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CAD software for cabinet shop

Bruce Stewart


I'm looking for any suggestions on a user friendly cad program for our cabinet shop.
We are a small division at this point, but need to make accomidations for growth. Professional shop drawings and cnc cababilities are important. Thanks

8/7/14       #2: CAD software for cabinet shop ...

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8/7/14       #4: CAD software for cabinet shop ...

I just leased autocad for somewhere around $360 a year with a one year term.

I tried free software prior to that, and I personally think autocad is a lot more flexible and easier to use. I spent quite a few days cursing before I discovered I could lease it so cheap.

There is a lot of other options out there, but I needed the ability to make somewhat intricate shop drawings and I couldn't find anything that would do that, well until you get into the big 2. I personally would rather wait until I can justify the expense with a Cnc, until then I'll struggle in the dark ages...

8/7/14       #5: CAD software for cabinet shop ...

I should have also added that if you are out shopping for software keep in mind that whatever you buy is essentially worthless in the end. The upgrades over a few years will get you pretty close to the initial cost, and there's little to no market for used software because of the cost of transferring rights and support.

8/7/14       #6: CAD software for cabinet shop ...
Jim Kolar

Small shop with Cabinet vision. We post to a cnc. Our market is residential and some small commercial. Having a software that has a library of cabinets that you can change to your standards was essential for our application. We build a lot of rec tangled shapes so this works. If I was doing alot of curved shapes auto cad would be my choice but I would use micro vellum because it runs over auto cad and is geared towards cabinet makers. Cabinet vision allowed me to buy as you go so that helped as we grew into cnc applications.

8/8/14       #8: CAD software for cabinet shop ...
Pat O'Sullivan


Inexpensive and user friendly usually go hand in hand due to the limitations of a program. The more functionality that is built in to address different scenarios, machine connections, product configurations, the more complex the software has to be and, therefore, the more challenging it is to become proficient with that software. AutoCAD is the industry standard for a reason. You've chosen an excellent starting point. Now, you need to consider how manually creating your products effects your time and ability to automate the shop. It is for this reason that AutoCAD based design programs where developed. We represent woodCAD|CAM. It is an AutoCAD based program and addresses, automated shop drawings, submittals as well as cabinets and custom products. It is expensive. I would, however, be happy to explain its merits and discuss your needs whether you are in a position to purchase or not.

8/8/14       #9: CAD software for cabinet shop ...
Les Eversen  Member


@Nick - essentially worthless in the end? If you buy a tool and wear it out, was it worthless in the end? Or one that gets outmoded and replaced with something better? What about all of the work you produced with that tool while you were using it? Tools to which you can add new attachments can grow and adapt to your work, but many tools are fixed. Software does adapt and change, and often the improvements make life easier. Yes, you pay along the way, either through a maintenance plan or periodic upgrades. It's better to think of it as an ongoing cost rather than a one-time expense, but we have customers who've used our program unchanged since 1998 and have produced tens of thousands of parts on their CNC equipment. Others have upgraded through the years but I know of none who would consider the software worthless. Also, not all software is non-transferable.

The real key is matching the software to what you make - don't buy more than you need but also make sure that it supports 80% or better of what you make. If I made cabinets, I'd look for a program that specializes in cabinets. If I made custom fixtures, I'd want something more flexible. Microvellum might be a viable choice but if you're not producing a library and your work changes a lot, AutoCAD by itself might be a wiser investment.

Renting/leasing software is now possible, even AutoCAD, so you don't need to make a huge upfront investment to test the waters. Again, this places it in the ongoing cost category which might make more sense for your business.

8/8/14       #10: CAD software for cabinet shop ...
MV Craig Member


Hi, decided to throw my hat in the ring. I have actually done wine cellar components before and can demonstrate a lot of what you are looking for. Feel free to contact me and I can show you how we do things and let you test drive it yourself.

8/8/14       #11: CAD software for cabinet shop ...

I might need to clarify, by worthless I meant it has little to no resale value, where as machinery always has a cash value, even for scrap metal if it gets to that point. I won't argue that good software can make you money, and lots of it, but that's all dependant on your staff and sales. If you feel you have an established client base them you'll have a better idea of how much you can invest.

I missed the end where you mentioned Cnc capabilities being important. If you're at that stage then I don't think autocad is a very smart investment for you. If you're planning on having your Cnc work outsourced then I would suggest using whatever they use, or even just letting them draw it in their own program for production.

If it's being done in house then I would stick with cabinet vision for kitchens and somewhat basic cabinetry, it does a fantastic job of uncomplicating the small details once it's set up. But if you're doing more complicated commercial type work then micro vellum would probably be your best choice. I don't think there's anything it can't do.

There's a lot more options in between, but those tend to be more of a bandaid, micro vellum and cabinet vision will definitely grow with you, and if you're getting anywhere near what you should be getting out of them cost won't be an issue.

8/9/14       #13: CAD software for cabinet shop ...

