Back

User guide

Struggling with something? Chat with us on Facebook, we'll get back to you straight away.

Beginner's guide

It's easiest to start with our video walk-through.

WorkshopBuddy is designed to be simple to use. Here's a quick-start list...

  1. Scroll to the Inputs panel
  2. Enter your stock dimensions & quantity
  3. Enter your part dimensions & quantity
  4. Click the Calculate button in the bottom right
  5. View the visualization of your layout in the Workbench panel to check it looks good
  6. Use the Export panel to print your layouts
  7. Start cutting!

There are various options and settings which can tailor your layouts. Read more below.

Contents

General

Options

Inputs

Workbench

Export

Beam saws

General

Units

Units must...

See the table below for examples

Ok Unit Notes
10.5 Select Decimal from the Options tab
10 1/2 Select Fraction from the Options tab
10 1/2' Do not use notation
3' 2" Convert to inches, do not use notation
3' 2.5" Convert to inches, do not use notation
3' 2 1/2" Convert to inches, do not use notation

Decimal or fraction units can be set in the Options panel.

You can set your decimal point preferences in your account.

Projects

You can save and load your inputs, options & calculation results to access on different devices or if you're working on more than one project at the same time. A useful feature is the sharing functionality - you can send your results to someone else. We think this will be useful if you have to send your requirements to a supplier or colleague.

Importing from spreadsheets

Importing from spreadsheets such as Excel is quick and straightforward. You can copy data from your spreadsheet and paste directly into the Inputs panel. Structure your sheet with columns:

Length - Width - Quantity - Name (optional) - Trim (optional) - Banding (parts only).

Copy the values directly from the spreadsheet and paste them into the input field in WorkshopBuddy leaving out any column labels. A preview of your data is generated - if it looks ok then click the Import button. Your parts will now have imported and be ready to calculate.

Options

Stock type

There are two stock type options.

  1. Sheet material is for use with plywood, MDF, acrylic, or any other sheet materials
  2. Linear material selecting this option will remove the width inputs and adjust the visualisation for easier use with long thin materials such as construction timber. When using this option, you can ignore the width measurements on the exports and visualisation.

Layout preferences

There are currently four layout preferences available.

Maximum efficiency

Efficiency

This is ideal if you're using a jigsaw, laser cutter or CNC machine. The algorithm prioritizes layouts with the minimum number of cuts and the least waste.

Part compression direction - while in maximum efficiency mode - you can choose to suggest how the parts should be stacked - either from bottom to top (stock width), which is the default option or left to right (stock length).

Length cuts

Efficiency

This setting is designed for guillotine cutting machines such as table or beam saws when ripping stock.

While in a guillotine cutting mode there are four options.

Width cuts

Efficiency

Use this setting if you prefer guillotine cross-cuts - for example when using a mitre saw or a cross-cut sledge on a table saw.

The same options are available as for length cuts.

Set per stock

This setting allows a choice of 'length' or 'width' cuts per stock. In this mode, some of the additional options will not be available

Inputs

Stock lock

Use this option if you'd like to ensure a part is made from a particular piece of stock.

Trim

Both the stock and the parts can be trimmed. This allows a clean line to be produced around the edges of the stock, and for edge banding on the parts.

There are four trim inputs

Remember parts are always initially orientated to stock length

Trim / banding

Parts can also have a negative trim applied, which will enlarge them and allow parts to be precisely sanded or cut to shape while fitting.

Trim is visualized by small arrows on the edges of the part, which also indicate the direction of the trim (inwards or outwards).

Cost

If you add a value to this field, the cost of a project will be calculated based on the efficiency of the stock material.

Workbench

Workbench is the visualisation for the layout

Measuring cuts

Once you have generated your layout, click Show cut list to view a list of cuts. You can click on an individual cut to highlight it on the diagram.

The default cut view is Manual measurements, which measures from the edge of the stock (if using maximum efficiency mode) or the edges of the relevant section (if using edge-to-edge cuts);

If you select Lines, the measurements will be suitable for a CNC machine or similar and are measured to the center of the cut.

Moving parts

Once you have an optimized layout, you can move the position of parts. First enable Move mode then move parts to the Parts bin by either clicking on the part (efficiency mode) or using the slider (edge-to-edge mode). Click Place on a part in the bin and possible positions are show. Click on a position to place the part. Parts can be rotated, and identical parts can placed in quick succession.

Export

DXF/SVG

For automated cutting machines, DXF or SVG are commonly used formats.

PDF

There are two kinds of PDF export - Cuts and Layout. Cuts are mostly used for CNC or similar machines. Use Layout for table saws or manual tools.

Interpreting the PDF exports

PTX

PTX (Pattern Exchange) files are a universal file format designed to be used with a number of saws. The export will produce a file which is faithful to the layout, however not all layouts are possible to cut (for example some saws have a minimum part size). For the time being, it's up to you to adhere to the requirements of your saw.

When using a PTX export, ensure the stack height is set in 'Options' to allow multiple sheets to be cut simultaneously on the saw.

Beam saws

Overview

Beam saws are controlled by a file unique to the saw manufacturer, but most can either use a PTX file, or interpret one - so PTX files are the export file type used.

Beam saws have a number of constraints, from the minimum size of the parts to the maximum cutting thickness, so when using the beam saw option, each stock must have a thickness added. At the moment, it's up to you to conform to the other constraints of your particular saw.