May 18, 2010

Delcam CADCAM aids diversification at Cimarron

Cimarron uses Delcam software to produce customised stair rails and other architectural woodworking items.

Adding design and machining software from Delcam has enabled Cimarron Lofting to open up entire lines of products that the company could not make easily before, including cabinet parts, vent covers, grills, electrical cover plates, front-door panels and more. This diversification has helped owner, Bill Amaya, to stay afloat in these economically challenging times.

Mr. Amaya started Cimarron Lofting Inc. in Hailey, Idaho, in the spring of 1999, after decades working as a cabinetmaker and carpenter for himself and for other companies. He saw an opportunity in architectural woodworking, for example in fabricating stairways and other specialty items. From the start, his competitive strategy was to have better technology and to be proficient with it.

At first, Mr. Amaya carved his stairways by hand. The quest for a better method led him to purchase a CNC router with a very simple program to drive it. "As we got proficient with this new way of working, it became apparent that better software would be needed,” remembered Mr. Amaya. "With the help of Ben Gowers from Delcam, I selected a powerful modelling program called Delcam Designer, coupled with the FeatureCAM feature-based CAM system to drive the router. Both have been easy to learn, thanks to his incredible support.”

"Delcam Designer is just a great 3D modelling program,” commented Mr. Amaya. "I have used it to revolutionise completely how we produce some of our hand-rail pieces. I use its built-in drafting module to communicate clearly with my team of craftsman the specifics of each product. I have also used the software to show clients their stairway prior to fabrication. In fact, I have been paid to produce 3D drawings for a number of clients.”

"FeatureCAM, with its superior tool paths, has allowed us to efficiently produce those parts,” he continued. "The way it is set up means that we can modify the G-code output quickly and easily to adjust for fixturing challenges and design errors. The part documentation and printing abilities enable very clear communication among team members, and ensure repeatability. That repeatability is critical when there can be a time span of several months between repeat orders.”

"The automatic tool selection in FeatureCAM, and the feed rate and spindle speed calculations save an incredible amount of time,” he added. "The roughing and finishing tool paths let us produce some really nice parts really quickly.”

"Finally, the team at Delcam has been competent, patient, professional and just really good people. They have worked with me on a number of challenges and have always come through. The support people have sent me videos and printed information, and have even walked me through processes step by step.”

Mr. Amaya promises his customers "If you can dream it, we can build it.” With his Delcam software, he can keep that promise.