The Future of eCabinet Systems

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The Future of eCabinet Systems

Postby Jason Susnjara » Mon, Jan 12 2009, 3:57PM

Hi,

I hope everyone had a great holiday!! As most of you have seen in a past posting from Ken, we are starting the New Year with some changes. I have been promoted to V.P., Marketing which not only includes the normal marketing routines but also eCabinet Systems. My team and I have been giving the responsibility to make eCabinet Systems the best software on the market. In these changing times, we are going to focus heavily on eCabinet Systems and will give you an idea of where we are heading.

You will soon see a new update coming out today, one that we know will dramatically improve and increase the speed of assembling cabinets, furniture, closets, etc. This feature will help our CNC customers as well as eCabinet members that utilize Production Sharing to increase their profits. Within the Cabinet Editor of the eCabinet Systems software, there is a new icon called Assembly Marks (Patent Pending). By adding these Patent Pending Assembly Marks, the machine will drill small holes (not through holes) onto the cabinet joints for the blind dado and full dado (see attached pictures). These marks will show the assembler which tab goes into which slot making it very easy to assemble, and once the cabinet is assembled, the holes are hidden. We will have a video demonstrating this process, from design, machining, and then showing how fast it is to assemble a cabinet. Just to give you an idea of how fast this is, we cut 2 cabinets, both identical, one with typical assembly drawings and blind dado and the other with the assembly marks. I tried this myself and my time for the standard method for assembly was about 6 minutes and I still had it wrong in the end. The other with assembly marks which took me less than 2 minutes without looking at any assembly drawings. Another part of this update will be labels. You will see new labels with the ability to add color dots to allow an assembler to sort through a huge mess by separating the dots. All red dots are one cabinet; all blue dots are another cabinet and so forth. For members that don’t use a color printer we have another method that uses symbols.

I don’t want to get into the details of what’s ahead for the future of eCabinet Systems right now as this would be a very large posting, but I can say that we are devoted and will continue to update the software. We are currently working on optimizing the software so that hopefully it will run faster than before allowing the users to create jobs quicker. Since the eCommerce area has been discontinued, the ability to purchase components from the software will be removed, which means that all future eCabinet Systems updates will be available for download. CDs will be available but for a small fee. We are already planning a new MDF door module for eCabinet Systems which should give users the ability to use almost any style of MDF door ever imagined. New and improved line drawings as well as new costing are areas are also coming in the future. Again, we have a huge wish list; some of the items we have added but the majority of them are from our members. I want all members to continue to give us your thoughts and ideas as we move forward as we would not be here if it wasn’t for you.

I feel extremely confident and exited about where the future of eCabinet Systems is going. I also want to thank you for being patience as well as sorry for not updating you on what’s going on as a lot has changed since the end of last year. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to call me at 800-533-6901 or email me at jason.susnjara@thermwood.com. If you have any support questions, please feel free to call or email eCabinet Systems tech support.
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Jason Susnjara
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Re: The Future of eCabinet Systems

Postby Gary Puckett » Mon, Jan 12 2009, 4:18PM

Thanks Jason for the update, but we waited with the idea that this Vista thing was going to be apart of the update along with some other issues and we get counter bored holes and labels
. Sorry to sound ungrateful it's just that I'm shocked

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Re: The Future of eCabinet Systems

Postby Damon Nabors » Mon, Jan 12 2009, 8:59PM

Thanks for the update Jason. I think the reference marks will be welcomed. I know for myself, I normally have my laptop next to my assembly bench and have to double check everything to make sure tenons are up or down. This should save a lot of time at the bench. The labels should help out also.

Gary Puckett wrote:Thanks Jason for the update, but we waited with the idea that this Vista thing was going to be apart of the update along with some other issues and we get counter bored holes and labels
. Sorry to sound ungrateful it's just that I'm shocked

Gary



Gary, I am not a computer guru or anything and certainly do not follow computer trends, but Every since DOS went to the way side, I just have not been happy. :joker: My limited understanding of VISTA is that it is on its way out and Windows 7 is the replacement. Everything I have read says it has been doomed from the beginning. I have never used it so I can not speak from experience.
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Re: The Future of eCabinet Systems

Postby Gary Puckett » Mon, Jan 12 2009, 9:26PM

Damon,

Vista is a pain in the butt especially Vista 64 but we were told that e cabinets was working on the Vista problem. Now I just have one problem with Vista and that is the jpeg image and can't get it. So the people that have Vista are just out of luck because of Windows 7 might be coming out, and they said they was going to fix it and now their not.

