Thermwood has introduced our IWF Challenger's Award Winning “Cut Ready – Cut Center” as an alternative to CNC routers for making custom cabinets.
In this post, we ask two main questions: Why would you want a Thermwood Cut Center instead of a traditional nested based CNC router? Why would a major supplier of CNC routers introduce a new product that competes directly with its already successful products in this market segment?
Why a Cut Center?
With the advanced technology available today, we at Thermwood believe that it’s time for something new…. something even better… something a lot easier, so after almost five years of technical development, we have released the Cut Ready – Cut Center. This system is clearly not a CNC router. It looks a little like a CNC router, but it doesn’t work at all like a CNC router.
A nested based CNC router has three basic elements:
It requires a significant effort to engineer, select, buy, install, learn, tool, program and operate a CNC router system. While many shops embrace this challenge, many others do not.
A cut center consists of a single element, the machine. Everything is inside the machine, pre-selected, pre-installed and ready to run. There is no programming with a cut center. That’s right, no programming… none. A cut center actually knows how to make cabinets, allowing the user to make cabinets in about any way they want by just selecting the desired product. You simply tell the machine what kind of cabinet you want (face frame/frameless, single/double side material, toe kick/detached toe, etc.), then select the specific cabinet from all the cabinets made that way and adjust the size.
Installing a Cut Center
Installation of a cut center consists of connecting power, air and dust collection and you are ready to run production right away.
Cut Center Has an Impressive Selection
The number of products you can make with a cut center is impressive. In addition to kitchen cabinets, there are closet, bath and utility cabinets and furniture (including book shelves, entertainment walls and table tops). You can also make drawers; side mount, undermount or slot slide, quarter inch or full thickness bottom, blind dado or dovetail construction. Simply tell the cut center to make drawers for the cabinets you cut and it does it - just that easy.
It also makes doors and drawer fronts. There are over 450 designs for MDF doors and drawer fronts including square, arch, cathedral, slab and sophisticated applied molding designs with both raised and recessed panels.
You can also make grain matched slab doors. Just like with drawers, simply tell the machine to make doors for the cabinets you just cut and it does it. It even makes moldings, both straight and arched. Select from hundreds of profiles, resize the profile in width and depth and it makes it. It uses a reverse 3d printing technique for MDF doors and moldings where, instead of adding a small amount of material each pass, it removes a small amount. This means that everything in the system is made with a set of standard tools.
Operating the Cut Center
Running the cut center is also different. Everything is handled through an adjustable touch screen and a remote “clicker” you wear. Pretty much everything is handled automatically, tooling management and tool life, vacuum hold down and spoilboard management. All the operator does is follow step by step instructions. If needed, there is a “Show Me” video for every step. You can even call a real live person on the screen if you need more help.
Why is a Cut Center for Me?
One reason you might want a cut center is that it can be run by just about anybody. Another reason is that you can produce a lot of different products with no programming and almost no effort. Thermwood has invested thousands of hours developing, testing and refining these programs. To duplicate this for a CNC router will also require thousands of hours.
There is also the smooth integration between cabinets, drawers, doors and drawer fronts. Once you cut the cabinets, you can make everything else by just telling it to make it for those cabinets.Another reason is that details in these cabinet designs, some patented, make assembly easier. Assembly marks machined into the joints show you which parts fit together and in which orientation. Alignment pin holes make installing drawers really easy. The machine will print detail step by step assembly instructions for more complex items like closet cabinets. It also prints a label for each part showing you which job and cabinet the part is for, which edges get edge banded and a bar code in case you need to re-make the part.
Thermwood is continuously expanding the products our cut centers can produce, driven by feedback from users, and these new designs are available to all cut centers as a free download. System software updates are also available as a free download as they are released. The “Virtual Service” feature mentioned above is also available to cut center users for free.
The Bottom Line
This is clearly a new approach. It is not for everyone, but we believe there are a significant number of cabinet shops that would rather make cabinets than program computers and so we created the Cut Ready – Cut Center.