The latest in CAD/CAM software

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Now it's easier than ever for small to medium-sized shops to incorporate design and manufacturing software into their businesses. Product manufacturers are taking into account that the largest segment of woodworking manufacturing is the smaller shop — ranging from one to nine employees — providing crafted residential kitchens, either direct to consumers through their own showroom or local designer in their region, says Andy Allu, sales manager for 20-20 Technologies, a division of software manufacturer Pattern Systems International.

"We are estimating that this group represents approximately 60 percent of all cabinet manufacturing in North America," said Allu. "This group also represents the fastest-growing segment of CNC machinery purchases and leases because they are seeking ways to use process automation to improve their businesses and increase their volumes."

With the entry of lower cost routers and point-to-points, these machines are more available within the budget of the small to midsized shop, adds Allu. Unfortunately, prior software solutions were limited to either "one-part-at-a-time" programming at the machine or third-party software engineering solutions that cost almost as much as the machine itself. Those third-party solutions also lacked a seamless integration to state-of-the-art-design software, and were frequently too difficult and time-consuming for a smaller shop to implement.

Many of the latest products deal with this issue.

Planit Solutions
This past summer, Planit introduced a new program for closet designers and manufacturers, available in two versions: Solid Design for Closets and Solid Manufacturing for Closets.

"The design version is great for simply laying out closet jobs and produces excellent shop drawings as well as presentation drawings and renderings," said Planit's Don Diamond. "Both products have a photo-rendering option called Photo Vision 32 that creates life-like computer-generated photographs of the designs created by the operator to assist them in the selling process with their customers."

Diamond said the manufacturing version provides the user with all the necessary manufacturing information to build the project in the shop, as well as having the capability to be upgraded to a complete Screen-to-Machine system to seamlessly run any CNC equipment.
In October Planit introduced version 8.1 of its Cabnetware family of products: Cabnetware Designer, Cabnetware Case Planner, Cabnetware Detailer and Cabnetware Cabnetworks.

Earlier in 2007 Planit also delivered the latest upgrade, version 4.1, of its Cabinet Vision family of products: Solid Design, Solid and Solid Manufacturing.