I have one question does the machine automaticly put the label on or do you have to find the part and stick the label to it? If you have to take the time to stick the label to it just stack all the same cabinet parts together.

AS for as the reference holes if the parts are together you know what the sides are and the bottom, strechers, and the hangers why do you need the counter bored holes. What happen to all the request on the forum. Auto Dim. More accurate job proposals, being able to dimision to any line rather than a node i'm sure there is more much more. It's just we've waited so long for the update and we get counter bored holes and colored labels.

Gary
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Re: The Future of eCabinet Systems

Postby Damon Nabors » Mon, Jan 12 2009, 10:00PM

Gary Puckett wrote: I have one question does the machine automatically put the label on or do you have to find the part and stick the label to it? If you have to take the time to stick the label to it just stack all the same cabinet parts together.



When you load the file in CN at the 91000 controller, you nest the job just like you do in ecabinets. Then print out the labels and sheets. The label is placed on the lower left hand corner of each part. It is not unusual to have a couple hundred parts and there may be different information on each part so it would be difficult to just stack them together.

Gary Puckett wrote:AS for as the reference holes if the parts are together you know what the sides are and the bottom, stretchers, and the hangers why do you need the counter bored holes.



When you have a cabinet with a partition in it, does the tenon go to the left side or the right side of the part? On the Deck, is the tenon on the top or bottom? When you have a top stretcher and there is a partition and a small tenon at the top front of the partition that lines up in a dado on the underside of the stretcher. Which side is the front or back of the stretcher (if the partition is in the middle of the cabinet.) If you are using 3/4 material for example, that dado is going to be .375" to one side or the other of the center line and you can easily get that part turned around. When you have a shelf or mid deck, is the tenon up or down. It really make a difference when you go to put the face frame on the cabinet only to find one of your parts is inverted and proud of the mid rail.

Here is an example of a part with a dado in the middle of the part to except a center partition. You will notice the dado is offset .375" . Unless you inset tenons to indicate left and right and do all sorts of secret coded insets to dictate the correct orientation of the part. It can get confusing at times.

Well the picture did not come out correctly but you can get the idea.
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Re: The Future of eCabinet Systems

Postby Gary Puckett » Mon, Jan 12 2009, 10:16PM

OK the way I construct a cabinet is my sides have a 3/4 x 1/4 deep rabbit on the top edge, a 3/4x 1/4 deep dado for the bottom, if there is a partition in the cabinet there is a 3/4 wide dado x 1/4 deep in the center that same dado is in the 2 strechers on top, the back has a 1/4 dado 1" in from back of the cabinet then a 3/4 x4 hanger is attached .

So we just have different methods of construction. If my jpeg would work I could show yu a picture, but I have VISTA :joker: and it don't work.

Gary
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Re: The Future of eCabinet Systems

Postby Damon Nabors » Mon, Jan 12 2009, 10:31PM

I'm Sorry. :lol:
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Re: The Future of eCabinet Systems

Postby DanEpps » Tue, Jan 13 2009, 7:43AM

Gary Puckett wrote:...Vista is a pain in the butt especially Vista 64 but we were told that e cabinets was working on the Vista problem. Now I just have one problem with Vista and that is the jpeg image and can't get it. So the people that have Vista are just out of luck because of Windows 7 might be coming out, and they said they was going to fix it and now their not...


So, let me get this right--you would like Thermwood to put all of their development effort into making eCabinets fully Vista-compliant, knowing that they are developing for a soon to be dead operating system?

What are you going to do when you upgrade to Windows 7 and find problems with your Vista-compliant version of eCabinets?

Personally, I don't even see Windows 7 as the answer to Vista's issues. I think it will be the next release after Windows 7 before everything is stable again.

