Looking for the Cheapest Possible CNC Router...How About Free?

Posted by Duane Marrett on Wed, Oct 28, 2015

Tags: CNC, CNC Router, Free, Cut Ready, Cut Center, WMS Show, Cheap, CNC Access, Affordable

Programming Required?

Thermwood Cut CenterEvery CNC router, regardless of price, has one thing in common..it must be programmed. You will need a CNC programmer. A typical CNC programmer will cost you more each month than the payment on a Thermwood Cut Center, which does not need CNC programs or CNC programmers.

So, even if a machine was FREE, it would still cost you more than a Thermwood Cut Center, and in a few years the Cut Center payments go away while your programmer costs most likely will go up. 

I'll Program it Myself

Good luck! CNC routers require a constant stream of programs to run. Solving problems, like damaged or scrapped parts or defects in material means even more CNC programs. Programming custom cabinets on a CNC router is a full time job….good thing you have nothing else to do! 

And then there’s software. Cheap cabinet software is limited and difficult. It takes more time which means more money. Really good software can cost as much, or more than your cheap router.

And there’s scrap. You will have one or more partial sheets left from each job. Regardless of what they tell you, it is so difficult, complex and expensive to add this to new jobs that virtually everyone just throws it away. With the Cut Center, you just scan the label on any extra material lying around and it is added to the job, automatically. This can mean a lot of money saved at the end of the year. 

Get Into Production Quickly

Thermwood Cut Center Product SelectionAlso, it is likely you will be in full production with a Thermwood Cut Center in about a half a day. A CNC router can take as much as six months to program and get to that point. A half a day or a half a year? There is serious cost associated with that half a year.

Not So Cheap After All

When you consider everything, a cheap router isn’t so cheap after all. In fact, to match a Thermwood Cut Center they would have to pay YOU to use their router. 

Instead of looking for the cheapest possible CNC router, do this thing right, get a Thermwood Cut Center….your life will be better and you will make more money.


See the Cut Center at WMS 2015!

The 2015 WMS Show (November 5th-7th) promises to be an exciting opportunity to visit Toronto and see the very latest technology from Thermwood! 

Like the award winning Thermwood Cut Center (make virtually anything a cabinet shop would want to make - with no programming), as well as the AutoProcessor 5'x10' (a high-speed, automatic load/unload, heavy-duty CNC routing system for nested based feed through machining).

CNC AutomationPlease come and visit us at CNC Automation booth #2013. Click this link (use promo code CNCAUT15) to obtain passes to the show on behalf of CNC Automation (exclusive Canadian Thermwood dealer).

See the Award-Winning Thermwood Cut Center at WMS Toronto!

Posted by Duane Marrett on Wed, Oct 21, 2015

Tags: Announcements, Trade Shows, Cut Ready, Cut Center, AutoProcessor, CNC Automation, WMS Show

The 2015 WMS Show (November 5th-7th) promises to be an exciting opportunity to visit Toronto and see the very latest technology from Thermwood! 

Like the award winning Thermwood Cut Center (make virtually anything a cabinet shop would want to make - with no programming), as well as the AutoProcessor 5'x10' (a high-speed, automatic load/unload, heavy-duty CNC routing system for nested based feed through machining).

CNC AutomationPlease come and visit us at CNC Automation booth #2013. Click this link (use promo code CNCAUT15) to obtain passes to the show on behalf of CNC Automation (exclusive Canadian Thermwood dealer).

Cut Center

Thermwood Cut Ready Cut Center

Operate as a Cut Center with No Programming

With the award-winning Thermwood Cut Center, there are no computers or design software. Everything is already in the machine. There is no programming. The cut center doesn’t need a computer to tell it how to move because it already knows how to make cabinets. Just tell it what you want to make, and it does it - it is that simple!  

Operate as a CNC Router with CNC Access

If you want to operate the Cut Center as a CNC Router, you can. With CNC Access, you can operate the Cut Center as a CNC router in the traditional manner, running programs generated with virtually any CNC software.  Plus, (using eCabinet Systems software and following specific design protocols), you can custom design products and add them to the Cut Center libraries and then those items can be machined by the Cut Center with no further programming. 

