Sat 7 Jul, 2012
Tags: Announcement, Design, Graphics, Ruby, Script, SketchUp, Software, Tool
At the suggestion of Greg Larson, owner and operator of the New England School of Architectural Woodworking, and with his help, I have developed a cut list export tool for SketchUp. Why another cut list tool? Don’t we have enough already? Well, this has some unique features that are tailored to architectural cabinetmaking design and build, though these features can be used for all types of woodworking models.
This release is Revision 1.0. It comes with a CutList Bridge User’s Guide that will explain all features and functionality. The User’s Guide gives three examples of types of woodworking that benefit from its features. You can download CutList Bridge with this link. Please report all strange behavior or bugs to firstname.lastname@example.org and don’t hesitate to write if you need help.
There are three models which you can download that already have attributes assigned. You can use these models to produce a cut list and experiment with changes to the attributes. The Shaker Tall Clock demonstrates most of the basic features of CutList Bridge. Base Cabinet, thanks to Matt Richardson and Greg Larson of NESAW, demonstrates most of the special Cabinet Mode features. SketchUp Home demonstrates a very large cut list whose Sub-Assembly names are automatically generated with the Sub-Assembly by Layer feature. Click the links below to download each model.
Major Features of CutList Bridge
1. Seamlessly bridges SketchUp and CutList Plus fx or Microsoft Excel
CutList Plus fx is a highly functional cut list creator, costing tool, proposal generator and inventory manager for woodworking shops. Google SketchUp is a powerful 3D drawing tool ideally suited for furniture and architectural cabinet design and photorealistic rendering. These two tools do not naturally work together. CutList Bridge solves that problem by seamlessly bridging these two applications. If you do not use CutList Plus fx, no problem. You can export your cut list to Microsoft Excel.
2. All cut list attributes are entered in SketchUp and remain with the model file
CutList Plus fx requires the user to manually re-enter dimensions and other component attributes such as material type, material name, notes and banding. Attributes that can be generated automatically from the design’s 3D model and which ideally belong with the design file. CutList Bridge allows the user to enter and store all attributes with the model file and provides features for editing and exporting. Attributes which can be automatically generated from the 3D model, such as component dimensions and grain direction corrections are also handled in CutList Bridge.
3. Sub-Assembly names can be assigned in SketchUp explicitly or automatically by Layer name
In CutList Plus fx a Sub-Assembly name is typically used to group a collection of components. For example: in a model of a chest-of-drawers you may want two Sub-Assembly names; one called Carcass for all the components that make up the basic support structure, and one called Drawers for all components that make up the drawers. A grandfather clock may have Sub-Assembly names of Hood, Waist and Base. A trundle bed might be divided into Headboard, Footboard, Sides and Trundle. A kitchen cabinet may have sub-assemblies of Cabinet, Face Frame, Drawers and Doors. CutList Bridge allows the user to assign Sub-Assembly names in SketchUp prior to exporting to CutList Plus fx.
Sub-Assembly names can also be assigned by layer using the layer’s name. For example, as stick frame house designed in SketchUp may be organized with layer names such as Footing, Foundation, 1st Floor Joists, 1st Floor Framing, 2nd Floor Framing etc. These layer names can automatically be used as the Sub-Assembly names in CutList Bridge fx.
4. Assign oversize/undersize dimensions in SketchUp via the Cabinet Mode Resize feature
<Info> is a CutList Plus fx field that is intended as a short note. However, it has two significant differences from the Notes field provided by CutList Plus fx. First, <Info> shows up in the CutList Plus fx spreadsheet whereas Notes only appear on the Parts printout. Second, if a CutList Plus fx spreadsheet is locked to prevent accidental change, <Info> can still be changed allowing for cutting status to be input. See the CutList Plus fx User’s Guide for more information.
CutList Bridge extends the use of <Info> when used in a special mode called Cabinet Mode. In Cabinet Mode parts can be oversized or undersized in length and width using the Resize feature, and these dimensions will appear in the CutList Plus fx <Info Field>. The user has the choice of displaying the increment of over/under size or the over/under sized finished dimension for each of width or length.
5. Assign Notes in SketchUp while designing the model
Notes can be assigned in SketchUp for each component. These will be exported to the Notes field in CutList Plus fx.
6. Both Milled Parts and Other Items are supported
CutList Plus fx supports two classes of components: Milled Parts, which are typically Rough Lumber, Dimensioned Lumber or Sheet Goods that are milled into a component in the shop. CutList Bridge also supports Other Items such as drawer pulls, consumables such as screws, biscuits, dominos or any other non-milled components which are typically purchased.
7. All Milled Part attributes can be assigned in SketchUp
Milled Parts, as mentioned, are components milled from Rough Lumber, Dimensioned Lumber or Sheet Goods. Each Milled Part component can be assigned the following:
a. Material Type – Rough Lumber, Dimensioned Lumber or Sheet Goods
b. Material Name – e.g. Tiger Maple
c. Banding – A code to indicate which sides are banded and which banding material to use.
d. Swap L/W – The user can specify in SketchUp any component whose length and width should be swapped. CutList Plus fx assumes the length field specifies the grain direction. However, there are times when the short dimension of a board should be the grain direction. Check Swap L/W to accomplish this.
e. Can Rotate? – Many material types have no grain. To assist CutList Plus fx in optimizing material use you can specify in SketchUp which Components can be rotated by CutList Plus fx.
8. Cabinet Mode provides Auto-Swap of L & W and Over/Under sizing of cut list parts
Cabinet Mode is a sub-mode of Milled Parts. It is selected in CutList Bridge by checking its checkbox. When selected <Info> is no longer available in the usual way. However, when selected another very useful and key option becomes available in addition to three more fields.
a. Enable Auto-Swap – This is a feature that automatically determines which components should have their lengths and widths swapped, independent of dimensions, based on a Component’s Type. In cabinet design there is a basic box with components that can be labeled Back, Bottom, Shelf, Side or Top. Based on these attributes L & W will be automatically swapped when needed such that grain runs up a side, across a top, down a side and across the bottom to the starting point. Back grain will always be in the vertical direction. Shelves will have a grain direction that is horizontal (side to side) while its cross grain direction is perpendicular to the Back’s plane.
b. Component Type – As mentioned is assigned with a drop down list and can be either Back, Bottom, Shelf, Side or Top.
c. Resize Width By – The user can specify a dimension to resize the width by (the increment, or decrement when preceded with a minus sign). The Width column in CutList Plus will contain this resized dimension.
d. Resize Length By – The user can specify a dimension to resize the length by (the increment, or decrement when preceded with a minus sign). The Length column in CutList Plus will contain this resized dimension.
The user is able to choose display options for the <Info> and Description fields that will modify what information appear in these fields in CutList Plus fx. More on this later.
9. Other Items can be specified while modeling in SketchUp
Components that are not milled in the shop, but are purchased, may be specified in the Other Items’ Item field. If the name specified in the Other Items’ Item field exists in the Raw Materials library of CutList Plus fx this component and its quantity will be appropriately categorized and added to the BOM in CutList Plus fx. If the name specified does not exist in CutList Plus fx it will still be imported but added to the [Not Categorized] Other Items category.
10. Exporting is a Selection and One Menu Command
Exporting a .csv file from SketchUp is as simple as selecting a complete model and choosing menu command File/Export to CutList Plus fx. That’s it. A .csv file is generated with the same name as your .skp model file name and placed in the same folder.