Think back to the days of Windows 95, released in August 1995. Along came Windows 98 in June 1998 then a year later, in May 1999, Windows 98 Second Edition was released to make Windows 98 work. That didn't help so Microsoft released the well received (okay, it wasn't received very well at all) Windowm Millenium Edition in July 2000.

It soon became evident that having two different paths for their operating systems (consumer grade and business grade--notice I left out Windows NT and Windows 2000) wasn't going to work, so Microsoft released Windows XP in home and professional versions. They also separated their server products from their workstation products at this point (a good move).

I see the evolution of Windows following the exact same path with Vista/Windows 7 as it did with 98/ME/XP. It will be a couple of versions down the road before Windows is truly usable again (if Microsoft invests in development instead of advertising to get users to buy a bad product).

So, I ask the same question again--do you really want Thermwood to dedicate resources making eCabinets work with a doomed operating system or are you willing to wait for a stable version of Windows?

I would rather wait and let them (Microsoft) get it right.

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Re: The Future of eCabinet Systems

Postby Damon Nabors » Tue, Jan 13 2009, 8:09AM

SSSssssshhhhhhh Everyone, The Wizard has looked into his Crystal Ball and spoken with his great wisdom and foresight. VISTA is out of here :joker: And to quote another Great Wizard (Kerry) VISTA= EVIL :evil:

Dan, your vision is what I was thinking as well but didn't have all the particulars and eloquent way of putting the facts together as you do.

I still laugh when I think about the night of December 31, 1999 at 11:59 PM wondering if my computer was going to work at the turn of the Millennium.

XP Pro gets my vote, but I don't think it will be heard around the world.
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Re: The Future of eCabinet Systems

Postby Rick Palechuk » Tue, Jan 13 2009, 8:35AM

Gary, just downgrade your O/S and Drivers to XP. Problem solved. The Ecab system requirements specify XP as the recommended O/S.

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Re: The Future of eCabinet Systems

Postby Kerry Fullington » Tue, Jan 13 2009, 8:37AM

Jason,

Thanks for the update. I am glad to hear the commitment to the eCabinets program. Don't be a stranger here on the forums. We like a few crumbs tossed our way every so often.

Gary,

I said this in my email to you but I will repeat it. It is my opinion that the best thing you can do with Vista 64 is to get rid of it. eCabinets has never said that they support any Vista Product. Yes I am sure they are working toward that but like others here, I think Vista will be gone before support gets here. Vista will die with the same legacy of the Millennium Edition. Trying to work with Vista is just beating a dead horse. It is an aggravation that you don't need. Other users may say that they are having no problems using Vista but they are not doing the things you are doing or they may only open eCabinets once a month. Find a way to get XP. There are enough problems with software without fighting an operating system that is not supported by the software.
the eCabinets team is working on many of the features you listed. As they have said many times before, some features take a lot of time and effort to implement and some don't, that is why some of the new requests get worked into the software ahead of older requests. I think the assembly marks are a great addition even though I don't get the benefit from them, many shops will.
Get rid of your Vista Headache and eCabinets will work a lot better.

Kerry

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Re: The Future of eCabinet Systems

Postby DanEpps » Tue, Jan 13 2009, 8:40AM

Damon Nabors wrote:...I still laugh when I think about the night of December 31, 1999 at 11:59 PM wondering if my computer was going to work at the turn of the Millennium.


I remember that night very well also. I was Database Administration Manager at the world's largest carpet manufacturer. Upper management decided that (after 3 years of rewriting programs) that the entire IT staff (over 300 people) needed to be in the office between 11:00pm and 6:00am to correct any "disasters" that might occur. None happened and we all had a noisy New Year's Eve party.

XP Pro gets my vote, but I don't think it will be heard around the world.


I would go for Linux/Unix myself. The problem is that the market segment for it is just not there (1% compared to about 90% for Windows). I have worked wit various flavors of Unix almost since its inception in the early 1970s and, in my opinion, there is no more stable operating system in existence. In fact, Mr Gates used Unix as a development platform (and design model) for developing PC-DOS (later MS-DOS). The reason MS uses a backslash (\) as a path separator instead of a slash (/) was to differentiate it from the Unix shell during development.