AutoProcessor

Thermwood AutoProcessor 5'x10' CNC RouterThe AutoProcessor 5'x10' is a high-speed, automatic load/unload, heavy-duty CNC routing system for nested based feed through machining.  It is used in nested based production of cabinets, closets and custom furniture. 

Thermwood smart-router technology is...

Posted by Duane Marrett on Wed, Jun 24, 2015

Tags: Thermwood, CNC Router, smart-router, Cut Ready, Cut Center, smart-router series


Just like a smart phone does more than make phone calls, a “smart-router” does much more than route parts. The “more” in a smart-router saves material and labor and makes it really easy to use. A smart-router does cost more but is substantially more profitable, making it a much better overall investment.


Thermwood smart-routers process part programs two ways:

  1. The traditional way by using CNC program output from virtually any design software. Thermwood smart-routers can even run existing programs written for other brand machines (even if those programs contain codes specific to that machine). This means, with a Thermwood smart-router, you can use software configured for almost any machine and you can run programs you already have without reprogramming. Thermwood smart-routers are pretty much compatible with anything.
  1. Instead of using traditional CNC programs developed with software and a PC, Thermwood smart-routers can also use part information directly, and create the actual cutting programs within the machine itself. Major software vendors offer database output to Thermwood smart-routers, and any software that can output DXF files will work with Thermwood smart-routers. You send the design to a Thermwood smart-router and it, rather than you, worries about how to make the parts. This offers significant advantages.

Thermwood smart-routers technology is...


Request More Information from Thermwood  

Thermwood Adds "CNC Access" to its Award Winning Cut Centers!

Posted by Duane Marrett on Wed, Jun 17, 2015

Tags: Thermwood, Announcements, CNC Router, Cut Ready, Cut Center, CNC Mobile App

Operate the Cut Center as a CNC Router or a Cut Center!

Now Operate the Cut Center as a CNC router with "CNC Access"

Since the introduction of Thermwood's innovative and award-winning Cut Ready Cut Center, we've received requests to allow access to CNC functions of the Cut Center while also preserving the basic Cut Center functionality and simplicity of operation.

To address these requests, Thermwood is proud to announce we have added “CNC Access” to our Cut Center machine. This gives you the following expanded flexibility: 

  • You can operate the system solely as a Cut Center with no CNC Programming required.
  • You can also operate the system as a CNC router in the traditional manner, running programs generated with virtually any CNC software.
  • Plus, using eCabinet Systems software and following specific design protocols, you can custom design products and add them to the Cut Center libraries and then those items can be machined by the Cut Center with no further programming (Note:  In addition to doing it yourself, Thermwood offers this type of product development as an optional service).

Best of Both Worlds:  Switch Between a CNC router and a Cut Center

Thermwood has created a simple way to switch between operating as a CNC router and operating as a Cut Center to assure that all machine parameters are properly reset and that the standard Cut Center tooling is properly installed, checked and ready to run.

Operate as a Cut Center or as a CNC Router - the best of both worlds!

We believe this approach dramatically expands the capability and flexibility of the Thermwood Cut Center, without losing its ease of use, yet still providing technical users new options to benefit from this new technology. 

The Bottom Line...

Thermwood Corporation’s Cut Ready Cut Center with new "CNC Access", for the first time, allows people without extensive programming or CNC training to quickly and easily make a wide variety of products including cabinets, closets, furniture, doors, drawers and more. Don't have extensive programming experience?  Have programming experience and want both the flexibility of a CNC router and the ease of use of a Cut Center?  Looking for a machine that will grow with your business?  Then Thermwood's Cut Ready Cut Center with new "CNC Access" is the machine for you!  

Please call us today at 1-800-533-6901 or click below for more information.


Click for More Info on the Thermwood Cut Center  

Is a Cut Center Right For Me?

Posted by Duane Marrett on Fri, May 15, 2015

Tags: Thermwood, CNC Router, Cut Ready, Cut Center

Thermwood's IWF Challenger's Award Winning “Cut Ready – Cut Center” is an alternative to CNC routers for making custom cabinets and furniture.  

