CNC routers have been used in the cabinet industry for years. The following article from cadcode.com explains our journey to convert from hand routing to using high precision CNC routers. You can read the full article at http://www.cadcode.com/category/categories/gallery.
“We looked at routers for eight years,” says Lewis Stewart, co-founder of Brannen Millwork. His desk overlooks the manufacturing floor at Brannen Millwork, and probably not coincidentally. It affords him a bird’s-eye view of the company’s two Routech Record CNC routers.
Until he found CADCode, “The software just wasn’t there,” he continues. “They had it for the cabinet industry, but it wouldn’t work for us, where I could take what I already had going in spreadsheets and incorporate that, it just wasn’t going to make sense,” he says. Stewart says the CADCode software was the primary factor in the door manufacturer’s decision to join the CNC revolution. “I went with CADCode because we were already…spreadsheet oriented, and we used our spreadsheets to quote parts lists,” he explains.
Opening a customized spreadsheet in Microsoft Excel, “I can go over here and choose a product. “Say I need to build a panel door. In there I’ve got five panel, equal panel, four- and six-panel. And I put in the height and the width and then I can tell it how many panels wide, tall, and then my stiles, I’ve set them up as variables, top rail, bottom rail, lock rail, profiles,” he continues, entering numbers into the spreadsheet denoting his choices.
Now I’m going to run it in CADCode,” he says, with a couple more clicks. The spreadsheet contains macros that collects the data. “If I have 36 panel doors, all different sizes, it will just keep re-reading it with those variables and collect that all as one package. Then it will send it to CADCode, and it will process it.”
Stewart demonstrates, and within two minutes he has programmed three frame-and-panel doors. A minute later, he has added an arch-top door with a glass insert to the package. Brannen Millwork purchased its first CNC router last April. So sold on the possibilities was Stewart, the company’s production manager, that another was bought just a half-year later. “When I got into this, I didn’t understand that really, what are you doing when you program a router? All you’re looking for is a set of coordinates” he says.
“So, how do most people program a router? They draw [the job] to prove their coordinates, then they use those coordinates out of the drawing, and then they have to put it on the [router] table. Really, all [they] wanted was the coordinates, so why draw it?” he asks rhetorically. “It’s a little bit daunting to begin with because when you have something so incredibly powerful, you’ve got to figure out how to use it. But once you get through that, you are only limited by your own intelligence,” he says.