A toy store is closing and a coffee shop is opening on the same site. The holder of the new lease wants to avoid lost trading time and the launch event has been widely publicised so design, manufacture and installation of new fittings must be completed within a matter of days. Despite the constant pressure of deadlines, the joinery sector has been relatively slow to recognise the benefits and move on from 2D.

The common misconception is that 3D modelling takes longer than 2D, with some designers reluctant to go down the 3D route because they think it will slow them down in the initial design stages. As users in the mechanical design sector can attest, the opposite is actually true.

Reuse and accuracy provide speed

With the reuse of data, such as standard features, the design process can in fact be much quicker. In addition, huge time savings can be achieved when design changes are made further down the line; something that happens with nearly every project. A 3D model also provides design validation regarding form and function. With a 3D model, it is clear whether a product really will fit together.

Ease of manufacture

Another advantage of 3D design is the automatic cut list generated from a design, which can be presented in drawings and parts lists to be cut in the workshop. CAD data can be output for CNC machines allowing panels to be cut with rebates, dowel holes and mouldings ready for assembly.

One recent project for OnePLM involved assisting a company to link Solid Edge with AlphaCAM, which is particularly suited to working with timber. Our in-house developers created the software to automate the process of entering material qualities such as grain direction.

Understanding the potential of 3D

With in-house expertise in joinery, the OnePLM team has put together several industry specific demonstrations to show what is possible when designing joinery, furniture and fit-outs using Solid Edge.

Typical benefits include a reduction in overall design time plus speeder fitting. In addition, the ability to produce quotations more quickly and accurately, provide clear site drawings and present photo realistic renders of the final design results in much better communication with customers. Overall, we can see huge potential for 3D CAD/CAM within the joinery industry, across both commercial and domestic applications.