Dream to Machine


From dreaming up the parts to parts coming off the CNC table, the entire manufacturing process can be summed up in the expression “Dream to Machine”.

Many good applications on the market today claim to meet the needs of the manufacturers but, strengths and weaknesses aside, the real challenge is to determine ‘which type of manufacturers’ needs they meet.

Being able to afford the machine and the dedicated personnel to program it once made CNC  machining of wood products the domain of large manufacturers only. The cost for design time and personnel could be easily covered by 100,000+ units produced.

Production lines and production runs were set well in advance giving large manufactures enough time to ‘re-program’ if needed.

Whether the CNC is from HOMAG or FANUC (etc.), small to medium sized manufacturers can now afford them though the size of the production run is generally much smaller which makes the design cost per unit increase.  This means that few applications today serve the small to medium manufacturer well.

By using a ‘parametric’ design approach and SOLIDWORKS with ONGAA CAM, time and effort may be dramatically reduced.



The project is to manufacture a series of custom cabinet doors with a requirement of 5 sizes (none a standard size).  There are no design references to start from at this time. Steps are as follows:

  1. Design a ‘single’ generically sized door in such a way that is can be re-sized (not scaled). SOLIDWORKS can perform this task quickly and easily.
  2. Next, ONGAA CAM is used to add machining to the ‘generic’ door known as the master.  Since each part requires the same machining steps we need to remember the process now and fill in the dimensions later.
  3. Finally, the dimensions of each ‘required door’ is entered into the master model (length and width only) and at the press of a button, the final machining, with exact dimensions for all part is produced.
Note *** If we had a reference, we would have gone directly to step 3.


The combination of SOLIDWORKS as a modelling tool and ONGAA CAM to manage ‘tool paths’ makes “Dream to Machine” a reality for small to medium sized manufactures.


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