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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Been kind of absent here for a while - less shop and more office; then Gus's post made me think I should probably post a thing or two:

This is in the shop now. Cases are not yet complete - It'll be another couple of months before they even make it onto the CNC. There's going to be a marble skirt above the parting bead and then, well, a marble top.

I feel weird posting this one, since I did little beyond design and cutlist. But I think it's pretty fun, so what the hell. I'm about 90% design and PM now, 10% shop. Every once in a while I'll take a smaller but more finicky project and do it soup to nuts, but too much else to do - fortunately or no... not sure.

I'll try and get my stuff together and organize some pics of other recent work. Unfortunately, I rarely get back to the site once this stuff is installed, counters are in and the project's a wrap... to much else to do. Must change that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks Kent - We go with 3/32.

The strip... When we came up with the double step on the face frame I was pretty sure we wouldn't have enough throw for the door to clear the frame at the edge of the curve. Before build, we put the pattern on some 1" MDF and ran a test, and sure enough... binding. Tweak, tweak, bind.

Client liked the second step, though, so to keep the look we ran the door straight at the second step and kerfed the remainder.

I'm comfy with it. It's ultimately the look they are looking for, and we're comfortable with the tolerances - important as we're ocean front. We've got about 15 rooms worth of cabinetry in this house... and another 15 or so in their city house. Both projects running together.
 

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Maker of fine kindling
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That looks nice.

I relate to you about the level of hands on work in the shop. I rarely do much more than some occasional cnc work or some other small task.

My craftsmanship now lives on a computer screen. Yeah, I'm that guy. I can't say it happened by design, more out of necessity. I will never say I'm not proud of my role, I'm very proud of my accomplishments.

I hope you feel proud of yourself as well.
 

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Maker of Fine Sawdust
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Interesting design, I like it.

Two questions. What is your gap tolerance there, since you have the shoulder to figure in not hitting the frame (which is probably negligible) and what is the little stile strip on the arched doors for?
I would have just ground the backside of that off and just left the front looking nice. Of course it would look intentional and symmetrical.

Otherwise the doors are sweet. You make them or order them? Certainly doesn't look like a door that you order.

Is the cab wall to wall?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
Thanks all.

I like it. And am excited to see it with all the stone. I actually think the stone guy is going to be more crucial than we are on this one... they really will make it a hit-or-miss.

Gus - I'm adjusting... It's been almost a year since my switch to a new job. Old job - firing people so I could do everything - and it's been an adjustment not having my hands firmly in the finished product - BUT - I work on so many more jobs now, and with far larger a scope than before so I absolutely can't complain. I'm backlogged on design well beyond the New Year. And these are mostly BIG jobs. I've known of some of the architects we work with far longer that I've swung a hammer.

Honestly, this shop rocks. And TBJFG we've got all you could want... so much so that it kills me to be behind the desk everyday. If we've got a profile we cut regularly, we don't just buy the knife, we buy a shaper to go with. CNC, 2 sliding saws, haunchers, Timesaver, Everything Tigerstop or equivalent, probably 10-15 shapers... And I can't take any credit for that - the owner of the company gets it all. He does it right. If you need something - which should be read "want" - you get it.

Yes Leo - we make our own doors. To which I do totally acknowledge the benifits - quality and scheduling. Though I still harbor no ill-will to those who buy-out. It's a different ballgame and business model, employment and square footage factor. Volume, crazy construction schedules all play a role. Probably my most hands-on work is milling then sizing doors. Not much, but when I've got a minute or two *exageration"...

Which is why I'm so busy behind the desk.
 

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Maker of fine kindling
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Sounds like like this new place is fulfilling for you. I'm glad to hear you are pleased with how the owner does things as this is usually the poison in the pool.

Is there anyone there that you can speak CabinetVision with? This will be my next big step. I need to invest in having someone that can produce from the desk. I would absolutely love to have someone to talk to about the methods of CV too. I'm currently on an island there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks Gus - definitely fulfilling. It's funny thinking back a year and recalling how nervous I was at the switch-over. I had worked on-the-side for this company for a few months prior - testing the water and determining if it would be a good transition. I'm glad I did that, but even still it's tough to leave what's familiar... particularly when you have a family.

