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Cutlist Plus Woodworking Software: Indispensible!

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Review by FoggyGarage posted 1815 days ago 8720 views 1 time favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Cutlist Plus Woodworking Software: Indispensible! No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

A few years ago I found Cutlist Plus from Bridgewood software. At the time, it was the only consumer-level layout + cutting diagram software I could find. (I have recently found the cutlist plugin for Sketch-Up, and I will talk about that at the end of this review).

Cutlist is available from the Bridgewood Design website: http://cutlistplus.com/

The software is available in a few different versions. The $90 Silver version allows you to create a modest project with 50 parts, but the biggest limitation I found was that it did not allow you to create sub-assemblies as separate projects and then specify multiple copies of that assembly in a larger project. I eventually upgraded to the Gold edition, which has very few limitations. There is also a $500 Platinum version which has some extra tools that make CAD design easier. I can’t comment about those options.

CLP does layout very well. You define parts in a spreadsheet-like interface. The program has a database where you can enter in the type of material (species, thickness, board/sheet, etc), so that the material will be available in a drop down when you set up your project. Options such as edge-banding and grain orientation are also included. (I have not used the edge-banding optimization, but CLP will tell you how much you will need).

There are options for printing; diagrams with scaled boards, expanded diagrams, or just a list.

As stated previously, the Gold version allows you to import another project as an assembly, and you can then specify multiple copies of that assembly.

Here’s where things get nice…

You can also enter your existing stock into the database. So if you have 3 6”X18” 4/4 cherry boards, CLP will include those off-cuts in the optimization. And, if you have a sheet of ply in your stock, and you commit a project that cuts off half, CLP will automatically update your stock to reflect the change.

CLP allows you to label each part, and produces cutting diagrams with options to include the part name, assembly and dimensions of the cut part. You can also print the BOM to standard Avery labels so that you can stick a label on each part as you cut them to keep track. See my kitchen cabinets project to see a cool pic of 92 stiles and rails lined up with labels.

I routinely update my stock with the materials I have for a project; once in a while, especially when I am using expensive wood, I take my laptop to the lumberyard and temporarily add in the boards I find to see how well the optimization works.

For those who run a commercial shop, the program also tracks costs, time and helps you price out a project.

The Google Sketch-up plugin has an option to output the results to CLP; I tried it (as I am new to Sketchup) and it seems to work very well.

I cannot recommend this program enough. I originally bought it when I screwed up a layout on a $110 sheet of cherry plywood. I got by for a while on the Silver version, and only upgraded to Gold when I had a project that benefited with the sub assemblies options. It has been worth every cent.

On a personal note, I have communicated with their support for a printing problem I had, and they got back to me quickly and fixed the issue.

The software does have to be activated over the web (or via some other method). However, you get to install it on at least two computers and if you have to reinstall, you just click that that’s what you are doing on the registration form. This is pretty important to me, as my day job (programmer) requires me to reinstall my PCs all the time.

Quick Disclaimer: I am not affiliated in any way with the company that makes this. I just love their product.




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FoggyGarage

15 posts in 1817 days



10 comments so far

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27251 posts in 2453 days


#1 posted 1815 days ago

This is a nice review. I have used the silver version for several years and have found Cutlist to be an indispensable part of my woodworking routine. I have thought about upgrading to the gold version but so far I have been able to work around the limitations of the silver version. As you said it not only is a nice program to produce project cut lists but it also is an inventory management program.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View Rileysdad's profile

Rileysdad

110 posts in 1910 days


#2 posted 1815 days ago

I use CutListPlus too. It’s a great tool. I wish they had a Mac version. I have to run mine through a PC emulation and it’s a little quirky.

-- Measure twice, cut once, buy extra stock.

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FoggyGarage

15 posts in 1817 days


#3 posted 1815 days ago

RileysDad,

At one point I was running it both on my XP laptop and through WINE emulation on a linux workstation. I had to set up something to sync the materials database between the two, but it worked well- although I could not print from linux.

OK. Sorry for that guys. This is a woodworking site and there are more than enough places on the web to discuss software on linux machines.

View Karson's profile

Karson

34870 posts in 3032 days


#4 posted 1815 days ago

I’ve used CutlMaster and love it. Also a happy user.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware karson_morrison@bigfoot.com †

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Karson

34870 posts in 3032 days


#5 posted 1815 days ago

This is not a PC woodworking site,or a Linux woodworking site, or a Mac woodworking site, but a woodworking site. So discuss away about software for woodworkers.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware karson_morrison@bigfoot.com †

View Jimi_C's profile

Jimi_C

506 posts in 1866 days


#6 posted 1815 days ago

I second Karson, I run Linux at home as well, so it’s good to know it runs through WINE. I haven’t tried Sketch-Up on my main desktop, and my Windows laptop is work-owned, so I don’t like to install too much on it in case they complain. I really loved all those labels on parts for your cherry kitchen project, so I may look into using this when I do my own kitchen.

-- The difference between being defeated and admitting defeat is what makes all the difference in the world - Upton Sinclair, "The Jungle"

View hooky's profile

hooky

361 posts in 1950 days


#7 posted 1814 days ago

cool that sounds pretty good to me

it sounds like it would beat trying to work it out in my head

I will have to look into seeing if i can by it here in Oz

Thanks

Hooky

-- Happiness is a way of travel , not a destination (Roy Goodman)

View Wingstress's profile

Wingstress

328 posts in 2146 days


#8 posted 1810 days ago

This question might be a little off topic, but… I’m an Engineer who by day designs aerospace landing gear components using Unigraphics and or CATIA (Both very powerful programs that run about $20,000 a seat) I’m a woodworking hobbyist who loves to come home and design/build. I’m primarily a box maker, but my Engi-nerd side can’t help but want to model everything, draft it and optimize it in 3D and 2D. Because, I’m used to very powerful software where I can simulate “engine out” failures or missile strikes, I find that drawing stuff on Google sketch up to be so frustrating, because I feel like I’m just drawing free hand and I have no spacial reference or scale.

It appears that you guys use this software as a cut list and/or inventory calculator as you would in production management. I make Christmas and Birthday presents with wood (not money or business). Would you recommend that I research this product, or do you have any other (inexpensive) ideas? Please don’t say sketch-up. I’m just generally interested in being able to design stuff on my laptop, when my wife is forcing me to watch dancing with the stars with her.

Thanks for the help!
Tom

-- Tom, Simsbury, CT

View FoggyGarage's profile

FoggyGarage

15 posts in 1817 days


#9 posted 1810 days ago

Hi Tom,

You can download a trial from the website, but it’s not a modeling program. It’s really designed for optimizing your cuts from lumber to minimize waste. You enter rectangular dimensions for each part into a spreadsheet-like interface.

I don’t do any CAD, so I am just starting with Sketchup- but I can see what you are talking about in regards to scale.

View Jeison's profile

Jeison

947 posts in 1739 days


#10 posted 1699 days ago

I’ve been using this awhile myself, its a great program, I didn’t know it was compatible with Sketch Up (which I haven’t used much but its definetly more incentive to play with now!) My favorite feature is being able to define different Primary and Secondary materials so you can easily check costs with different types of materials. Its also great that you can plug in stock on hand and see not just what you need total but how much you actually need to buy. I was a little hesitant to get it because of the price, but definetly a worthwhile investment.

-- - Jei, Rockford IL - When in doubt, spray it with WD-40 and wrap it with duct tape. The details will attend to themselves.

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