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Jeff G

Program to layout my cut list?

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Brand new here and my first post! I have my next project in mind and have a cut list. 12 BD FT is what it totals up to assuming 20% waste. Is there a simple program out in cyber world that will help me lay this out so I know ahead of time exacly how I will cut this material. i don't use sketch up although I hope to learn soon. Until then hoping to find something that will allow me to virtually lay out my cuts on a predetermined size board to help me pick the lumber when I go to my hardwood dealer. Thanks in advance!

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First of all, Welcome in, Jeff! Personally, I would only consider using a cut list generator for thise sheet good projects where grain oriention is irrelevant. A "parts list" is handy to check off when shopping for hardwood boards, but there is no way to use a program to optimize the cuts onto a board you haven't even seen. A useful technique (once your lumber is at hand) is to make paper "negatives" of each component. That is, cut the shape of each part out of a sheet of paper, and lay the cutout "window" over the board to determine the best orientation from which to cut.

You may soon notice that unless you are using very plain, unfigured wood, with straight grain and consistent color, matching the grain to achieve clean flow through your workpiece is critical for achieving the most appealing results.
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Some guys get a kick out of planning and spend as much time sketching up models and making cut lists as they do actually building the piece.  That's great if you're into that kind of thing.  I'm not.  I'd rather woodwork.  So for me, especially a piece that only requires 12 board feet...

pencil-med.jpg

95160-700x700.jpg

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I use sketchup a lot, but I don't get intricate with it.  I do the basic dimensions and omit edge detailing and such.

If you install the cutlist plugin, you can generate a cutcut list for solid species, tracking the grain if you wish.  Of course, sheet goods are also an option in the program.  I find it quite helpful.

Both programs are free.

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I wrote an android app to do exactly this. specify the board sizes, layout defects to be avoided, and then manually place components on from a sketchup generated parts list. It was fun to play with once, but more trouble than it was worth so I never used it again.

Since it seemed so useless I never actually got round to releasing it.

Screenshot_4.thumb.png.f8ba88210ba241f73

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Henry, that's pretty cool for an android app! Back in the '80s, I was the support engineer for a system that was used for similar work, laying out cut patterns for printed fabrics in a garment factory. It used a cluster of 16-bit mini computers, a series if workstations with 30" CRT displays (monochrome), and disk drives the size of end tables. The drives had top-loading, 12" diameter, 5-platter removable disk packs, and held a wopping 80 MB ! The key to cutting properly matched parts in the most efficient manner was having the pattern of the cloth properly represented on screen. That stuff was always repeating patterns that could be distilled to a few reference lines. I can't imagine how you can input a true representation of non-repeating wood grain. Really cool! I'd like to play with that some time.

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 I can't imagine how you can input a true representation of non-repeating wood grain. Really cool! I'd like to play with that some time.

The trick is that it's not a true representation - it just draws a generic knot, check, wavy grain, wane, sapwood etc where you specify the defect. Not as cool as you think. I had originally thought to have it take photos of the boards and work on them, but once I realised I'd probably never really use it my enthusiasm dwindled.

Too inefficient to use at the lumberyard while picking out the boards - and once you get home, a piece of chalk does a better job.

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Some guys get a kick out of planning and spend as much time sketching up models and making cut lists as they do actually building the piece.  That's great if you're into that kind of thing.  I'm not.  I'd rather woodwork.  So for me, especially a piece that only requires 12 board feet...

pencil-med.jpg

95160-700x700.jpg

I use that same program. I just upgraded to version 3. Bigger workspace, smaller grid lines, and a self sharpening pencil!

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Some guys get a kick out of planning and spend as much time sketching up models and making cut lists as they do actually building the piece.  That's great if you're into that kind of thing.  I'm not.  I'd rather woodwork.  So for me, especially a piece that only requires 12 board feet...

pencil-med.jpg

95160-700x700.jpg

So that's what you did with the 2 pencils that came with your TS-24...

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For something small, like 12 board feet I would just lay it out on the wood.

For plywood I use Microsoft Excel. If you adjust the size of the cells so that they are square, then you can mark out your pieces with colors and/or borders and use the spreadsheet like a piece of graph paper

in the upper left, there is a box that shows the size of your current selection. In this example, the brown area is 48x96 to represent a sheet of plywood, and the selected blue area is 12"x48". You can see the box in the upper left says 12Rx48C which means 12 rows by 48 columns are currently selected, so to mark out a cut I add an outside border around this selection.

I have used Excel a lot for business so this is quicker for me than using graph paper

cut list.jpg

Edited by Andy Wright
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I use Maxcut. It allows you to add tell it what grain direction you want the part to have. You can enter different material sizes and then when you enter the part you can assign that material to the part. There are multiple option to on how it optimizes. You can tell it to prioritize rip cuts or cross cut or best yield. It takes some time to figure out but one you do It works great. You can also set your saw kerf size. 

 

https://www.maxcutsoftware.com/

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A fine example of an old thread brought back to good use. Thanks to both of you and welcome to the forum.

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