Thought I would start another string as it relates to my due diligence in regards to my cnc consideration. If you've seen my previous post I am in the market for a cnc (no more sales calls please I have my three choices) one of the biggest issues is the design software. I use Kcd now the full suite minus the cnc stuff. works great super fast super easy, accurate cutlist, tiger stop etc. No ability to define millwork in the panels though. so this is a parallel search. I downloaded ecabinets and was really impressed with level of detail I could achieve after several weeks of fumbling with it. We do 98% kitchen and bath cabinets, big rectangles into small rectangles, Every one talks about alpha cam, cabinetvision, auto cad, etc. for what I do, do I need that level, does anyone use kcds cnc package and how does it work for you, what about ecabinets? free is a price point I love, but how does it actually work? sometimes free is expensive
I would seriously consider sticking with KCD. Call KCD and find out if they have a post for the machines you are looking @. You seriously do not need to go down the path of learning another software unless you truly want to and think KCD is limiting you
If you want to change, we are running Cabinetvision Ultimate with S2M, with great success. We have 4 seats, and I can tell you right now we have barely scratched the capabilities of it- but that's another story
Just like my previous comment on CNC routers we have been using ecabinets for 8 years.
But if you already know KCD start with that.
But there is a lot of other cutting to be done, such as signs, logos, mortise and tennon joinery for those jobs we use Aspire. Ecabinets is free so buy aspire right from the beginning.
You have a lot to learn so get started
I see a lot of other, thermwood owners have switched to cabinet vision
If you already own KCD, and it performs for you according to your requirements, why not simply upgrade to KCD's CNC version? I have found that when one changes software after many years of using one particular package, they have learning problems because the new software does not operate according to what they were accustomed.
....on the other hand, those who upgrade their non-CNC software to the same software's CNC version they are up and running asap. A case in point is where last week a current customer of ours upgraded from the non-CNC Cabinet Pro Standard to Cabinet Pro CNC. It took that company one day to be totally up and running with their upgraded CNC version. So I would vote that you purchase the CNC version from KCD. You'll probably be up and running in no time.
Henry, if your going to buy a THM and doing mostly residential, You cant beat Ecabs, its always been good and they just made some nice improvements. I made a lot of money with the 2. I run CV ultimate, but only because I do a lot of Commercial and for that you cant beat CV in my opinion.
Hey Mike, at least initially our plan is to chase more basic frameless stuff, simple laminate, 3mm doors, doctors office stuff. Would Ecabs be a good fit for that? I am leaning to kcd since I am familiar but want to give other ideas consideration
Ecabs is fine for light commercial, and you are aware it only runs/writes code on Thermwood router? The only real downfall to ecabs is the shop drawings are tedious and not really what the architects are looking for, fine for homeowners,contractors, etc. I have done a ton of work with it. From what I have seen, it is way beyond KCD in capability. I now run CV ultimate and I will tell you it is amazing and a time saver, but with a massive learning curve, a huge investment in time and Money.There are still things that were much simpler to do in ecabs than CV. But CV is much more automated and the shop drawings are far superior to ecabs. As far as routers, you cant find a better machine or service than Thermwood, if I ever need a 2nd machine, I wont even look at another machine.
so you have an salesman/estimator, a draftsman, and a programmer/operator, who are all specialized in their fields. You replace that with a software which can only be as strong as it is programmed and is usually very limited or very time consuming. This is fine if you are producing very simple jobs with little variance.
Is that why you bought a CNC? Didn't you get one to open up doors to more complex jobs? cant you produce these very simple jobs with a saw and a few jigs maybe an outdated horizontal boring machine? after 30k for software and 100k for a machine (on the low end) PLUS who knows how much time and money spent "learning" how the software wants you to use it. Sheets wasted on screw ups. time spent designing "library cabinets" in 3d so you have a rendering for a client who is probably a designer and has made their own drawings in some other software.
I am speaking in general terms here, but I think I have made my point. A cnc is only as strong as the cam software you use. A "jack of all trades:" software is going to set limits on what you can produce, or how efficiently/effectively you do it. If you want to open doors you will have to get a more powerful and expensive software.
I work in a millwork shop where I do things from signage to giant canopies to stairs, doors,and solid wood furniture. Yes I also produce boxes. The boxes Are the least time consuming thing. I have my own cabinet library in autocad and it takes me a few minutes to modify existing cabinets. It takes me one minute to program a sheet of cabinet parts and I do that while the machine is running. I can program 20 sheets while the first few are running and then move on to doweling and edge banding for the rest of the job. I can use my offcuts and after 5 years and thousands of sheets of black melamine I have under 20 offcuts. If a part is messed up I can throw it on another sheet and reprogram it or put it on an offcut or a new sheet in a few minutes.
I can program in 3d, I can program c-axis, I can program engraving and reliefs. I can cut brass, copper, aluminum, plastic, foams, solid wood, and sheet goods. There are zero limits to what I can do and that is because I use the most powerful cam software in the business.
I can easily go from cutting boxes to making jigs and templates from autocad drawings. I can make fixtures fast and efficiently. I can easy draw a new profiled tool, load it into mastercam, and verify a tool path with that profile.
Not every shop is as demanding as the one I work in and I can understand that, but it all starts with capability.
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