Here we want to help you answer the question:  Is a Cut Center the right machine for me?  

We provide insight into this incredible machine and reasons as to why you would choose a Thermwood Cut Center over a traditional nested based CNC router.  

Is a Cut Center Right For Me?

First, a Cut Center is clearly not a CNC router. It may look 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:

  • A control capable of running sophisticated software
  • Cabinet design software capable of creating the required CNC programs
  • A machine capable of running those programs.
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. 

Cut Ready Cut Center Selection ScreenA 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 programmingnone. A cut center actually knows how to make cabinets, allowing the user to make cabinets in about any way they want by simply 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

Thermwood Cut CenterInstallation of a cut center couldn't be easier.  the process simply consists of connecting power, air and dust collection and you are ready to run production right away.  A new Cut Center comes with the program definitions and tooling preloaded.

 

 

Cut Center Has an Impressive Selection 

You can also make drawers and drawer fronts in the Cut Center

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.  

 

A variety of door options are available in the Cut CenterIt 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.

Add Your Own Unique Products to the Cut Center

You may be impressed with the huge selection of products already in the Cut Center, but are thinking "But what about my custom stuff?  How can I have that added to the Cut Center as well?" With our new “Special Products” program the answer is simple, we add them for you! 

With this new program, definitions for your unique products are custom developed and installed in your Cut Center. These are not just CNC programs. Definitions teach your machine to make your products in all their variations, all their sizes, from all the materials you use. The machine does it all! 

How Does This Work?

  • The process begins by developing a formal, written description of the products you want to make. This description details all aspects of the product and becomes the guiding document for the development team 
  • Once product definitions (based on your description), are complete, sample products are run to make certain that they function properly and that you are happy with the result.
  • We then install the new definitions in your Cut Center. If you are installing several items, a Thermwood technician may visit your shop to help get you going. Otherwise, we can connect online, directly to your Cut Center, and make additions or changes as needed, without the need for a technical visit 

Add more than just Cabinets and Furniture

The Special Products Section allows you to make you own custom products easily with the Thermwood Cut CenterThis service is not restricted to cabinets or furniture items but will work for about anything that can be run on a CNC router. Some products may require special fixtures to hold the part and/or special tooling. In those cases the required fixtures and tools will be detailed in the written description and will be developed, tested and supplied as part of the “Special Products" package. All you do is select and run them 

The Special Products Section allows you to make you own custom products easily with the Thermwood Cut Center

Add More Products at any Time

You can add additional products at any time and have existing product definitions modified if necessary. We stand ready to manage your product offering so you don’t have to 

With the “Special Products” addition you still have all the features and product capabilities of the Cut Center, with your unique products as an added benefit 

Operating the Cut Center 

Operate the Cut Center through a large touch screen and remote clicker.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 are “Show Me” videos for each step.  You can even call a real live person on the screen if you need more help. 

Easy to Run by Almost Anyone

A cut center can be operated by just about anybody, allowing you to 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 would also require thousands of hours. 

There is a smooth integration between cabinets, drawers, doors and drawer fronts. For example, once you cut the cabinets, you can make everything else by just telling the machine to make the rest of the components for those cabinets.  

Easy Assembly

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 and alignment pin holes make installing drawers really easy.

The machine will also print detailed 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. 

Flipping the Sheet

The flipper on the Cut Center makes flipping sheets a snapThere is a major difference in the way the cut center handles parts that need to be machined on both sides (more complex pieces like closets or cabinets made from single sided material often require machining on both sides). 

CNC routers generally cut the front side, cut the parts out and then machine the back side one part at a time. Not only is this difficult, but it can be confusing and is prone to error.   

The cut center starts by loading the sheet, back side up and doing the back side machining first, on the whole sheet. It then flips the sheet over and machines the front side. When the parts are cut out, they are complete, front and back. A really unique feature of the cut center is that it has a “flipper” on the front of the machine that flips the sheet over, so this process is really easy. Just slide the sheet into a clamp located just off the front of the table and the clamp grips the sheet and rotates it 180 degrees, all within the confines of the table. When you first load your sheet, if the backside is not up, you can use the flipper to fix that too. 

