Information Technology / FitParts - Sketchup extension for cuting layouts
Fitparts works with sheet goods, deciding how many identical panels it needs for obtaining all selected parts. After that it will present directly in Sketchup one layer per every panel. Each layer is named FitParts# and it will show cutting layout, parts dimensions and parts serial numbers. The full report can be obtained with legend explaining parts serial numbers.
The Pro version of Fitparts allows edge banding type choice separately for every selected part and produce the cutting layout that reflects that bending. E.g. if a user choose the edge banding of certain part with a 2,5mm tape on two parallel sides of part, in the final cutting layout the part will be presented 5mm shorter along that dimension.
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Cutting layout procedure
- Draw Sketchup model as usual. You need to generate groups or component instances for every part you intend to enter the cutting list. If there are some ungrouped lines, curves, faces and similar elements left behind, you should collect those in one group or hide them in the drawing region so they stay away.
- Select the groups and components wanted in cutting list. The unselected elements will be ignored.
- Extensions / FitParts / Validate menu option is recommended as your own proof of concept. FitParts Pro has the handy validation option to give you the idea of complexity of selected parts and offer you a chance to correct some selected parts if necessary.The validation popup will present the potential problems before they creep into your layout: single faces, objects with missing faces, objects with suspicios number of faces. You are given a chance to correct these errors or to check the Sketchup model elements without dismissing the validation window.
- Extensions / FitParts / MakeCutlist menu option will show dialog where the proper panel size, cut size (kerf) and edge tape thickness should be entered. If you are not using the tape (no bending) then you do not need to take care of tape thickness value. Click the Cut button to generate the plans for cutting. Fitparts will generate the cutlist layouts. Every layout will be displayed in its own Sketchup Layer. Sketchup layers i.e. layouts will be accesible through Layers Window. If Layers window is not visible you can activate it in Sketchup by clicking Windows / Manage Trays / Default tray / Layout.
By using the standard Layers window you can switch manually from one Fitparts layer to the other and making the previous fitparts layer hidden; however there is better way (see paragraph number 6 in the text down).
- Extensions / FitParts / ReportAfterCutlist from menu options will show the tabular data legend with parts serial numbers and parts dimensions. No more tedious dimensions pick up from papers or from Sketchup model inspected part by part - just browse the report.
- Extensions / FitParts / Give me a good view: this option will give you the proper view of currently selected Fitparts layer if you happen to disrupt the view by rotation or whatever accidental operation that would corrupt the proper view of your layouts. Also this view will make other layers but the current one hidden.
- Extensions / FitParts / Export csv: The report data can be exported to other software in two ways: by means of menu option Extensions / FitParts / ExportToCsv or by means of cut and paste with mouse. The first method would give the clean presentation of data. Exporting with cut and paste method preserves the formatting and gives the representative look.
When user chooses 2) Make cutlist option from Fitparts menu he will decide about basic parameters. First of all you should choose the table dimensions: two predefined or a custom. The units are chosen between various standard metric units or inches.
The kirf value (width of cut) is chosen either in [mm] or [inch] units.
Edge banding [FitParts Pro feature]
FitParts Pro version allows to specify the thickness of ABS or other edge tape and to specify edges that will be banded. Every selected component from Sketchup model can be assigned a specific banding before commencing the cutting list generation. Apart from specific part banding, user can specify all parts banded the same way, accelerating the operation considerably for larger number of pieces.
Up to 4 banding tapes are supported. Every part gets up to 4 lines in his table row: first banding line (for tape A), red banding line (tape B), green banding line (tape C), and blue banding line (tape D). User can adjust banding of every part's side individually with any of 4 tapes.
If fast banding is needed, there is option "Set the same tape A banding for all parts" where one can choose the tape A banding for all parts at once. After that user is free to adjust tape A banding manually in parts table if any part banding is different than the rest of parts.
Later you can recall your banding options in report:
Grain alignment and rotation of parts
If table surface has grain or structure of some sort, designer needs a means to orient every part differently according to his needs. For that FitParts supports 90° rotation of any part individually.
FitParts will try to put into cut list almost everything you select in Sketchup model, giving you the utmost freedom. You can select either components, groups or both in your Sketchup model as long as their one-time exploded operation would give representative faces for FitParts.
FitParts will refuse selected Sketchup component/group for cutting only if serious errors are done. It is recommended to start with validation option after selecting your components. That way you will be assisted in making the necessary corrections before making the cutlist itself.
FitParts supports rectangular or non-rectangular shaped component instances and groups, with perpendicular edges and in some cases even more (possibly to further enlarge in future versions).
The thickness of panel or sheet you physically have on stock does not need to match the parts thickness in your Sketchup virtual model. That feature is mostly desired in practice because people often make drawing mistakes by choosing a few millimeters thicker or thinner parts when making their model - no problem for FitParts!
Report and export
All results FitParts makes will stay in Sketchup, keeping you inside your current and familiar environment. Do not get confused however if during the process of making layout you loose the view of your components: they are only hidden in order to present the cutting layout. All you need to recover them is find them in your Sketchup Layers window and click the checkbox to make them visible again.
FitParts will interfere minimally with Sketchup model: it will generate a few layers more (one layer per panel to be cut), it could select or deselect, change a perspective or change the view to present you the cutting layers, but no more than that. For starters: you can present panel cut list by making it's layer the only visible layer in Sketchup model (please refer to help for details). You can either keep or delete the FitParts generated layers (named FitParts, FitParts1, FitParts2,...). Printing cut blueprints is done from within Sketchup with ease and clarity, like every other Sketchup printing.
Both report and validation list can be exported to Excel format either in whole or in any wanted part. The export is done by mouse selection, coping from report or validatioin, and pasting directly into Excel application. The other way of exporting your data from Fitparts report to spreadsheet program or CutlistPlus is through menu option Extensions / Fitparts / Export to csv. The csv file will bear the same name as Sketchup drawing and be in the same directory.
The validation provides green messages (safe), blue messages (warnings, should be checked in Sketchup model) and red messages (bad). If you get red messages, the cutting layout is prevented until you repair the mistakes in Sketchup model.
In case of error, leave the Validation window active to show you reference of your mistakes, select the offending part in Sketchup Outliner Window, and correct the mistake. When you are done, restart the validation screen and follow the usual procedure if all the mistakes are corrected.
FitParts is not limited to any specific names of components or groups: it is important just to select what you want and that being a component or a group.
Both metric and English units are available.
Supported Sketchup versions: Sketchup 2018, Sketchup 2017, Sketchup 2016.
Operating system: Microsoft Windows (tested on MS Windows 10)
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Comparing FitParts versions
|Features||FitParts Basic||FitParts Pro|
|# of parts||10||large|
|# of panels||10||unlimited|
Learning how to make rectangular parts super-fast with FitParts:
Fitparts support almost any shape:
Learning how to clean your design with handy Fitparts features: