One of the first software products I bought for woodworking was CustList Plus. I would type in parts names and dimensions and it would show me how to lay out things like sheet goods. It worked fine but I wanted more. My idea was that any type of cut list should be a by product of the design process and not an added step. So when I began developing SketchList 3D I made sure to include a cut list function that would show users how to layout parts to reduce scrap. It is not at all easy to do this programming for this. I looked at many solutions and interviewed a number of programmers before I found a solution that could be designed, programmed, and integrated into the overall design process.
Pretty much a success that feature is. Many users report the materials saved with the layout diagrams pay for the cost of SketchList 3D many, many times over. Think about it – what do you pay for a 4 by 8 sheet of cherry plywood?
In SketchList there are three parts of the cut list solution.
The most obvious cut list function is the production of the diagrams that show how to best layout parts on their source materials. They look like this.
The second cut list function – maybe not that obvious -is the set up form. With it you can do things like adjust the kerf width. But you can also specify showing the dimensions and the edge trimming sizes.
The third area of cut list functionality is – indeed – a cut list. In SketchList 3D that is a flexible report that allows you to specify exactly what data and in which order the report contains. Another nice features is that it differentiates the design sizes from the cut sizes. The best thing about that is if a board contains 3/4 inch of dado, the cut list report
(as well as the material layout diagram) builds that ‘extra’ 3/4 inch into the cut size of the part. (Now I know that you have never cut a board short – but this is a nice feature for the others out there.)
The additional advantage of the cut list is that all or parts of it can be send to a spreadsheet file in case you need to manipulate data. Some users generate lists for the company / person who does the wood cutting for them.
In any case – cut list software will save you time an money. The the extent it is integrated into the design process — meaning a change in the design is automatically made in the cut list as well – it saves even more time. And we all know what time is….