Free Ongoing Updates

Easily select your product and change size and features right at the Cut CenterThermwood 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. 

Less Cost Over Time

Cut centers represent a departure in thinking from how things are done today and this new approach seems to make a lot of sense for a lot of cabinet shops. With lease payments around the cost of a single employee, cut centers make sense for nyone who just wants to make cabinets and not spend a lot of time learning to program computers.

Thermwood Cut Center Video

 


Click for More Info on the Thermwood Cut Center

 

Visit Thermwood for a Hands-On Cut Center Demonstration!

Posted by Duane Marrett on Fri, Mar 06, 2015

Tags: Thermwood, CNC, Cut Ready, Cut Center, Live Demonstrations

The all new Cut Ready Cut Center is now available for free live demonstrations here at our modern factory headquarters in Dale, IN.

The all new Cut Ready Cut Center is available for free live demonstrations here at our modern factory headquarters in Dale, IN.  During your demo process you can expect:

  • The demo process starts with phone consultations with our techs.  This helps us learn about what you want to make, and how the Cut Center can best help improve your operation.
  • On the day of the demo, you’ll find a relaxed atmosphere, and receive a complete overview of the easy to use Cut Center and its operation.  You will work with our knowledgeable experts hands-on with this amazing machine.
  • By “Hand’s-On”, we mean that you will actually be able to select, size and run product from the Cut Center yourself and see how incredible easy it is to operate.  With no training necessary, you’ll be able to run the Cut Center yourself!
  • You’ll get a personalized tour of our modern facility to see our manufacturing process from start to finish, and how we carefully build each machine from the ground up.

Will the Cut Center Make Everything I Want?

We are continually adding products and capabilities to the Cut Center.  But what if something you want to make isn’t in the system yet?  Does that mean the Cut Center won’t work for you? 

Actually, we have developed a program for those who want to make things not already in the Cut Center. How do you get “No Programming” and the simple, intuitive operation of a Cut Center for your special products? With our new “Special Products” program the answer is simple, we add them for you! 

The Special Products Section allows you to make you own custom products easily with the Thermwood Cut Center

Definitions for your unique products are custom developed and installed in your Cut Center. These are not just CNC programs. Definitions teach your machine to make your products in all their variations, all their sizes, from all the materials you use. If your product requires special fixtures or tooling, we will develop and supply them also. This is a complete, ready-to-run solution. 

The Special Products Section allows you to make you own custom products easily with the Thermwood Cut Center

Run your products by simply selecting what you want, right at the machine. You can use material of varying thickness and/or adjust product size and features, again, right at the machine. The machine adjusts for all of this with no separate computer, no software and no programming. This is by far the simplest, easiest way to make things. This program is not restricted to cabinets and furniture. It will work for any product that can be manufacturered on a router. 

You can add additional products at any time and can have existing product definitions modified. We stand ready to manage your product offering so you don’t have to. 

With the “Special Products” addition, you still have all the features and product capabilities of the standard Cut Center, with your unique products as an added benefit. 

More Information

To find out more about the Cut Center and the process of adding arranging a free hands-on demonstration, please give us a call at 1-800-533-6901 or click below to fill out an information request form.  We hope to hear from you soon!

Click for More Info on the Thermwood Cut Center

Add Your Products to Thermwood’s Cut Center and make them with No Computer, No Software, No Programming

Posted by Duane Marrett on Thu, Jan 15, 2015

Tags: Announcements, Cut Ready, Cut Center, Easy, Custom

We Add Your Products for You!

We add custom products to the Cut Center for you!Thermwood’s award winning Cut Ready – Cut Center makes cabinets, closets, and related products without the need for a separate computer, design software or CNC programming, but what if you make something else?  How do you get “no programming” and the simple, intuitive operation of a Cut Center for other products? With our new “Special Products” program the answer is simple, we add them for you 

With this new program, definitions for your unique products are custom developed and installed in your Cut Center. These are not just CNC programs. Definitions teach your machine to make your products in all their variations, all their sizes, from all the materials you use. The machine does it all 

Easy to Run

Easily select your product and change size and features right at the Cut CenterYou run them by simply selecting what you want, right at the machine. You can use material of varying thickness and/or adjust product size and features, again, right at the machine. The machine adjusts for all of this with no separate computer, no software and no programming. This is by far the simplest, easiest way to make things 

How Does This Work?

