Optimized material layout saves money

Materials, stock, and optimized material layout.

Optimizer Report


SketchList 3D integrates the process of generating optimized material layout diagram with that of generating your design. One benefit of the optimized material diagrams, both for sheet good and dimension lumber, is that waste is reduced to a minimum. This saves money and material cost. The second benefit of the material optimized diagram is the time you save not having to do this by hand.

Function of the align tool.

When you create a board in SketchList 3D you specify the type of material (sheet, dimension lumber), its species (what it looks like), the grain direction for that part, and the side of the board which is the thickness. After that you enter the size of the board in three dimensions.

It seems like a lot but it’s really done in a few mouse clicks. In addition, the next board you enter by default will have the same characteristics as the last board you specified. This means you just click on the board want to place in the design and the other things are taken care of. Of course there is an opportunity that the default is for example sheet goods and you want to enter dimension lumber for that part. So you need to think a little bit about the characteristics of the board you are inserting into your design.

Problems occur in the optimization process due to a few mistakes.

You picked the wrong board orientation.   SketchList 3D assigns a thickness to a part based on its orientation.

These three board orientation icons appear at the top of your SketchList 3D screen near the middle. To insert a board into the design just click one of the icons or click and drag it into the container where you want the board to appear.

From left to right:

  1. This flat board is used for back of the bookcase, a panel in the door, or for rails and styles and frame. The key is that the grain surfaces face front and back and the thickness is the depth.
  2. This vertical board used for side or divider. It’s surfaces face left and right and the thickness is the width.
  3. This horizontal board is used for shelves and tops of tables and cabinetry. It’s surfaces face top and bottom and the thickness is the height.If the optimizer reports highlights a part in a red box and the thickness is for example 48 inches and the width is three quarters of an inch most probably you selected an incorrect board orientation.

You set the grain direction improperly or specified that grain direction didn’t matter to the layout.

The material you’re using for your design does not exist in the stocking database. You must add it. The video will show you how to do that. In the example below you see in the cell of the material size column for beach in the blank. That means that material had not been stocked. If you click the add material size button in the window that opened will be taken to the stock form and able to enter this beech sheet good material.
It is an extremely wise idea to optimize early and often. It’s better to find a problem the first time you might encounter it then to find it after you’ve entered 200 or 300 boards incorrectly. The feedback is instant.

Explanation of user interface.

There are two ways to start the optimized layout diagram tool. You can click the square icon in the icon toolbar just under the menu word materials. Alternatively, you can click on the tools main menu item and then click the cutting layout option.

You can select to display and print material I material type. Schedules will calculate Senate use and waste and cost per unit is entered in the stocking database. You can set the curve or blade cut as needed. You can also allow for a trim cut along the sides of the material.

Optimized Material Layout is a function that will save you money by reducing scrap and time by automating the layout process.


SketchList 3D optimized layout diagrams use a logic of taking the biggest board available in the stock ‘sand laying out parts of that particular material the scrap on that stock is not big enough to fit any part of that material. Then sketch list will take another – for example sheet of plywood – stock material and go through the process again.

One inadvertent problem this causes is sometimes sketch list does not use the board that you might want it to use. Perfect example of this is you are building a shed using two by fours and two by sixes. You want the two by fours to be optimized on the two by fours and you want the two by sixes to be optimized on the two by sixes. That makes sense. Because of the optimizing process though sketch list will try to use all of the two by sixes first. So it is very possible that you may be cutting two by fours from 2 x 6 stock. The way to get around this is to create two different materials naming one “2 x 6 pine” and the other “2 x 4 pine”. Then select the material you want for the right application in your design.

Please try using the optimizer tools. If you have an idea or question, please enter a comment on this post.

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