New web interface for 3 and 5 Axis CNC Routers

Posted by Duane Marrett on Fri, Aug 21, 2009

Tags: Thermwood, CNC, New, CNC Routers, 3 Axis, 5 Axis, Announcements, Model 90, Model 67, Model 70, Model 45, MTR, Model 41, Model 53, Model 40, Model 42

We've just completed updating and expanding our 3 and 5 axis CNC Router areas on thermwood.com. 

This new interface allows a wider variety of information to be accessed easily and more quickly than our previous version, and lists images, dimensional drawings (which can be easily printed), technical specifications, movies of the machines in action and brochures all in one convenient place.  I've included some screen shots below - to visit, please click on either:

3 Axis CNC Routers

5 Axis CNC Routers

Thermwood's New CNC Router Interface on www.thermwood.com

Thermwood's New CNC Router Interface on www.thermwood.com

 Thermwood's New CNC Router Interface on www.thermwood.com

 Thermwood's New CNC Router Interface on www.thermwood.com

 Thermwood's New CNC Router Interface on www.thermwood.com

Thermwood Production Sharing Members added to Google Earth

Posted by Duane Marrett on Thu, Aug 13, 2009

Tags: Thermwood, eCabinet Systems, CNC Routers, 3 Axis, 5 Axis, Announcements, Production Sharing, Google Earth

Thermwood Production Sharing Members Mapped in Google Earth

 A cool thing we've just completed is adding our Production Sharing Members to Google Earth.  Google Earth is a free download, and once you have it, you can click on the Production Sharing Members map of your choice and view all of the Members that list their services on an interactive map.  This tool allows you see see at a glance Members who are in your area.

For more information, please visit the Production Sharing Area our website.

About Production Sharing - This is a free listing service that Thermwood offers any of our CNC Router Owners where they can list their production services and allows any eCabinet Systems Member or other interested parties to contact these Production Sharing Members and have their jobs machined out on a CNC Router quickly and cost-effectively. 

Purdue Student Wins First Place in Furniture Design Contest at AWFS

Posted by Duane Marrett on Fri, Jul 24, 2009

Tags: Thermwood, CNC, 3 Axis, Trade Shows, AWFS, Furniture, Winner, Prize, Student, Purdue

Purdue University has two Thermwood routers, and recently had a student win first place in furniture design at AWFS: 

Leah Kenttamaa Squires, a student at Purdue University, West Lafayette, recently received a First Place Award for her entry SAKURA HANA in Fresh Wood, a national competition for woodworking projects sponsored by the Association of Woodworking and Furnishings Suppliers (AWFS). Judges Dan Hershberger, AWFS Board Member, left) and Randy Johnson, editor, American Woodworker (right) presented Kentamaa-Squires with her award at AWFS Fair 2009, in Las Vegas, NV.

Leah Kenttamaa-Squires created this award-winning piece in a class Furniture Design for CNC Manufacturing in Fall of 2008, under the leadership of professors R. Gazo, E. Haviarova, R. Paul and Wood Research Laboratory technician D. Warner. The course is a joint effort between the Department of Forestry and Natural Resources and the School of Visual and Performing Arts.

The 50 finalists were chosen from 169 entries from 49 different schools in North America. Hongtao Zhou a former Purdue student who graduated in 2008 from the same program and now teaches design at University of Wisconsin in Madison received an Honorable Mention at the same competition.

Purdue University has two Thermwood routers, and recently had a student win first place in furniture design at AWFS:

 

Purdue Student Wins First Place in Furniture Design Contest

Thermwood CNC Routers optimize cooling tower builds

Posted by Duane Marrett on Mon, Jul 20, 2009

Tags: Thermwood, CNC, Composites, CNC Routers, Productivity, 3 Axis, Technology, Customer, manufacturing

Here is a reprint from an informative article published in Composites Technology about Bedford Reinforced Plastics and their application of Thermwood CNC Routers in cooling tower fabrication:Thermwood CNC Routers used in the fabrication of cooling towers 

Operators of chemical refineries, mining operations and power plants use cooling towers to reduce the temperature of process water that often contains corrosive chemicals. These large square or rectangular structures house equipment in which heated water trickles downward through filtration media while large fans draw air up through the wet media to transfer the heat to the atmosphere. Although cooling towers traditionally have been made with wood and concrete, composite materials are gaining acceptance due to their corrosion and rot resistance, light weight and ease of installation. "Redwood was used in the past because of its innate ability to resist rot. But, as good redwood became scarce, treated Douglas fir was substituted, and in addition to the negatives associated with the chemicals used to treat the wood, fir just couldn't hold up in the cooling tower environment," says Eric Kidd, cooling tower market manager at Bedford Reinforced Plastics (Bedford, Pa.).