  • The process begins by developing a formal, written description of the products you want to make. This description details all aspects of the product and becomes the guiding document for the development team 
  • Once product definitions (based on your description), are complete, sample products are run to make certain that they function properly and that you are happy with the result.
  • We then install the new definitions in your Cut Center. If you are installing several items, a Thermwood technician may visit your shop to help get you going. Otherwise, we can connect online, directly to your Cut Center, and make additions or changes as needed, without the need for a technical visit 

Add more than just Cabinets and Furniture

The Special Products Section allows you to make you own custom products easily with the Thermwood Cut CenterThis service is not restricted to cabinets or furniture items but will work for about anything that can be run on a CNC router. Some products may require special fixtures to hold the part and/or special tooling. In those cases the required fixtures and tools will be detailed in the written description and will be developed, tested and supplied as part of the “Special Products" package. All you do is select and run them 

The Special Products Section allows you to make you own custom products easily with the Thermwood Cut Center

Add More Products at any Time

You can add additional products at any time and have existing product definitions modified if necessary. We stand ready to manage your product offering so you don’t have to 

With the “Special Products” addition you still have all the features and product capabilities of the Cut Center, with your unique products as an added benefit 


More Information

To find out more about the Cut Center and the process of adding your custom products, please give us a call at 1-800-533-6901 or click below to fill out an information request form.  We hope to hear from you soon!

Click for More Info on the Thermwood Cut Center

Update adds Significant New Features to Thermwood’s Cut Center

Posted by Duane Marrett on Tue, Jan 06, 2015

Tags: Cut Ready, Cut Center, Furniture, Custom, EZ Office

Thermwood released the first update for its Cut Ready - Cut Centers today, adding new product libraries, plus additions to existing libraries as well as some all new cutting routines. In addition, you can now have your products (which may not be part of the standard product offering) custom added to your Cut Center!  This is a serious update incorporating some major technical advances 

The Cut Center, introduced at IWF in Atlanta, allows shops to manufacture a large variety of cabinets, and related products with no computers, software or CNC programming. It’s easy and can be run by existing folks without specialized training. This update increases the number and variety of products Cut Centers can make, plus adds new capabilities not previously found on this type of machine 

EZ Office

Cut Center EZ OfficeIt adds a line of office furniture, called “EZ Office” suitable for a small business or home office. The entire line is made from a single material, either 3/4 inch or 19mm thick sheet stock. Pieces are assembled using lock joints, which combine mortise and tenon slots with cam-lock fasteners. This is a superior joint resulting in high quality solid construction. Each design includes step by step assembly instructions, suitable for a consumer, so these items could be made from pre-finished material and sold unassembled 

Hidden Bed

The second product addition is a Hidden-Bed, which is a large desk that turns into a twin bed. The unique feature of this design is that the desk top remains parallel to the ground as the bed is pulled down so it is not necessary to clear it off to use the bed

The hidden-bed integrates smoothly in both size and design with tall closet cabinets already in the Cut Centers 

New "Cuts" Capabilities

We have also added three fundamentally new “Cuts” capabilities. These cutting features introduce an all new way to work with an automated machine… something that has not been done before (this video shows this… it’s worth watching) 

 

Full Thickness Backs Added for Frameless Cabinets

The frameless base cabinet designs in Thermwood’s Cut Center currently have a quarter inch slide-in back, either with or without nailers. Although this works for most in the US, we’ve received requests from Canadian shops for a full thickness, slide-in back option for frameless base cabinets. Reacting to those requests, full thickness backs have been added to frameless base cabinets in the latest Cut Center update 

Add Your Products to the Cut Center with "Special Products"

And finally, we have developed a program for those who want to make things not already in the Cut Center. How do you get “No Programming” and the simple, intuitive operation of a Cut Center for your special products? With our new “Special Products” program the answer is simple, we add them for you 

