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I’m thinking of making the switch to CA from 2020 v11. I’ve always been interested in the software. The simple things that CA seems to do so easily that are just so time consuming in 2020 such as wall dimensioned elevations, detailed professional notes, the renderings produced so easily are just light years ahead of 2020. I realize there have been many threads about the difference between them. If any of my concerns have already been spelled out in another thread or videos please copy the link in your response.

 

My current company hired me because of my 2020 skill set, but I've always believed that CA is the real program that can really blow the minds off any Higher end client.

 

Right now we export our finished 2020 layouts as a CSV. File then import it to a program that prices out all of our jobs (equilibrium). I’ve read that you could make a cabinet schedule and create a csv. File out of that? Doing this will be vital to making the leap, If so I’d love to find out more about that process. If this can be done it will put the owner of my company at ease. He will be opposed to this change simply because most of our cabinet Manuf. don't support CA with catalogs. I’m looking for reassurance from you guys that even though there is no Cab brand CA catalogs it is still easy enough to create door styles that are similar, cabinet colors will be easy to mimic.

The templates seem to be more user friendly as well as working within them, and I’d love to know if there is a video showing how to use them. I’ve attached a typical presentation that I give my customers w/2020. I’d love for someone to attach some examples of preferably kitchen jobs they’ve done for there customers w/ CA.

 

I'm 28 years old I've been using 2020 for 5 years I went to a vocational school where I used AutoCAD for about 3+ years since then have used updated versions of AC. So I want to believe it will be an easy transition.  Feel free to email me with any info in regards to major differences between the 2 programs or an sample layout presentation.

 

I look forward to hearing all of your different thoughts.

Sample Plans.pdf

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1 hour ago, paulmmw7 said:

Right now we export our finished 2020 layouts as a CSV. File then import it to a program that prices out all of our jobs (equilibrium). I’ve read that you could make a cabinet schedule and create a csv. File out of that?

Yes that can be done. I've been meaning to a video on that but this year has not gone according to plan so it has not happened. I did do a web meeting that I think someone recorded (Chopsaw?) and posted on the forum. I've posted assorted information in the Tips section and maybe some in symbols for getting things into the schedule that are a bit tricky.

Overall to do that:

  • Design with the cabinets from the build section ONLY do not use any of Chiefs library cabinets.
  • Develop and save your own most used cabinets and save those to the library in the user section-by brand. Those should have labels and codes needed. I keep about 2 dozen per brand. It can be pretty easy to change those from one brand to the next and add to the library. Before adding them to the library place them on a different layer (base cabinets 2 etc)
  • Once you have most designed use "replace from library" tp put your saved cabinets in (trash pullouts, etc)
  • Be very careful with the default settings for everything. I keep templates for each brand/construction but usually use a template set for ceiling height and or casing sizes, then import the cabinet defaults. The thing to watch the most is the materials defaults in the overall default section THEY ARE DIFFERENT than the individual cabinet defaults.
  • At some point it helps to have a macro for a brands label covering the majority of simple changes. Macros are a dark art, one that I started to learn then this year hit. Mine are only partially developed. Once I get some time (hope over the next couple of months) I will finish at least one or two of those off and then do the video noted above. There a couple of folks who will write custom macros but I don't have any idea of cost or effectiveness.
  • NOTE- that with the custom macro in use, and having library cabinets on a separate layer, you can change brands by groups selecting any that did not come from the library and change the label to that of another brands macro.
  • The single best way to get ANYTHING into the schedule is to turn it into a cabinet-look in Tips and Symbols for things I've posted. (also in that video)
  • Learn to make door symbols it is easier than fishing them out from other brands IMO(again been posted) I carry 3 manufacturers and only one supports CA (and that is recent)
  • Make a directory where you save all of your symbol plans for easy alteration in the future (need a wider rail-no sweat) If you use a door (or anything else often) from the main or mfg catalogs copy them to your user catalog (makes life much simpler when changing things during the process) There are tricks for library management that help.
  • Code, comments etc go in the OIP (object information panel)
  • There is likely some more to it but off the top of my head it's a good start. Oh there are some quirks to how CA defines finished sides- better than it was but still a couple. The biggest issue arises if you have hacked cabinets in some exotic/odd way (I do a lot)
  • I often only want part of the schedule for the the order- can either adjust that once in a spreadsheet OR turn off columns in CA prior to copying, after copying simply UNDO. To get it into a spreadsheet just select the schedule (keep those on a CAD detail and as part of your template), copy (ctrl+C), then paste into a blank spreadsheet. A little copy paste special work is easy enough if you need to change the lines of the accessory/mod codes (I keep them separated in the OIP by colons)
1 hour ago, paulmmw7 said:

So I want to believe it will be an easy transition

I left 2020 for CA X3- around 2011 with 10 years on 2020 besides other CAD experience. It was not easy BUT I firmly believe that the changes since then would make it easier. It's different though. Even with the original difficulties I had I've never given up, around V7 I stopped looking back completely. FWIW I got the program end of November and took a one day on line course with them (I HIGHLY recommend doing that to start even though it will not get you much of what you need for real life kitchen work it is still invaluable.) A day later I came down with the flu and was out for almost a month. Then had to do a complete house-kitchen, entry, office, media, two closets...I managed to get it out the door (wasn't pretty though '->

Bottom line is compared to anything out there -the learning curve is worth it.

