Introduction to SWOOD – Woodworking for SOLIDWORKS

SWOOD is a fully integrated
design to manufacture furniture and joinery solution for
SOLIDWORKS. SWOOD has been developed
specifically for the furniture, point of sale and joinery
industry that streamlines the workflow to take concept to
design, then straight to the CNC
machine, without having to use multiple separated software
solutions. Having a fully integrated
solution means that information can be accurately passed from
the design stage to manufacture and then any last minute design
changes can be reflected in the manufacturing information almost
instantly. SWOOD is separated into three
separate modules consisting of SWOOD Design, SWOOD CAM and
SWOOD Nesting.

SWOOD Design is a tool that allows for
easy and efficient furniture and joinery design. Tasks that would
take minutes or hours in standard SOLIDWORKS or other
CAD platforms will only take seconds with the added
functionality of SWOOD. SWOOD has been developed by people
from the industry with input from users across the world. SWOOD uses parametric modelling
rule based design and a fully open source design library to
massively increase the speed of initial design and future design
changes. Although a lot of the time
furniture point of sale and joinery work, can be classified
as bespoke, there are common repeatable factors used across
all projects within a company. This could be down to the type
of connectors the draw runners, or the type of hinges. If you consider the work you do
you will see many reoccurring aspects of the design process
that you may be currently needlessly repeating. In SWOOD we eradicate this problem by
using parametric reusable templates.

In the SWOOD Design
task pane we have a selection of framed
templates, these templates are a range of different constructions
that can be used across a variety of different projects. These basic frame templates can
be used as a base to construct a wide range of furniture without
the need to draw the same frame multiple times. Using SWOOD all
the frames will be fully parametric and can change the
height, width and depth at any stage of the workflow.
The frame library like the rest of this SWOOD Design library is
completely open source so there are no limitations on the number
or the type of frame styles that you can have within your
library. SWOOD has its very own material library. These materials can be applied
to a single panel or multiple panels at any one time using
this library a range of detailed information can be added to each
panel that can be used for manufacturing and casting

The materials will control the
thickness of the panel it has been added to, as well as using
the parametric frame set up and will therefore resize to ensure
that there is no gap or overlay at any of the joints. The material will also add and
control information such as texture, grain direction,
costing, supply reference and much much more. The automatic application of
textures means that any model can be quickly taken into
visualise to be rendered with very little effort. SWOOD has
also streamlined the addition of connectors through drag and drop
rule based workflows. This means that rather than
having to dimension and create connectors every time we have
standardized the rules so that connectors can be added to any
size of panel and calculate the required spacing and quantities
for each connection.

These can be added individually via drag
and drop process or within multiple groups. The benefit of this means quick
efficient and easy addition of connectors and allows the
standardization of connectors spacing and quantity across the
whole design department. The Connector library comes with
many default examples however SWOOD allows the user to create
any rule based connections such as cams, dowells biscuits,
clamex, mortise and tenon, screws, rafix and any other
custom fittings. Another detail that can be
tricky to add at the design stage and even more difficult to
communicate to manufacture, is the type location and order of
edge bands. However using SWOOD we can
quickly add the detail of edge bands to any required side
simply by dragging onto the specified edge. This will remove the thickness
of the edge band from the panel itself and then re add the edge
band to ensure the panel always stays at the finish size.

Importantly the order of edge
bands is controlled by the order the user applies them in, the
type location and order of the edge bands is fully communicated
at the reporting stage of the design process. For the rest of the design we
can break down the requirements into drag and drop parametric
modular sub assemblies. When you break down a project
there will be many items that are variations of past set ups.

This may be drawers, shelves,
doors or something else. However these items are just
repeatable variations. For example one project may have
a cabinet with four shelves or the next project may have five. In a situation like this,
redrawing the shells for every project or cabinet is a
duplication of effort and is therefore very inefficient. However SWOOD boxes are reusable
rule based templates that can be used across multiple projects. They can be added to the
interior or exterior of a frame. These can include doors, hinges,
drawers feet, shelves, partitions, handles and much,
much more. Once the individual cabinets have been constructed. They can be added into a layout.

This layout can be drawn
directly in SOLIDWORKS or imported from architect
drawings. Frames can be added to specific
locations and sizes using sketch points to constrain them. Because it is inserting a copy
of your template you can reuse the same frame multiple times in
one project in different locations and different sizes. Once all this detail has been
added the information needs to be extracted to be useful. Manufacturing quoting and
purchasing using this would report all relevant information
can be automatically extracted and presented in a tidy and easy
to communicate format that can be viewed by someone without

This content includes cutting
lists, labels, hardware lists, cost summaries, cSVs and excel
documents. SWOOD CAM is a fully integrated two and a half to
five axis CAM solution enabling you to drive multiple CNC
machines from one software solution suite. CAM allows the user detailed and
manual creation for complex tool path for optimizes the creation
of programs through the use of automatic feature recognition as
well as automating up to 90 percent of required operations. On any given project these
automatic operations include drilling, contouring, pocketing,
grooving, sawing, clamex and even five axis roughing and
finishing operations. Because the CAM module is fully
integrated with SOLIDWORKS it means that any changes to the
design can be instantly updated in the tool paths automatically
removing the need to recreate programs after any changes to
the design.

Once all the programs have been
created for every panel a switch to report can now be run. This report will batch export
all the programs of every panel in the assembly, produce a label
for each program and provide further detail information for
each program. SWOOD Nesting is a bolt on to the SWOOD CAM module. It enables the user to optimize
the location and orientation of panels on larger boards to be
manufactured on a CNC machine, SWOOD Nesting will automatically
sort panels based on material and panel thickness.

Once the panels are oriented on
the board itself this will be based on defined grain direction
of the individual panels and the larger board once the panel
orientation and position has been automatically assigned. The user has full control to
manually alter the arrangements of panels. Using manual nesting not only allows the possession
and orientation of panels to be altered but you can also define
the order panel as a cut in, the location and side of tabs, the lead in and lead out for
each panel on the board.

A SOLIDWORKS assembly is then
created based on the setting and requirements of the nest, tool
paths can be added to the nest either through importing the
tool path from each panel or adding saved automatic feature
recognition or operations via a drag and drop process. Once all tool paths are added a
SWOOD report can be finally run which will batch export the
program for all sheets, provide labels and documents showing and
identifying each panel on the board to be used to the operator
to identify each panel as it comes onto the machine..

As found on YouTube

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