Bedford has pultruded square tubes, angles, channels and deck board for cooling tower alternatives since the mid-1990s, says Kidd, including one of the world's largest - a 46-ft tall, 54-ft wide, 1,080-ft long (14.2m by 16.6m by 332m) structure at Barrick Goldstrike Mines Inc. in Carlin, Nev. Bedford supplied more than 600,000 lb (272 metric tonnes) of pultruded components made with Owens Corning Material Solutions' (Toledo, Ohio) continuous filament mat and E-glass roving, Ashland Inc.'s (Columbus, Ohio) fire retardant polyester and vinyl ester resins and polyester surfacing veil. Drilling the thousands of fastener holes and cutouts that enable assembly and fastening of the tower's skeletal structure is a huge challenge. For that task, Bedford employs five 3-axis, CNC-controlled routers from Thermwood Corp. (Dale, Ind.). Configured with overhead moving gantries, the machines have bed sizes that range from 5 ft by 10 ft (1.5m by 3m) to 5 ft by 40 ft (1.5m by 12.2m). According to VP of marketing Jason Susnjara, Thermwood is the only CNC router manufacturer that supplies its own controller programs with the machines, enabling customers to seamlessly integrate CAD/CAM designs with the controller and postprocessor.

Thermwood CNC Routers used in the fabrication of cooling towers

Bedford considers automated drilling and cutting to be essential to optimizing finished-part production rates, hole consistency and location accuracy. The former, says Bedford, reduces product lead time, permitting the company to meet tight customer deadlines. The latter ensures that tower structures assemble correctly on site, without delays for part rework. 

Thermwood at the AWFS Show in Las Vegas

Posted by Duane Marrett on Wed, Jul 15, 2009

Tags: Thermwood, CNC, CNC Routers, 3 Axis, Trade Shows, AWFS, Las Vegas

A couple of photos of our booth on the first day of the AWFS show in Las Vegas.  We are Booth #5200 - Great turn out so far!

 Thermwood Booth #5200 at AWFS Show in Las Vegas

Thermwood Booth #5200 at AWFS Show in Las Vegas

**Update**

More Pics!

Demonstrating our CNC Routers, I-Cut, Links from eCabinets to ShopBot & from 20-20 to a Thermwood

Demonstrating our CNC Routers, I-Cut, Links from eCabinets to ShopBot & from 20-20 to a Thermwood

__________________________________________________________

Nice sample of graphic produced with i-cut software on a Thermwood Model 45 CNC Router at AWFS Show in Las Vegas  

Nice sample of graphic produced with i-cut software on a Thermwood Model 45 CNC Router at AWFS Show in Las Vegas

 __________________________________________________________

Our "Wall of Applications" possible on a Thermwood CNC Router

Thermwood's

Thermwood and 20-20 Technologies Offer Comprehensive New Cabinet Manufacturing Solution

Posted by Duane Marrett on Wed, Jul 08, 2009

Tags: Thermwood, New, CNC Routers, Productivity, Nested Base, 3 Axis, Trade Shows, Technology, Cabinet, cabinets, manufacturing, Ken Susnjara, Cad

Thermwood and 20-20 Join Forces! 

20-20 Technologies and Thermwood Corporation have joined together to offer a smoothly integrated, highly productive manufacturing system for cabinet manufacturers.

"We are very excited about this new partnership," said Ken Susnjara, CEO of Thermwood.  "This represents a truly comprehensive approach from design and retail all the way through manufacturing, all working together smoothly and seamlessly.  It combines the best technology of both Companies to create an industry-leading offering."

