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

 

CNC Automation Open House

Posted by Jason Susnjara on Wed, Oct 08, 2014

Tags: Thermwood, Nested Base, 3 Axis, CNC Router, Cut Ready, Cut Center, CNC Automation, Live Demonstrations

 

Open-House_Invite_Page_1Open-House_Invite_Page_2

Click to Register for the 2014 CNC Automation Open House!

 

Thermwood Cut Center Wins IWF Challengers Award!

Posted by Duane Marrett on Thu, Aug 21, 2014

Tags: Thermwood, Announcements, Cut Ready, Cut Center, IWF, Winner, Challengers Award

Thermwood CEO, Ken Susnjara, accepting 2014 IWF Challengers Award for Cut Center

 

The all-new Thermwood Cut Center (which makes virtually everything a cabinet shop needs, with no programming) was just announced as a winner of a 2014 IWF Challengers Award.  These awards were given to seven entrants out of a field of over 60 innovative new products.

 

 

Try out the all-new cut center at IWF 2014!

Visit IWF 2014 and try out the all new Thermwood Cut Center

Try out the all new Cut Center at IWF 2014!

You have the opportunity to see just how easy it is to run this new machine - right now, during IWF 2014.  We'll be demonstrating live during the show, and you can be part of it by helping to operate the cut center.  Please visit our booth (#5513) and speak to a Thermwood representative to get your hands on this exciting machine!

What can the cut ready cut center make?

Below are some examples from the displays at IWF.  Everything on these displays was made with the Thermwood Cut Center using standard tooling:

Cedar Closet

This is a set of closet cabinets in aromatic cedar plywood. These feature grain matched slab door and drawer stacks. They use “slot slide” drawers eliminating the need for hardware slides. They also use our proprietary drawer stop system. Drawers are “Blind Dado” construction with edge banded drawer sides.

Cabinetmakers who have worked with aromatic cedar in the past will likely ask where we got the matching edge banding. This particular cedar is highly figured with lots of knots which make it brittle and difficult to work with so it is generally not available commercially. Western and Eastern red cedar are a poor match.

Aromatic Cedar Closet made on Thermwood Cut Center

We made our own aromatic cedar edge banding from a paper backed cedar veneer. The sheet was 4’ x 10’ and we cut it into 7/8” strips which we ran through the edge bander. The paper backing kept it from breaking. The system and routine we used is not currently in the machine but we plan to add it shortly. The fine tip tool we used is already one of the standard tools so this system will allow folks to make perfectly matching edge banding for about any material.  These cabinets are assembled using lock joints and cam-lock fasteners.

Slot slide drawers from aromatic cedar closet totally made on a Thermwood Cut Center

This assembly method is ideal when the cabinet must be assembled inside the closet. Often, you cannot physically move an assembled closet cabinet into a confined closet area and you must assemble the unit inside the closet. Lock joints are the easiest way to do this although we also offer lock joints with pocket screws fasteners. Also, these closet cabinets have detailed, step-by-step assembly instructions that you can print right at the machine. Items with lock joints must be assembled in a fixed sequence. The instructions make this much easier.

Aromatic Cedar Closet totally made on the Thermwood Cut Center

Kitchen Cabinet Design:

This one features upper corner pantry cabinets and a sink base in the center. This is also a face frame design using style 2, which has a mid-rail only under the top drawer.
MDF doors and drawer fronts are mounted using traditional partial overlay with a half inch overlay on face frames.

Kitchen cabinet design from IWF 2014 Thermwood booth - all made on a Cut Center

Drawers are dovetail construction with half inch thick sides and bottom. They are mounted on Blum undermount, soft-close slides.

Dovetail drawers made on a Thermwood Cut Center

Upper kitchen cabinet made on a Thermwood Cut Center

Tall Corner Pantry and Cabinets:

This display features a tall corner pantry cabinet with connected base and uppers. Cabinets are “open frame” (Style 1), face frame designs made using ½ inch single side material. There are no mid-stiles or rails. The corner pantry features right hinged upper and lower angled corner doors and a left hinged appliance garage door for storing kitchen appliances. The left hinged door makes it easier to move appliances from storage to the counter top. It also features a full side door on the left end, increasing accessibility to a huge amount of storage space.

