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Parametric CAD/CAM for solid wood furniture machining1/30
Would like recommendations for solid wood machining (NOT cabinets). Want parametric CAD/CAM. Recommendations?
I only have experience with Woodwop, and I'm very green, you can build everything around data fields and use those in formulas to make altering the part dimensions change the operations around that.
I believe Alphacam is very similar in function, but have no hands on experience with it.
I'm new to cnc, I wish my algebra and geometry were stronger though, it'd be much easier for me to learn.
I don't know if Woodwop is solely for Weeke machines either.
Not sure why you want parametric.
Solidworks is parametric, good stuff
We have Alphacam, and the parametric functionality is quite impressive. When you say parametric for solid wood, in what respect? Solid sheet goods?
Want parametric because we have a number of solid hardwood furniture pieces that we want to be able to quickly resize for better customer satisfaction: Dining tables, buffets, Armoires, coffee tables, chest of drawers, beds. Parametric beats redrawing any day! Draw it once and use it for years in multiple sizes.
We have a 4th axis - side mounted lathe on the machine that we use for turned and mortised posts for beds and tables.
We almost never do sheet goods. Even our cabinetry is mortise and tenon solid wood.
Ian - I know AlphaCAM is big in sheet goods, cabinet cases - how would it do with tables and chairs and other solid wood things?
3d parametric programs are quite expensive, 100 to 300+ bucks per month. On the lower end of the cost scale is Alibre, 1000 or 2000 bucks. Using these programs is like building a prototype back in the old days. And it's way easier to generate drawings. The more complicated the project, the less likely it can be parametric. About 15 years ago, Bass Pro Fabrication asked me what the best program would be for them. They tried Cabinet Vision, but it did not work for store fixtures, so they switched to Inventor. I told them, that might be their best bet. As always, if you are drawing in 3d, and only building one off, then you're not going to make much money, if any. So try and make at least dozens of the product, to justify producing a computerized solid model. alibre.com/for-woodworking/
Rhino latest version (V6) has their parametric Grasshopper plug-in included in the purchase price, but I haven't found parametric functionality to be particularly useful for the work we do, which is primarily high-end, solid wood, architectural millwork, with some furniture on occasion. RhinoCAM is also one of the few programs which will operate your rotary axis to it's full potential. Rhino itself is an incredibly good deal for such a powerful program, RhinoCAM is also quite competitive, though to operate your rotary axis you'll have to go with one of the upper echelon versions, which aren't cheap, but are a good deal by comparison to most software. I question the usefulness of parametric software for your purpose, but only you can know whether it's worth making your software choice based on that ability. In any case, I'd suggest you check out Rhino and RhinoCAM, and see if the Grasshopper function might not do what you want.
I hear the reservation not infrequently about doing things parametric, but i don't understand why. It seems to me that it only takes a little longer to design, for example, a bookcase with parametric relationships than it does to design it without. I think with most custom woodworkers, people often buy based on something you've made before - just adjusting it to their size and application.
I can grab the "bookcase" above 3 weeks or 3 years from now and stretch it one way or another, add a different top profile, and in a few minutes have a "new" product ready for the customer.
With parametric I am constantly building a library of useful parts and products that will decrease future drawing times.
Am i missing something? I'm not trying to be cheeky or contrarian - just wondering why not draw parametric 95% of the time? Would like to hear your thoughts.
Maybe the "don't bother to do parametric" comments as coming from assumption of cabinet box making? We do all kinds of furniture, passage doors with arches, etc. Parametric is WONDERFUL with these.
My business does not rely on iterations of previously designed items, but I do frequently have a protracted design process to satisfy owners, builders, designers, architects, etc. Given the ability to copy an item, explode or split it, scale elements of it (1D, 2D, and 3D), group elements, and so forth, it takes minutes to alter a design to suit current needs. If this can be done more efficiently with parametric software, I suspect the difference is not dramatic. I think there is a lot of software intended for people that don't have an interest in getting deep enough into CAD to have full control of the parts they are making, which for some businesses makes sense (cabinets and other super-formulaic work), but for what you're doing, esp. with a rotary axis, will not suffice. If you can find a parametric program that is reasonable and doesn't compromise your ability to do all the other things you need to do, by all means do that, but I wouldn't place that functionality in the upper tier of priorities. A program like Rhino allows unlimited 2 and 3D ability and has nearly limitless plug-in compatibility, and RhinoCAM is a very solid and totally-integrated CAM product that can do everything from the basics to 5-axis, with rotary axis function, as noted previously.
I think it is useful to discern the difference between global parametrics and local pametrics
I haven't used SW since 98, so I don't know what the latest greatest will do
Global parametrics are usually part of MV or similiar.
I have had pretty good luck being able to stretch models in Auto Cad 3d
One tool works well for some, but not for all. Our needs from CAD (stairs, millwork, doors, windows, cabinetry and furniture) oftentimes requires more versatility. Some specialty software for stairs and cabinetry is amazing, but still leave a huge void for the other types of work in the industry. I've been using Solidworks for the last 18 years - mostly for curved & eliptical stairs and other jobs involving 3D curved geometry. I've also set it up for simpler work and it does work well. Major keypoints to using it efficiently are:
a) modeling with multi-body parts
b) limiting parametrics to critical dimensions
c) developing libraries of basic part & assembly templates (see the youtube example)
d) developing libraries of drag & drop smart hardware and connectors so that when dragged into an assembly, they cut the relevant mortises/drill holes, etc. which dynamically follow the fittings/hardware.
Let's face it, regardless of the program one uses, the efficiency goes up when there is a library of templates to start with. That may eventually be your biggest investment, so choose the tool which best suits your needs. For me, it was all about stairs, flattening curved layouts, CNC and cutting lists, so SW has served my needs well. I've built a substantial library with it and would think to change.
The example I attached was for a stone stair fabricator and is only an example which took a couple of hours one morning to put it together, the geometry isn't rectalinear and it includes dialogue boxes to enter relevant criterea. Hopefully this will give you some ideas. Good luck. Cheers.