time to draw a typical kichen

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Travis Nichols
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time to draw a typical kichen

Postby Travis Nichols » Tue, Aug 14 2007, 11:30AM

Hello everyone. I have some questions I would like feedback on. I have been trying to learn ecabs and have ran into a lot of difficulties. I have not been able to design kitchens without spending a lot of time on each one. I would like to hear how people are getting around some of the issues I am dealing with. Example. Lets say you design a kitchen with a drop-in range and a microwave vent hood. The customer says \"yes, I like the design, but would like to move the range over 8\". Also, take out the vent hood.\" With my other design program,I just click on the range and drag it as far as i need to. Then, I click on the microwave and hit the delete key. Every cab is resized. I can do this in 20 seconds. With ecabs, I have to re-size every cabinet around the range. Sure, ecabs will do a lot more cusom work, but I build kitchens. I can draw a simple kitchen with my other program in about 20-30minutes. That includes cut lists,pricing,and in another ten minutes, optimizing. On an average, between customer changes and other issues, I probably spend a total of 1-2 hours designing a kitchen with my other program. Is this possible with ecabs? Don't get me wrong, I would love to use this program, and am not intending to bash ecabs by this post. I am sure some of my problems are caused by not going about things in the proper way. I would like to know how long it takes an experienced user to draw a kitchen and be ready and confident to build.

mikesand
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Postby mikesand » Tue, Aug 14 2007, 1:32PM

I have used other software packages as well, and Ecabs definately falls short of some of the better ones out there. Mostly it is the automated featires such as the ones you described. I can think of several other things as well, like the method of adding drawers and mouldings.

Some things to remember in compairing Ecabs to other packages: The big guys (Planit, KCDW, etc) have spent many more years developing their products. Ecabinets is still a newcommer to the market, and they have made more improvements in a short time than any others. Also the complexities of programing the type of automated processes you describe are unimagianable to us as cabinet makers. When my profesional programmer friends have seen what Ecabs does they are amazed by what happens when something as simple as equalising 4 or 5 cabinets. Developing this software is a process, it can't happen in one version. Finally the very obvious issue is that Thermwood produces this software at a substantial loss. I've heard that every \"free\" copy costs Thermwood more than a hundred bucks in lisence fees. Not to mention the million plus payed to the development of the product.

The result is that there are many shops who will not use Ecabs because they would rather shell out the 4 to 9 thousand dollars for the more refined products out there. However there are a great many more that choose to use Ecabs.

The more you use Ecabs the faster you will be able to make the changes you describe. I seldomly used the automated features of the other products because I didn't want all the cabinets to automaticly resize. Some cabinets were a specific size for a reason. I hope that some of those features do make it into Ecabs in the near future. The more sophisticated Ecabs becomes the more shops will drop their other software. For now I think we should hope to see more stability and more useability of the current features.

Mike

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Kerry Fullington
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Postby Kerry Fullington » Wed, Aug 15 2007, 6:38AM

Travis,
I am always looking for ways to speed up the design and bidding process but I think that auto re-size function would be something nice to do a quick sketch but useless when you are doing an actual design.
How does your other software know how to re-size and re-arrange cabinets automatically. If you have a wall of bases ending with a blind corner that already has the minimum width door opening to accommodate a wire pullout, how does the software know not to change this cabinet when you move the range 8\". In an integrated cabinet that has a bank of 20\" drawers combined with a drawer over door, how does it keep the drawer bank at the 20\" width and just take the 8\" out of the drawer over door side of this cabinet. If there were a 24\" bank of drawers on the other side of the range, you wouldn't want that to become a 32\" bank of drawers. You would still have to edit all of the surrounding cabinets. Automatic might work for modular type cabinets but doesn't seem practical for custom work unless there are a lot of parameters that you can set for the auto functions.
Ken mentioned that version 5.2 is going to be simplified. I am anxious to see what that means. I am hoping that simplified doesn't mean slimmed down. I would hate to lose any of the functionality that eCabinets offers. eCabinets software can design just about anything you can dream up. I would hate to see it move backward to make the software just a little more user friendly.

If you don't mind me asking, if the other software does what you want, why are you wanting to change?

All of this being said, I too would like to speed up my design and bid time. Maybe this thread will open up a discussion of how others are doing just that.


Kerry

Forrest Chapman
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Postby Forrest Chapman » Wed, Aug 15 2007, 8:20AM

Kerry,

One thing that helps me design faster is that I have 2 copies of the same cabinets. 1 is for designing and is striped of all unnessesary features such as hardware, edgebanding, edits, drawer boxes and jointery. This allows for fast resizing and dropping into a room. Once the design is finalized I take the same cabs from my manufacture library, resize and dump into a batch file. This is fast and effective if you have a customer that you know will be changing things.

Forrest

Travis Nichols
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Postby Travis Nichols » Wed, Aug 15 2007, 10:29AM

Kerry,
You are right about still having to edit each surrounding cab, but these are 20 second operations at most. In regards to the question on the base blind cab opening, I can lock any opening so it does not change when other cabs change.
The biggest advantage to the click and drag-auto re-size function is the ability to quickly play with the basic design.
Sure,this other program has a lot of parameters to set up, but most custom cabinet shops have or should have fairly standard building procedures. Example.all my base cabs have a 1.5\" top and bottom face frame rails, 1.5\" stiles, and 2\" mid rails. Sure, I can change this if I need to, but this is standard.
Why would I like to change programs? A number of reasons.

