Coffee Table

In this section we will use a simple model of a piece of furniture, a small coffee table, to explain the basics of OpenCutList.

Drawing the Model

To get you started, an initial model is available here table_2017.skp (in SketchUp 2017 format). This model has all the necessary material already configured.

This model is metric. Sorry, next model will be in imperial units.

The model represents a small coffee table with the legs, aprons and a frame made from solid wood. The table top is made from birch plywood.

For convenience, the legs and aprons have been grouped. The frame and the top insert are also grouped inside of a SketchUp group.

Exploring the Parts List

The top of the Parts List shows a summary of all groups of material OpenCutList found in the model. The icon in the Type column tells you what type of material it is. Refer to Materials to learn about the different types of materials.

OpenCutList uses native SketchUp material to link parts to available raw material. Extending the attributes of the SketchUp material has many advantages over simply using naming conventions.

Groups in the Parts List

Lets have a look at the different groups.

  1. solid-wood / 45: the solid wood is available in several thicknesses. With the oversize thickness, configured on the material, the 45 mm thickness is the closest match for the legs. The legs are components with 4 named instances, as you can see in the Entity Info.

  2. solid-wood / 27: the aprons and the table top frame are made from 22 mm and 19 mm, for which the 27 mm has been selected. Note that the grain in solid wood always follows the length of the part.

  3. plywood / 19: this is a sheet goods product available in some standard sizes. This material has a grain direction, which always runs along the length, that is the first dimension of the panel.

Make sure the thickness oversize for Solid wood (rough sawn) is large enough to account for warped and/or cupped boards.

You can view and edit many properties of the parts using the pencil tool. To find where a part might be in the model, you can use the magnifier tool and enable temporary transparency of the model in case the part is hidden. The arrow indicates the direction of the length (the red local axis of your component). If the arrow line is dashed, it means you are looking at the back of the part. By convention, the surface that has a most negative blue axis value is the back face, while the surface that has the most positive blue axis value is the front side of a part.

Filtering the Parts List

When a subset of visible parts are selected in the scene, only those parts will be displayed in the Parts List. This behaviour allows you to restrict the Parts List to a single part, a group of parts or all visible parts in the scene.

When nothing is selected in the scene, all visible parts of the current scene will be displayed in the Parts List.

We have added a tag top to all parts that form the table top. Going all the way to the top of the Parts List, beyond Summary, you may filter visible parts of your model by using this tag. Parts can have multiple tags. You can also click on a tag in the Parts List to filter the list or remove that particular tag from the filter.

Cutting Diagrams

Next to the title of groups of type Sheet Good, and Dimensional, you will notice a button to generate Cutting Diagrams.

In this case, we have also configured an offcut of 500 mm x 500 mm, we had left in the shop. Despite the configured standard panel, this offcut will be used for the top insert.

For cutting diagram, you need to configure a standard panel or offcuts. Only a single standard panel can be selected, but you may add as many offcuts as you have on hands.

The thickness of the saw blade and a trimming size applied around the panel can also be configured. The trimming size reduces the effective size of the panel to account for any handling damages and rough edges of the panel.

With the Optimization Level, you tell OpenCutList how many variants it should calculate before selecting the best one. You can also configure a Preferred Direction for the alignment of the parts. This preference is just a hint and the final cutting diagram may look differently if OpenCutList found a better variant by stacking the parts differently.

Adhesive Labels

You may generate labels to be printed for any group of material. Our label editor lets you configure labels for any grid-shaped label format and save your personal formats for future use.


A report containing a summary of costs and weights can be generated.

For the material type Solid Wood, you can enter a waste ratio, a factor telling OpenCutList to increase the volume of wood you will need to buy to account for any defects in the wood, mistakes you may make or any good reason to buy a little more lumber than the projects eventually requires.

Pricing may be unrealistic if you just use a small fraction of a panel or only a small number of parts that can only be bought in larger packages (dowels, Dominos or Clamex).

For Sheet goods, we assume that you need to buy at least one entire panel unless you use offcuts. If you have some offcuts, indicate the price per square meter in the attributes of the material.

Last updated