Jeremiah Halla needed to quickly become productive when he opened the doors of his custom cabinetry and millwork company, Elegant Wood Creations. Making the leap to entrepreneurship was daunting, but he hit the ground running by investing in the machinery and software necessary to ensure he would be in full production by the time his first customer walked through the door.
“I got Cabinet Vision a few months before opening the business, and now I can’t even imagine doing everything that we do here by hand,” he says. “It just wouldn’t work without the software – I feel like you’re much more accurate with a CNC machine.”
Located in Turlock, California, Elegant Wood Creations produces a range of custom cabinetry and millwork, including kitchens, entertainment centres, vanities, closets, home offices, bookcases, mantels, and floating shelves, and meets a diverse array of one-of-a-kind demands.
Jeremiah Halla uses Cabinet Vision’s Screen-to-Machine (S2M) Center to perform all the company’s design work, manage job details, and generate NC code that is sent to CNC machinery on the shop floor. The software – part of Hexagon’s Smart Manufacturing portfolio – has helped the small company win jobs and produce a large volume of products, with just two employees.
He uses Cabinet Vision’s realistic rendering capabilities to help customers understand and visualise design details. “I’ve had people tell me they went with my company because I was able to show them a 3D picture,” he says. “There are businesses that come to potential customers with drawings on graph paper, and that isn’t a strong selling point. Most people want to see something to help them visualise – and I’ve had people think that Cabinet Vision renderings are actual photographs.”
The solution’s graphics capabilities are an advantage when working with contractors, as well. “Sometimes contractors want me to render projects to help sell a job. I can take plan views and elevation views and give them to a contractor to lay out all their plumbing and electrical work. With Cabinet Vision, what you see is what you get, and contractors love that.”
In addition to its strong visual capabilities, Cabinet Vision simplifies the process of making design changes, as the software automatically resizes all affected parts when adjustments to size are made.
“Unlike doing everything by hand, if I want to change the width of a cabinet, the system will do it for me. I don’t have to go in by hand and calculate changes to all of the parts, so it takes out a lot of the margin for human error.”
Before sending projects to the shop floor, Jeremih Halla takes advantage of Cabinet Vision’s powerful nesting engine to boost efficiency and maximise material yield. “I only have little pieces of scrap wood now, whereas before the CNC machine and Cabinet Vision, there was a lot more,” he says. “It’s awesome.”
While he typically nests the parts automatically, the software allows him to edit automatically-generated nests if needed. This combined programming flexibility and power enables him to automate as many tasks as possible while retaining control over the entire production process.
“Cabinet Vision drills our holes, cuts our dadoes, and, if we have a special hole or other special feature, it will take care of that for us, too,” he says. “It’s nice to be able to draw something and have it cut exactly the way I drew it. I draw it and the guys cut it, paint it, and send it out. It makes everything a lot easier.”
Cut lists, material lists and assembly sheets are generated with information derived from project designs. In addition to reducing error, these detailed lists and instructions helps everyone to understand jobs at a glance.
“The elevation view is great to send out to the guys on the shop floor. If there are variations in the CAD part, I can simply type notes into it. It makes it a lot easier to communicate important job details, which helps us avoid making mistakes.”
Cabinet Vision and CNC machinery ensure that shop time at Elegant Wood Creations is optimised, as time that would otherwise be devoted to cutting projects by hand can be devoted to other tasks.
“The guys can be doing something else while the router is cutting a sheet, so it’s really like having another employee, or even two,” concludes Jeremiah. “This is a small shop, but investing in the machinery and Cabinet Vision was still less than I would pay a monthly employee.”