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Software question

Mike Fuson

Iíve been doing a lot of research on cnc routers and trying to determine if itís an investment that would be good for my two man shop. Iíve been using kcd to design and present to clients and for shop drawings. I called kcd this morning and talked to them about what it would cost to upgrade to cnc capability and it was 13k. So thatís definitely out of the question. The way that I would like to do this is to have a program to design parts and save them to a file, since most parts would be the same from job to job then I could just tell it like 5 left base sides, 4 right base sides. Then have the capability to edit one for something irregular. Then where it lays everything out best on the plywood, is that called nesting or optimizing? Or does the software that runs the router do that? Like I said, I donít know how it works, just started researching about 4 days ago. I build face frame cabinets only and just trying to figure out what everything is going to cost to see if a cnc is within reach of my business, so if you know the program costs that would be great. Iíve been looking at cabinet planner, I donít really need a program that designs kitchens, just something to design parts. I still want to use kcd to design. Thanks

1/9/18       #2: Software question ...
Robb Parker  Member


Look at Moziak. Very cost effective, no up front cost. They do the post for your machine. You can try it before obligating to them.

1/9/18       #3: Software question ...
Mark Member

For less than 300.00 you can use this plugin for SketchUp to do design, generate a part list, and create part geometry required for creating g-code. You can run this plugin using the free version of SketchUp called Make.

You will still need to purchase the piece of software required to optimize patterns and write g-code.

I've run KCD using their CNC version since it first came out in the early 2000s. At this point I'm able to do most of the important stuff using this plugin with SketchUp that can be done in KCD.

Plugin for SketchUp Make

1/10/18       #4: Software question ...

do the math and decide over 5 year spread of the software and the machine can you actually get office help to take a drawing with correct field dimensions and accurately generate a a cut list, cut it, machine it and then get i ready for assembly ?

Software and cnc's don't get sick

1/11/18       #5: Software question ...
yaakov katz

try polyboard +knest
more option then cv in much less price
fit to any cnc

1/12/18       #6: Software question ...
Dropout Member

Can you provide a link for knest?

1/12/18       #7: Software question ...
Dropout Member

I use CabinetSense for design and SheetCAM for G code.

Very inexpensive but works great.

1/12/18       #8: Software question ...
Mike Fuson

Thanks for the good responses. Iím checking these out.

1/14/18       #9: Software question ...

For simple programs like cabinetry, maybe learn how to program in G code, not overly difficult for this type of machining

1/15/18       #10: Software question ...
Wood Dust

It sounds like for what you want to do , the software that comes with a Biesse would work for you . Biesse works is a simple program for programming parts, itís on my machine and I only use it for loading programs . But I have seen other people using it to cut impressive programs .

1/15/18       #11: Software question ...

Website: http:

If you are going to get a cnc then you will have to update or replace your software. Today Mozaik is the best overall choice It will do everything that you need to produce cabinets on your cnc. You will also need a separate program to produce stand alone parts. This is an additional way to pay for the cnc. For a small shop like yours there are many lower cost cnc's availible but you have to be careful and do your homework. Some are very good machines, and then some are not. It is very hard to know if its a economical machine, or just a cheap piece of junk. Also realize that the cnc learning curve is very steep. Not only will you be learning how to run the machine, but also how to make the software cut the parts that you want. Some manufacturers have tried to ease that curve by integrating their software into their machines, but the problem with that is you just learn "their" way to do things. I would suggest that you learn about G codes as well. This all is going to take some time that you will not be paid for. It will pay off in the future. Once you are set up and running proper it will really save you a lot of time and more so headaches. This is what every small shop needs to evaluate with considering the CNC jump.

1/16/18       #12: Software question ...
Monica Shaw Member


RouterCAD is a much more robust program and also offers a monthly rental program or rental to purchase. 214.828.9595

1/20/18       #13: Software question ...
david wishengrad


Having read all the comments on this thread and as having made software to work with 18 different CAM softwares, I think Ian's comment is where you should focus 95% of your research time.

"For simple programs like cabinetry, maybe learn how to program in G code, not overly difficult for this type of machining."