Definitions for your unique products are custom developed and installed in your Cut Center. These are not just CNC programs. Definitions teach your machine to make your products in all their variations, all their sizes, from all the materials you use. If your product requires special fixtures or tooling, we will develop and supply them also. This is a complete, ready-to-run solution 

Run your products by simply selecting what you want, right at the machine. You can use material of varying thickness and/or adjust product size and features, again, right at the machine. The machine adjusts for all of this with no separate computer, no software and no programming. This is by far the simplest, easiest way to make things. This program is not restricted to cabinets and furniture. It will work for any product that can be manufacturered on a router 

You can add additional products at any time and can have existing product definitions modified. We stand ready to manage your product offering so you don’t have to 

With the “Special Products” addition, you still have all the features and product capabilities of the standard Cut Center, with your unique products as an added benefit 

Continuous Free Updates

This new Cut Center update, which adds valuable new features and exciting new products, is available to all Cut Center users as a free download, right through their machine. Thermwood expects to continually update both product offering and system capabilities and, as they are developed, these advances will be offered free to existing Cut Center users 


Click for More Info on the Thermwood Cut Center

Why Choose a Cut Center?

Posted by Duane Marrett on Thu, Nov 20, 2014

Tags: Thermwood, CNC Router, Cut Ready, Cut Center, cabinets, MDF doors, No Programming

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. 
Thermwood Cut Ready Cut Center

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 programmingnone. 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 

You can also make drawers and drawer fronts in the Cut Center

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.  

 

A variety of door options are available in the Cut CenterIt 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 

Operate the Cut Center through a large touch screen and remote clicker.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. 

Ongoing Updates

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.

 


Click for More Info on the Thermwood Cut Center

 

An In-Depth Look at the Cut Center

Posted by Duane Marrett on Wed, Nov 05, 2014

Tags: Thermwood, CNC Router, Cut Ready, Cut Center, CNC Automation, No Programming, Open House

Thermwood’s new Cut Ready - Cut Center works much differently than a CNC router.  In this post we take an in-depth look at some of the distinctions:

CNC Router

A CNC router operates in a sophisticated technical environment. Computers and sophisticated design software are used to design cabinets, layout kitchens and create the CNC programs needed to make those kitchens. An operating environment has developed around these capabilities that the industry has become accustomed to. It takes a highly-skilled and trained operator to program and operate these machines.

Cut Center

First, there are no computers or design software. Everything is already in the machine. There is no programming. The cut center doesn’t need a computer to tell it how to move because it already knows how to make cabinets. To understand how this approach fits into the operating structure of a shop you must first realize that cut centers have been designed for cabinetmakers who are already running a successful business and simply want to make what they are doing more efficient with the least disruption possible. They don’t want to change from woodworkers to computer programmers but they would like to make their products faster, better and at lower cost. 

How Does This Work? 

The cut center works through a large touch screen which essentially performs three functions. First, it allows you to adjust settings that tell the machine how you want to work, plus it watches routine maintenance and tooling. 

The other two areas are picking what you want to make and actually making it. 

To pick what you want you have to know what you want. If a shop is operating, they have already developed some way of determining what they need to make. Some may do it by hand, other might use software or drawings or whatever works today. The cut center doesn’t mess with this area. Whatever you are doing today is what you will do with the cut center. 

-Choosing What to Make

Easily choose what you want to make on the Cut CenterOnce you know what you want and the sizes you need, picking it is intuitive and easy. Pretty much anyone can do it the first time, even if they have never seen the machine before. You do need to know how you want your cabinets made, but you don’t need to know anything about the machine. You will group all the cabinets you want to make into a job which the machine will nest together and cut. If you want, you can create a job but not necessarily run it right away, which is probably what most people will do. When you create a job and process it, the machine will tell you how many sheets of each material you will need and how long it will take to cut all the parts. This information can be quite useful when you are working with a customer and developing a quote. 

-Running the Job

Once you are ready, it is simply a matter of calling up the job and running it. Going back to the list of material, it not only tells you what material you will need but also tells you in what order the materials will be needed. You can print this out and use it as a pick list to load the handling carts. The Cut Ready Cut Center comes with two tilt carts that make it easy to retrieve and stage the material for a job. While you are working off of one you can be picking material for the next job. 

