- Design tasks and complexity assessment
- 3D modeling software
- Features of manual detailing
- Visualization differences
- Cutting programs
Anyone who at least once has developed and created cabinet furniture on his own will no longer visit furniture showrooms. In this simple business, it all starts with a project describing the product in the smallest detail. Today we will talk about the most common programs for designing cabinet furniture..
Design tasks and complexity assessment
The design of cabinet furniture is a rather scrupulous task that requires keeping in the field of attention both the global concept and many small details. Unlike drawing on paper, CAD tools give control over all created objects, even those that are hidden from view by other details..
The main design problem, which consists in the spatial arrangement of cabinet furniture parts and the arrangement of their larger groups, is solved by almost any furniture program. The function of three-dimensional visualization allows you to freely operate with objects, move them in space and view them from any favorable angle.
But the specifics of working with furniture components are not implemented in any software. The PRO100 program, for example, despite its simplicity, speed and good visualization system, does not see the functional difference between a body part or a door handle at all. In the context of PRO100 or bCAD, any object has a shape, location, color or texture, but its purpose is modestly silent.
This slows down work on large projects. For example, in the BAZIS complex, the processes of hardware placement are automated, the program can automatically generate sets of hinges, handles or extension systems and place them in accordance with the installation rules, along the way generating a marking scheme for drilling. And this is only one module of the program called “Furniture maker”, designed for modeling, and there are half a dozen other parts of the complex – for cutting sheets, organizing storage, production and sale of furniture.
It is the ability to work with specific tasks of furniture design, and not just fold the boards into a common structure, that distinguishes specialized software from amateur software. The PRO100 program costs about $ 1000 in a complete set, while it has a demo version that is quite suitable for creating your own amateur projects. The BAZIS complex is the main competitor to PRO100 in the Russian market: it costs half as much, twice as many possibilities, but the visualization system is lame.
3D modeling software
The need to visualize the working scene is needed mostly for the presentation of furniture and the development of catalogs. When independently designing furniture, this fades into the background, although it can serve as a useful appendage. The design process runs optimally in programs like PRO100, KitchenDraw or WOODY – one of the few free, but somewhat outdated programs today. They have a function to quickly switch the displayed view, from a black and white sketch to a three-dimensional scene with its own light sources..
3D model in WOODY 2.0
In the BAZIS complex, for example, everything is not so rosy: the main work is carried out in the Furnituremaker module, and the construction of a visual concept, playing with colors, shadows and textures is taken out in the Salon module, which is purchased separately. It cannot be argued that the ability to visualize makes designing a pleasure, but in professional activities it is more of a distraction..
Despite the availability of graphical tools, almost all work is carried out using parametrization methods. An object on the screen is just a display; it has a number of properties and features that are set manually through the parametric window. True, in a purely visual mode, you can quickly sort through the existing furniture library, pick up the samples you like, quickly change the size and proportions (stretch, compress) of each individual product and make a global arrangement, and only then proceed to work on the details.
Features of manual detailing
We have already said that some programs have tools for automating the placement of elements and working with individual parts, but this is only one side of the issue. Each program has a number of primitives – objects from which the assembly of more complex parts and groups always begins. In PRO100 and Astra, for example, the base object is a board, vertical or horizontal. It is possible to edit the shape in plan, but only once, so all the details of the project will have a constant section along at least one axis. In practice, this translates into difficulties when modeling curved facades, plinths and countertops..
In KitchenDraw, bCAD, WOODY and BASIS, objects are also created by primitive boards, but there are more tools for working with them. For example, planks can be of several types such as bottom, back wall, side wall. Guided by the global properties of the project, the program can determine their more specific aspects, such as: size, position, binding to other details, or provide for some actions that can be performed on an object of this type.
Professional software can be completed with a template offering standard designs of drawers, compartments, doors, countertops and other common furniture elements. Another difference between professional software is the ability to work out fasteners. In the “Astra” program, an analogue of the “BAZIS” complex both in terms of functionality and cost, it is possible to mark on the details the places of drilling and milling for the installation of awnings. But “BAZIS-Mebelshchik” creates complex maps of additives and edging, compiled, like all exported BAZIS documentation, in accordance with ESKD or ISO.
“Astra Furniture Designer”
CAD systems for cabinet furniture design have three basic display modes. The first – wireframe view – is inherent in all programs, in this mode only the edges and vertices of parts are displayed. Modeling furniture components by seeing only their frame is quite quick, but with a large number of details, the jumble of lines causes confusion.
Then the semi-transparent display mode comes into play, which shows in whole or in part the lines that are not visible from the current angle. The mode is good for composing small compound objects into even larger ones and relative positioning.
Translucency mode in PRO100
The third mode, inherent in almost all CAD systems, is the imposition of colors and simplified textures for a visual assessment of the success of the composition, the ratios of the colors, sizes and shapes. But there are some nuances here too: in programs with the simplest visualization, for example, PRO100, there is no possibility of imposing textures and colors on individual edges of parts. Therefore, displaying contrasting edges is not possible only if you create an edge as a separate object with its own texture..
Texture overlay in the BAZIS-Mebelshchik program
The creators of KitchenDraw have gone further and added rendering capability. By and large, no CAD system for cabinet furniture will provide such a display quality, except for non-specialized CAD programs. But is such an opportunity justified with the hourly cost of the program $ 2-3 or a subscription for a year for more than $ 500? However, KitchenDraw gives 20 free hours, which is enough to get acquainted with the program and put together a couple of trial projects.
Visualization in KitchenDraw
Perhaps there is no more valuable factor than the vastness and richness of the component libraries for the program used. Most furniture salons usually work with a very impressive catalog of furniture products and headsets, only adjusting their sizes to the customer’s premises. Who prevents you from doing the same?
Even the simplest PRO100 program enjoys unprecedented success among furniture makers, largely due to the most extensive library with the ability to freely import third-party projects made by other craftsmen. All that remains is to add some technical details, adjust the arrangement of shelves and drawers, color – and the finished detailing will be in your hands in 30-40 minutes of work.
Libraries can include both ready-made headsets and even entire interior concepts, as well as separate furniture sections. Additionally, any library includes samples of palettes of paints and textures according to generally accepted standardization, so there are usually no questions about the correct color selection when ordering sawing..
The richness of the library directly depends on the scale of the user community, the largest among them: PRO100, BAZIS, Astra and WOODY.
The presence of a cutting optimization module in the program can be very useful. Of course, when ordering sheet cut, only one list of parts is sufficient. But, having thought over the cutting scheme, you can estimate the total cost of furniture or visually display on the printout maps of edging, drilling and milling.
Of course, free import of projects provides increased speed and convenience of work, therefore, the purchase of additional modules for the BAZIS or Astra systems is beneficial, mainly, for furniture manufacturers. Free third-party programs such as Cutting can also be used individually..
Of course, it will take some time to enter the detailing parameters manually, but for a single use this is quite enough.