I know this is going to sound silly but before anyone thinks otherwise I am new at this and I have been told to find already made designs to “plug and play” into the foreman elite I bought until I feel “brave enough” to challenge myself and learn how to make designs in vcarve.
That being said, is there a design program where I can add height, width, and depth which will design a cabinet for a kitchen or bathroom and I can add detail to doors and drawers?
sounds to me as if you have been told that before you travel to the destination you would like to go to or that you have in mind, you should first go to other places where others have already been.
I think if you are new to designing virtual models in 3D (which you want to export as toolpath and mill on your CNC machine), you should know that when attempting to master a CNC machine, learning to use a CAD/CAM software is what takes the most time. Therefore my opinion is, the sooner you start with working with a CAD/CAM software, the better.
I would also suggest looking for ways to use parameters or variables in your designs as you learn, this makes your designs more reusable by simply updating a value that then changes the cut size of various parts. This is particularly useful for things like doors and drawers where the variation of .010" in plywood thickness from one batch to another can result in poor joint fitment or even the drawers binding in the cabinet box.
If you’re up for it Fusion360 has a free version many people use. Some say it is tricky to use , i cant remember as i started tinkering with it years ago. it is good for parametric modelling (creating designs where you can change your design by updating a parameter you have created, like ‘plywood thickness’, ‘table leg length’… as mentioned above).
All sounds overwhelming all these programs but I hear Fusion 360 a lot and the more I hear the more I want to learn. I got VCarve for free when I bought the machine and from what I have watched and read it seems to be a powerful program just apprehensive about this “Old Dog” learning “new tricks”…….
They’re definitely pricey, but easily pay for themselves if you’re selling cabinets. $150 for the month is paid in less than an hour of cut time. And the ability to knock out full cabinet designs in minutes versus hours or days with a general purpose modeler is priceless. Not to mention the ability to track costs.
Not sure if a hobby-level machine is much good for anything but prototyping and testing however, so the costs of the software won’t necessarily make sense until you can cut on a larger surface.
I toured a production shop with a 5x10 CNC combined with automatic feeders, labeling hardware, vacuum table etc (around a 200k setup) using Mozaik for design. They were cutting out about 10 cabinet boxes an hour. Definitely worth the price with that type of production hardware to back it up.
I don’t make many cabinets (maybe 10 a month) and I also use Fusion360 for most of my work and parametric modeling for my designs, yes it takes time but design once, reuse many . I will say Fusion can be a bit quirky in how it handles dimensions and parameters, generally I find it best to reference all dimensions from the same point or edge otherwise as it resizes things it may switch the left/right orientation of the dimension
For example, you have a part that is 12" wide (via a parameter), on that part you have a 1/4"x1/4" dado 1/2" from each edge fixed in place via a dimension to each edge. You now change the width to 10", the dado on the right is now 1/2" out in space, still technically 1/2" from the edge.
A better way is to measure all dimensions from one edge, makes a little more of a PITA to setup parametrically when your dimensions are now something like “width - (2*plywood_thickness) + 1/2”, it’s times like that the off the shelf software looks very attractive for the price.
Dan, because you are using V-Carve already, if you go to the Vectric Forum site, and search for “EasyCabinetBaseVer15.1”. You can see that there have been guys there perfecting a gadget to aid in the making of cabinets. I personally have not used it, but they have put a lot of work in it. Not sure what version of V-Carve you are using or if there is a limit with the Gadget, but it may be worth checking into…
Carcasses are typically melamine or other veneer over particle board, same over plywood, or Baltic birch plywood. Edge banding applied. Drawers Baltic birch plywood, no edge banding. Doors, drawer fronts, and end panels usually MDF or hardwood - paint or thermofoil over MDF, stain over hardwood.
You’ll probably find some variation of materials and construction style based on geographical/regional norms.