Easier Kitchen Designs

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Joe Dusel
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Easier Kitchen Designs

Postby Joe Dusel » Mon, Sep 15 2008, 3:23PM

Hi all,

I'm trying to determine the best way to quickly layout a kitchen. Looking at some of the other software I noticed that they include countertop material with the cabinets when placed into a room. They also place a sink and faucet with their sink cabinets. So, here's my idea. I'm figuring on generating a library of cabinets which includes countertop material with each cabinet, plus sinks and such where necessary. I don't want to load actual countertops in the Cabinet Editor because once placed these are not parametric. I was going to use a stretcher as a top, but then I noticed that you can not take a stretcher to the Part Editor for sink cutouts or edge details. (Why not?) The solution I came up with is to use the top as a countertop using an appropriately thick material. Then I place a fixed shelf in the cabinet for the real cabinet box top. When you place cabinets next to each other the top looks like one piece.

For a toe-kick strip I use a stretcher. (I place my cabinets on leg levelers.)

So, what do you all think about this idea? Anybody have any slick tricks they want to divulge?

Ultimately I think it would be great if we could have a selection in the Cabinet/Assembly Editor to apply a countertop that and also have it be parametrically associated with the cabinet box.

Joe
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Kerry Fullington
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Re: Easier Kitchen Designs

Postby Kerry Fullington » Wed, Sep 17 2008, 7:06AM

Joe,

I like some of your ideas. Speeding up the time it takes to do a layout is something I think everyone is interested in. I also think that getting a layout done faster in eCabinets may be accomplished by changing the way we use eCabinets.
I like to use the counter top editor to place counter tops but I use some tricks similar to what you are doing. For sink and drop in ranges, I place a top just on that cabinet. This makes placement of the sink holes easier to calculate. I also have saved cutout geometries for most sinks, etc. and can open those in the part editor contour to quickly do the cutouts. After I place these counter tops on sink cabs etc, I go back and finish the rest of the tops that don't have holes. I save my sink bases with the sink and faucet already in place so that I can just add the cabinet and the sink is there. If I have to re-size the cabinet it just takes a second to move the sink into place.

Another trick I learned to speed up eCabinets is don't put unnecessary construction parameters into your cabinets. When eCabinets allowed construction for dovetail drawers I immediately added the dovetails to all my drawers. I cut my dovetails with a jig so I really don't need that construction information in my drawer boxes. eCabinets takes a long time generating all that dovetail cut information for the dovetails every time you make a change to a cabinet with dovetail drawers. I have know changed all my drawers to a but joint with negative insets on the sides to allow for my dovetails. My cut list is correct and eCabinets doesn't have to do all that work to generate cutting info for the dovetails and to show them graphically. This speeds up eCabinets when I make changes to any of my cabinets with drawers and also helps performance in the line drawing editor when eCabinets is trying to graphically represent all those tails. It also speeds up nesting of the parts.
Shelf pin holes are another place to use this. Because I cut my holes manually I just need one hole per shelf showing so I know that the part needs holes. I don't need to show all of the holes graphically. This also eliminates the two page printouts of shelf hole measurements in the nest diagrams.
If you are cutting parts with a router neither of these tricks can be used.

I am sure there are a lot of othr tricks members are using to speed up the design process.

Kerry

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Damon Nabors
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Re: Easier Kitchen Designs

Postby Damon Nabors » Wed, Sep 17 2008, 7:34AM

Kerry,

What you have said here makes since to the person cutting cabinets on a saw, but what about those of us that do have the router and need all the information to go out to the Controller. I don't know that leaving out information is the cure. Don't get me wrong, I agree with you to some degree but ultimately the software was designed to run a Thermwood router and provide the information needed to get accurate parts. Also I can see that if vital information was left off of the cabinets in the library, I can see that an oversight could be made for the person that decides to try production sharing. The shop orders their job and when the parts come in, Your like, " Oh Man, I forgot to add the dovetail drawers back in or I don't have enough shelve pin holes". I am not knocking your suggestion so please don't misunderstand, I am just not in total agreement that leaving information out is the answer to the problem.

Damon
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Re: Easier Kitchen Designs

Postby Kerry Fullington » Wed, Sep 17 2008, 8:01AM

Damon,

I stated that this will not work if you are sending files to a router but for me, I know my stuff is just being sent to me. It is worth any trick to speed up the design process. ( I have had cabinets with seven drawers and four roll out shelves. You could go to lunch in the time it takes to regenerate this cabinet after making it an inch wider.

