Cut List -- using Adobe Illustrator


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 PowerPoint, too.
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 software.
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I would guess that most people who wanted to do this would use a CAD program.
todd
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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
MikeG.
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... snip

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 limited functionality.
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Thanks for the pointer but dear god save me from this user interface hell.
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.
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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
Wally

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THIS is an OT Reply!
John:
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.
Phil

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On Sat, 18 Jun 2005 17:55:47 -0400, Another Phil wrote:

[snip]
you want

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 product (Designer?).
Save us from cubic splines!
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A completely free, capable Cut List program... http://www.delphiforfun.org/Programs/CutList.htm
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Hi JeffB
Just what I needed - thanks for posting it!
Dave
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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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On Sat, 18 Jun 2005 20:59:05 -0400, Robatoy wrote:

dang. Now you tell me...
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Snip
There is a posting here about using "AI" by a member, see his reply where he mentions a plug-in called Cad Tools. http://www.woodworking.com/dcforum/DCForumID7/2059.html
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