Optimizing Parts Layout – cabinet design software

SketchList 3D Cabinet Design Software – Optimizer


The optimizer in the SketchList 3D cabinet design software package saves your time laying out materials for cutting, but more importantly, saves materials by minimizing scrap.

The optimizer takes each part of the project sorted by material type, name, and thickness then calculates the best combination of layouts on the source material for stock to achieve minimum waste percentage. All you need to do is run the optimizer.

op layout

Successfully running the optimizer requires three things of your design.

  1. When creating a new board you are prompted with three images for setting the face of the board which is to be considered its thickness. The Optimizer needs this to build the relationship between the board and the stock material from which the board will be cut. Sometimes users select the wrong orientation for this board and try to make up for it by sizing it correctly.   For example they select the orientation that appears like a bookshelf. They really wanted to create the board as a side piece. Rather than change the orientation they simply change the dimensions such that the shelf is made to be a “side” which has a thickness of 24 and a width of three quarters. When the shelf is passed to the optimizer there is no material in the stock database that is 24 inches thick so the piece is rejected. Very important to pay attention to the orientation of the board in the design. If it’s necessary to change select the board go to the board definition tab on the right of the SketchList main screen and select the icon that depicts the correct board orientation.new board form orientation boxes
  2. You must select the correct grain orientation for the board. The Optimizer will lay the board out on the stock material according to grain direction. If you set the wrong grain direction you’ll have the wrong result. If you don’t care about the grain direction when you create the board, select any as the grain direction.
  3. You must have the material defined in the stock database. This is where you take the material by name and enter it into the stock database with the dimensions available for purchase. Most of the time, in the US anyway, sheet goods are 48 x 96 by some thickness. Dimensioned lumber may or may not be available in “standard” sizes. So you have then the ability in the stock database to enter the material sizes you can in fact purchase. Then SketchList will make its best attempt to match the boards of the project with the material available in that stock database.

There are two indications of problems in the optimizer.   

One shows red boxes outlining the part names in the set up form. This means that for one of the three reasons above SketchList cannot find a material on which to lay out this particular board. SketchList will not optimize parts outlined in red.
optimzer form
In the sample the material size a pull down list for the material Maple Light is blank. This indicates there is no sufficient material of that type in the stock database. Another possible problem in this example is the thickness seems unrealistic at 2 inches.

Another shows yellow boxes outlining the part names the set up form. This means that SketchList cabinet design software is found appropriately sized material in the stock database however is using a material thicker than the thickness of that particular board. You may want to use a thicker material or you may not. SketchList will still optimize the parts outlined in yellow.

yellow boxes

To run the report, go to the SketchList 3D main menu and click on optimized layouts report.

NOTE: From the optimizer layout window you can run the purchase report. You can also export the project to a DXF file for importing into your CAM software.

purchase list

Purchase list report takes all of the materials of similar size and type and accumulates them showing the quantity you need of each type by size. If you had entered the cost of the material in the stock database SketchList cabinet design software will calculate the total cost for each material.

The export provides a DXF file that can be used to move this design into a CNC environment.


Watch the video:

Also another source about the optimizer can be seen here.  LINK

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