1. I like the concept of ecabs and the concepts Ken talks about in his book.

2. My version of my other program does not have photo realistic renderings and cannot support complex turnings and carvings, and I do not want to spend the 5 thousand dollars it would take to get these features.

3. I like the attitude and helpfulness of the designers as well as the forum community. With my other program, tech support is a joke.


I would still like some feedback on time to design an average kitchen. I am not opposed to spending six to eight hours on a complex kitchen, but I have a freind who says he spends upwards of fifty hours on a job with ecabs. Unless you work on extremely high profit margin jobs, this is un-acceptable.



3.

Michael S Murray
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Postby Michael S Murray » Wed, Aug 15 2007, 11:08AM

Travis,
I have my librarys designed for the most part. I go to the customers home with a laptop, draw the room and all details on the spot, save it to a traveldrive. About 1 hr on job or less.
I then come back to office and design the job on my desktop. An average 15-20k kitchen takes less 45 minutes if not interupted(YA RIGHT). I am talking about a basic design with cabinets and tops ready to go to machine. This will give you a very decent rendering, How much time you take other than that with the fluff is up to you.Keep in mind I have designed and cut over 500 custom kitchens and multiple other projects in e-cabs.
Mike Murray
Versatile Cabinet & Solid Surface
mike@versatilecabinet.com
http://www.versatilecabinet.com

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Kerry Fullington
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Postby Kerry Fullington » Wed, Aug 15 2007, 12:43PM

Travis,
Thanks for the info. Being able to lock a cabinet opening size would be a great feature.

I am not nearly as fast as Michael. I spend usually close to two hours on the job site talking with the customer and laying out the walls, doors, windows. existing plumbing and electrical on my laptop. I then take this off the laptop and start adding cabinets. If there is nothing special, then this goes pretty fast but if there are a lot of radius corners, valances, bump outs with legs, unique islands, pediments, wood vent hoods, etc. then it all slows down. For a basic kitchen (around 25 sheets) I average around 4 to 6 hours to get a cut list. If there are the extras mentioned above I get into the 8 to 10 hour range. If I want a really impressive presentation I will get another 5 to 10 hours just doing that. This comes from finding and downloading or creating items that are not in the system, carvings,legs, radius corner posts, actual appliances etc. I will also spend a lot of time profiling edges of counter tops and cabinet corners as well as placing all of the moldings, crown, light rails, secondary carved top moldings, base moldings, shoe moldings, corbels, brackets etc. This all takes time. Finally I will add pulls and decorative items. I next add lighting and play with intensities and shine values to get the look I want in different views of the job. I can spend 2 to 4 hours just getting the right \"shots\" for the presentation. After I get all the jpgs I need for the presentation, I take those into Irfanview and adjust the brightness, contrast and gamma correction to touch up the photos. I then use Adobe PhotoShop to create a web slide show to publish to the Internet for my customers to look at. If they make many changes, this process starts over. All of this for kitchens that average between 7 to 10 thousand.

How much time a design takes is all a matter of what you want to accomplish with the end result.

Kerry

Michael S Murray
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Postby Michael S Murray » Wed, Aug 15 2007, 1:23PM

Hey Travis, just to clarify after reading Kerrys post, my time does not include the time spent with clients discussing the job, I figure that is a given with any software and can vary drastically with the client and the kitchen. My time estimate was actually drawing time.

Kerry, My drawings do not compare to yours Buddy, I would not have a clue how to do the things you do with this software.To tell you the truth, I dont even remmeber the last time I put in a light or messed with a rendered view....I do what I have to do to get it good enough for the client and machining. Most of my clients are used to seeing the black and white line drawings, anything I do in e-cabs wins them over usually. That and the fact that the majority have seen my work, I actually cringe when I get a cold call client as I call them. I know I will spend more time with them , with less chance of a return..
Mike Murray

Versatile Cabinet & Solid Surface

mike@versatilecabinet.com

http://www.versatilecabinet.com

mikesand
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Postby mikesand » Wed, Aug 15 2007, 1:29PM

Travis,

I apologise for not answering your actual question. I am embaresed to admit that I spend a LOT of time on my designs. But it is not a fault of the software. I tend to take jobs that require a lot of time to design, and really Ecabs has sped up the process a lot because after the design is complete I don't spend nearly as much time doing the inevetable \"on the fly\" math tha was necessarry before.

If I were to take a basic job and did not add too much moulding I could do the layout in 8 hours, that includes specing all the pull out hardware, apliance openings, material cost, etc. That is also figureing that I would build every cabinet from the jobs seed cabinet. I don't really build from a libary like some others do, because the f-frames, reveals, insets, overlays, and construction techniques change too much.

If you need speed, you will have to develop a standardised library (the same as any other software) and avoid entering the construstion settings dialogue at all.

Hope that helps,

Mike

Jerry McClain
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time to quote

Postby Jerry McClain » Wed, Aug 15 2007, 2:26PM

I have a library that I have built that is base cabinets. Patterned after a standard box cabinet manufacturer. This helps because if they have been to the big retailers they have a base understanding of what a B15 is. I know I am being over simplistic here but I take these simple kitchens draw them in about 15 to 20 minutes. I use a spread sheet to calculate my pricing and usually do that in less than 5 minutes. That is for a 10-12,000 kitchen. A kitchen that is in the 60,000 range with mdf doors could take up to 40-60 hours of design work. I hope that helps.
JLM


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