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Thread: Cabinet Drawing Software Recommendation

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Gainesville Florida
    Posts
    122

    Default Cabinet Drawing Software Recommendation

    Hey ALL,
    I'm coming up on my first full year of going full time in my own business. It has been a wonderful year and the stress level is almost non-existent.
    I have been doing more built-in cabinetry than I had planned on and more clients are expecting more detailed drawings. I was hoping to get some recommendations on software. I don't necessarily need a program that provides code for the CNC since most of my stuff is "one-off". What would be nice is a fairly low cost program to draw and possibly produce 3D renderings. It would be nice to be able to create and save some components that repeat, such as doors and pilasters. If I have to go to something that produces code then it would be beneficial if it had a MDF cabinet door component as I do lots of them. I just drew my last built-in in Aspire but it took quite awhile and was a little tedious. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks,
    Mark

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Location
    Poughkeepsie, NY
    Posts
    21

    Default

    I've been using Mozaik for the past 4 years. Great program. It will do everything you need and then some.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Diamond Lake, WA
    Posts
    1,564

    Default

    Sketchup. Create 3D drawings, export the part DXF's to VCP/Aspire and create toolpaths for cutting on a CNC. Get detailed dimensions on parts/shop drawings in your Sketchup drawings to go to the tablesaw, etc. to cut the parts. Can colorize/texture in Sketchup to get close to what the customer is looking for. Import pictures of wood and "paint" parts with that wood picture. Pretty powerful software. I use Pro as I use it for business. There is a free version called Sketchup Make, if you aren't using it to make money. It does have a learning curve, as all software does. Follow the tutorials. There are also courses from Bob Lang on using Sketchup for woodworkers. Grerat stuff and shortens the learning curve quite a bit.

    I tried Mozaik for a couple of years, which runs on top of Sketchup, and found it non-intuitive, support really lacking and the developers/customer support rude and condescending, not only to me but to other people, on multiple occasions.

    I use eCabinets from Thermwood for all my cabinet work. I also have the Shopbot Link which enables me to output the designs to the CNC for cutting. Don't need the SBLink for designing cabinets though. Can do some VERY intricate customer presentation 3D designs of cabinetry, plus output shop drawings for cutting. They have a really good set of tutorials that will get you up and running pretty quick. It is 100% parameter driven enabling you to make changes and everything else in the project is adjusted accordingly. For example, change a cabinet width and all shelves, faceframe parts, drawer box parts, etc. are all automatically adjusted to accommodate that change. Program is free. Support from their forum and the company is incredible.
    Don
    Diamond Lake Custom Woodworks, LLC
    www.dlwoodworks.com
    ***********************************
    Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in one pretty and well preserved piece; But to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, worn out, bank accounts empty, credit cards maxed out, defiantly shouting "Geronimo"!

    If you make something idiot proof, all they do is create a better idiot.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Delray Beach, FL
    Posts
    3,647

    Default

    The best low cost alternative for client presentation is to take some paper and draw it.
    There is no substitute. It is easy to get a genuine prospect past mechanical layouts from an amateur salesperson at HD to appreciating your handwork, which hopefully is what you are selling,
    since any idiot can buy prefinished doors and stick them on boxes cut from prefinished plywood with prefinished edge tape on them

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Rapid City, SD
    Posts
    627

    Default

    I'll second the suggestion for Sketchup. I've been on it for 11 years making a living with it. Time consuming on the larger stuff, like full kitchens, but able to model a full room, add tables/chairs and even silhouettes of people for scale reference. As time goes on, I have built an inventory of previously drafted cabinets, enabling me to work more efficiently with a drag and drop style of kitchen layout. Many times, I am able to bring a laptop, plug into client's big screen and tour/manipulate details on the fly with their direction. To this day, I still get lots of compliments for being able to do so, and as time rolls along, the client's are fully expecting it.

    NOTE: The biggest difference is that your client has you in their home, which is an advantage the big boxes just don't offer. Between CAD and CNC, they are vitally important to doing this type of work professionally, and again, being taken for granted that you operate this way.

    Dave's right- at least be able to sketch on paper, but I would add that the younger clientele is rapidly approaching a world where a paper representation just won't do it, so I highly encourage you to push into becoming proficient - pick a program and stick with it, as the time invested pays in spades as you gain experience.

    Good luck,
    jeff

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Bell, Florida
    Posts
    402

    Default

    Mark, with your ability's I would use eCabinets. You can do so much more or as little as needed. When I started out 3D renderings were at the top of my list so I could present my vision to the customer. I was looking for a low cost solution also and when I found eCabinets and the cost was $0.00 per month I jumped on it! Learning some things took a little while but is worth it.

    Tim
    Tim Lucas Custom Woodworks
    www.TLCW.us

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