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User guide

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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.

General

Units

Decimal or fraction units can be set in the Inputs panel. Feel free to use inches, cm, mm or any unit you like - but it's essential to be consistent.

You can set your decimal point preferences in your account.

Measuring cuts

The cut position measurements are made from the center of the cut. This means that CNC, laser and automatic cutting machines can follow the line correctly. For bench and table saws, the cut is usually measured from one side of the blade, in which case it's best to use the layout pdf export and align to the edges of the parts as you usually do.

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.

Guillotine cuts - while in maximum efficiency mode - you can choose to add guillotine cuts that span the width or length of the stock. This can be useful when using machines that can only make full-length cuts or when cutting down a sheet for use on a more precise tool. The cuts will be shown where they naturally occur. If you'd prefer to optimise the layout for rip or cross cuts, you should use the dedicated layout preference options.

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

Moving parts

If you'd like to tweak a generated layout, you have the option to move parts around if you're using efficiency mode. Click on the 'Move mode' button below the Workbench, then click on the part you'd like to move. Available positions are then shown. Clicking again on the part will show rotated positions. Finally, click on one of the generated positions to complete the move.

Export

DXF/SVG

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