There are two sides to every story. Our Microvellum experience was not good. Best if you talk to people it works for, and also those where it did not.

Find a program that does what you need and you like to use. Makes all the difference...

8/9/14       #14: CAD software for cabinet shop ...
Pat Gilbert


Is Sketchup in the future of Cadcode?

8/12/14       #15: CAD software for cabinet shop ...
Fred Wholley  Member


Hi Bruce,

I saw your post that you are looking for a software to better your business. I work for KCD Software,
KCD is geared towards small to medium size shops. KCD is easy to use and we have EXCELLENT FREE Technical Support, KCD does not charge any maintenance fees and does not charge any annual fees. With KCD you can either purchase or rent the software. KCD can take you from Design to Nested G Code. If your interested give us a call 508-760-1140 and anyone that picks up the phone can help.

Good luck and have a GREAT Day.

8/16/14       #16: CAD software for cabinet shop ...

If you are in the business for the long haul you would be well advised to go with the industry standard. Autocad, I know that there are a lot of comments about other lower cost applications but after 20 years of working with CAD and trying almost everything else the Autodesk products are had to beat, especially when everyone else is using them.

8/18/14       #17: CAD software for cabinet shop ...

If you are serious about your business, contact Pat O'Sullivan with Roger Shaw. They represent a CAD/CAM solution that simply works, easy to use compared to most others, autocad based and will grow with you. I use the European version of the software and after using the other major products, could not be happier with results. It would be worth your time. Look at the cost as an investment, not an expense! Best wishes for your success.

9/6/14       #18: CAD software for cabinet shop ...
Frank D. Jimenez  Member


Hi Bruce,

I am the owner of Cabinet Pro Software, which has evolved since 1986 for the custom cabinet manufacturer. If you make truly custom cabinets, I would suggest exploring Cabinet Vision, Cabnetware, and Cabinet Pro. All of these programs do an outstanding job in the design and manufacture of custom face frame and/or frameless cabinets.

Our own software, Cabinet Pro, offers FREE Technical Support, does not charge any maintenance or annual fees, DOES NOT USE KEYS (DONGLES), and has low prices that are unmatched in this industry. Software sales people are quite valuable in generating sales but generally receive about 40% of a sale. So the main reason our prices are low is because we eliminated our sales force a few years ago. Another reason our prices are low is that Cabinet Pro CNC does not require any other CAD/CAM software to generate CNC code! Cabinet Pro CNC generates its own code fast, efficently, accurately, and without the added cost of a CAD/CAM program to interpret DXF files.

Feel free to give us a call at (541) 664-2808 if you would like more information, or visit our website at

9/11/14       #19: CAD software for cabinet shop ...
Les Eversen  Member


@ Pat Gilbert - We have a couple of users who design in SketchUp. The issues are similar as with other programs that are focused on drawing - getting machining geometry assigned to the parts and exporting this to a post-processor. There are some promising add-ins and complementary programs that enable this for SketchUp but nothing available right now (that I'm aware of) at a level that would suit a shop with a need to produce a sustaining volume of work. I'm told that Vectric Software can import data from SketchUp for the kinds of work that Vectric excels in, which is different from what the bulk of CADCode users do with panel processing in the cabinet, closet, fixture and furnishings, and architectural millwork areas of the industry.

9/30/14       #20: CAD software for cabinet shop ...
Scott Marshburn  Member


Hi Bruce. We had the same issue about 6 years ago where I work. We looked at different software and at the same time cnc routers. The biggest issue for us was the cost of the design software that would generate the code for a given router. We decided to go with Thermwood and eCabinets. eCabinets is free and can be used for conventional construction. Then when you are ready to purchase a router their Thermwood machines are top of the line. We have had no regrets. Tec service is awesome on both the machine and the software.

10/6/14       #22: CAD software for cabinet shop ...
Earl Morgan Member


Right now I am looking at Sketchup with SketchData. You model kitchens fast. and create profession drawings with you get Sketchup Pro with skalp plugin.

10/6/14       #23: CAD software for cabinet shop ...
Pat Gilbert


Does SketchData talk to cnc with dxfs?

10/7/14       #24: CAD software for cabinet shop ...
Earl Morgan Member


I was going to mention ecabinets for thermwood CNC. But others have already. Sketchup+Sketchdata+ provides a cutlist, not a toolpath. (but there is plugin for that.)

10/7/14       #25: CAD software for cabinet shop ...
Pat Gilbert

"(but there is plugin for that.)"

Have a link?

10/1/19       #27: CAD software for cabinet shop ...
Hiral Patel  Member


We are mostly using AutoCAD to create custom millwork detail drawings, cabinet drafting, and kitchen millwork & joinery drawings.

This software is also helpful to create the highest quality of shop drawings, assembly & installation drawings and fabrication drawings for solid surface, stone/particle board, laminates, MDF, stone/Corian drawings, metals, alloys and much more.

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