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What CNC Nesting Software is everyone running?5/17
We are currently running Microvellum for all of our standard box (Melamine Cabinets) construction projects. We have run into many issues over the years with the Tech Support offered by Microvellum due to the restructuring of their company. Its either 24 hours after submission of a ticket that we hear back from them or we are dealing with someone in India who is on a completely different time frame.
We are also having "ghost" issues within the program where some cabinets will reprogram themselves back to their default sizes, leading to having to recut the cabinets. Theres a lot of voodoo in the program.
So, what CNC Cabinet Nesting Program is everyone running and or what programs do you recommend? We are looking to move away from Microvellum.
You mentioned you're running Microvellum now and you're having some trouble. I can understand someone wanting to leave, but before you run out the door, I'd recommend at least sending an email to their new point person (CEO?), David Fairbanks. PM me and I'll give it to you. It's likely that they can get you straightened out. If not, what have you got to lose?
I've looked hard at other options, and I was at their TechCon Event last month. They have come miles in the last year, and I can tell you that they WILL be the best software out there for this industry, bar none....so why swap to a losing pony?
Casework is MV's bread and butter....If you're having trouble with that, there must be a simple fix. Likely you can down the the latest library and get setup in short order.
We did update to the latest and greatest version. We were running great, the program was dialed in, cabinets were coming together seamlessly, and then update. Now we are having issues, and not to mention having to set the entire program up again to meet our construction methods.
Its very frustrating to have come so far with something and then have an update come along and have to start all over. And like i said, Tech Support is a bear to work with.
Here's the thing: There are two kinds of updates. One is a program update. These are fast to implement, easy to roll back from, and DO NOT change any library data. The other is a library update. These are completely at the users whim. You can run as new or as old of a library as you wish. If either of them are giving you trouble, I don't understand why you can't go back to your last version of either and keep humming along?
When it comes to program updates in general, I'm cautiously optimistic. I'll update one machine, then check it for bugs. If I spot any, I'll report it to MV, then rollback. To rollback, simply rerun the older update that you'd like to return to.
If your issues revolve around library data (sounds like it does) then simply go back to your old library. If you didn't delete it, you can just use the change library button. If you did delete it, hopefully you exported a copy of it first, then you can just re-import it under database utilities => Library =>Import Library. Then once you're stabilized, you can use the new tool they came out with to merge your old global settings to a new library.
If you need any help, shoot me an email and I'll do what I can. Also, one last tip; use the online support ticket system for tech support, it's much better than calling in. Yes, you do have to wait a bit more, but they've always gotten back to me.
We've also given up on MV. Several of the "updates" were disasters. We decided to not move to the newest and greatest version based on past experience. Tech support was terrible, we dropped the support payments. My lead CAD man is in Chicago right now looking @ replacement software. I know they claim to have gotten better but it's too late to interest us.
How much Flexibility do you require in your machining? Microvelum does a good job nesting cabinet parts but their true shape nesting is behind the rest of the crowd, by far. There are applications that can routinely nest 12 to 15% tighter than Microvelum, Sad part is that they seems fine with it.
We've officially abandoned MV in favor of Top Solids. An expensive switch but needed.
We are running MV and, have been since version 6.7. We did have some issues when we went to V7 and we have had some issues periodically while doing library updates, however; some or possibly most of these were operator failure issues. This was partly due to a lack of available documentation from MV, and a lack of training on our part. Recently MV has made online training docs readily available and my guys have gotten much better in the internals of the software. Now that we are knowledgeable enough to solve issues we create and make the software do the stuff we really want it to do I can say that it is very solid and the most robust and customize-able cabinet software on the market. If you are having issues they may be self inflicted because there are thousands of MV users that are not having issues and MV is performing very well for them. It makes no difference to me if you decide to switch to a different software but if you look at the money involved and the learning curve of something new you are probably better staying with MV. Take that money and use it to get over the training hump. I have invested in the skills of my engineers and it has paid off for me. I cannot fathom changing to a different design software for cabinets, i would be backing up.
We've been through many updates before V6.7 was around. Learned the hard way not to update for quite awhile after the newest and greatest release. Once they wiped out all of our files, once all the libraries became useless because of the changes. Support was slow and often we were told, yes we know we are working on it, but they never got back to us with a fix. When we were considering a new CNC bore & insert machine we called them and asked if they could interface with it, answer, yes no problem. When we got the machine they put us off for months, the fix they provided didn't work. Two of my geeky employees patched together something to make it work, sort of. MV never did anything else to make it work correctly. Their CNC code is sloppy and wastes machine time, their nesting is sub par. Do I really need any other excuses? Yes, I've heard they turned over a new leaf, but I've heard that before.
I'm curious if the Original Poster has abandoned this post, and if not, what he has learned since this started.
How long have you been using TopSolid? I looked hard at TopSolid for a company, even went to the training classes, then spent a few months trying to implement. In my experience, I found the CAD engine to be amazing compared to AutoCAD. It can handle some really complex geometry, and the drawing output is a breeze. It handles alot of the paper space layout for you.
BUT, at that time (a few years back), the actual output was terrible IMO. The only output was in drawing format, or a half breed label you could plot.