Tall corner pantry and cabinets made on a Thermwood Cut Center

For the cabinet, ½” Columbia Pure-Bond maple veneer was used which was clear coated with a pre-cat lacquer on one side prior to cutting. The shelves are made from ¾” Columbia pre-finished Pure-Bond plywood edge banded with pre-finished edge banding.

Tall corner pantry and cabinets made on a Thermwood Cut Center

The base cabinets feature a three drawer stack and a double door/drawer cabinet. Drawers are dovetail construction with a ¼ inch slide in bottom mounted on undermount Blum Tandem soft close slides. The machine automatically sizes drawers for the undermount slides which come in three inch increments. This is important because these slides only work with fixed depth drawers. Width measurements are from the inside of the drawer to the cabinet sides rather than from the outside, as with side mount slides.  This means the width of the drawer must be adjusted for any variation in material thickness, which is all done automatically.

Doors and drawer fronts are MDF from the “Applied Molding” area. They are sized and mounted as “Full Overlay” meaning they cover most of the face frame and present a frameless “Euro” look on a face frame cabinet. This style is becoming popular in the US today.

Tall corner pantry and cabinets made on a Thermwood Cut Center

Bath Cabinets:

This is a set of bath face frame cabinets that show both the 30” height and 35” height cabinets available in the cut center. They also demonstrate how you can modify the standard face frame structure. Standard Cut Ready face frames have 1.5” wide stiles and 2” rails.

Bath cabinets made on the Thermwood Cut Center

These cabinets use the standard 1.5” stiles but reduce the width of the rails so we can install inset drawers. The top rail was made at 1.5” instead of 2” and the mid-rails are 1” instead of 2”.

Bath cabinets made on the Thermwood Cut Center

The 48 inch high counter top mounted corner cabinets are topped by a shelf from the same area, resized to act as a top cap. The mirror frame was made using the same molding shape as the doors and drawer fronts but sized wider when made in the molding area.

Bath cabinets made on the Thermwood Cut Center

Bath cabinets made on the Thermwood Cut Center

Walnut Frameless Closet:

This is a walnut closet based on the frameless closet designs available in the cut center. Although essentially the same as the previous display, appearance is dramatically different, demonstrating the variety of products that can be made from the core designs. It is also cam lock construction although pocket screw construction could also work since the unit must be assembled and finished before it is installed. The solid wood doors were made from moldings cut on the machine. Several molding shapes from MDF applied moldings doors are available in the “Mid-molding” sections of “Moldings” making mitered wood doors possible. The wavy restoration glass in the doors add an “antique” appearance.

Walnut Closet machined on the Thermwood Cut Center
The walnut carving along the top as well as the crown molding were both cut on the machine and are both part of the current offering. The carving takes almost five hours to cut but adds a unique, “expensive” look that demands a premium price. The design can also be made without the carving. Note: carving and molding material such as walnut or oak is quite difficult because of the tendency of these materials to tear out during machining. The machine allows for this tendency and creates rather nice results as you can see here.

Walnut Closet machined on the Thermwood Cut Center

See at IWF 2014:

The all-new Cut Ready Cut Center is on display and cutting live at IWF 2014 in Booth #5513 at the Georgia World Congress Center - Atlanta, GA.  Make plans now to visit us and see this exciting new technology in person!

Click for More Info on the Thermwood Cut Center

Cut Center Makes Cabinets, Closets & Furniture with No Programming

Posted by Duane Marrett on Fri, Aug 15, 2014

Tags: Thermwood, Cut Ready, Cut Center, IWF, No Programming

Thermwood's Cut Center Makes Custom Cabinets with No Programming
Thermwood has recently announced a new type of machine that makes custom cabinets, closets and furniture with NO PROGRAMMING. Unlike a CNC router, where you have to create a CNC program to make something, there is no separate computer, design software or CNC programming with a cut center.  You simply select what you want and the machine makes it. 

