When it comes to making countertops, templating is a regular part of the equation. And when templating, even the slightest mistake can cost time and money. So, it pays to get it right the first time. That's why fabricators spend so much time trying to find the process that works best for them.
To keep you informed on this key subject, SolidSurface has gathered information from a number of manufacturers about the equipment they offer and what it is capable of.
ETemplate Systems offers ETemplate Photo, a digital measuring system that measures "as-built" jobs to a typical tolerance of +/-1⁄32 in. It is suitable for measuring curved, multiangled and complex shapes that are difficult to accurately measure. Using digital photography as the means for collecting the measurements, it processes to a finished CAD file usually in 30 minutes or less. This is made possible through automatic processing of data from photos to a finished CAD drawing that is then overlaid onto jobsite photos for inspection of design and fit before it goes to production.
The system has a new BackPlot and Integration Module that addresses the issue of completing the detailed CAD drawing. It simplifies, automates and speeds up the process by automatically converting data to a completed template that includes overhang, radius and other standard requirements.
The company also offers professional on-site contract measuring and CAD processing services for commercial jobs, such as store fixture layout and design, apartment complex and hotel remodels. All data is collected with high resolution digital photography and is accurately processed into DXF data without fear of misread or transposed numbers. Finished CAD drawings and physical templates are provided as required by the customer.
Fabricator's Choice offers the PhotoTop digital templating system, which works directly with CNC routers. The system makes a record of the jobsite by using a customized digital camera, specialized software, a roll of DotTape and 20 marker panels that are 8½ by 11 in. and covered with very specifically sized and positioned dots, all of which come in a kit. It captures details to better than 1⁄16-in. and creates a complete 3-D virtual jobsite that can be accessed at any time by any networked user in the shop.
DotTape defines the countertop's measurements and shape through its placement on the wall and sides of cabinets. It reduces the level of expertise required for field personnel, easing training procedures. It also reduces the jobsite fieldwork times to an average of 15 to 25 minutes. The software processes photos and delivers a pixel-by-pixel representation of the jobsite. Any detail in the image, regardless of whether it has a dot on it or not, can be selected and measured for conversion to a final drawing.
The system works on only PC computers and the newVersion 2.7 upgrade is as much as eight times faster than the previous version, according to the company, bringing job processing time to two to five minutes.
FARO Technologies has developed the Digital Template FaroArm for the construction and home improvement industries, for the countertop market in particular.