LumberJocks

Cutting order software for custom wood crates

  • Advertise with us

« back to Woodworking Skill Share forum

Forum topic by tippilynn posted 05-30-2020 01:50 PM 336 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View tippilynn's profile

tippilynn

1 post in 38 days


05-30-2020 01:50 PM

Topic tags/keywords: cutting orders custom wood crates software programs

Hi, I have inherited a Custom Wood Crating business that our family has owned for over 50+ years. My Forman still hand writes all the cutting orders for the crates we build. I’m bound and determined to find a program that can simply make these cutting orders via by calculation on a program or something? This may not be the best forum to be in, not sure? We primarily build for he aerospace industry. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.


10 replies so far

View Rich's profile

Rich

5610 posts in 1362 days


#1 posted 05-30-2020 02:22 PM

I have a suggestion. If it’s not broken, don’t fix it.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

View GR8HUNTER's profile

GR8HUNTER

7551 posts in 1485 days


#2 posted 05-30-2020 02:29 PM

im with Rich on this one if your Business is over 50 years old it not broken :<))

-- Tony---- Reinholds,Pa.------ REMEMBER TO ALWAYS HAVE FUN

View squazo's profile

squazo

173 posts in 2417 days


#3 posted 05-30-2020 02:39 PM

cut list plus, try it for free.

View JAAune's profile

JAAune

1880 posts in 3089 days


#4 posted 05-30-2020 07:05 PM

Excel should work. You can make fields for length, width and height and use those to output dimensions for every part on a single, printable sheet.

A more expensive and complicated option is Sketchup pro using dynamic components and the Cutlist plugin or Sketchup’s inbuilt reporting tool.

All businesses are broken in countless ways and need constant improvements. Just be sure to go slow, verify that the improvements are actually helpful and avoid the trap of throwing cash at problems. Changes can always be reverted if they end up being counter-productive.

-- See my work at http://remmertstudios.com and http://altaredesign.com

View John Smith's profile

John Smith

2429 posts in 935 days


#5 posted 05-30-2020 09:57 PM


Hi, I have inherited a Custom Wood Crating business. We primarily build for he aerospace industry.
- tippilynn

I understand your situation:
after I retired from the Navy in ‘87, I got a job with a major military contractor as a custom woodworker.
I was the only woodworker at that time and some of the boxes were made by the dozens using the
same design for nationwide shipping and long term storage in the FBM Trident II D-5 program.
all my notes and drawings were handwritten and kept in a simple binder. easily accessible for quick
reference. this worked well for me for the 7 years I was there.
the government provides the blueprints, drawings and specifications – they do not provide cut sheets.
I know this is the 21st Century, and everyone wants to move into the digital age, but, some procedures
are just as good now as they were “back in the day”. (in my very humble opinion).
I’m with Rich and Tony.

.

-- there is no educational alternative to having a front row seat in the School of Hard Knocks. --

View tomsteve's profile

tomsteve

1037 posts in 1991 days


#6 posted 05-31-2020 01:55 PM

sure seems like finding a program for this is complicating something simply done already

View John Smith's profile

John Smith

2429 posts in 935 days


#7 posted 05-31-2020 03:56 PM

tippilynn – on the related subject:
does your shop make a lot of the same size boxes over and over?
or – are they piece-meal, a couple at a time, and “as required”.
the five boxes in the left of the photo I posted is common.
when a FBM submarine comes in for retrofit – I would make 24 of that
size box at a time. when phasing out a system, a certain size box
could range into the hundreds for all the subs that come into port
for that particular system retrofit.
so keeping accurate notes and drawings was crucial in getting the best cuts
from a sheet of plywood.
I loved making the reusable crates for equipment being shipped from
Georgia to California and back, sometimes for multiple trips.
and many went back and forth from GA to the UK regularly.
what part of the world are you in ??
looking forward to seeing some of your projects in your new line of work.

.

-- there is no educational alternative to having a front row seat in the School of Hard Knocks. --

View sansoo22's profile

sansoo22

896 posts in 427 days


#8 posted 05-31-2020 04:29 PM

Excel is the most likely the cheapest since most business have a license copied or several already. Cut List is like the fancy version of doing it in Excel. You don’t have to come up with your own formulas or forms because the software does it all for you. So that answers the main question.

As a software architect specializing in productivity and efficiency for a large company I can assure you I have seen many times where management has gone down the “solution searching for a problem” rabbit hole. I’ve never been a believer in “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” when it comes to business. It might not be broken but it also might not be optimized.

With that being said I’d like to know what problem you are attempting to solve because I do this sort of thing for a living and I’m curious. And have you considered how you will implement a new solution and manage change? Most sweeping changes like this that go from “old school” to new fancy tech will have a brief period of reduced productivity as employees learn the new system(s). Is this slow down acceptable? Have you considered there might be a need to run a parallel process of old hand writing and new software to ensure software is doing everything you need and instilling trust in your foreman and your crew?

Sorry to get long winded on you but I’ve been replacing spreadsheets and in some cases actual humans with code for the better part of a decade now so these things interest me.

View Madmark2's profile

Madmark2

1371 posts in 1360 days


#9 posted 05-31-2020 04:42 PM

Cut lists are a class of problem that is easy for humans but tough for machines. There is a certain level of intuitiveness to the process that machines & software lack.

Not only do you have to take shapes into account but also grain orientation. Although crates don’t care about grain, many other applications do.

Building something from scratch in Excel will create a fragile, key man problem like you have now with just one person knowing the process.

Excel is great, but not on the shop floor. Excel isn’t going to give you a cutting diagram for a sheet of ply, but it will give you a tab run of the parts. But the tab run doesn’t tell you how to orient the parts for max yield.

You need someone who can look at a cut list and then visualize the optimum layout. You have that. You’ll not easily find or write better software.

If you want the business to last another 50 years perhaps you should try to learn the skill instead of assuming that they’ve been idiots for 50 years.

-- The hump with the stump and the pump!

View sansoo22's profile

sansoo22

896 posts in 427 days


#10 posted 05-31-2020 05:07 PM


Excell is great, but not on the shop floor. Excel isn t going to give you a cutting diagram for a sheet of ply, but it will give you a tab run of the parts. But the tab run doesn t tell you how to orient the parts for max yield.

- Madmark2

Good point. I forgot to mention Excel at best is spitting out a part list and not a cut list diagram.


Building something from scratch in Excel will create a fragile, key man problem like you have now with just one person knowing the process.

- Madmark2

You can build very intricate forms in Excel that just about anybody can use. But you are right with it being fragile. Updates and changes to the form/logic are not easy and require advanced Excel knowledge to do. It’s not a solution I would recommend but I always give customers the cheap and dirty option.

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

HomeRefurbers.com