I'm planning to build the "ultimate" router table from Fine Woodworking
("FWW") #153 Winter 2000-2001. Basically the table is comprised of
panels of medium-density fiberboard ("MDF"). So the question is how
much MDF is needed and how should the cuts be made.
I'm using Adobe Illustrator ("AI") creating a large 8' x 4' area to
represent the MDF sheet and then creating the various shapes
representing the parts I'll need so I can arrange them in a layout that
will maximize my use of the MDF sheet. I used to do this in Micrografx
Designer, but the version I have does not install on Windows 2000, so
I'm trying Adobe Illustrator. This might be done in Microsoft
I did a quick search of the newsgroup to see if others have done this
when they are planning their cut lists and did not find anything.
Is anyone else using AI for this type of activity? If a cut list could
be imported into AI from Microsoft Excel so all the shapes are
automatically, through a script, created and ready to move around, would
this be of any use to anyone? Or what about PowerPoint?
Does anyone else like to do this kind of planning using computer
software? It seems this could be a useful tool to those who have the
There are a number of programs available for laying out parts in sheet
goods. Here is a "semi-free" one. http://www.rksoft.sk (named Optimik).
The usual disclaimer...no affiliation etc. (in fact, although I use
Optimik, I find it a bit cumbersome) YMMV
Also, check out Cutlist Plus, < http://www.bridgewooddesign.com/ . It
has various cost levels from $30 to $200. For a small setup such as you
are planning, the $30 version should work well. You can try it free with
If you're gonna be dumb, you better be tough
Thanks for the pointer but dear god save me from this user interface
Despite being CAD literate and woodworking for nigh on 30 years this
has got to be one of the worst UI's I've EVER come across.
Save yourself all the trouble. Get the easiest and most powerful sheet
layout software on the market to date. www.cutlistplus.com and
www.cutlistplus.ca for Canadians.
I bought it and used it extensively. Very happy. Great customer
service if you have questions.
Just my 0.02
THIS is an OT Reply!
The type of program you are using is a Vector Graphic program which is a
little different from a CAD or CAM program. Adobe Illustrator, and its
competitors, are for the graphic illustration folks. I use the Corel Draw
program. Long Live Bezier curves.
To be blunt, it should do what you need if you take care with the
limitations of a vector graphic program. You will not have the accuracy in
your drawing or plotting for anything like a roll top desk with 10 drawers.
If you are cutting the MDF sheet with circular saw on saw horses, or with a
saber saw, go for it. Avoid A.I. if you are using a CNC router. Just be
sure to use a wide "points" for your line widths to account for cutting
kerf. I doubt you will have accuracy down to under 1/64 inch.
BTW: Micrografx Designer is now Corel Designer, since the buy out. You can
still use Designer 3.x and 4.x (from Windows 3.1 days) to qualify for
upgrades to full Corel products purchase. From the Corel web site, the
Corel Draw and Designer products differ only in the precision of the
placement of objects, some tools to make life easier for precision
placement, plus libraries of well known objects. Many features of Designer
are included in version 12 of Draw IMHO. I used my copy of Micrografx 4.1
to qualify for upgrade to latest version of Draw ($500.00 vs. $130.00 for
upgrade.) OT: Corel now has Paint Shop Pro which was by Jasc.
As far as a macro of importing an excel spread sheet, if you feel you want
to do it go for it. It will be of limited use, because the macro's will be
specific to your A.I. and version and may not be compatible to A.I.
competitors. I think the effort is too much for the benefits.
I think I have rambled on enough for now.
On Sat, 18 Jun 2005 17:55:47 -0400, Another Phil wrote:
I use AI for design. I've tried to do technical drawings with it but it's
the wrong tool for that job. It'll work ok for the OP's purpose, but not
as well as the dedicated cutlist apps. Use AI for design, doodling, or
small curvy things such as bowsaws.
If one is comfortable with postscript, Excel is super for making ps code.
The AI version is irrelevant. Basic postscript files import just fine into
any AI. Long ago I did the same sort of thing with a Micrographix
Save us from cubic splines!
"Keep your ass behind you"
vladimir a t mad scientist com
Should work great! You got your rulers (rules) and scaling
abilities...I see no reason why that wouldn't work.
I use AI a lot for small parts and draw them 1 : 1, particularly
letters and numbers.
There are many plug-ins available for AI that do CAD functions such as
dimensioning. Just Google away.
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