Concept of SketchList 3D Furniture Design Software

Last night I received an email from someone testing SketchList 3D for use as the cabinet design software in his business.  I had several observations.

Motivation.  One of the marketing newsletters I subscribe to had an article about how people won’t buy until they are highly motivated.  Read: face a problem or have a serious concern.  The person testing SketchList 3D in this case was designing a fairly complex, large kitchen for a prospect.  There were two basic needs.  One was showing the prospect a nice 3D image – since that prospect had one from a cabinet manufacturer and was looking for the same from the custom built vendor. Two was to get an idea of the cost of the project.  In his words “Paper sketches and drawings aren’t going to cut it anymore.”  He is motivated.

Learning Curve.  About 30 minutes into our online meeting the basics of SketchList 3D furniture design software had been mastered and we were well along in the design of a somewhat tricky island assembly.  About the only thing not in that island was ‘the kitchen sink’ – slide out trash receptacle, microwave shelf, storage — with double doors — all was on that one cabinet.  I noticed that we were no longer talking about how the software worked – but we discussing the actual making of the cabinet.  We were indeed ‘building’ this assembly on the computer.  We had made a mistake about how the face frame was wrapping a corner and he said “Boy better here than in the shop!”  Yep.

Furniture design software used to make kitchen bases
Showing carcasses of cabinets.


Integration.  At one point this tester said in fact “Hey we are building this thing.  We know every size, distance, and detail.  I am thinking this thing through.”  And maybe he thought it took too long – we were working for about and hour and a half on the design.  (However once one assembly was made, it could be instantly cloned into others – so were were really creating a template for assemblies crafted exactly the way he makes his cabinets.)  The integration parts is this – at the click of the mouse we had his parts /cut list, a purchase list for all materials needed – with all material costs, and set of diagrams showing the optimized layout of all parts on their source material.  “They’ll save hours!”

Quality of Output.  The 3D images were like photographs and the ability to generate and send the prospect a “spinnable ” PDF file for review is an added plus.

So the motivation of winning business set up the action of trying  the cabinet design software.  The cost (beyond the $240) is taking the time to learn to use the software (maybe a day or two ?).

The obvious outcome is the ability to present the proposal using high quality 3D images.  Related to that is the fact that reports needed in the shop were automatic.  The not so obvious outcome (at first at least) is that the design process is better than a dry fit build of the assembly – since in a dry fit if you made a mistake that wood goes onto the scrap pile.  On the computer mistakes are free!

So hopefully this guy will win the job and buy SketchList 3D.  He has some work to do and I’ll probably revisit him to help him do the corner units of the kitchen.  But as happens most times, after spending time online and on the phone with a user, I’ve learned a little more about woodworking, my own product, and people’s motivations.  It’s all good.

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