Once the cabinet boxes are complete, you can make drawers, doors and drawer fronts. These are easy. Simply select the type of drawer and the door and drawer front designs you want and tell it to make them for your job. If you don’t want to use the machine for your doors and drawers the machine will print out a list of sizes for you. 

-Stopping a Job

Another interesting aspect is that you can stop a job between sheets at any point and then finish it later. This is great when you go home at night or if you have to work in a “hot” job in the middle of regular production.  

-Familiar but Different 

Some of the operations of the machine would be familiar to anyone who has operated a CNC router but a number of areas are different. 

Let’s start with loading. First, the cut center manages the vacuum system. It turns the pump on and off and turns vacuum to the table on and off. When you are told to load a sheet, it pumps air through the table, sort of like an air hockey table, to make it easier to slide the sheet. It also uses special sensors that detect when the sheet is tight against the location stops. When this happens, the machine turns off the float air, turns on vacuum and drops the location stops, all automatically. 

-Using the Clicker

Another difference is the “clicker”, which is a fob-like device you wear around your neck. The silicone cord necklace for the clicker uses magnetic catches so if it gets caught it simply pulls off. This clicker is used to communicate with the machine so you don’t have to go back to the control every time you want to do something. It also allows you to stop the machine when it is cutting, so you don’t need to stay near the stop button while the machine is running. When you get used to the position sensors and the clicker, things that were awkward before become simple, natural and easy. 

-Flipping the Sheet

The flipper on the Cut Center makes flipping sheets a snapThere is a major difference in the way the cut center handles parts that need to be machined on both sides (more complex pieces like closets or cabinets made from single sided material often require machining on both sides). 

CNC routers generally cut the front side, cut the parts out and then machine the back side one part at a time. Not only is this difficult, but it can be confusing and is prone to error.   

The cut center takes a different approach. It starts by loading the sheet, back side up and doing the back side machining first, on the whole sheet. It then flips the sheet over and machines the front side. When the parts are cut out, they are complete, front and back. A really unique feature of the cut center is that it has a “flipper” on the front of the machine that flips the sheet over, so this process is really easy. Just slide the sheet into a clamp located just off the front of the table and the clamp grips the sheet and rotates it 180 degrees, all within the confines of the table. When you first load your sheet, if the backside is not up, you can use the flipper to fix that too. 

-Tooling is Managed For You

The Cut Center Manages Tooling for youTooling is also handled differently with a cut center. The machine manages tooling so you don’t have to. It uses standard “Cut Ready” tools. Each tool is numbered and has a “Chuck Line” showing how far to insert the tool into the tool holder. When a tool needs to be changed, the machine brings it to you and tells you which tool bit to insert. It then measures both the length and diameter of the new tool and adjusts all the tooling parameters. If you load the wrong bit by accident, it will know and will bring it back and ask you to fix it. 

Since the machine knows when a tool is changed, it also knows how long that tool lasted. After a while, it knows about how long each tool will last in your operation and will warn you when a tool nears its historical life. This can prevent cutting scrap parts because of dull tools. 

-Vacuum Hold Down

Another area that needs attention is vacuum hold down and waste board management. The “waste board” is a quarter inch thick board that sits on top of the table board. As parts are cut, shallow channels are cut into the waste board and eventually it needs to be resurfaced. Resurfacing is a simple automatic process that can be performed, even in the middle of a job. The machine keeps track of cuts in the waste board and warns you when it needs to be resurfaced. It may even require that you resurface it if it knows that parts on the next sheet will move. 

Final Thoughts

While this doesn’t cover every aspect of running a cut center, it should give you a flavor of what it is like to run this next generation of cabinet machines. They are flexible, easy and require a lot less technical skill and training. This almost makes cabinetmaking fun again.

Where to See

You can see and get hands-on experience with the IWF Challengers Award Winning Cut Center when it makes its Canadian debut November 6th and 7th at the CNC Automation Open House.  You can also contact us here at Thermwood to arrange a free personal and interactive demonstration here at our Dale, IN headquarters.  


Click for More Info on the Thermwood Cut Center