Viewing 10 posts - 1 through 10 (of 10 total)
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  • #8413
    Steven Konecny
    Spectator

    First off, I’m still learning the ins and outs of this software, so thanks in advance for your patience with all the questions lately.

    If I were to create a group of CabWriter components, would that cause problems with the software trying to run other routines, like renumbering cabinets or running reports.
    For example, I may want to group similar components together, like a single cabinet and all it’s parts. Or, maybe I want to group custom parts within a single cabinet together. A specific example is copying drawer banks for custom made drawer boxes, since I make my own.

    Similarly, If I were to create a new layer(s) and put CabWriter parts (either custom ones or software generated), would that cause issues?
    A good example here would be for parts I know CabWriter would have difficulty with, and I would want these on a separate layer to make importing into VCarve easier. VCarve will import Sketchup vectors based on the Sketchup layers, if you want. In this case, it would actually be helpful if they dropped off the CabWriter export, so I don’t accidentally get duplicate parts on the CNC job. Of course, I suppose I could simply recreate those parts and not make them CabWriter parts.
    Another example is just simple layer management during design. I really comes in handy to be able to hide or show part categories at will.

    Thanks,
    Steve

    #8454
    cabwriter
    Keymaster

    Hi Steve,

    Sorry for the late response on this; I’ll take a stab at it, but Joe might have better insight into this.

    I’m almost positive you would cause problems if you grouped components together, and most likely if you switched parts to new layers. Of course, you can always copy parts and put them on different layers, but that could cause problems with the cutlist. Joe is working on some solutions to that problem, however. Joe might have more insight on the layer issues.

    As for the VCarve SketchUp import, are you talking about custom parts that wouldn’t normally get exported via the DXF? If that’s the case, you may be able to get away with those parts being on different layers so you don’t duplicate anything. However, SketchUp has a couple of issues with importing parts from a CabWriter model, with the biggest issue being that it doesn’t necessarily know which face of a part should be up. Also, it doesn’t have a way of dealing with grain orientation or part labeling, so I prefer to use the DXF export.

    Not sure if I really answered the question or not, but we can keep the conversation going.

    Thanks,
    Greg

    #8507
    Steven Konecny
    Spectator

    Hi Greg,
    You’re right, creating groups of CabWriter components causes several hiccups. I’ll just have to remember to explode everything before I run the documentation.

    On the layers bit, I’m talking about parts that CabWriter can’t handle correctly (for now, v2.0 will fix a lot of this). For example, parts that need a pocket cut, or an inside profile cut.

    I tried it out several ways, but copying CabWriter parts seems to cause problems; CabWriter wants to own it forever if it created a part, no matter how you try to orphan it. Short of completely redrawing the part, just copying, renaming it, moving it to another layer, and a few other things I tried, all seem to cause an error message. I think what’s needed here is an “Orphan Part” button, where it strips out all CabWriter related information and links. Then I can safely put it on another layer, modify to my heart’s content, and import it using Vectric’s Sketchup import tool. Or, Joe might know an easy way that I didn’t try, or maybe (probably) I didn’t do something right.

    Vectric’s importer will let you grab parts on a specific layer, that way you can just get the special parts and it will ignore everything else in the model. It will put those parts on one layer, named exactly as it’s named in Sketchup. If you pick multiple layers to import, then whatever parts were in those layers will import onto same named layers in Vectric. If your importing after already opening a CabWriter DXF, then you’ll have to manually move vectors to the appropriate layers to match up with the rest of the CabWriter parts.

    It sounds like a lot of extra work, but it’s not really that big a deal unless you made parts that need a whole bunch of different toolpathing layers. Otherwise, move vectors to the 3 or 4 pre-made CabWriter layers and you’re done.

    Steve

    #8548
    chiefwoodworker
    Keymaster

    Hi Steve,

    While I have never tried this, I believe that if you delete the CabWriter prefix from all of the CabWriter parts you want to orphan it should work. For example, using Entity Info to rename C2LB1 Right Side to Right Side should orphan it from CabWriter. But be careful; sometimes the only thing that makes a part unique is the prefix. For example, C2LB1 Right Side and C11UB1 Right Side would be the same definition name if all you did was delete the prefix. So you might just want to use your own custom prefix. For example, C2LB1 Right Side becomes SK2LBI Right SIde or just S2LB1 Right SIde.

