Computerized Cutting Layouts
Choosing a Software
(You can probably use many drawing or CAD softwares to make a computerized cutting layout. If you already have a software that you already know how set up and to use, you can probably just use that software instead of the sofware listed below. However, you can probably use these instructions to set up and use your own software.)
"Automatic" Layout Software?
Just to be clear about what I mean by "computerized" layouts. There are two possible type of computerized layouts: automatic layouts and manual layouts. When some people hear the term "computerized" they might think that the software will automatically do the layouts for you. I have only seen one or two software that do "automatic" layouts. That means that you enter the measurements of the various pieces and the software will automatically do the layout for you. I've never used one of these. The one I mainly investigated was programmed using old style software and it was very expensive. Also, I haven't been able to find it in recent years.
Theoretically I would love to have a fully automatic layout softare. However, there are so many variations in doing layouts (i.e. doing pattern matching, etc.) that I think I prefer doing the manual layouts. I doubt that anyone will ever create a really high quality automatic layout software for upholstery because there are not enough upholsterers who could afford such a software.
Manual Layout Software
What I mean by "computerized" in this case is that I use the software to manually do the layout on the computer. This is very similar as if you were to draw the layout on some graph paper. The advantage of doing it on the computer is that you can easily move the pieces around until you get a good layout. And, if you don't like your first layout, you can easily rearrange the pieces again.
Desirable Software Features
Over the years I have tried out various drawing and publishing software to attempt to make cutting layouts. Over this time I have developed a list of features that a software MUST have in order to make it workable for creating layouts. While these features are directed at doing manual layouts, they could be used as a starting point if someone eventually wanted to ceate an automatic layout software or template.
- Must be able to create scaled-down large documents
- Need to have side and top rulers that are scaled to the sizes to be used.
- Must have a large area to create and layout pieces.
- It is very helpful to have multiple layers (a background layer (to create the fabric) and a foreground layer (to layout the pieces without affecting the background layer)
- Must be able to create transparent resizable rectangles, should be able to attach dimensioning lines to the rectangles
- Should be able to get rid of arrows and overhangsfrom the dimensioning lines.
- Need to be able to enter text into those rectangles. It would be helpful if the text could be moved around and/or have the font & size changed if needed.
- Be able to create polygons (such a T-shape or an L-shape) where edge can be easily adjusted either individually or as a mirror of the opposite edge. All edges should have the ability to have dimensioning lines attached, as well as showing the overall L X W of the entire object.
- ....... more to follow.............
To Match Patterns
In addition those features listed above, in order to help match patterns, the sofware needs
- The ability to have some type of grid system in the backgroud:
- where the grid point markes can be larger enough to be easily seen in the printed out layout
- where the grid size can be changed to correspond with the Horizontal and Vertical repeats of the fabric pattern repeats
- Have the ability to have choose the grid starting point. This would include being able to correspond with a beginning pattern match point on the fabric.
- Each Item Rectangle should have the ability to put a visible match point anywhere within the rectangle. The match point should have visible Horizontal and verticle dimension lines with measurements that print out inside the Items rectangles
- Optional: Be able to snap the match points in the Items rectangles with the grid markers on the background.