The data process starts with the design.  Over 50,000 dealers use 20-20 Design or ShopWare CAD to layout and sell projects.  To machine a job, an output file from 20-20 software is sent directly to a Thermwood CNC router and the advanced CNC control on the Thermwood system automatically performs all required CAD functions, nests the parts, prints nest diagrams and labels and runs the job directly from full sheets of material.  For even higher production volume, rectangular panels without additional machining are sent to an optimized panel saw, and only parts that require CNC machining are sent to the router.  This not only increases overall production capacity, but represents an increase in productivity as well.

"The advantages to using nested based techniques for machining instead of cutting all panels on a saw and then processing machined parts one at a time on a machining center are significant," said Craig Yamauchi, Executive Vice-President of Manufacturing & Residential Solutions of 20-20 Technologies.  "Labor requirements are less and productivity is higher, sometimes substantially higher."

20-20 welcomes the opportunity to demonstrate the ease of use and high functionality delivered by this partnership for shops seeking best practices and robust integration at this year's AWFS show in July.  20-20 representatives will be on site to show how you can go from the showroom to the shipping dock with greater sales tools, lower costs, fewer errors and increased ROI.

Bookmark and Share

Adding Value by producing MDF doors instead of traditional five piece doors

Posted by Jason Susnjara on Fri, Mar 20, 2009

Tags: Thermwood, CNC, CNC Routers, Nested Base, 3 Axis, Model 45, CNC Automation, MDF doors

This is an informational breakdown on the cost of a cnc router to produce mdf doors as opposed to traditional methods of producing traditional five piece doors.  This was put together by Bob Law, Regional Manager of CNC Automation (a Thermwood dealer).

Most people equate nested based manufacturing with cabinet box components and the labor savings, added precision and ease of assembly that goes along with automation of this process, but a big part of a quality system is the machining of peripheral items.  In my opinion and the opinion of large percentage of our users, the ability to produce "high end" paint grade MDF doors more than justifies their lease payment which in reality makes the cabinet advantages free. 

A large stigma attached to MDF doors is the customer's perception that MDF is cheap or a lesser quality in comparison to popular 5 piece doors (which if you think about it is clearly not the case). 

A large headache for a kitchen manufacturer is a call 6 months to a year after the install when the center panel has shrunk and the paint is cracked along the inside of their rails and styles, or the miters have opened leaving an unsightly gap in the corners of all of their doors. 

In most cases a customer will easily opt for a 1 piece MDF option if presented with the fact that their MDF door will stand the test of time and be guaranteed not to move and deteriorate the look of the dream kitchen that they have worked so hard for. 

Now all MDF door packages aren't created equally.  Most systems have the ability to do single pass doors that look like the prototypical MDF door with an outside profile as well as a simple inside profile.  Our software, which is called Panelmetrix, has the capability to create multipass 1 piece doors, as well as automatic mullion and glass cutout machining.  It can also create bead board machining, valance machining, 1 piece multipanel machining (which can be used for tall doors, wainscoting, range hoods etc...) and a number of other features that will turn door machining into an order entry system once a door style is developed.  Panelmetrix is available exclusively to Thermwood owners and is the ultimate companion to eCabinet Systems.

Sales techniques aside, the justification goes something like this:

MDF Doors

  • Average 5 piece paint grade door cost per kitchen = $3000.00
  • Material cost for MDF for the same = $300.00
  • Approximate machine time = 4 hours
  • Added Gross profit for one kitchen = $2700.00 which in most cases will cover a lease payment for a Thermwood nesting system.
  • Bead Board:
  • Sheet of Bead board = $80.00
  • Sheet of 1/4" MDF = $20.00
  • Approximate machining time = 7-8 minutes depending of the spacing
  • Savings per sheet of $60.00

In closing, the cheapest system on paper over a short period of time can be by far the most expensive.  MDF doors coupled with modeled curved moldings, preprogrammed carvings, dovetailed drawer box machining, can all be easily machined with our system and for small to midsized shops especially, can make the difference between profitability or the addition of just another one dimensional tool in your shop.

Please take the time to view a few typical examples of quality MDF door machining below.

MDF Door Video #1

MDF Door Video #2

 

 

 

Thermwood's new "CNC Routers by Application" section

Posted by Jason Susnjara on Mon, Mar 16, 2009

Tags: Thermwood, Composites, plastics, aluminum, Nested Base, 3 Axis, 5 Axis, aerospace, edgebander, trimming, solid surface, wood carving, molds

Thermwood has added a "CNC Routers by Application" section on their home page.  By selecting the different applications, you can view examples, videos and the machines related to each application.  We will continue to add more pictures and videos to each application.

Using FARO Laser Tracker to Perform Alignments and Volumetric Compensation

Posted by Duane Marrett on Fri, Mar 06, 2009

Tags: CNC, 3 Axis, 5 Axis, Technology, Service, FARO

We have two FARO Laser Tracker units that are in use every day at Thermwood, performing both alignment and volumetric compensation on our new CNC Router builds.  We also offer this as a service to existing customers. 

FARO Laser in use at Thermwood

Since we've implemented this technology, the amount of time required for machine alignments has been cut to less than half. What once took up to eight hours to complete can now be accomplished in approximately three.

FARO has a nice write up about the entire process here, and you can download a printable version here

If you would like more information on how this technology benefits both existing machines and new builds, please contact us.

Bookmark and Share

Straight Talk about Nested Based Systems by Ken Susnjara

Posted by Duane Marrett on Wed, Mar 04, 2009

Tags: Thermwood, CNC, Nested Base, 3 Axis, 5 Axis, Model 90, Model 67, Model 45, Cost, Service, Model 41, Ken Susnjara, Straight Talk

I am the founder and CEO of Thermwood. If you check our web site you will find a new area where we offer a comparison chart of the nested based systems available today and some "straight talk" about the systems and industry.

I'm the one that put this together because of several things that have been happening and I thought I might use our new blog area to tell you about it.

We are trying to sell nested based systems to cabinet shops and in today's world, these sales are really important. In analyzing what's going on, two things stood out. First, customers that bought our product continually tell us they are pleasantly surprised at all the things it does for them. This is good because happy customers are always good. It's bad however, because the fact that they were surprised means we did a lousy job of telling them the advantages of our offering or what they should expect before they bought.

The second thing had to do with our Model 41 and Model 67 machines. In the wood industry our dealers have been telling us we needed a lower cost machine so we developed the Model 41. In order to build a machine at a lower cost you have to take something away so we used a single side drive for the gantry and purchased, rather than built, the Z axis assembly. This meant two things as far as the customer is concerned.

First, table size was restricted to 4'x8'. This meant that when combined with our three-dimensional compensation we could get good performance and good accuracy which is difficult to do with a single gantry drive. A larger table with this arrangement wouldn't work very well. Also, the shorter stroke of the purchased Z axis meant that the rotary playback for making carved posts and legs couldn't be used with this machine. We didn't consider this a major drawback since not too many shops ordered the optional playback system anyway.

The Model 90 was a little different. We had a solid and good selling product in our five axis Model 67. It did a great job in trimming and model and mold making and was probably the market leader in those applications. Our engineers designed up a higher performance version of the Model 67 and we called it the Model 90. It was quite a bit more expensive but the extra money made it perform substantially faster and better. Our sales folks told us they didn't think it would sell because you could do the same jobs with the lower cost Model 67.

In actuality however, the Model 41 attracted a lot of customers but virtually all of them moved up to the Model 45 because of better performance and more capability. The same thing happened to the Model 90. Over half of the customers switched to the higher cost-higher performance Model 90.

These things were bothering me because of a lot of talk in the forums and blogs about the price of nested based systems. The talk and blogs and forums all acted like all these systems are the same. Just like our customers didn't know what we were offering, the industry doesn't seem to know or appreciate the difference between low cost systems and higher cost systems, both ours and some of our competitors. They don't seem to have a clue about what you get for what you pay.

This caused me to try to lay out the whole thing in a clear, accurate and honest way. Based on the two observations, perhaps if potential customers really understand everything our systems offer, they would be willing to step up to the higher price just like they did with the Model 41 and Model 90. If not, at least they would both understand and accept what they are buying for what they are spending.

I tried to be as accurate as possible with this comparison. If you find any area where the comparison is wrong, please let me know and I will change it. Also, if there is an area where you think we should add additional items for comparison also let me know. My email is ken.susnjara@thermwood.com

For comparison purposes, I do not want to include items open for interpretation. For example, I believe our service is second to none, but the quality of service is value judgment rather than a provable fact so I have left those things out. You should check out service pretty carefully before buying, however. It is very important.

Bookmark and Share