In the absence of a Linux/Unix version of eCabinets (and other useful software) though, I too plan to stick with XP. I have two Vista laptops and I just don't like it. I almost always opt for functionality and usability over convenience (going to my office with an XP desktop instead of staying on the sofa with a Vista laptop). In fact, about the only time I use one of my laptops is when I'm on the road.

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Re: The Future of eCabinet Systems

Postby Ken Susnjara » Tue, Jan 13 2009, 8:55AM

I would like to add a little background to this discussion. We are working on quite a few areas in the software and are trying to address the most serious Vista issues. It is unlikely we will become totally Vista compliant before Vista is gone. The reason for the current release is that some of us believe it can have a huge impact on your assembly cost and that it should be released immediately, rather than wait for a general software release.

First, when you run a job, the control nests the parts for best yield so parts of various cabinets can be scattered throughout the run. The first job is to sort these into individual cabinets. Using the current label system, you have to read the text name on the label of each part to do this sorting. This means that you need to be able to read English which everyone who builds cabinets can’t do and, cabinet names are similar so mistakes are common.

The color boxes on the labels make this sorting more than twice as fast and mistakes are much less common. The savings from this simple thing alone can be substantial over a year.

The assembly marks probably won’t help those who make simple cabinets very much. As soon as you start to add partitions, fixed shelves and part editor cuts, it makes a huge difference.

As many of you know we have been building some rather complex furniture in our test cells. We found that it could take as much as forty five minutes to an hour to sort out how a new design goes together. On one design we worked on it for over two hours and then got the guy who designed it and it took him another hour. Granted this was a complex piece but with assembly marks it can be put together the first time in a few minutes.

My first experience with these marks was a rather complex text cabinet which had two fixed partitions and a half a dozen shelves, designed so they could be assembled various ways incorrectly. They dumped it on the conference table in a management meeting and I put it together correctly in about two minutes with no assembly drawing and no idea what it even looked like. I then took this same cabinet to a half a dozen people who each put it together correctly in one to three minutes.

Because of the nature of the marks, they can be used to designate the order in which a cabinet is assembled. Some designs need to be assembled in a specific order. In these cases, place a single mark on the first joint, two on the second joint, three on the third, etc.

We realized that for some people these assembly marks could have a significant impact on their overall productivity and cost. Nested based software and nested based machine manufacturers have been focusing on making the design and machine process more efficient and in general they have done a good job. This is the first time that we are aware of that someone has focused on improving assembly productivity. For more complex cabinets it can be four to six times faster and this is significant. We think that as Members start to use them they will begin to realize this also.

We feel so strongly that this is important that we have filed for patents on the process and have informed other software vendors. They will be allowed to use the process royalty free under any patents we get but only for output to Thermwood machines. Any Members using eCabinet Systems and Thermwood machines will also be granted a royalty free license.

These are some tough times and we have been forced to redefine how the program works. There is some real work involved to untangle the selling portion of the program. As Jason said, we are moving in a new direction and you have some real advocates in his marketing group. We are going to focus on those programs that we feel will make our Members more productive as well as features that will sell more machines and advanced software packages so that we can continue to fund the software development. You need to bear with us during this transition period but realize that we are still very committed to this program and believe it can be very good for all of us.

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Re: The Future of eCabinet Systems

Postby Gary Puckett » Tue, Jan 13 2009, 9:14AM

Ken and to all please accept my most sincere apology :oops: . It is best for the program to achieve the highest productivity from the machines and from the employees.

So now my search begins to try and find XP to install on my system.


Gary
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Re: The Future of eCabinet Systems

Postby Georgi Baltov » Tue, Jan 13 2009, 9:15AM

Dann,

I think that Windows 7 will be a pretty stable version. They have been working on it for a long long time. We'll see tough I don't really want to bet on it. My bet is that the "7" will only need a service pack to fix the major bugs after about an year of it's final version release. I don't think that Thermwood should concentrate on developing Vista-compatible eCabinets. Vista is pretty much already dead as Windows 7 is already in public beta.

Jason,

I am happy to hear that Thermwood is concentrating on eCabinets. I am 100% sure that there's no better customer support and team of professionals in this business. Yes, we complain but that's our way of pushing Thermwood towards improving itself. I know how much my bosses have pushed me and how much I have improved as long as you take the criticism the right way.

Cheers guys


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