But all has been awesome, and I couldn't ask for more. Except money, but when does that train stop;) I honestly can't say enough about the owner so I won't try beyond this: Crazy work-ethic balanced with fairness and ethics. You'll butt heads if you don't give your all, but beyond that...

Cabinetvision - well, that's how I got hired, and for 4 months that's what I used. The other designer/engineer uses a different program - so I switched. We absolutely needed to be on the same program, and he simply was not going to change. So I did. I could go on for hours about the pluses and minuses of Kreate, but I won't bore you.

The biggest thing has been having that second guy behind the desk to bounce things off. I know for me it's been awesome, for the other guy it's been great (but who wouldn't want to work with me:rolleyes:) and for the boss, its kind of been a game changer. We've gotten so much work since I came along, and that's not pumping myself up, its more the extra set of hands on the front end has allowed so much more planned work to pass through to the shop.

We're nailing it.
 

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Maker of fine kindling
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I am inclined to say that sounds like you're squatting in high cotton. But I understand what is like when dealing with the front office in a busy small shop. The pressure to detail the job properly before it hits the shop floor is enough to keep me awake. Add in the responsibility of profitability and cash flow, and I am looking forward to cocktail hour.

The more I think about it the more I really need to get some help up front. Listening to you saying how nice it is to have a sounding board is giving me a push too. The screw in the gear is all about my fear of not being able to keep it all together. I will have to break through that first.

I have not heard of that software you are into. How does it compare to CV?
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
It was an early program spanning the Case-work design - CNC divide. I'm not sure, but I'd say it was in existence between the late 90's and early 2000's. It lasted longer - we've got a later version, but I think by that point it was primarily the creator doing in-house tweaks to existing clients. Apparently he did extensive in-house work on our program. As we have it configured, I'd probably struggle if I went to another shop running it. But I don't think there are anymore shops running it.

Sitting in front of it, it's got a lot of similarities to Microvellum; likely since it's simialrly AutoCAD based.

Unlike, the 3-d of MV and CV, your drawings are done in 2d - very AutoCad based with construction parameters incorporated. This is why I like it quite a bit: our submittals to architects, clients and other trades are all simple, basic, 2d work. You don't have to fuss with a lot of overrides to show what you want.

If you want to raise a deck or drop a lid, use basic AutoCad commands to move. Stretch a drawer, use stretch. Mirror a divider, use mirror.

Then you drop the drawing to 3d and insert drilling. The program reads and interprets the lines when you drop, rather than the pre-set assemby parameters on CV and MV. Very what you see is what you get. Don't really have to deal with formulas for switching construction methods. But you can't zoom around a cabinet in 3d. You can look at it from pre-set angles, but not nearly as fluidly and in-control as CV or MV

The build-parameter cabinet alterations are a lot quicker. That said, you kind of fore-go the "protection" MV and CV allow. So you've got to be a lot more careful.

The Layers and Drawing capability are awesome and it's tough to go back once you've got them. That said, the program is out-of-date, out-of service and relatively... "volatile" stability wise. Odd things happen easily, so you've got to pay attention.

Because of the age and volatility of our program... and my co-workers reluctance to venture into a non- AutoCad-based program, we looked at Microvellum. I'm not a fan of the business model they've structured. I do think the program has a lot of merit, but I don't' think AutoCad is as heavily linked as they like to promote. You've got the drawing capability, but not the build integration. We had two presentations in - house. The salesman couldn't use the program, so we had him come back with someone who could. When we started dragging and stretching, the engineer quickly stopped us, saying it doesn't work that way, and that people with an AutoCad background had the toughest time learning the program because what you thought you were doing was not, in fact happening. I think the salesman almost had a heart attack.

I still miss CV. I think it is awesome as a production tool. Efficient for most work produced, but cumbersome for build alterations. I could also do some great drawings with it, but it was far more labor intensive to get the same standard of drawings we produce. So I prefer the ancient beast we use for the drawings.
 

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Maker of fine kindling
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Very informative response, thank you.

I just paid the $1043 for CV's yearly tech support and upgrades. As much as signing that check hurts, I can't imagine doing business without the backup there.

So you can't build a library of construction methods? Sounds like you have simplified that process only to lose the versatility of CV. Not sure though.

Can you do "qualified blind dados". Sounds like you may just be dowling.

Is there still the master and slave relationship from part to part? How does your new program know to fire an operation?

What about all the material catalogs and material schedules? How does it handle that?

