If you have ever worked on anything that requires more than the basic amount of cut management, and you want to ensure you do not waste material while also saving on costs then you might want to use cut optimizers.
Essentially they do the math for you. You insert the lengths or sheets available in stock and also input the required pieces you need. You add the minor details like the size of your saw (so it also calculates the loss between the cuts) and then it provides you with the most optimal lengths/dimensions of sheets to purchase. Instead of buying 2 sheets, you may be able to fit it in 1, for example.
After looking around I found a few apps/programs that does this and of course I’ll share them here, but let me first state that this post is a work in progress as I am still not fully satisfied with regards to what I have found and used.
This is mostly due to my lack of experience (basically not enough tries yet) and a bit of knowledge in the area (what is the correct way of doing these things). So you’ll have to bare with me or feel free to correct me.
Cutter – Cutting Optimizer
In no specific order, the first one is this. I really like this one in terms of the UI, it’s newbie friendly, but it seems like there’s only one configuration and the results were quite simplistic and noticed unnecessary waste, no different to the calculations I did off the top of my head. I even decided I could do better in terms of wastage and less cuts and I actually did. Weird.
Looks a lot more sophisticated than the above application, however this is a little more ideal for sheets rather than timber lengths. There’s a great visual result, but it’s not good for timber lengths. Still can use it on lengths though. Takes a little to process the result for you.
Another issue I find is that I would simply like to know how many pieces I need to buy, how many cuts and where I would need to cut after. Really long winded way so far.
This one looks a lot more basic compared to the other two. It seems focused only on sheets. It assumes you have one sheet and want to produce your pieces from that one sheet.
The visual results are good, you can go full screen and rotate, but can’t seem to zoom in.
This is ideal if your project is based on one panel/sheet and you want save as much off the board/sheet/panel as possible. In my opinion this is simply just a helping had, rather than heavy calculations that you normally can’t do right away.
This one seems to be the most clear and all round tool. Sheets and also linear materials. Some of the others once you close the app you have to save/export it or it disappears. This one you can even create projects.
Clear with each tab, pieces, stock and results. If I had to recommend based on UI, it would be this.
They’re all so slightly different and have their benefits that I can’t decide which one is best, but if I had to choose right now, it would be Cut Master. There are more apps out there that do this job, I’ll be continuing to try them all. I’ve yet to decide which one actually does the best optimizations. My only thought here is it sucks that businesses don’t simply stock the longest size, you order to your specifications and you either pick up or they send out what you need, no wastage.