 

just tell it what you want to make

Thermwood’s Cut Ready – Cut Center knows how to make cabinets without you having to tell it every move to make. Face frame or frameless, single or double sided material, toe kick or detached toe, screw dado or pocket dado construction, etc. Just pick what you want, adjust the size and it makes it. It also offers an extensive selection of closet cabinets, bath cabinets and furniture items, but that’s not all.

slot slide and other types of drawers

Slot Slide Drawers
The cut center makes drawers, also in several configurations: blind dado or dovetail construction, quarter inch or full thickness bottom, sized for either side mount or undermount slides. Simply tell it what kind of drawers you want and tell it to make them for cabinets you’ve cut and it handles everything else. There is also an interesting drawer called a “slot slide” which is available on closet, utility and some furniture items. The drawer bottom extends out each side of the drawer and rides in slots cut into the cabinet sides. High-tolerance machining assures smooth operation without the cost of separate hardware slides. It also means drawers can be made any depth without worrying about slide length and you don’t have to worry about alignment, since it is machined in. These are ideal for items such as closet cabinets where it saves the cost of separate hardware slides.

 

 

doors and moldings

The cut center also makes doors and drawer fronts in two versions: Slab doors and drawer fronts are cut from sheet stock so that the wood grain flows smoothly across all the doors and drawers on each cabinet. MDF doors and drawer fronts are available in over 450 styles including slab, square, arch, cathedral and applied molding (in both raised and recessed panel designs). Again, simply tell it to make doors and drawer fronts for a cabinet job and it makes them. It even makes applied ends.

On face frame cabinets you can specify wheter the doors and drawer fronts are inset, partial overlay or full overlay and the machine will automatically size them properly for that installation method.

MDF doors are made using a reverse 3D printing technique where, instead of adding a small amount of material each pass, a small amount is removed each pass. This means everything in the system is made with the standard tooling that comes with the machine. This technique is also used to make moldings.

Hundreds of molding profiles are available in the cut center and the size of most can be adjusted. These adjusted profiles are then used to make either straight or arch moldings. There are also a number of carved moldings that can be cut.

The molding area also includes profiles for the stiles and rails used on the applied molding MDF doors. This means you can make solid wood versions of those doors by cutting long sections of molding from solid wood and use them to fabricate mitered wood doors and drawer fronts, all without special molding knives.

the cut center takes care of it

The Cut Ready - Cut Center is extremely easy to operate, even by people with little technical background (at every point the machine tells you what to do). If you ever need help, a “Show Me” button on the large touch screen plays a quick video showing you how to do what the machine is telling you. It handles tool management and watches tool life automatically.

It measures tool length and diameter and adjusts tooling parameters automatically without the operator becoming involved. It handles vacuum hold down and spoilboard maintenance automatically. It automatically adjusts how it cuts parts based on their size and resurfaces the spoilboard when needed, even in the middle of a job. It can even keep track of two spoilboards, allowing for shuffle loading, which can increase throughput by about a third. It also watches routing maintenance, alerting you when you need to service something. As you might expect, a video shows you how to perform each service.

help is a just click away

If you ever need help or have a problem, you can call up a Thermwood service technician, right on the control screen. They can handle diagnostics, adjustments and parameter settings and answer questions. This is a free ongoing service for Thermwood Cut Centers.

innovative sheet flipper saves time and money

The Cut Ready - Cut Center is also equipped with a sheet flipper. Some products, especially when using single sided material or in areas like closets and furniture, require that parts are machined on both sides. The cut center groups these parts on the first few sheets of a job and does the backside machining first, on the full sheet. The sheet flipper is used to flip the sheet over so it can be machined on the front side. This makes parts machined on both sides quite easy to process and offers tremendous design flexibility for future products...and there will be many future products.

free updates

Thermwood plans to continuously expand the products that the cut center can make, based on feedback from users.  These additions will be available to all cut centers users as a free download. System software updates are also available as a free download whenever they are released.