I also feel that if I ever want to send files to production sharing I couldn't use my existing cabinets anyway. For production sharing you should work with your CNC shop to make sure everything is going to work. This will probably mean adjusting every cabinet in the library anyway. I would also change my construction methods if I went with production sharing. I would use all blind dado construction instead of full dado This would mean a complete new library.

If someone is thinking in the near future that they are going to be working with production sharing then I would suggest they work with their shop of choice and design the library cabinets correct from the start.

Kerry

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Re: Easier Kitchen Designs

Postby Damon Nabors » Wed, Sep 17 2008, 8:28AM

Kerry,
I can see your point and like I said, I am not knocking it totally. Anything that we can use to speed things up is needed. All I am saying is, I would like to see changes made that will allow us to design cabinets and layout rooms faster without having to delete some of the functions in the software. Not understanding the programmers side of the equation, I don't know if that can be done or not.

Sometimes you have to ask yourself if the technology is truly needed. I had a guy come by a couple of weeks ago and wanted to know if I needed any help on the weekends from time to time. He needed a little extra cash because the shop he works at is slow right now. I let him work that weekend and he was impressed with the technology and the way I do cabinets but he asked if it was all really needed. He asked me how long it takes to draw up a kitchen with ecab. I told him around 5 to 6 hours depending on all the details that go into it. He just laughed and said within that amount of time he could slide every sheet of plywood across a table saw and be done cutting before I ever cut the first piece. I know of the shop that this guy works at and he has a reputation for being a cabinet making machine. He supposedly can cut a kitchen every day, line bored and assembled. He challenged me to a cutting contest to see who would get through the fastest. All that being said, I do agree that we do need to speed things up because it does take entirely too long to design a job.

I would just like to see us be able to use all the features that ecabinets has to offer and at the same time be able to design the job in a timely manner. The designing is my biggest bottle neck. I am constantly running back and forth, Well, I need to be cutting, and Well, I need to be designing so and so's cabinets. It is just a vicious cycle that never has an end.

Once again Kerry, No harm intended. I just want to see things simplified a little and as it has been said in another post, I think that is the direction Thermwood is trying to take Ecabinets. So time will tell.

Damon
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Re: Easier Kitchen Designs

Postby Gary Puckett » Wed, Sep 17 2008, 9:17AM

How can you guys be talking like this when the system can't even put out a bid complete ( from birth to the grave)
For instance you make a top to put on top of a line of cabinets with a overhang. You make this top with a display board,you pick a speices from the materal libary the wood has a board foot price. The cost sheet doen't give it a price because the system doesn't support pricing a display board.

Damon this guy you hired he's talking out his butt there is no way he can keep up with a cnc machine. Be careful he doen't lose a finger trying to make a point. He also has to draw a design.

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Justin Melhiser

Re: Easier Kitchen Designs

Postby Justin Melhiser » Wed, Sep 17 2008, 9:31AM

Gary
here is what you will have to do to get a price on those display boards. Select both of them and go to file export selection. Then save this file, go to the display part editor and open that file up. Once you have it open click the save button and save the file again with a price this time. Also make sure you check mark cut list part. Go back to your room layout and delete those two display boards in the room. Add the new ones you just saved. Now when you go to the cost sheet it will have the display boards listed, with the price you set in the display part editor when you saved them. It will be under user created. This is one set price for both display parts, or you could do this for each one as well, so make sure you know how much you want to charge to creat them both if you do them as one. Now it should have what you are wanting. If you have any questions please give me a call.

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Re: Easier Kitchen Designs

Postby Joe Dusel » Wed, Sep 17 2008, 10:01AM

Thanks for the responses.

The method I discussed actually uses the "top" of the cabinet as the countertop material. It is not only parametric, but it allows you to change the material in the Custom Layout Editor and will give you rough information about the amount of countertop material needed and the cost. The countertop material in this case is entered as sheet stock. If you like you can enter the sheet size of your actual countertop material. The problem of course is that on a nest the countertop material would be chopped up, so it is definitely not a perfect solution. I don't do countertops myself, so this method should work fine for me. I'm in the process of working the kinks out. My idea with the sink cabinets is to have it such that I don't have to do any extra hole cutting after I develop the library. The hole is also setup with constraints in the CM so the cabinets can be resized width-wise without too much trouble. I just want to plop it in an grab the next cabinet. I have also setup a dishwasher cabinet (GE Profile) which is just a top with a dishwasher display object attached to it.

