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CNC Vs. Panel Saw For One Man Shop

 
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Old 04-04-2010, 06:58 AM   #1
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CNC Vs. Panel Saw For One Man Shop


This Question is for the guys who are running both CNC and large Sliding Table saws for cabinets. I am a one man cabinet shop, and I own a Shop Sabre4896 CNC(w/o tool changer) and do not have a good software package for doing cabinets (using Aspire) For the past few kitchens I have been drwaing my cabinet sides using poly lines and rectangles to cut dados and shelf holes. This system works but is in no way optimizing the machines capabilities. Right now i have an older unisaw that i am considering up grading to a 9' laguna pro slider. But I thought Maybe it would be wiser to forget the slider or buy a cheaper one for now and spend the $$$ on some good software that i can just feed 4x8 sheets onto the table all day and not worry about breaking them down on a slider. On the other side the TS is heart of my shop and maybe having the slider would be getting more bang for my buck. Any help from you guys would be very appreciated.
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Old 04-04-2010, 09:19 AM   #2
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Re: CNC Vs. Panel Saw For One Man Shop


You need both.

But spend all the money you need on software first. The horse power of your cnc will be unleashed with a great software package and you can spend future profits on a slider.

I don't have much time right now but I have a small cnc shop and we have a slider. CabinetVision software is real good. You just have to get warmed up to the fact that it is going to cost a lot of money.

I'll be back

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Old 04-04-2010, 05:15 PM   #3
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Re: CNC Vs. Panel Saw For One Man Shop


Tough choice.

A slider would be awesome but I would say a good software package would be your best strategic choice.

By the way if you go the slider route, you'd get much more value if you bought a good used slider like an old altendorf or scmi.

Thats just my opinion.
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Old 04-04-2010, 08:06 PM   #4
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Re: CNC Vs. Panel Saw For One Man Shop


I agree that a used slider is the best value... although in my rural area I might wait 5 years to see even a junk slider come up on a sale or classified within 200 miles. I have been looking for years and never seen one come up, so I decided if I need it, to buy new. I had a feeling that Gus was going to recommend the software over the saw from reading some of his earlier posts. and I agree, I just have such a hard time spending that kind of money on software. I have been playing around with "ecabs" and all it does is frustrate me.
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Old 04-04-2010, 08:51 PM   #5
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Re: CNC Vs. Panel Saw For One Man Shop


I think of my software package as my real money maker. The cnc is just the mule.

You should be able to start a job and choose the construction method, material, door style, drawer box, hardware, counter top, basically everything for that job.

The construction method you choose should have been custom built for your style of work. You should be able to have all the dados and rabbets you want. Line boring should show up when you place a shelf. All the machining in a standard cabinet should be automatically applied without editing any parts, they should have "intelligent" joints. That is to say that when one part comes in contact with another the machining gets applied without any further programing on your part.

The better software will give you the ability to write your own code for the things that you may need but is not part of the software right out of the box. That way you won't be out growing the software. You can grow into it.

I think the most important part is that it goes from screen to machine. I don't want to export the job to another program and edit parts prior to machining. Just go straight from design to cutting. That is a beautiful thing.

You say you want to just keep loading sheets on the machine all day. These pictures are of the parts we cut for another shop. It is a commercial job, frameless construction. I think there was around 80 sheets or so including the 1/4" backs. Look close, all the material you see stacked up is for that job. We cut in about a day and a half or so.

CNC vs. Panel Saw for one man shop-2.jpeg

CNC vs. Panel Saw for one man shop-3.jpeg

This is our machine. It is an Omnitech, made by Anderson. It is a nice machine for the money but not top of the line. It does have a separate drill head with 5 drills in the Y and X axis. 8 tools in the on board carousel. Having the separate drill head speeds things up tremendously because we can drill 5 holes at a time instead of one at a time with the main spindle.

The controller at the machine is a Fanuc (sp?) controller. We can control the off sets very easily. I can keep the bit size the same as the call out size in the design software and make adjustments at the machine to compensate for the actual size. That is very important because you may need to change bits in the middle of a run and the new one may have been sharpened to a different diameter.