 

Guess I'll put this out there. By the end of the first quarter of '18 I'm scaling back and leaving my showroom. Will only be doing a minor amount of cabinet sales for select few. I intend to find a few clients to do finish drawings for (who is TBD). I've also done a bit of training and been outlining a book on using CA for kitchen dealers that I plan to write next year (once X10 is out) Though while I've written enough things like that over the years I don't have any idea how I'm going to distribute it. Besides you'll need something sooner :)

 

Attached are two examples of recent jobs. Not the presentations but the final drawings. One has a schedule included and I'm attaching a CSV generated for that. The other are the drawings sent to the factory for a kind of complicated kitchen. There is no schedule for the second one since they use descriptions not codes (the acks are 26 pgs w/another 26 pages of drawings just would not fit.)

Plan with schedule.pdf

Recent to factory.pdf

Schedule exported.csv

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Should mention- to best get good final drawings and dimensions you want to learn and set up Annotation Sets, that means you need Premier. DO NOT GET INTERIORS if you are serious about kitchens. My 2cents.

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Can I ask - since i am very curious - if you are doing actual "to shop" cabinet drawings don't you need something that goes into detail like this (below)?  I mean I think Chief is the best/fastest "visualizer" of cabinets/kitchens/vanities but due to how bad the shape modeling tools are and lack of interaction between cabinet components and actual modeling ability (like customization), isn't that a huge limiting aspect for getting into detail?...or are you doing more hybrid between 3d and 2d?

 

 

 

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43 minutes ago, johnny said:

Can I ask - since i am very curious - if you are doing actual "to shop" cabinet drawings don't you need something that goes into detail like this (below)? 

What I posted was all done 100% in CA. Contractor and architect received other pages as well related to construction. Final installer gets one or two more from me.

 

Do I need more?  Short answer is No, this is adequate to guarantee I get what I want once coupled with a written order.

I work with 3 brands. Each has specs for construction standards. One is semi custom so there are mods but can't really change the specs. The other two will change whatever I want that is feasible. No one would not accept drawings from me to use for CNC they program that themselves within an overall system. I receive back pdfs of CADs for clarification and have a tech to deal with on the project (all three do that)

Industry standard is that the written order will take precedence over drawings They will use my drawings for clarification but not live by them. If I miss a discrepancy between the final written acknowledgement and the drawing it becomes my problem, if they miss it then theirs. The techs from the two better companies will check things and make suggestions. It is a team effort.

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22 minutes ago, MarkMc said:

What I posted was all done 100% in CA. Contractor and architect received other pages as well related to construction. Final installer gets one or two more from me.

 

Do I need more?  Short answer is No, this is adequate to guarantee I get what I want once coupled with a written order.

I work with 3 brands. Each has specs for construction standards. One is semi custom so there are mods but can't really change the specs. The other two will change whatever I want that is feasible. No one would not accept drawings from me to use for CNC they program that themselves within an overall system. I receive back pdfs of CADs for clarification and have a tech to deal with on the project (all three do that)

Industry standard is that the written order will take precedence over drawings They will use my drawings for clarification but not live by them. If I miss a discrepancy between the final written acknowledgement and the drawing it becomes my problem, if they miss it then theirs. The techs from the two better companies will check things and make suggestions. It is a team effort.

 

Did you do this via the cabinet dbx or manually?...different divider material..?

cabinets.png

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30 minutes ago, johnny said:

Did you do this via the cabinet dbx or manually?...different divider material..?

Attached stripped down plan with saved camera- think the ply was deleted from this version (see note).

Floated in: blocking, face of the micro, psolid for the body, and the outlets. The rest is done in the DBX, some from the back or sides. I've done the flush inset micros a couple of ways all in cabinet DBX but the beaded inset made things complicated enough. (Note that the island apron and legs have changed, being supplied with apron to size, mortise and tenon to legs and cabinets, pre-drilled with pocket holes and screws. Drawing was for that was done by the factory after I asked the tech about it. Other brands we might have to do what is shown.)

Island.zip

The drawer boxes are just the way CA does them (which is NOT accurate since everyone attached a drawerhead to a full dovetail box.)

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Mark,

 

Thanks for all of the Feedback and tips it is much appreciated, I will look into the process of creating the CSV files I think once I have that down It will be a no-brainer to my owner. Thanks for sharing your plans they really look awesome, they give me quite the motivation to get started with the program. I planned on doing my own jobs with the Trial version, until I get to a point where I will talk with the owner about the investment in CA. I originally thought I'd just get the interiors version, you seem to be against that? My company is only a K&B studio, we aren't a design build. The plans that you sent me couldn't be done with just the Interiors version of CA?

 

Also have you seen any videos on youtube or anywhere of creating the CSV and importing it to pricing programs?

 

Again thanks for all the info!