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 of about the cost of a single employee, cut centers make sense for anyone who just wants to make cabinets and not spend a lot of time learning to program computers.

see at IWF 2014

The Cut Center will be on display and cutting live at IWF 2014 (August 20th-23rd) in Booth #5513 at the Georgia World Congress Center - Atlanta, GA.  Make plans now to visit us and see this exciting new technology in person!  We'll be demonstrating live during the show, and you can be part of it by helping to operate the cut center.  Please visit our booth (#5513) and speak to a Thermwood representative to get your hands on this exciting machine!

Click for More Info on the Thermwood Cut Center

 

Cut Center or CNC Router?

Posted by Duane Marrett on Thu, Jul 24, 2014

Tags: CNC Router, Why Purchase a Thermwood, Cut Ready, Cut Center, comparison

Thermwood CNC Router or Cut CenterWith the introduction of Thermwood’s “Cut Ready - Cut Center”, cabinet shops are faced with a fundamental decision about how to approach automating custom cabinet manufacturing. There are now two, distinctly different approaches, each with advantages and limitations:

cnc router

Most shops are aware of CNC routers and how they work. You begin with cabinet design software that is used to design products and create the CNC programs needed to make the parts. Each software provider and machine manufacturer uses a somewhat different approach, but in the end you create what you want to make with software, on a separate computer, and send the resulting programs to the machine where it is cut. With this approach, there are no limitations as to what you can make, other than limits of the software package, your design and programming skills and how much programming time you want to spend.

cut center

Cut centers take a different approach. With cut centers, everything is already in the machine. There is no separate design software or design computer. The machine itself knows how to make cabinets. Tell it how you want your cabinets made, frame or frameless, one or two sided material, assembly method…it offers you options and you select what you want. It then shows you all the cabinet configurations it knows how to make that way. Specify the size and it makes the parts for you. Because everything from product design to tooling and machine set-up is carefully controlled and coordinated, operation is a lot simpler, requiring virtually no technical training or skill. The touch screen control is intuitive so you focus on the product you are making rather than concentrating on making the product. The cut center is intended to make the bulk of products required by most cabinet shops with virtually no effort.

so which is best for your operation?

The answer probably depends on who you are and what you make. The “who you are” is defined by how enthusiastically you embrace computers, software and technology. A major advantage of cut centers is that there is no programming and it requires very little technical skill. If you embrace computers, software and don’t mind the programming time to get the complete flexibility and capability that you want, then a system that doesn’t need programming might not be for you.

-cut center advantage

If you are not very technical or don’t want to hire programmers, the cut center could offer a huge advantage. Even if you are technical, you may want to consider the amount of programming time and effort required to create programs for the products and jobs you plan to run. After all, even computer programmers buy software from others just so they don’t have to program everything themselves. Thermwood, working with professional cabinetmakers, has spent thousands and thousands of programming hours developing products the cut center can make. This is an ongoing effort, something you probably would not have time to do.

In general, if you don’t enthusiastically embrace technology, the cut center approach is probably better, but “what you make” is also important.

-cnc router advantage

If you seldom make the same thing twice and focus on truly custom products, your choice is probably design software and a CNC router, although, in these circumstances it may also be reasonable to continue making products using existing manual techniques. Sometimes programming and proofing something so it can run on a CNC router takes more time than just making it by hand, especially if you are only going to do it once. If most of what you do is a variant of a standard product line, custom cabinet boxes for example, the decision depends on whether the cabinets that the cut center makes will work for you.

cut center has a huge selection

The cabinets that the Thermwood Cut Ready - Cut Center know how to make are built around the most common ways cabinets are made and offer a lot of flexibility. They may not be exactly what you currently make in every detail but they do offer the major features. In fact, they may include features that you can’t do today that make the product easier and better. For example, Cut Ready cabinets include assembly marks on major components. These are a dot pattern machined into mating parts that show you which parts fit together and in what orientation. They are completely hidden after assembly but save a ton of time when assembling more complex pieces. They also include drawer alignment holes machined into the cabinet sides. Put alignment pins in these holes and use them to install drawer slides and drawers for quick installation and virtually perfectly alignment the first time.