    Greg made mention of a problem we are working on. Let me expand a little. Right now the CabWriter Production Documentation command assumes there are only the correct number of component instances in a model. However, some people might like to create exploded views by copying parts and putting them on another layer and then pulling them apart. The problem is that this would inflate the cut list and DXF files because it would include those parts copied to another layer. This week I am working on a solution that requires the user to specify a Cut List scene and a DXF scene that would have only the component instances the user wishes to include in the cut lis and dxf exports. Those scenes would include only the layers with those component instances.

    This would partially solve the problem you have above, but not completely. Because, if you copied a CabWriter part to another layer and then modified it for plumbing holes for example, you would have changed the original parts. So you need to still change the prefix. Eventually, we will have this problem resolved when we are able to handle cut out etc. in version 2.0.

    Joe…..

    #8575
    Steven Konecny
    Spectator

    Hi Joe,
    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.

    Steve

    #8576
    Steven Konecny
    Spectator

    Just a quick clarification on step 2.

    You shouldn’t use the CabWriter name. You’ll need to give it a name that CabWriter will ignore.

    Steve

    #8627
    Steven Konecny
    Spectator

    I just noticed something else… not sure if it makes a difference or not, but…

    CabWriter moves component entities to the component’s layer, instead of leaving them on layer 0. I went to a SketchUp training a few years ago, and they said one of the cardinal rules of SketchUp was to leave entities of components on layer 0; only the component itself, and sub-components should be put on another layer. And, of course, never leave a component or sub-component on layer 0. Along with that decree, it was emphasized that there are many ways to use SketchUp, and these rules aren’t going to break anything if not followed. So, the lesson learned was, do this so the masses have a standard to follow, but it doesn’t really matter if you do it, or not.

    So, steb 1.1 might be: Select Layer 0 for all entities.
    After exploding, all the entities of the component will be hi-lighted, so all you need to do is select layer 0 from the entities tray.

    It actually doesn’t matter when you do this step. You can do it after you make it a component, too. If you already made it a component, triple-click on the component to open it and select all it’s entities, then select layer 0.

    I was thinking this step is necessary based on Joe’s previous comments about CabWriter looking at layers, but again, it might not matter.

    Steve

    #8628
    chiefwoodworker
    Keymaster

    Hi Steve,

    Correction to this statement: “CabWriter moves component entities to the component’s layer, instead of leaving them on layer 0. I went to a SketchUp training a few years ago, and they said one of the cardinal rules of SketchUp was to leave entities of components on layer 0; only the component itself, and sub-components should be put on another layer.”

    CabWriter does not move component entities to a layer other than Layer0. It is the process of exploding a component that moves its entities to the layer that the component resided on before using the Explode tool. You can check this out for yourself. Choose a CabWriter component and unlock it. The use Edit Component and examine its entities and you will see they are on Layer0. Now Explode the component and you will see they have been moved to the layer the component was originally on.

    I have never understood why SketchUp moves the entities when the Explode tool is used. But it does. When I teach SketchUp I hand out a FAQ (attached) and on page 10 is the topic “Beware of Context Menu Explode!”. It is a real source of problems for beginner SketchUp users.

    Joe….

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    #8630
    Steven Konecny
    Spectator

    Hey, they’re breaking their own not-so-important rules! Thanks for the clarification Joe. Didn’t mean to make it sound like I was making your fine work look bad.

    Sooooo, SketchUp creates it’s own problems, which is nothing new to those of us who have used it for awhile.

    That’s a handy FAQ, btw.

    Steve

    #8632
    chiefwoodworker
    Keymaster

    Steve,

    No problem. No offense taken. I just wanted to clarify what was creating the problem. And yes, SketchUp does get in its own way at times.

    Joe….

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