I will post the job I'm working on when I work out the details and let you know how it works for me.

Joe
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Re: Easier Kitchen Designs

Postby Forrest Chapman » Wed, Sep 17 2008, 10:06AM

Hey Guys,

I have done things similar to Kerry in that I have 2 libraries. One library is for design only with no hardware, shelves, construction joints, drawers, edgebanding or part edits. This allows for a very fast loading and resizing and gives the customer a feel for the design layout. My other library is for manufacturing and has everything needed to be machined. After a job is sold I will batch the job and send it to the router.

I have set up pricing with a spread sheet in 3" increments that calculates the price of the doors depending on species and style and is then added to my cabinet price which is available in 4 series of materials and drawer hardware. After the design is complete I enter the cabinet sizes into the spread sheet with all appropriate choices to get my pricing. Finishing, install, moldings and other things are added for the final price. Most of those things are priced per cabinet or by square and linial feet.

If I do unique or odd type designs such as entertainment centers I will choose to design those with the intent to build by.

By the way this all started because I was overloaded with work from other shops. I had to come up with a way for them to use my designs and have quick pricing. About 3 years ago I designed a more standard line of cabinets for my cabinet shop customers to choose from. This lessoned issues between design and build. Now they can design faster and I retain my manufacturing info. I can price the average list of cabinets in about 15 minutes.

Forrest

Ps. I would like to see ecabs set up to use images only until you need specific information like pricing or machining. All caculations would be done at that point. Does anyone think that would work?

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Re: Easier Kitchen Designs

Postby Gary Puckett » Wed, Sep 17 2008, 10:17AM

Thanks Justin,

I really appreciate the input, but thats my point look what you have to do to get a price on a simple display board that is made from stock in your material libary that already has a board foot price.

Realy frustrated still finding hinden things in the bid that the system either lost or did not pick up.

Gary
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Justin Melhiser

Re: Easier Kitchen Designs

Postby Justin Melhiser » Wed, Sep 17 2008, 10:33AM

Gary
Another way is to create the display boards in the cabinet ediotr and save them. Go to the room and install these "display boards", which now will be assemblies. When they are placed in the room click on the cost sheet. it will figure these in with the board stock.

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Re: Easier Kitchen Designs

Postby Joe Dusel » Wed, Sep 17 2008, 10:39AM

You can also make parametric solid wood parts out of cabinet boxes if you like by removing everything in a cabinet except a faceframe member. This will give you cost information, plus you can change the material and resize it even with profiles on it.

Joe
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Re: Easier Kitchen Designs

Postby Gary Puckett » Wed, Sep 17 2008, 11:10AM

justin,

Thats what I did, but the cost sheet in that misc setion did not give a price. So what your saying is that the display boards are figured in the board footage of the board stock?

Gary
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Re: Easier Kitchen Designs

Postby Justin Melhiser » Wed, Sep 17 2008, 11:17AM

Gary
You created the display boards when you were in the room layout not the cabinet editor. thats why they showed up as misc. in the cost sheet with not price in them. If you created these two display boards in the main cabinet editor saved them as an assembly and load them in to the room it will show up under the board stock in the cost sheet. If you do not understand this or need help please give me a call and I can walk you through it to get the display boards to show up under your board stock in the cost sheet.

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Re: Easier Kitchen Designs

Postby Michael S Murray » Wed, Sep 17 2008, 3:26PM

Hi Guys,
Lets just all reinforce the idea that tricking,lying and deceiving the software is only a TEMPORARY thing and that for this software to be truly useful for small, medium and large business, there are some things that need to be addressed. When one person is designing, pricing and cutting, tricking and substituting, work some of the time. When you grow beyond that, it only creates chances for error/miscommunication and losing money. Right now I am in need of hiring some one to help with design and estimating, I cringe at trying to teach some one all that I have learned in the last 3 yrs with e-cab's, so many little tricks and so many little details and if any are missed, it means I eat beans for another week :( :x
Dont take me wrong, I am pleased with the progress, its simply overwhelming to me to think of how much work and money has had to be put in to this program.
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