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6 hours ago, paulmmw7 said:

My company is only a K&B studio, we aren't a design build. The plans that you sent me couldn't be done with just the Interiors version of CA?

I am also a K&B studio.

You could do most of it in Interiors- I started with it (and regretted that decision) but would take longer. The two things that are the most important in Premier are Annotation sets- these make working during design easier, for that part you could manage to have layersets do some of the lifting-I did when I had interiors. The biggest deal with Annosets is annotations and dimensions. It is far faster and easier to have sets for specific dimension needs than to use auto dimensions or fiddle with them.

What you could not do easily using Interiors that I have in the plans is dimension the openings and such. CA does not snap to opening, it snaps ONLY to cabinet sides. To get those drawings I show I use "CAD detail from view" (there are a number of other uses for that as well). When I used interiors I had to either export the view as DWG and mess with it in Turbo Cad then bring it back into chief OR place lines on a layer manually to snap dimensions to.

Sure you don't need framing or terrain. What little framing you would really ever need you can fake manually easy enough. OTOH it's can be nice to have if you want to spec a knee wall for an island or location of framing for hood vents. I rarely use terrain but on those few occasions it really makes the client happy.

 

Chief saves time, is stable, has great support and even Premier is cheaper than 2020. To me it's a no brainer.

Chief sells jobs, drawing at least a box and adjacent rooms is too damn simple not to and clients love it. Producing thorough drawings makes contractors happy leading to the best source of referral business I know (closing rates above 80%). Once you get a handle on the program being able to quickly step outside where you normally would- drop in some framing, terrain, trusses, can help that contractor which means....

 

6 hours ago, paulmmw7 said:

Also have you seen any videos on youtube or anywhere of creating the CSV and importing it to pricing programs?

 

To the best of my knowledge no other than whatever was recorded from the Goto meeting we did last year (search the forum). I tried doing a quick rough video (I'm not known for doing vids to put it mildly) It came to 50 mbs and is pretty crappy. May get the point across.

I'll see if I can do something else later in the week.  It would only be the very basic concept though. To make it all work well you need to set up a system and a video of that would be long. (last guy I trained on the system was 3 days)

But just go ahead and start- make a schedule, copy, past into a spreadsheet.

The tricky parts are: getting items other than cabinets into the schedule and adding modifications. Mods are much simpler since X9 and the addition of the OIP- object information panel- to the cabinet DBX.

 

BTW- you said you're using the trial version. Down side is it doesn't save. They have a rent to own option. FWIW at my last job I wanted a laptop, they wouldn't get me one. Read a book on sales that the boss gave me. Had a line in there something like- "they won't buy you a laptop? well there's a store down the block....buy your own" I did that and had already been buying some software on my own. The laptop increased my sales and paid for itself in less than 6 months, both that and the software helped a lot when I got laid off, made it possible to start this business quickly. Just a though.

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9 hours ago, paulmmw7 said:

Also have you seen any videos on youtube or anywhere of creating the CSV and importing it to pricing programs?

 

Again thanks for all the info!

Let me see how the week shapes up. I'll do an online meeting with you sometime between Wed and Saturday. What time zone are you in?  

 

I use zoom.us, gave up my full account but can still do one on one free. 

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I am in Mass so Eastern Timezone, I may just rent it for a few months before purchasing to make sure its the right route to go. Ill go through the forums to look for that audio.  Email me directly if its easier at pmachado@woodpalacekitchens.com

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I just contacted my support team form the software company (equilibrium) that I use to price out all of my jobs and they are telling me that they don't support Chief like they do w/2020 and a few other CAD programs.  

 

Doing some digging in, I can however import from a Excel XLS File Type or an Excel XLSX File Type.

 

Forgive me this may be going over my head, this is all like a different language to me, I might be asking a very obvious question here but can I take that same cabinet schedule and create a XLS file to be imported into (equilibrium)?

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3 hours ago, paulmmw7 said:

Forgive me this may be going over my head, this is all like a different language to me, I might be asking a very obvious question here but can I take that same cabinet schedule and create a XLS file to be imported into (equilibrium)?

Yes you can. You really need to simply try this eh?

in Chief create a cabinet schedule. Do it on a cad detail (best practices) Select it (it will be highlighted) copy it (use ctrl + c)

open a blank spreadsheet, paste. Then save -as xls, csv, whatever you like.

What you need to know is what the "header labels" for each column needs to be for them to import it. You can open a previous CSV file to see. Check the format if any for numbers that they are using (fractions or decimals) Might be the only thing you have to mess with-changing from fractions to decimals would be easiest in the spreadsheet.

 

schedule to spreadsheet.mp4

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I have found a way to manipulate the files to easily export to my pricing program. I'll be on vacation all next week so now its time to learn how to design kitchens in Chief and make presentations. At this point I'm really looking to learn how to get as close as I can with the door styles and colors to one of my semi-custom/custom Brands, same goes for color options. any good videos you guys recommend me checking out? Im excited to get this started.

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If you haven't already, check the SSA content. It's quite possible that the brands/colors you are using are already in the Library. 

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