While you can program exactly what you want with a CNC router, no cabinet shop could possibly invest the programming time and effort needed to duplicate even a small portion of the products a cut center can make. For example, considering all the variations, the initial Cut Ready – Cut Center can make something approaching 20,000 different cabinet configurations without counting size variations.

Another consideration is that cut centers include things you may not make today, such as drawers, doors or moldings. It may be a lot less expensive to make these things yourself as long as they are already in the machine and you don’t have to spend a lot of time and effort learning and programming them. Most shops with a CNC router will not go through the trouble to figure all this out but, with a cut center, they are just sitting there and all you have to do is say “make it”.

 


financial comparisons

Now let’s look at finances. How does the cost of these two approaches compare?

The initial cost of a ready-to-run cut center is more than the cost of a conventional CNC router. Remember however, cut centers come complete with everything, including tooling. There are no options. CNC routers tend to have a lot of options and their selection depends on what you want to do with the machine. In addition, for a true comparison you must realize they are not exactly the same thing. For a true comparison, you must add to the CNC router and option cost, all the additional costs needed to get to the same point as a cut center, that is, a system ready to run production.

You need to consider the cost of a design software package and a computer system capable of running it plus the time and cost needed to learn and operate both of them. You must also consider the cost of travel and training for both the design software and machine, including the cost of the folks being trained and any resulting disruption this might cause. Cut centers do not require in-depth technical training, so the basics needed to run them can be taught rather quickly during installation. In fact, most folks can walk up to the machine and run it with no previous instruction.

When looking at a CNC router, you also need to consider the time required to develop and test all required product programs, including the time and material needed to proof the new designs. In most cases, although the initial cost seems to be higher, you will find that a cut center may actually be somewhat less expensive than a CNC router when both are programmed and ready for production. After all that, realize that a cut center can be leased for about the same cost per hour as a single employee.

Another way to look at it is that you can lease a cut center for less than the cost of a programmer for a CNC router and after five years, lease payments for the cut center go away while the cost for the programmer probably went up.

One other factor to consider is that with both systems ready to run, the CNC router will likely have been programmed for only the basic products you make while the cut center can make a variety of additional products such as closet cabinets, utility cabinets, bath cabinets, furniture, MDF doors, dovetail drawer boxes, profile and carved moldings. This is so easy that many shops will elect to include these additional products in their product offering so cut centers could generate more business and profit with little extra effort. With the cut center, its ability to make different productws will continue to grow as Thermwood continues to develop additions. You can download these for free. With a CNC router, you cannot program additional products for free.

the bottom line

So, there it is. Two approaches with the same goal. For truly custom products and the maximum flexibility in a technically savvy environment, the CNC router is probably better. For customized standard products in a less technical environment the cut center wins out. Which is better for you? Only you can decide.

more info

For more info on the Thermwood Cut Center, please visit cutready.com.  For more info on our line of 3 and 5 axis CNC routers, please visit us at thermwood.com.

 

 

Nested Based Production the Easy Way

Posted by Duane Marrett on Wed, Jul 09, 2014

Tags: Announcements, Why Purchase a Thermwood, Cut Ready, Cut Center, Video

Quite a few custom cabinet shops haven’t automated because they just don’t like computers. They don’t want to get involved with design software, CNC programs or any other complex technology. They just want an easy method to make cabinets.  