1/20/18       #14: Software question ...
Mike Fuson

Thanks for all the responses. I talked to a guy the other day that uses kcd to design just like I do. He said he uses Vcarve to cut cabinet parts, I didnít know it would do that. That comes with the machine that Iím looking at getting. There are a few others that Iím looking at as well that will cut simple parts. As far a learning to write g code, I canít comment on that since I know very little about all this cnc world stuff. It might be the best way.

1/20/18       #15: Software question ...
Dropout Member

Re G Code

While a working knowledge isn't a bad idea, it's not a requirement.

I learned to write G Code line by line long before there were fancy programs with post processors existed, and I can tell you that in the last year I've only had to edit the G Code in 1 program and that's only because I wanted to slow the feed down on the last 2 parts on the sheet. I could just as easily cut the sheet slowly, but I was in a hurry.

That being said, if you're going to modify post processors on your own you need to know G Code really really well.

1/20/18       #16: Software question ...
david wishengrad

I wasn't suggesting he have anything to do with a "post" processor. I was saying he should learn what he can do writing his own code. He should not even consider a machine that requires a "post" file is turned into functioning g-code. That's way too proprietary and out dated. His own education is by far the cheapest route in his own best interests. One bad software or machine purchase could break his company.

1/20/18       #17: Software question ...

Regarding G-code..

I have written programs for and run a variety of CNC's. I have programmed machines directly using G-code (Although point-to-point rather than nested based) and with CAD/CAM software. Personally I cannot imagine going back to using raw G-code.

Although cabinet parts are relatively simple in terms of programming G-code, using software will almost certainly get you from design to finished parts much quicker. Even if you only use something like V-carve and create a bunch of standard parts that you can pull from to nest for each job. To do this with G-code would be time consuming, single un nested parts are one thing but nesting a bunch of parts would be a pain. Unless you plan to just cut sheets of stock parts.

Yes software can be proprietary and expensive. But you probably wouldn't choose to walk to your shop because a car is expensive & proprietary. That's not to say you should ignore your budget but having your CNC as an expensive work bench (I have seen this more than one!) because you cannot get your head around the programming is also costly.

I think you need to consider your own skill set. If you have the aptitude, time and energy then you may save money using g-code. In the same way some one mechanically minded can save money getting a good deal on a used CNC thanks they can service themselves. If that's not you then

On another note I believe that KCD also offers monthly rental options. Maybe you could check it out that way for a month or 2. Sticking with KCD would save you from having to learn another design software, Moziak, RouterCAD, Cabinet Sense etc. Instead you could focus on learning your CNC and V carve for more custom parts. The nice thing about using a package like KCD is that once your design is complete it should only be a few more mouse clicks to take it to the CNC.

Good luck! Keep asking questions and make sure you weigh up all the options and find what's right for you and your shop.


1/21/18       #18: Software question ...
Mike Fuson

Appreciate all the help.
Richard, I think you hit the nail on the head with what I want to do, or have in mind to do. The machine Iím looking at comes with Vcarve Pro. I would like to make a library of parts to pull from and modify sizes if need be.
As far as kcd goes, I realize that itís the way to go and would be just a few clicks. The reason Iím looking to do something different is I donít want to pay for this machine and the 13k software at the same time. I might go that route with kcd but not at the beginning, David has a good point about breaking the company. Even kcd, as good as it is wonít do some things that I want it to do so I think there would be issues still even with it.
I think Vcarve will be what I go with for the time being until I see how things go. Iím sure as I live and learn with it there will be things Iíll want to do differently. As I do this research Iím finding more and more possibilities that I can do on this machine that will save me a lot of time.
Thanks again

1/21/18       #19: Software question ...
david wishengrad

Well, I think anyone that can use a level a square and a saw can write some very simple and basic g-code, which apparently is all he needs and would serve him well if he goes shopping. Need 2 parts, copy and paste text. All I see is a shark tank. Giving over control of your understanding these days doesn't seem to be par for people who know computer systems themselves. Nor do they tend to believe what people write on the Internet.

