Door software – how to add doors to your assemblies

Door software:  Are doors an asset or a  liability to your custom cabinetry business?

Ed  is a custom cabinet maker who attended a SketchList 3D training class with a need to know about door software functionality.

In the class we covered the making of cabinets, laying things out, applying face frames, and yes, adding doors of various sizes to the design.  He interrupted saying that drawing the doors drives him crazy.  He submitted an example to make his point adding “This is a simple wall unit.  There’s only four doors there – but on my kitchen jobs – boy there are a lot of doors and they do take my time to draw.”

I never thought about it but drawing doors as 2D line drawings requires either superimposing 2 or 3 rectangle for each drawers, or worse still drawing up to 12 individual lines.  It takes time.

Ed was cranked about the doors I tell you.  “And if I make a mistake or the client changes something – I’ve been in places where I needed to adjust everything. “

He sent in a job he was bidding as an example.  Four doors and four drawers.  He added that the client went back and forth about changing the four drawers to doors.

This is the situation Ed  said he’s in.

  • Moving a door takes time to delete and re-draw.
  • Resizing the door means both redoing it and re-costing it.
  • The door offers no detail or visual information that helps sell the job. A nice five-panel look disappears.

He  worked online with our group to design his wall unit in SketchList 3D.  That exercise got me thinking I needed to do a door video / post for our SketchList 3D community.

line drawing of doors


Doing that video made me think – and want to ask you – about doors.

  1. Is designing doors a drain on your design and proposal time?  One response in a survey we did a few years ago commented – roughly – that proposal generation is a very necessary waste of time.
  2. Do doors provide an opportunity to improve the look of your proposal, or do they distract? If you are asking your clients to imagine what a door will look like and not showing them what you will build for them – you’ve distracted him or her from your sales pitch and overall presentation.
  3. What and how do changes from the client affect you? Do you redraw?  Estimate the cost again?  Or wing it?
  4. Might you lose a bid because the of the quality of the rendering of doors detracted from your job?

In our online class we finished Ed’s  project design (98% of it anyway) and it looks like this.  He was happy with it and so was his client.

door model


Hidden behind the images provided by the door software are these facts.

  1. We only designed one door.   We copied that and located into other places where it was needed.
  2. That five-part door was saved as a library standard and now can be inserted into any future project Ed might design in SketchList 3D.
  3. Grabbing the edge of a door and dragging it resizes the door. One door can be made to any size as needed.
  4. The material costs of the door change as the door size changes.
  5. The cut list and layout diagrams for the door also change dynamically with changes to door size.

By the way if you purchase your doors, if you can get an image from your vendor you can copy that image onto the door front in your design.  There are even ways to add the cost of the door into the material / stock portion of SketchList 3D.  Because of interest in this idea, I designed another video on costing tricks in SketchList 3D – like adding labor costs.  More on this next week.

I created  a video focusing on door software as a feature within SketchList 3D.  Because it contains some quick tips and tricks to make adding, sizing, and locating doors really easy you may find it useful.   The video shows how to create a virtual door with the door software parts of SketchList 3D.

Parts of the video.

  1. What is a door?
    Basically, a door is a sub-assembly that exists inside of another assembly.


  1. What are the advantages?
    Maybe not so much n a flat door, but in a five-part door all the boards in the door can be treated as one unit.  Sizing, moving, cloning, and/or saving into the library can be done in one step.   Doors can be hidden in one click.  This is a way to reveal the interior of the cabinet behind the door.



  1. Inserting a door – just drag the door icon onto the assembly.icon showing doors
  2. Sizing the door.
    Use one of 3 tools: Red dots dragged with the mouse; Form – enter values; Spreadsheet – enter the values.


  1. Locating the door.
    Use one of 3 tools: Blue dots dragged with the mouse; Form – enter values; Spreadsheet – enter the values.


  1. “Building” a five-part door.


  1. Inserting a second door. Using the clone and mirror


  1. Saving a door as a standard for use in other projects.


In this video there are small tips and tricks that will speed your use of the door software to create looking doors in your next design.

Another blog post presents much of this same information, but in a lesson format.

This type of door software approach will really help you.  Most of all you already own it – it’s part of SketchList 3D

Just listen to what one user said.

“I used your software for a wall unit for one of my clients.  Up to now we’ve done everything with pen and paper.  The 3D renderings absolutely blew them away.

In addition, your software guided me in a detailed technical discussion with the clients about their requirements. Since that type of discussion sometimes uncovers requirements that affected the contract price — better to find out sooner than later.”

Don’t keep paying the price of hand drawn designs and proposals.  Doors are only one part of the problem.  Drawers, shelving, complex moldings – they are all time killers when rendered by hand.  Move up to computer generated models of your jobs.  You can do it and we will help.

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