Thermwood Cut Center is the easy way to make custom cabinets and furnitureNow, there is a way for them to automate without any of that. It’s a different kind of machine called a “Cut Center” and it is available from Thermwood. With Thermwood’s “Cut Ready - Cut Center” there is no programming, no design computer, no design software, no machine parameters or complex systems. You simply tell the machine what you want and it makes it for you.  

True, there is a huge amount of highly advanced technology in a cut center, but the user doesn’t need to know, understand or deal with it any more than you need to know and understand the technology that makes your car run. With a car, all you want to do is drive. With a cut center, all you want to do is make cabinets and a cut center knows how to make cabinets.

just tell it what you want to make

The cut center runs through a touch screen, sort of like an iPad, but a lot bigger. Tell it what you want … kitchen cabinets, closet cabinets, bath or utility cabinets, furniture, etc.  Next, (depending on what you select), tell it how you want it made…face frame or frameless, single or double sided material, toe kick or detached toe, etc. Now select a cabinet configuration from the list presented, adjust the size and make it. The machine guides you through the process, step by step.

This is pretty easy and when the cabinets are done, you can make drawers, doors and drawer fronts for those cabinets.

There are several kinds of drawers to choose from, side mount or undermount slides, blind dado or dovetail joints, slide-in bottom or full thickness bottom. It is interesting that, depending on the mounting system selected, the drawer will be a different size and built a little different but, the user does not need to deal with any of that. Just tell the machine to make drawers and it takes care of all the details.

doors and moldings

MDF doors are high-end designs that replicate quality five piece doors. They are made using a reverse 3D printing technique where, instead of adding a little material on each pass, a little is removed. This means that every door in the system can be made with the same standard tools that come with the machine, and there are already over 450 different door and drawer front designs. This same technique is also used to make moldings. Hundreds of profiles are available and each can be adjusted in both width and depth and then used to make either straight or arched moldings.

the cut center takes care of it

The cut center is really easy to use, even for people with no real machine operating experience. The control takes care of the complex areas automatically like tool management and tool life monitoring, vacuum hold down and spoilboard management and routine maintenance. It then guides the operator every step of the way and if he doesn’t understand any step, it will play a video showing him exactly what to do. And if that isn’t enough, the operator can connect to a live Thermwood technician, right on the touch screen, who can answer questions and help with any problems. This virtual service is available whenever needed, as long as you own the machine, and it’s free.

Over time, Thermwood plans to add additional products to the cut center, based on user feedback, and these additions will be available to all cut centers as a free download. System software updates are also released as a free download.

less cost over time

In the past, if you wanted to automate your cabinet production but didn’t want to deal with computers and software, you were pretty much out of luck. Today there is finally an answer, it is called a Cut Center and it can be leased for about the same cost per hour as a single employee.

more info

Here at Thermwood, we are excited about this new product and direction.  We hope it brings the benefits of modern automation to a new segment of the woodworking industry, who (for a variety of reasons), are uncomfortable with or can't work with current methods.  You can learn more about this incredible new technology at cutready.com

 

 

Thermwood Cut Center Featured on 21st Century Television

Posted by Duane Marrett on Fri, Jun 20, 2014

Tags: Announcements, Cut Ready, Cut Center, Video, Ken Susnjara, Trump

Thermwood's amazing new Cut Ready Cut Center is being featured on 21st Century Television with an interview between Thermwood's Chairman and CEO, Ken Susnjara and host Donald Trump Jr.  The cut center is a new type of machine for making cabinets, closets and furniture that requires no programming and can be run by about anyone.

The first broadcast airing of this program will be on Blooomberg Television (US) on July 27th at 6:30PM EST.

There will be multiple broadcasts in the US, Europe and Asia this summer and fall.  Exact network and broadcast times will be available by July 10th, but you can watch the program segment right now by clicking below:

More info

We at Thermwood are excited about this new product and direction.  We hope it brings the benefits of modern automation to a new segment of the woodworking industry, who (for a variety of reasons), are uncomfortable with or can't work with current methods.  You can learn more about this incredible new technology at cutready.com