Ideas on reasonably priced, comprehensive computer applications for cabinetmakers. February 13, 2001
We are looking at a number of cabinetmaking, cut listing, design/drafting, optimizing programs for a 32 mm system. Are there any promising programs that are reasonably priced?
I am moderately satisfied with CabinetSolutions. It does a fair job of cut listing, optimizing and laying out simple kitchen designs. It does not have the design capabilities for anything more complicated than a square rectangular box. The cutlists on lazysusan doors and crosscorner doors are no good.
See if the software requires a "HASP" (or "dongle" or "key") to run it. There have been many times when I was unable to perform my kitchen design tasks because my computer was not recognizing the hasp. If I had to do it again, I would buy KCD. I believe it works without a hasp and has better design capabilities than CabinetSolutions.
I am more than satisfied with the flexibility and accuracy of CV Kitchen Builder. It was easy for me to get started, with the help of the video tutorials. Tech support walked me through setup and answered my questions. The ability to get in the box and manipulate interior components makes getting the parts list complete. The 3D perspective and elevation drawings are great and give you the option of showing crown mouldings. It allows you to set up many different construction styles and material schedules in both face frame and frameless. CV also gives you the option to upgrade to solid and credit the purchase price of Kitchen Builder toward your upgrade. The 3D color renderings do lack the quality of the realistic renderings of the $8000 packages.
I have been using KCD for two years. It is a user-friendly program and they have excellent support. I've been able to work around most of the program's limits. Getting the cut listing programmed to your method of building takes some fine tuning, but once you do, it works fine.
We also use CS--it is an easy-to-learn and easy-to-use program. Cut lists and optimizers are excellent.
I find Cabinet Solutions very limiting in its design potential. I have tried the KCDW trial version and it is good, but is a lot more expensive than Kitchen Builder. The annual update fees on Kitchen Builder raise the price, but you have the potential to move up to Cabinet Vision as you grow. You only have to pay the difference between the two programs, instead of starting from scratch. The Itemiser is an excellent program for panel optimization. It is inexpensive and can be learned in about 1/2 hour. It can also be linked to KCDW.
I have just received KCDW test version six and spent two hours on the phone for a walk through. The program is very user-friendly and you can buy just the design part without all the cutting lists and reports.
I have been using Cabinet Ware for ten years and am very satisfied with it. It's a lot of money, but will make your life easier.
I use it for pricing as well as cut lists. It's not perfect, but will do over ninety percent of what I need. It can modify my current standards on the fly to fit the odd cabinet.
I spent thousands on entry level programs because I could not justify spending $6000 all at once on really good software. I have been using Cabnetware for about a year now and am still learning the program. I have not seen any software out there as good as Cabetware. Their latest update has a lot of new features.
CV has better graphics. CW is easier to use and has the best tech support. Pattern Systems is the most advanced, but a bear to set up and use. I've used CW for 12 years and can estimate a job within +/- 4% of actual cost.
I have purchased Kitchen Builder and am unable to make the program build cabinets to my construction standards. I have had two sessions with their tech people and cannot get accurate cut lists.
I have an opportunity to buy a used version of CV. Any advice?
Make sure of what version it is. When purchasing used, to get support, you have to pay a transfer fee to CV.