I like that Scenes idea. That will come in handy if you’re making assembly diagrams. But there could be a caveat, which I’ll explain further down.
For parts I don’t want CabWriter to handle, I figured out the easy way to “orphan” a part.
1) “Explode” the part – this wipes out everything about that component.
2) “Make Component” – while it’s still hi-lighted, turn it back into a component. The part stays in it’s current position and simply becomes a standard Sketchup component.
3) Put it on a separate layer – probably best to use 1 layer for each different material and thickness.
Note: Any duplicate instances of the CabWriter component still act as CabWriter parts. If you don’t want that, you’ll need to explode each instance.
The downside to this is – those parts won’t get included into Cutlist Plus fx, either. This may, or may not be a problem. I don’t know how many sheets I need until I run a nest routine, anyway, so it’s not that big a deal for me. I do like to use Cutlist Plus for labels, but adding a few special parts to the Cutlist project file is easy.
Since these are no longer CabWriter parts, you’ll be able to import them using whatever CNC software you usually use. If you’re using a Vectric product, it’s as easy as importing vectors, but in this case you select the Sketchup project file and choose which layers you want to import. Simply move the vectors to their matching CabWriter layers. I believe there are currently 4 CabWriter layers. ‘Construction Holes’ and ‘System Holes’, for holes, obviously. ‘Parts – Large’ and ‘Parts – Small’, for outside profile cuts. You’ll need to make new layers for inside profile cuts, pocket cuts, profiled edge cuts, engraving, carving or whatever special thing you’re doing to the part.
I will note; Vectric software (Cut-2D, VCarve Pro, Aspire) can’t differentiate Scenes. So, if you are making an exploded parts diagram in the same project file, you’ll need to be sure to put every single special part in the exploded parts scene on a separate layer. Otherwise it will get duplicated when importing inside Vectric’s software. Depending on how many special parts you have, that may, or may not be a problem.
Another Note. In another post, Joe mentioned you shouldn’t change the axes on CabWriter parts. However, if you’r making a special part and want Vectric to align the grain properly, you really should update the axes of the part. Red is X, Length (or grain direction). Green is Y, Width. Blue is Z, Height/Thickness. You should put the axes origin on the bottom plane of the part if you’re doing the traditional “Z-up” method on your CNC.
Sorry for the long post, but I think this could have a big impact on CNC folks.