thanks for your offer to try and run a cab. That's very generous of you. The problem is that I cannot create the twd. file with a change in the material thickness as it will crash my program. If I don't change the material thickness it will write the twd. file with no problem.
How has this problem of the part editor cuts being lost when you change the material thickness writing the twd. not been a raging issue for anybody yet? This would seem to be a biggee...
Is anybody getting their files written, with a material thickness change, and not losing the part editor cuts? These two operations, the part editor and the material thickness change, seem like they would be noticed as having a conflict by now. Is there something that I could be doing to avoid this issue? Do you need to create libraries of any imaginable thickness of any material that might be running?
Thanks again for taking the time to read my posts. The advice I'm getting is very helpfull. I'm still interested to hear from any small shops subbing their milling out to a thermwood using e-cabs, also.

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DanEpps
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Postby DanEpps » Thu, May 31 2007, 7:30PM

Tim

There have been a number of posts concerning problems changing material thickness when creating the twd file. If you search through the forum you will find several recent posts.

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Postby Forrest Chapman » Thu, May 31 2007, 9:03PM

Tim,

What we have found as machine owners is that it is better to enter material with the proper thickness in your material database. You won't need that many as most materials are a general thickness. Domestic 3/4 plywood is .72 or .73 and most will enter an average, maybe .725. This is as close to accurate as you can get with plywood. Melamine 3/4 is .765 or so and that will remain very close. As you are designing your libraries with part edits apply constraints to them and this will help when rebuilding them during a material change. The more edits you have per design the slower changes will be to the point of possible crashing. One thing that I do instead of thickness changes is material changes. This way you can choose only a few cabinets at once and are less likely to tax your system. Do not change the thickness on existing material as this will cause problems when loading an old cabinet with the same material name but a diferent thickness. Make a new set of materials and slowly change your cabinets over.

Hope this helps,
Forrest

Ps. I inform my clients of this also.


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