There was no way to access the underlying database, no report designer, and you were pretty limited in how you output CNC data....(what do you mean you want to send some parts to the beam saw and some to the nest?) Heck, at that time if you had a work order needing the following: (8 of Product A, 3 of Product C, and 11 of Product B.) You had to draw 22 products in your drawing.....not 3. There was no qty parameter within a product. Time to take actually process a work order was painfully slow compared to MV.
If all you needed was CAD output, real reports, edgebanding and horizontal boring information....Then TopSolid would be a strong choice....but that's not the world in which I live. Frankly I'm doubtful much has changed....I spoke with them at the Vegas show last year.
IMHO, TopSolid would be fantastic if you had to model a violin or even a car and output drawings for production....But day to day DATA to run an automated cabinet shop, I would question.
Gary, I'm not a CAD guy. My lead CAD man is pretty sharp though. We've been looking for a replacement for MV for more than 2 years. When Dustin first looked @ TS he thought the design part was the best he'd ever seen BUT the rest of the program wasn't there. Now 2 years later they have made significant advancements and have links to many other programs. It is not AutoCAD based so we don't need to constantly update all the seats of AC in addition to MV. Is TS perfect, No! But they are very up front about what it can do and what it can't. The relationships between the parts & outputs is impressive. Everything updates or puts a note on other things asking if you want to change them to match.
"Until you run a software for awhile you really don't know what you are getting into." Ain't that the truth! I wish you the best of luck going forward in your decision.
Some of the first work I did in Microvellum (version 6) was court rooms, store fixtures, and crazy desks. It was very tedious, and mostly manual. Fortunately things have improved.
For the benefit of anyone still listening, I'll layout some of the advancements made by Microvellum lately:
The new Solid Model analyzer will allow you to whip up anything with AutoCAD Solid Modeling tools, then suck in into MV as a custom product. You could even suck over models from say inventor or even TopSolid. Basically anything you can get into a dwg file as solids. Once sucked in, it's a real product with all the underlying data. You can further add/change anything until you see fit. Then get the manufacturing data that way. I've used this several times; it's really a neat tool in their arsenal.
Microvellum is about to launch a game changer, called the Extruded Product Builder. Here is a youtube video on it:
This product really simplifies the production of any wall/desk/booth kind of products. This isn't some pie in the sky feature- Our company is part of 20 or so companies testing out the BETA module and giving feedback. I've tried it and it's really cool what it can do. I believe they are expecting to release a version to the public around IWF.
I visited their Event "TechCon" that they put on in Oregon in April . Sitting across from the MV Team and developers, you can tell they really care and are actively listening to their client base on where they can improve, then actually following through. I've personally made suggestions that I've seen implemented. They aren't perfect, but they are continuously improving.
Since posting this thread, I have been contacted by MV and are working towards a solution to all my problems and issues.
This turned out to be a lack of training on our end. Also the support on MVs end was not there, as everyone has seen and dealt with so far.
We are having MV resetup our entire system to get rid of all of the user generated errors and get us running again. MV is also sending a tech to our shop for actual face to face training, so that we dont have to deal with online and on-phone training.
I feel as the main user that we have invested this much time and money into the program that it just really makes sense to stick with MV and invest in the training and make it happen.
"For the benefit of anyone still listening, I'll layout some of the advancements made by Microvellum lately." The key word is LATELY. We might have stayed with them if they had made the effort sooner.
We use Microvellums nesting utility and it works quite well. One thing I have found is that you need a little forethought if you also have Stay Down Nesting which really works well because if you happen to have a part or parts with large windows cutout by default Microvellum cannot nest smaller parts in those cutouts but you can do it manually unless you have chosen the staydown option. Kind of a detraction but if they could work that out someday. All in it works well.
Full disclosure - I work for CADCode Systems.
We've been supporting CNC manufacturing for almost 20 years and doing nesting for more than 14 years. We introduced part labeling to the industry. We support dozens of CNC machines, from saws to routers to point-to-points to dowel inserters to inventory storage systems, all simultaneously and in the same user interface, so if your setup is work-cell, or nesting, or both, CADCode can cover you.
If you're drawing in AutoCAD, as most of our users do (we also support other design platforms, including MV, CV, CW, KCD as well as some custom applications) you should take a look. We have a number of manufacturers whose business is high-end custom commercial and industrial fixtures and cabinetry, and they appreciate the clean work-flow provided by AutoCAD, CADCode, and CADCode's AutoCAD Reader. Besides the efficiency of CADCode, they appreciate it's reliability. "It just works" is one of the most common comments we get about our software.
What would be the work flow to get information to CADCode if you use solid modelling software like SolidEdge, SolidWorks or TopSolid?
TopSolid has the interface to CADCode built right into the software and automatically transfers tooling and tool path data to CADCode. It is, as far as I know, the only true 3D solid modeling software that has all the wood industry functionality as part of the software.
I'm not familiar with anyone using SolidEdge with CADCode. My guess is that you'd have to export a DXF and add the machining geometry in a program like AutoCAD. This is true with Inventor as well. SolidWorks does not have a direct link to CADCode but there is a third party program - PathFinder3D (http://www.pathfinder3d.com) that can output the necessary data.