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Thread: Simple cabinet software

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
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    , South Jordan Utah
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    Default Simple cabinet software

    After messing around with a program to make cabinet doors for the last month or so, I've begun to wonder what it would take to write a simple program to generate SBP file to cut cabinets?

    On the surface it seems fairly simple if you visualize the cabinet as a cube with width, height and depth. Since I use the 32mm system exclusively, the height becomes a multiple of 32mm. I also have a Delta horizontal boring machine, so programming 8mm construction holes is just a matter of telling the Shopbot where to drill the holes.

    Basically, the method that I use in AutoCAD LT is to have the back panel full width and height. The side panels are full height that are full depth minus the thickness of the back. The top and bottom panels are the same depth as the sides and the same width as the back minus 2 x the thickness of a side panel. In addition, I usually make the back oversized 1mm all around so that after glue-up, I can use a router to flush trim the edges to match the sides/top/bottom. I also extend the sides 1mm, both top and bottom for the same reason.

    All material is 3/4-inch thick (19mm), so using 8mm dowels is not a problem. My formula for placing the construction holes is to center two holes on each side of the back panel and then add two more holes every 160mm from the centered holes , with a minimum of six holes per side. (Upper cabinets require that the holes be spaced closer, 128mm or even 96mm.)

    5mm shelf holes are spaced 37mm back from the front edge of the sides with the rear holes a multiple of 32mm that matches a hole on the appropriate sized drawer glides.

    Cabinets that have drawers instead of shelves, or a mixture of drawers and shelves could easily have proper hole spacing almost auto-generated via a spreadsheet with one row for each row of holes and one column for each column of holes. Again, since the cabinets are based on the 32mm system, everything lays out easily.

    The problem that I face is how to organize a set of (spreadsheet) files that are generic enough to contain all of the information required and yet simple enough that entering the data can be done in a matter of minutes.

    What do you think? Do you use the 32mm system? Are your designs standarized to the point that a generic program could output the SBP files? Your views would be greatly appreciated.

    -Mike

  2. #2
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    Jan 2004
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    StickMan WoodWorking, Aurora Nebraska
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    We use the 32mm system and I build cabinets at home in the 32mm system. We inset the back of the cabinet between the sides. This allows for better finishing of the sides, I also think that it helps me to keep the box square. This gets rid of the need to use the router to trim the boxes.

    I use the 32mm system extensively at home and would love to help you out.

  3. #3
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    Jan 2004
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    Jay,

    Your point about insetting the back between the sides is well taken. I totally agree that your solution leaves cleaner sides.

    My choice of having the back extend beyond he sides has more to do with assembly than with looks. Since I use dowels exclusely, I've always tried to find ways to assemble cases that require the fewest number of steps. Using the method that I've described requires that I lay one 'side' down as the 'base', attach the top/botom/stretchers, attach the other side as the 'top', rotate the whole assembly so that the cabinet rests on its face, and attach the back as the new 'top'. During the entire process, the dowels are only inserted into one edge at a time. My method requires that I use an 'end panel' to cover the exposed edges. That's a drawback, but it also allows me to add a decorative touch to the run of cabinets.

    The books that I have on the 32mm system seem to be almost evenly divided between the two methods, so I certainly can't say that one method is better than the other.

    The only other point that I have (and a very minor point) is that any visible gaps with a 'full overlay back' seem to be less obvious when the customer opens a cabinet door and looks into the cabinet. The 'gaps' are at the sides of the cabinet rather than at the back. As I said, this is a very minor point - in fact it is a 'defect' that is usually hidden by the use of a little joint compond (or filler of your choice).

    My purpose in starting this thread was to see if there is a 'strong' tendency towards one method of cutting/assembly versus another. The math/programming between the two ideas expressed so far is fairly minimal. But, since I am basically a lazy person, I don't want to write two (or three or four) sets of code if the dominant opinion is that one method of design is clearly superior to another.





  4. #4
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    Mar 2004
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    Delray Beach, FL
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    Default



  5. #5
    Join Date
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    Mike: An inset back is generally set into a rabbet in the sides and so there is no "gap" as well as allowing for a stronger box. It also means that the uppers have sides that are exerting a downward force against the back instead of just pulling away from the back. This is a better method of construction.

    I have seen several plants that do it your way but leave one side deeper for end cabinets so the need for an end panel is eliminated but it is still being built in the least expensive and time consuming method.
    If I were to choose between either your or Jay's method I would go with the inset back.

    In practice though we build our's with 3/4" back nailers-stretchers behind a 1/4" back that is slid into a dado after the cabinet is assembled so it can be easily removed for finishing as it is generally a fairly snowy day in Boca when we bring melamine into our shop!!


    Dave


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
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    StickMan WoodWorking, Aurora Nebraska
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    Mike,

    I am always up for new methods. I usually don't use dowels when I build boxes at home. Usually just screw them together or I use stopped dados.

    I've always wanted to program a jig, or use Morris's theory for dovetailing, in order to router holes at the edges of tops, bottoms and stretchers.

    Look forward to seeing what you process, if I had a way to send you our cabnetware template drawings, I sure would, but I haven't found a way to export the templates. I can send you a room of cabinets that would have an upper, drawer base, sink base and drawer/door base.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Cabinetpartspro,Inc., Naples Florida
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    I am just finishing software for cabinets and doors. If anyone is interested in a copy email me and I will send you a copy. With the software you will enter width height and quantity and it will generate a parts list. It will put shelf holes and pocket screw holes more options will be in future versions. It will also optimize the parts to fit on a 4' x 8’ sheet (the optimization still needs some work). You can export to SBP or DXF.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
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    Cabinetpartspro,Inc., Naples Florida
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    To all who requested the cabinet software. You should have mail. The file was large and had a few bounce back to me. I believe I resent all that came back. Please let me know what you all think. If you did not receive the software email me.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    1

    Default

    Hi Ryan,Im interested in the cabinet software you mention above. I just sign as a user, can I still get a copy of it?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Cabinetpartspro,Inc., Naples Florida
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    266

    Default

    Oscar,
    You can dowload a copy at www.cabinetpartspro.com. There is a free version. If you have any questions let me know.
    Ryan

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