1/21/18       #20: Software question ...
david wishengrad

You don't always have to do the g-code. I get that. Sometimes by skipping the hard parts you can discover water ice on Mars. Yes, it was my code that allowed them to cut the Phoenix Lander right away. Maybe I missed something, but the situation's seems very different these days in many ways. There are many softwares that are attempting to do the things I invented and some quite well. Progress seems to be obstructed by greed and lack of vision and leans to software business models that are designed to take control away from people. I have no more time for this. Good luck Mike.

View larger image

1/22/18       #21: Software question ...
Douglas Conti

You are going in the right direction. if you are going to build cabinets then you will need a cabinet software program. Yes the big boys are expensive. When purchasing a cnc there are a lot of costs beside the machine. Your startup tooling cost will be high make sure to include cones and collets along with bits. You also have to check your air compressor, you must have enough CLEAN DRY air. There is no sense in paying all that money for the machine and running it on dirty air! If you don't have a air dryer or one large enough to handle all your air needs then that needs to be considered, also the cost of electrical hook up, those big vacuum pumps take a large circuit along with the machine, make sure you can add another 100 amps to your main box or you will have to add a sub panel. You will also be down for a week with installation and training, you will lose 25% of your income that month. Oh yea lets not forget dust collection as well. You can see that base price for that cnc is just a starting point, and when you add in all the costs it really adds up quick! I would suggest also that especially with new software that you invest in a new computer system as well. I would also keep that system separate from your general business computer and keep it off the internet. My first cnc I had it all on one computer and sure enough I got a virus and the two things that hurt the most was the cnc software files that took a long to tweak just right and my accounting files. It is amazing just how well and for how long a computer will work with out all the junk that comes along the internet.

1/22/18       #23: Software question ...
yaakov katz

why you think"big boy expensive"??
i can compare polyboard+knest to cv ,polyboard+knest much batter in most points
price about 5k
includ all(optimise ,labeling..pp drill head..rough mdf doors,3d working for bevel egde....and many many other options

1/22/18       #24: Software question ...

Mike,, before you select software, verify the post is 100% to your machine,,,,,all the programs specified in other comments are awesome,,but make sure their software has 100% post,

1/23/18       #25: Software question ...
yaakov katz

chevy is very right
so many machines type each can be small different but big problems
in our software(knest) its mine pp so i can modify to any machines type and even
special requirement ,like 2 or more different controllers,machines....

1/23/18       #26: Software question ...
Douglas Conti

Big boy expensive? Just look at the cost. My first cnc software bundle, Cabnetware cnc poin to point and cnc beam saw was $18,000 plus yearly support. Is that not expensive especially when it was back in 2000. Cabinet vision, microvillian were all in the same ball park. Was it worth it? Yes it was but for a two man shop that is a large investment. Check out Mozaik for $125 a month can fit in a small shop budget try it for three months and if you don't like it you are out $375 no big deal. I had no problem with a post processor. I set the software up before the machine got here, the installer installed the post, they scheduled a time during the installation for the cnc installer, myself and a software rep to have a conference call and work out any issues. I was up and running the third day of installation/ training and have never looked back. I purchased v carve pro for my individual parts and the installer put in the post processor for that as well and both have run flawlessly. This was a lot easier than my first cnc set up but then things have changed in 17 years and I also have a little more experience in my corner now.

1/23/18       #27: Software question ...


Just looked at poly board pp,,,,very nice stuff,,,,,kicks out code directly to Biesse (cix)and homag (mpr),,,,

1/26/18       #28: Software question ...
Earl Morgan Member


Try Autodesk Fusion 360. It has a generous trial time. It's almost free. You can model any case you want. Might take time to create your own library. Lot's of easy tutorials on Youtube. Then it also posts to G-code for **any** CNC Machine. I have even started creating G-code for my customers.

Furniture to CNC tutorial

1/26/18       #29: Software question ...

we were in the exact same boat as you about 5 years ago. Our machine came with Vcarve, and we still use Vcarve with KCD.

KCD has a much less expensive module than the screen to machine you quoted above. Call them back, thell them you already have CAM software, and you just want KCD to export the dxf files.

