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iOptiCut app review

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for a while I've been searching for a plywood optimizer for my mac computer. all i came up with was programs for PC. I could have purchased windows, then used bootcamp to run windows on my mac. that was going to cost money and take time. i continued to say to myself, "there has got to be SOMETHING out there...." after google searching i found iOptiCut.


i give this app 4 out of 5 stars. 5 being the best 0 being the worst. 

the app costs $8.99

it works on ios 5.0 or later. Doral Design (developer) says it works in english and german. 


i downloaded it while using ios7.



the first thing you do is create a new item, by touching the plus sign button. you then select which units you will be using for this project. each project can have separate units. 


after you select the units, you can enter in the size of materials you will be working in, for my example i used 4x4 sheets. i wanted to calculate how many picture frame backers i can get out of one sheet. the 4x4 hard board sheets are easier to move around by myself for this application. also, enter your machine kerf thickness. (my blade is 3/32 thickness but it cuts 1/8" because my saw is old and i need to replace some parts so keep that in mind for your kerf entry) the "use the same size board" button allows you to use the previous settings from your last item. this allows for quick repeatability. 


embarrisingly, it took me over one hour to figure out how to add parts by touching the blue button. if you press the title of the item, it will take you into the measurements of the board size. i even emailed the app developer for instructions. i can post those if anyone would like. 



now add your parts! this was the fun part for me. you can name your parts separately from their measurements. the rotate feature is a bit of a mystery to me still after a week of testing. technically it supposedly allows your parts to be rotated while optimizing but i found that this program wants to keep the orientation you enter for each part. for my hard board example, i did not care about grain direction so i needed maximum efficiency. entering 14wide by 11 long gave me a better optimization than entering 11 wide by 14 long. (but if rotate is "on" then what's the difference?.. still working on an answer for that one)

after you add your parts, touch the draw button on the bottom. your "items" or projects will come up. once you select the project you want to draw from, seven cutting "methods" come up. this took a bit of trial and error to see what method did what. i could see where i may want to try different cutting methods if i had certain grain pieces i wanted to match with other parts but retain some efficiency. the most practical cutting method for my example ended up being method E. 

this is where i really started to doubt my purchase. i could clearly see a huge hole where a fourth 11x14 could be cut from... i emailed the company a second time. 


the support guy wrote me back a few days later explaining that the program was not a scrap optimizer and that i should try changing the length and width. i did not take any offense and he was very polite. but what about that rotate feature? maybe i will find it to work later on down the road with a much more complex project. This was where i took the 5th star out of the review. 


with that said, i simply changed the orientation and saved a whole sheet. 

in the end, this program paid for itself the first time i used it. I had a lot going through my mind and i needed to figure out how many pieces to buy at the store ASAP. 
the email feature is awesome! once you draw up a cut sheet that meets your approval, you can touch the envelope button up top and send the whole cut list along with an image of each sheet with the measurements on each piece to a friend, employee or yourself. in my case i send it to my evernote account and file it in the clients' project notebook. that way, if my phone gets crushed or stolen, i have a copy of my cut list handy online filed away nicely. 
i have not used any other plywood optimization software. therefore, i can not compare iopticut to those. i can tell you this is a pretty useful and robust app. i have made about 25 projects on it so far and it has not crashed or produced inaccurate results. this is the kind of tool that has a bit of a learning curve to it. 
happy cutting! 
-spencer with IBD


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Does the app allow:

Saw blade thickness changes

Edgebanding on select sides

Edgeband thickness changes

Grain orientation

Edge offsets

Ignore grain orientation

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thanks don! I will check that out tonight. I will do some comparisons

When you get a chance would you check your app and see if it does the things I posted above? It looks like it would be handy on the ipad.

Thank you

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hey don, i did not see this until just now. i have answered the best i can

Does the app allow:

Saw blade thickness changes - yes. each project can have a different blade thickness in increments of 1/64" or metric
Edgebanding on select sides- no. this program does not have any edgebanding options. you have to enter in each part that is a different size. you can however, name your parts and have multiple quantities of the same part. - pretty basic. 
Edgeband thickness changes -no. you would have to change each part separately. 
Grain orientation- yes in a way. if you tell it that you have a 3' wide by 6' high board, grain running on 6', it references the parts width and height you enter. you would put your long grain dimensions in the "height" window and your end grain dimensions in the "width" window. secondly, you can turn the rotation feature off which will guarantee your parts will stay in the orientation you enter them in. 

Edge offsets- nope. it only calculates what you have entered. I'm thinking you'd probably have to incorporate the offset into the overall size of your part. 
Ignore grain orientation- yes in a way. you can turn rotation feature "on" which allows the program to rotate your piece 90 degrees if it fits better somewhere, however in my example above, i had to change the width to the height and height to width in order to get the program to maximize the sheet. 

here is the email i got from the tech support guy explaining a little more about the way the app works...



Hi Spencer,
Regarding the iOptiCut app, we have tested the specs that you sent. 
Even though rotation for the pieces is turned on, the app gives priority to the original inserted width/height combination. The app's main goal is to calculate a cutting scheme with the most optimal machine cuts (less cutting paths and as straight as possible), and to increase machining efficiency, not so much scrap optimization.
Most simple solution is to try to switch dimensions for the width/height combination for the part, and choose the most optimal solution for your needs.
if you have any more questions do not hesitate to write to us.
iOptiCut Support Team
don, if you'd like to see the seven ways that it produces drawings, i'd be happy to run a simulation cut list for you and just email right out of the program to you. PM me your list and email and we'll see what happens. the same goes with any one else interested.
all i need is blade thickness, sheet size you're working with, specify which way the grain runs, your parts, and which way you want the grain to run on those + quantities. 

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