Delivering Quality Millwork Shop Drawings

Quality Millwork Shop Drawings from Superior Shop Drawings

When Steve and I sat down and hashed out the idea that ultimately became Superior Shop Drawings – we had a pretty simple premise in mind. We wanted to use our expertise in the Cabinet Business to produce quality Millwork Shop Drawings.

We spent some time reflecting on past work experiences and determined that there were a couple of key areas where we simply could not compromise.

The first of those areas was missing promised delivery dates. Steve and I have both been on the receiving end of angry phone calls from customers who were promised certain delivery dates – which had come and gone.

In order for our business to be successful, we would need to do everything in our power to deliver drawings on time – even if it means passing up on more lucrative work.

We’re happy to say that in the short time our company has been doing business, we have not missed a delivery date. We’re sure that the time will come when something comes up and we won’t be able to meet a deadline. In that case, our goal is to communicate the issues as early as possible.

The second key area was that we refuse to take the money and run – by pumping out low-quality drawings for maximum profit. While this might be good for our wallets in the short-term, this is no way to gain loyal customers that enjoy doing business with us.

By sticking to our principles and producing quality Millwork Shop Drawings, we have had fantastic customer feedback which has lead to repeat business.

Just the other day, we received a surprise email from one of our repeat customers. We would like to share a snippet of that email with you – partly to serve as a testimonial but mostly to show how proud we are to have developed good relationships with our customers.

First of all, let me say thank you!¬† I’m pleased with your quality and consistency of drawings, and having your support in handling our drafting load has bought me a great peace of mind.¬† For the first time in three months, I’m almost not behind.

Making Radius Molding With a CNC Router

About fifteen years ago, I started working at a small cabinet shop in Southeast Pennsylvania. At the time, I had just left an Architectural Millwork company that specialized in Plastic Laminate Casework.

The small cabinet shop was a big change for me. Plastic Laminate and Particleboard were like swear-words to these cabinetmakers that were focused on making custom furniture for the residential market.

One of the many highlights from that work experience was getting to make molding – I especially liked making radius molding. There was something about cutting radius fences and making various types of sleds that I found oddly satisfying.

I remember this one particular piece of furniture that required a radius piece of molding. We called this profile “Neon Molding” and it was basically a bead and belly cut into the face of the stock.

The molding needed to be arched in such a way that it kind of looked like it draped off of the bottom of the piece. The arch had to then transition into a straight run.

Radius Molding - Neon Profile

I had never run a piece of radius molding like that before and I wasn’t quite sure how I was going to make it work with a tall vertical router bit. I gave it some thought and decided to try to mimic a radius table to guide the stock through the bit.

To make this work I had to setup a router on a swing arm to cut my parts, attach them to the router table, then run some trial pieces. The process had worked like I had hoped – for the most part.

The problem with this method was that the profile had become distorted as it passed through the vertical router bit on an angle. The straight sections had to be carved and blended into the radius sections but it looked pretty good when it was finished.

My take away from that experience was that a lot could be accomplished with a router and time.

Years later, I found myself in a similar situation with a more complex profile. Unlike before, I wasn’t the person in the shop that had to figure out how to run the radius molding. This time I was sitting in front of a computer modeling up the part in AutoCAD.

This is when I was introduced to 3D Machining in AlphaCAM. Once my 3D Model was drawn up in AutoCAD, I was able to import the part into AlphaCAM and use a variety of bits to carve out the profile.

When the part was programmed, it was an eye opening experience into the power of a CNC Router. Since then I’ve made a variety of complex moldings via CNC that would have taken me hours and hours to make on the shop floor.

There are times when I get nostalgic thinking about the old ways of making molding but, given the right software, it is amazing what a three-axis machine can do.