Take the dxf files from KCD, import into vcarve, and nest. Its an extra step that takes about 5 minutes, but saves you thousands on KCD.

1/26/18       #30: Software question ...
Mike Fuson

Thanks Earl, I had been checking them out. Looks like a good program.

JM, thanks for the info, I may talk with them again on that. I thought that sounded expensive even for kcd. Iíve decided to use Vcarve for at least the time being (when that time comes) since it comes with the machine. It will give me time to learn what Iím doing. Thereís a really good video of Vcarve doing just what Iím wanting to do. Thanks.

1/26/18       #31: Software question ...

Basically the way it works, Select the cabinets you want to export in KCD, it will then spit out all the dxf files for the various parts.

In vCarve, do a dxf batch import with those files from KCD. This will bring all the parts in. Make any changes to any parts you may need to do, if any, then nest the parts. This will sort all the parts on sheets. You can then move them around from sheet to sheet if you want to.

Then use a command called something like apply toolpath template to all sheets and this will spit out all the gcode sheet by sheet to run on the machine. This whole process literally takes 5 minutes.

The time consuming part is setting up KCD to spit out the parts as you want them machined. SInce you are already using KCD, it should be pretty straight forward. The next time consuming part is setting up your toolpath template. This basically sets a template so holes get drilled where holes are etc. These two things are a bit tedious, but you only need to do it once, then you are good for all future jobs.

I think the dxf exporter module in KCD was something like $4k, but its been a while and I dont really remember for certain.

1/27/18       #32: Software question ...
yaakov katz

JM what about optimize drill head?
what about labeling?
what about optimize the cutting order to avoid small parts move(cut from out to in ,while start point always at the inner point ,to keep part always connect to main board)
why need part by part?
its good place for mistake

1/27/18       #33: Software question ...

JM what about optimize drill head?

While I doubt the machine he is looking at comes with a drill head, this would be optimized in Vcarve and saved in your toolpath template

what about labeling?

KCD has a "Pen Layer" that if used with a v-bit, can scribe part number and edgeband info. This is what we use.

what about optimize the cutting order to avoid small parts move(cut from out to in ,while start point always at the inner point ,to keep part always connect to main board)

Cutting strategies can be configured in Vcarve.

why need part by part?

You dont need part by part, but you have the option to modify part by part if you have a special feature you need to add that is not available in KCD. Cutting holes for wire chases is a good example of a feature you may want to add that cant be done in KCD.

1/29/18       #34: Software question ...
Douglas Conti

V carve does not support a drill bank, it only will drill individual holes( placed in one of the router cones, although it will do "peck drilling with it). It will import dxf files and import dxf batch files as well. How it does at optimizing I can not tell you I have not used that feature enough to an opinion. Some programs optimize well some not so good, but either way you will know how much material you will need which is better then you figuring it out and having someone at the saw cutting it diiferently and being sheets short.

Mike for your use I think you will going in the right direction, using the vcarve will get you use to the machine and get you use to cutting parts, there is a lot more to it than just placing a sheet of material on the bed and pushing a button, getting parts to stay down, what size parts (and where they are located) need tabs or onion skin and so forth is a continueing process. Throwing in a lot of different software with different options could be get very confusing. It will take you a while just to make one work flawlessly, and either you will make it work or unfortunately you will be looking for another way to make a living. There are a lot more broke cabinetmakers out there then there are ones that did it for a lifetime and can retire comfortably.
(there are also a few that have wives with good jobs, health insurance, and love their husband no matter what and are glad that at least he goes to work)

11/1/18       #35: Software question ...
Bob Lewis

I've had a CNC router for about 8 years now along with Cabinet Vision software.
Another option would be to outsource to a shop with a CNC. We have several other shops and contractors that we machine and edgeband for. Everything from cabinet components, to boxes, to complete kitchens.
These other shops know to the penny what there boxes and drawers will cost when they are quoting work. I'm in southern Ontario, Canada, so not likely in your area but there must be a shop in the area that could cut for you.
You have no cash outlay and really only are limited to the number of jobs you can install in a week. The one shop I cut for, now that we have worked together for a couple of years, isn't afraid to take on almost anything.
just a though!


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