just wondering what solution you guys have for component nesting on 8'x4' sheets?
I use a plunge saw running in a track at present to break-down sheets and start generating components, prior to cutting I use an online nesting program http://www.optimalon.com/online_cut_optimizer.htm which is really quick and so handy.
Clearly your SmartBench CNC would enable near finished flat components to be produced, much more so than just the straight square cuts from my track saw. However I'm unclear if your software allows the nesting (inc' orientation) of various components? The nesting software I use can compensate for the blade kerf (2mm). Typically I'd imaganine for say typical 12mm ply one would be running a spiral 6mm cutter?
Hi Mark, regarding nesting software --- I've used Cabinet Vision for casework parts, as well as Vectrics VCarve or Aspire for individually drawn parts or parts that have intricate engraving needs (including odd shaped parts), then tell the software how many of each part you want and let it build the nest and define the number of sheets needed. I also still use SketchUp to get assembly type views, then import the drawing into VCarve which will "fix" the drawing with a free plug-in. (SketchUp makes a "circle" with very small straight line segments, not arcs or curves, so they would be machined like that without being corrected. Several other issues are addressed upon importing with just a few mouse clicks).
In the US, Vectric VCarve is $699 and Cabinet Vision Essentials can be leased for around $99/month.
Your choice of software really comes down to what can produce your parts and "thinks" like you do during the design stages. We don't care what feeds the beast!
Most software packages that nest allow you to rotate parts and to select how to rotate them - 45, 90, 180 or some other angle (allowing for grain orientation or not), so that should not be a problem. They typically also let you define how far apart you want your parts in the nest to allow for "kerf". Your example was using a 6mm (1/4") cutter in 12mm (1/2") panel stock) - yes -- no problem, and I typically would use the same bit for 18mm (3/4") material, but allow another pass. Your example is perfect, because I typically set the individual parts to be 3/8" apart -- the thickness of by cutter (1/4") plus 1/8". Some packages will also do COMMON LINE cutting, where the individual parts are separated only by the thickness of the bit -- this is less commonly used, but some packages offer it. Many packages allow the software to make high speed cuts around the perimeter of the part, then come back in for a final "finishing pass" which may only take off .010" or so, leaving a very clean edge.
The software selection is very important, because that decision often controls the machining strategy used and that defines you finished product. Most packages allow you to download a trial version that will not output code, which will allow you to get familiar with the software setup and go through tutorials to see what fits you and your needs the best.
If you could give us an idea of what types of products you want to produce, forum users will be able to give you better recommendations based on experience with your specific types of product mixes.
Good luck in your research and please don't hesitate to post follow-up questions -- that's what helps the forum community be of value to Yeti users.
Eric Schiller - Yeti Tool SouthEast - sales@YetiSmartBench.com - USA