04 Jan Inexpensive, User-Friendly Software Gets Upgrade
Among the least expensive and most user-friendly software packages, CabWriter is published by two guys who have left a whole lot of sawdust in their wake. Minnesota native Greg Larson teaches and builds in Massachusetts nowadays, and Joe Zeh used to be the general manager of a graphics company. Both know their way around anything from a hand plane to a CNC. Their product builds upon the easy-to-use and learn SketchUp platform, and it comes in three packages – essentially, small shop, bigger shop and CNC. The new editions of all three, Version 4, add a number of very powerful new features. CabWriter can now optimize plywood and, while supporting an export to Cutlist Plus fx, it can also optimize for manual cutting on a panel saw. Or with the latest version of CabWriter CNC, it can export optimized and nested DXF sheets to CAM software, right from Cabwriter. Combined with advanced layer naming options that provide control over the layer names presented to the CAM software, plus additional reporting and more label printing options, it’s now a powerful, one-stop shop for production needs. Another major new feature is the ability to draw drawer boxes with a choice of five construction methods. It can draw the drawer boxes as they are built, with each of the parts appearing on the cut-list and/or in the DXF files, allowing for CNC cutting of the drawer parts. Version 4 also offers a wider variety of construction methods, plus support for edge-banding slab doors and drawer fronts. There’s added support for an additional 2″ x 4″ label size (Avery 5163) with up to 10 lines of information. Also added is Project Name and banding info as an option on all label sizes, plus the ability to print labels in the order the parts are placed on optimized sheets, making it much quicker to find the right label. The new Stile and Rail Report sorts the face frames and door stile and rails into a rip schedule, showing the total linear feet for each thickness/width combination. There’s a cross-cut schedule too, and the CSV format allows for export to automatic material positioning systems such as Tigerstop™ or Razorgage™ (Pro only). In Version 4, production reports are up to 35% faster, too.