I'm getting carried away. I'll stop now

CNC vs. Panel Saw for one man shop-shop-photos005.jpg
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Old 04-05-2010, 06:52 AM   #6
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Re: CNC Vs. Panel Saw For One Man Shop


Wow Gus, You deffinately bring up a good point. If i had a CNC like yours it would be no question about the software. Mine is much smaller and aimed at the economy market. The shop sabre is about 3 years old and i wish i could back and reconsider some options like a tool changer, but at the time i couldn't justify the added price. So to cut cabinets i just use 1/4" end mill for everything....( cutting dados, cuttout, and line boring.) This might sound or be rediculous. I wanted to use larger bits to save time, but i cut one kitchen at a time.... and I am only a one man shop. The vacuum table on my machine i made from a fein turbo 3 and some PVC, it works but there are some cupped sheets(especially 1/4") that i have a real hard time holding,and would still end up cutting on a slider. Part of me just feels like i would always end up going back to the tried and true TS for the majority of the work, but then again I am ignorant in the ways of the proffesional cab shop setup. I am a rural small potatoes shop with big dreams and i am still a young guy. Do you think my Machine/ setup would handle the software that you are describing? also what is a ball park price for a software similar to yours? Thank you for your help
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Old 04-05-2010, 07:19 AM   #7
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Re: CNC Vs. Panel Saw For One Man Shop


Have you thought about a panel saw instead of a slider? Much easier to use and you don't have to move the panels around as much.
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Old 04-05-2010, 07:45 AM   #8
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Re: CNC Vs. Panel Saw For One Man Shop


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I'm getting carried away. I'll stop now
By all means...continue
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Old 04-05-2010, 08:25 AM   #9
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Re: CNC Vs. Panel Saw For One Man Shop


I would say that your vacuum pump is the first thing to toss some money at. If you can't hold down parts you don't have the ability to tap into the potential of the system.

I'm not the best person to give advise about what your best option is but we have 2 - ten horse pumps and I wish we had more suction from time to time.

There are things that you can do to help hold parts with the pump you have though. First is your spoils board. I start with 1/2" MDF and scape the outer face off with the fly cutter right away. You should seal the edges of the spoils board also. Edge banding is one way or you can water down some glue and brush it on the edges. It's amazing how much air you lose out the edges of your spoils board. Get that plugged up.

Next is a software driven solution but It's onion skinning. I tell the software how small a part is that triggers the onion skinning. Then the machine out lines the part and leaves 1/16" of the material on the first pass. Then while out lining the rest of the parts the small part doesn't have the shear pressure applied by the bit in the same amount as a full depth cut.

There are other options also, like tabbing. You can leave some or all of the parts tied together with small tabs of material. The bits raises up off the deck in a ramped motion leaving predetermined sizes of material. Then you have to cut them loose with a knife and flush trim them with a hand held router. Too slow and a pita if you ask me but still another option for very small parts.

If I were you I would try a thin spoils board, no more than 3/8" and seal up the edges first. Then look into a heavier pump.

Software like mine sounds like a crazy number but keep in mind that without it, nothing happens. I think the price has a lot to do with the local rep. I'll come back with a contact number for Planit, they should be happy to come out and show you the software package choices.

I gots to go
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Old 04-05-2010, 10:50 AM   #10
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Re: CNC Vs. Panel Saw For One Man Shop


holly ch!t. don't stop Gus, this is shop ****.
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Old 04-05-2010, 01:56 PM   #11
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Re: CNC Vs. Panel Saw For One Man Shop


Your Wisconsin CabinetVision sales connection is Bruce Kruger 507-269-6965.

I'm sure he would love to hear from you.

I'll continue the shop **** later when I have more time.
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Old 04-05-2010, 05:00 PM   #12
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Re: CNC Vs. Panel Saw For One Man Shop


We just got a CNC router and cabinet software for the first time the beginning of last year. The first try at cabinet software was KCD and found it couldn't do anything that we wanted it to. It was an ok design software but their one button machining was pretty limited. After wasting a month trying to get it to work we realized it just wasn't going to work and had to try something else. We ended up with Cabinet Vision and there really is no comparison in both function and price. There's almost nothing it can't do if you can figure out how to get it to work. It can be a real time saver but there are days when it can just drive you crazy. There have been more than a couple times when it just would have been easier and faster to cut the stuff out by hand.
I'm not sure how much you're looking on spending but to get all the bells and whistles with CV you can be in the 10's of thousands $ to get it to run your machine. All the CNC stuff is nice but I'd get the basic machines first before I'd dump a ton of money into the computer stuff.
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Old 04-05-2010, 05:28 PM   #13
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We just got a CNC router and cabinet software for the first time the beginning of last year. The first try at cabinet software was KCD and found it couldn't do anything that we wanted it to. It was an ok design software but their one button machining was pretty limited. After wasting a month trying to get it to work we realized it just wasn't going to work and had to try something else. We ended up with Cabinet Vision and there really is no comparison in both function and price. There's almost nothing it can't do if you can figure out how to get it to work. It can be a real time saver but there are days when it can just drive you crazy. There have been more than a couple times when it just would have been easier and faster to cut the stuff out by hand.
I'm not sure how much you're looking on spending but to get all the bells and whistles with CV you can be in the 10's of thousands $ to get it to run your machine. All the CNC stuff is nice but I'd get the basic machines first before I'd dump a ton of money into the computer stuff.
I feel your pain.
You have to look at jumping into the cnc world as a career change. With that comes a huge learning curve. All I can say is that I'm glad I did it and can't imagine life without it. But that is just me, I'm not one to say it is for everyone. But keep the mindset that you will only get out of it what you put into it.