I'm glad to see you have found a happy home. But as business that is dead in the water when there is software issues, I can't see the logic with sticking with an unsupported program. CV, with all it's faults, does stay on top of improvements. The version I'm using today is far better than the one I started with 7 or 8 years ago. Just a thought.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
Well, like I said, I could go on for hours about the plusses and minusses of this set up.

My first concern was support. I think they had gone about 5 years without any prior to my arrival - my eyes bulged upon hearing. It's certainly on their mind - hence purchasing CV - which we still have active, just in case. But they've also got a plan in place should any dire tech issues arise. I don't know how to say this accurately, but I'd venture the program is lacking in sophistication enough that you don't have most of the tech issues that arise on a CV or MV, yet it maintains its efficiency.

I was a tough convert. But I did convert. Still, there are words and phrases that escape my mouth while using it I wouldn't want my daughter to hear. But I had those with CV and, more briefly, MV as well. I probably would not recommend another shop switch over, but as it's set up here ... well, it works pretty darn well.

We do have a library of construction methods, and material choices. You start a cabinet in a very similar way to CV - say a standard base with face frame - 100" wide... 5 openings... etc. etc. If you've got a non-standard set up, you can save that as well. The cad drawing I refer to is less poly-line and more tool - based. The material selections are input when you drop to 3d (.74 paint ply, .72 PF... or whatever), giving the lines depths and thicknesses. Then, all parts and machining work off layers, turning on and off, manipulating. I'd say the applications I most see its benefits with are things like hoods, mantles, areas that are wall-paneling, trim, coffer and cabinet-integration... and MOSTLY what you would relate to as the Send to Drawings.

And yes. We dowel. I know you can set up for qualified blind dados - we used those in my old shop, so it was also one of my first questions - but as we dowel I never pursued how exactly you integrate it in a construction method. Though we do manually (on the computer) input dados with frequency - but those are for specific applications.

Basically, for the first four months we'd sit in the same office and I'd look over at his desk and wonder how he could use that dinosaur. Then, as a specific project loomed that required a lot of input from us both, I bit the bullet and learned. To my surprise, the dinosaur was pretty darn solid.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Also - the AutoCad functionality is pretty nice in a few ways -

Example - we're doing a large project where there's lots of specific things to integrate not with-in our scope, but that we have to pay attention to and acknowlege. To show a simple door/panel we're building that would house a television, but that pockets into a paneling-specific wall that we aren't doing, overlaying a second pair of full pocket doors we aren't doing, and using a retractable cording device, anchor, and access unit designed by the AV guys... well; rather than spend an eternity drawing all that out, when we're really only doing one *large door/panel - I can spend 1/2 hour drawing my unit, slice and dice the architect's and AV guy's drawings, place them on a visually quieter layer and it shows everything necessary. It would be a pain in the rear - and hugely time consuming to draw it all or be limited by what I can integrate from other drawings without being able to cut and manipulate them.
 

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Maker of fine kindling
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Hmmm... very interesting to say the least. But like I have said here on many occasions "If it works for you then stick with it"

My philosophy about production related items is to throw money at bottle necks. Sounds to me that your boss is like minded. So when we decided to buy the cnc to unclog the log jam at the parts production I was using Cabinet Solutions software. It had served it's purpose well to that point but I could see that it would have been the next bottleneck immediately. Took an extended look at CV and made the plunge into that world. The one aspect about CV that had me feel comfortable with the investment is how I can continue to grow in knowledge and ability as far as I choose to. It has consumed me ever sense.

The versatility that CV offers has led us to a whole new revenue stream with cutting parts for other people and shops. When dealing with cabinets parts, I always push them toward a construction method that we have used with success but when they insist to tweak it in their own direction the ability is there. When dealing with custom parts, shaped parts, parts with manually added operations, Cv has just enough versatility to pull off most what comes my way. The rest, I just say no. I believe the outside parts business has paid for the machine and the software, and then some, in the last 8 years all by itself.

The biggest set back with CV is shaped cabinets. Any time I shape a cabinet I cringe when I hit enter. Looking to see what parts got pissed off and went rogue is an adventure. I wish that was better.

I am envious of your situation no matter the software being used though. Having another qualified designer to work with on a daily basis sounds like heaven to me right now. I guess I'm the one that will need to change that for myself. :whistling
 
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