SketchList 3D – Wizard Cabinet Design App – Automating Woodworking Design

Over the past ten years, the need and demand for a 3D cabinet design app has increased.  As cabinet makers and custom woodworkers strive to implement woodworking design software in their businesses, they face the trade-off between detail in design and the time required to learn and use.
Being successful in the software design business requires us to address this time/detail trade-off so that customers experience the best balance.  Generally, if you want a greater amount of detail in your design, you need to invest more time.  But that is changing.  The Wizard for SketchList 3D is an add-on that allows customization of design in less time.

This post introduces you to our new offering.

The Wizard is an add-on for SketchList 3D.  We are several weeks away from release but wanted to share this exciting new approach to woodworking design with you.
Our goal for the Wizard is to get you started quickly with your designs.   The Wizard will accomplish a great deal – even allowing for adjustments and changes.
Over the next few weeks, we’ll be making improvements based upon user feedback who give the Wizard a try.  Also over time we’ll discover more and more ways to apply the Wizard tool to the work of woodworking design.

How is that accomplished?

Our cabinet design app provides a collection of standard cabinet models.  At this point, the library consists of kitchen cabinets. However, over time we will make more types and styles of cabinets and furniture.   Assemblies created in the Wizard library are inserted into a SketchList 3D project. This is one source of the speed.  Because the cabinet selected gives you a base or starting point for modification.   Actually, with these seed cabinets, even the most inexperienced cabinet maker can design cabinets.  And for the Pro – for whom time is money – the speed is a real benefit.
If you need to customize a model, the Wizard cabinet design app provides the ability to modify 70 variables.  This means you can adjust every important aspect of your cabinet. Now, these details provide the flexibility to change key parameters and achieve your own custom designs.

What types of detail are we talking about?

The first release puts nearly 70 variables you control. That may seem a large number.  But in most cases, you just accept the default value.  And once you enter your own parameters you can save them for future use. 

This is a short list of variables you can modify:

  • Cabinet sizes. First and foremost, it allows you to change the size of any cabinet by changing the height, width, and depth.
  • Size of stiles and rails.  You set the width and height of your framing members as well as change them once or change them for every job.
  • Overlay sizes for doors and drawers. Because you set both the overlay sizes and the door or drawer thicknesses, the design fits the way you build cabinets.
  • Toe kick height and depth.  It’s easy to change the toe kick sizes adjust the size and location of all the parts of the cabinet.
  • Thicknesses of sheet goods and dimensions lumber.  Just type in the sizes.
  • Clearance distances for inset doors and drawers.
  • Parts included.   Picking which doors, drawers, or boards are in the design.

Get started:

Open the Wizard by clicking on the Wizard icon at the top of the SketchList 3D main screen.  It is just to the left of the material layout icon.
This window opens.
Wizard showing screen

On the left of the form is a list of cabinets.  Remember idea with SketchList 3D Wizard is that you select a cabinet from this collection to modify.   That cabinet will be displayed in a 3D image to the right of the Wizard screen. You can move that image around to examine your cabinet from any direction.  More models of cabinets and furniture will be available.  In fact we can even create a custom model for your project.
At this point, you might click “move to SketchList 3D”.  

Then you might select another cabinet and move it to SketchList 3D.  When your assembly is moved to SketchList 3D you can use (if you choose) to change more details with the SketchList 3D tools.   For example, you may want to cut a shape into a board or might need to place a hole but not all cabinets will need further modification. Of course, in many cases, you can simply print the reports you need to build that cabinet.

The Wizard cabinet design software has two ways of modifying cabinets.
In the center section of the Wizard cabinet design app screen you see two tabs: size and build.
The size tab allows you to change any of the sizes of materials, parts, or board location and the assembly.  Please understand the way the Wizard differs from SketchList 3D is that in SketchList you create and edit on a board by board basis.  While this gives you great control over detail, it takes time.  With the Wizard your edits are on an overall assembly basis.  The effects of changes cascade to each part of the design affected by that edit.  

For example:

If you need to change all the plywood in this assembly from three-quarters of an inch to 5/8 of an inch:

  • Scroll to the parameter labeled plywood thickness one.
  • Double-click the .75 value.
  • Type in .625.  [NOTE as of today the Wizard supports only decimal values.  In this case, our 5/8 would be entered as .625.]
  • As soon as you click enter, SketchList modifies all plywood value of ¾ to 5/8. And, importantly, adjusts all the sizes of other boards that are affected by this change of thickness.

The build tab allows you to set which boards, drawers, or doors will be included in the assembly when it’s moved to SketchList.

Start with this:


This video is a quick introduction.  The Wizard is very open to new approaches and applications of design.  User experiences will uncover new and different ways to use the power of the Wizard. 
To use the Wizard click the icon.  then select the cabinet you want to use.  Now we picked Base 1 drawer 2 doors – and insert it into the SketchList 3D project.
At this point, you can determine what parts go into the project.  The default is all.   If you remove all parts except a door or drawer – then move that assembly into SketchList 3D – you’ll have created a door or drawer.

And if you click the Size tab, you can change these sizes in that door or drawer.

Door parameters.

  1. Stile Width
  2. Rail Height
  3. Panel Thickness
  4. Panel Tab
  5. Inset Clearance
  6. Setback
  7. Overlay Sides
  8. Door drawer Clearance

Drawer parameters.

  1. Drawer Front
  2. Box Thickness
  3. Side Clearance
  4. Back Board Setback
  5. Bottom Board Tab
  6. Overlay
  7. Bottom Board Set

Build an entire library of new cabinets by creating and modifying the Wizard models

This link shows more information on the cabinet library in SketchList 3D.
The Wizard is an add-on to both SketchList V4 Pro and Shop versions and runs either the PC or Mac.  You simply download and install the Wizard add-on enabled version over your existing V4 installation.  

The Wizard cabinet software is scheduled for the July 6th release. However, pre-release versions are available to SketchList 3D users.  Contact us via email for access.  

This is a new approach to cabinet design software.  It blends the need for speed with an ability to design in detail – you’ll become more productive quickly.   Keep an eye on this web page to read about the new ways you can use the Wizard cabinet design app.

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