I'm going to go out in the shop and show you guys the job that we started cutting on Thursday. The frames were started on Friday as well as some of the assembly. I'll be right back.
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Old 04-05-2010, 05:47 PM   #14
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Re: CNC Vs. Panel Saw For One Man Shop


One guy on the cnc for a little more than a day. Three guys for 2 days on assembly. And ther are cabinets that are not in the pictures.

I have this working for us pretty good. Is it a perfect system? No but it ain't bad.

CNC vs. Panel Saw for one man shop-img_0087.jpg

CNC vs. Panel Saw for one man shop-img_0090.jpg

CNC vs. Panel Saw for one man shop-img_0091.jpg
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Old 04-05-2010, 06:13 PM   #15
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Re: CNC Vs. Panel Saw For One Man Shop


I see the bander all setup back there, how it working out for you?
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Old 04-05-2010, 06:40 PM   #16
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Re: CNC Vs. Panel Saw For One Man Shop


Gus should have his own sub forum
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Old 04-05-2010, 07:07 PM   #17
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Re: CNC Vs. Panel Saw For One Man Shop


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I feel your pain.
You have to look at jumping into the cnc world as a career change. With that comes a huge learning curve. All I can say is that I'm glad I did it and can't imagine life without it. But that is just me, I'm not one to say it is for everyone. But keep the mindset that you will only get out of it what you put into it.
Don't get me wrong, the thing at times, is just incredible. There is no doubt it can be/is faster, easier, more accurate, and can do some things you'd never dream of being able to do without it but I think it is a supplement for the basic tools, not a replacement. Having to fire up the router just to cut a new shelf just isn't practical.
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Old 04-05-2010, 08:22 PM   #18
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Don't get me wrong, the thing at times, is just incredible. There is no doubt it can be/is faster, easier, more accurate, and can do some things you'd never dream of being able to do without it but I think it is a supplement for the basic tools, not a replacement. Having to fire up the router just to cut a new shelf just isn't practical.
That is why I said you need both the software and the slider in my first response. You will always need to make little rectangles out of big ones. A slider with a 10' stroke is hard to beat for speed and accuracy.

I say I feel your pain because I really do. Sometimes I just want to scream. But in the end the effort to dig deep and learn the ins and outs of the software is worth the pain. Sometimes the struggle is fun too.
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Old 04-05-2010, 08:27 PM   #19
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I see the bander all setup back there, how it working out for you?
That little bander is awesome. All the edgebanders that I have rented time on don't hold a candle to the quality coming out of ours. There is something to be said for a brand new machine and only the shop owners running it.

I love that we have it. Weare getting ready to really put it to the test.
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Old 04-05-2010, 09:26 PM   #20
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Re: CNC Vs. Panel Saw For One Man Shop


I am really at a crossroads and completly undecided. Usually when i spend that much $$$ I get some big toy to take up space in my shop. but with software it just takes up a few gigs on a PC. I know the power of investing in good software. But i just don't know if it is the practical decision for a my one man show. everytime I wrestle a sheet up onto the Uni saw i swear it will be the last. But at the same time not utilizing a CNC that is sitting right next to it that cost that much is pretty stupid.
I think my biggest deterent is my cabinet work load. I have been averaging 4-6 kitchens a year, and randam built-ins, ontop of building houses. So software that is strictly for cabinets is hard to swollow.

In reguards to my vacuum situation, I have "trupan" spoil board with a grid pattern routed into the underside and divided into 4 zones, it holds really well if the material is flat, i just have problems when the sheets are wavy. can you tell me more about the size and type of pumps you are running?

I have considered a vertical panel saw as well, but i cut alot more than just sheet goods, and the straight lining feature of a slider is appealing to me. I currently use a festool ts55 to straight line and break down sheets right now but it is far to slow. a euro slider would be a life saver. But i am still agreeing with Gus that a CNC with good software can put a cab shop into a whole different league than without it. I can't immagine doing my cab sides (drilling, dados, and rabbits) without it.
here are some pics of my current setup.

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