File Guidelines

Before you are ready to save your file, double check that you are preventing any small mistakes by following these guidelines:

  • Check your structure tree: do all the parts have the right name?

  • Make sure your file is composed of volumes instead of connected surfaces/faces.

    • Tip: Most of the time you can see this by checking the icons in your structure tree.

  • If you have converted the file, make sure you have deleted all old loose lines and points. This will help prevent mistakes or translations to other file types.

  • Review your cross sections to see if the panels are touching or if parts are colliding. Make sure the panels are the right size.

Checklist for a perfect file

Before uploading a file to Cutr, make sure you are clear on your design needs:

  • Name of product

  • Structure tree, named per part, grouped per corpus

  • Right material, organised per thickness

  • Room for tolerances/adjusting

  • Quantity

  • Finish (oiling, varnishing or spray paint)

  • If you send a PDF, make sure to include a legend and the right projections (US projection preferred)

  • Recurring order: yes/no

  • Assembly needed: yes/no

  • Sanding: with which grain number (P120, P180 etc)

  • Finish: which kind of finish

  • Edgebanded, yes/no and thickness (1 or 2 mm)

  • Transported: yes/no

Common mistakes

We’ve reviewed quite a few design files. Here are the most common mistakes we have seen:

  • Dowel holes are too small or not deep enough

  • The design uses the wrong thickness for a particular material

  • There is not enough space in between doors (best practice is to leave 3 mm)

  • The design tries to make edges align (joiners recommend to offset edges a bit to account for wood expansion in changing humidity and temperatures).

  • Incorrect naming of parts

  • Certain parts of a design which were drawn using the mirror function of certain software programs get incorrectly translated as identical pieces in the maker’s software, leading to the manufacturing of two (or more) identical pieces instead of mirrored pieces. Designers should take care to make these elements independent before exporting their file and uploading to Cutr.

Here is an example of how these mistakes could end up leading to errors in your finished product:

Why is the right thickness important?

Say for example, you want to have MDF with HPL used in your design. The standard thickness for MDF is 18 mm. If you request HPL, we will need to glue HPL on both sides of the panel, otherwise your panel will bend.

HPL is 0.6 mm thickness. So, your panel will then become 19.2 mm thick, instead of 18 mm. Further, if this design is for a corpus with two sides (left side/right side), your cabinet will end up being 2.4 mm wider than your design. If this isn’t taken into account within your design, your panel may not fit correctly.

This can also impact the location of your dowel holes. Normally, your dowel hole is centered. With an 18 mm, it is positioned at 9 mm, but if your panel is now 19.2, the dowel hole will no longer be centered at 9 mm on the attached panel. A joiner would technically have to move the hole to 9.6 mm. This can cause a lot of issues at scale.

Why is having a good file important?

  • Your design can be understood at a technical level by other designers, engineers, and makers

  • It aligns expectations on both sides: the maker knows exactly what to produce, the client knows what they will get as a finished product

  • Less opportunities to make production mistakes

  • Less opportunities to find mistakes while assembling

  • If the file is perfect, it is easy to reproduce. Recurring orders will be a breeze.

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