Fit It – The Simple Cutlist Generator

Looking to buy Fit It?
 

 

So, just what is Fit It?

The simplest way of describing Fit It, is that it’s a program which automates the design of a cutlist for a woodworking project. So basically, you tell it what size panels you need to cut, and Fit It shows you how best to cut them to maximize the use of your stock.

A - 2400x1200x180
A exported layout image from Fit It. 12 panels laid out efficiently in around the blink of an eye.

Why did I make it?

I hate wasting money – I’m a massive tightwad. I have piles of useless MDF and chipboard cutoffs in my shop, simply because if I throw them away, I feel like I’m throwing money away. And a lot of those offcuts could have been avoided had I made better use of my stock, hence, Fit It was born.

It was also a personal challenge to myself, I wanted to see if I could write a program that performs this task better than any other program I have used does. Without blowing my own horn, I feel that that’s what I have achieved.

Why am I charging for it when everything else on the site is free?

Because of the amount of work that was in it. While I’ve been programming for a long time, I’m only a hobbyist. I had to learn a lot to get Fit It to do exactly what I wanted. It’s pretty much all I’ve thought about for the past couple months, and I’ve put in a ridiculous amount of hours to get it to this level.
Of course the benefit of all that work is that I’m now a much better programmer than I was 3 months ago, but still, I need to be able to show my wife some sort of a return for all of the AM hours I spent working on it.

Oh, and because I’m broke. Yeah, that’s the main reason.

When did I make it?

I had the idea early in 2015, but I couldn’t start working on it until March. It took about 3 months of coding to get it to a stage where I considered it ‘release ready’. It is by far the most ambitious program I’ve ever created, clocking in at close to 4000 lines of code. That’s not a crazy amount, but I’ve spent days simply rewriting the same function over and over again until I get them as efficient as I know how.

After a couple of weeks I had the main heart of the program sorted, but it was a bare bones program that really only worked for me because I was happy to put up with the crappy gui and lack of features. Still, it did save me money when building a couple of shoe boxes.

It took a couple months work to make it into a ‘real’ program, one that works consistently across platforms and screen resolutions, that has features and functions that a normal user would expect, and essentially is an enjoyable experience to use.

There are still issues and limitations in it, as there are in any programs, but nothing major. From now on I think I can just react to any feedback / complaints I get from users and roll out an update every couple of months to make sure it continues working as well or better as it does now.

FitIt
Fit It loaded with a layout that handles both sheetgoods and lengths of pine in the one project.

What will happen to Fit It in the future?

It all depends on how it is received and how useful it is found to be.

If enough people like and buy it, I will continue development and patching bugs, improve the algorithms etc. If it isn’t that popular or useful, well, I’m not going to plow more hours into something that isn’t required.

I’ve put a stupid amount of hours into getting Fit It to where it is, and I’m quite proud of it. It certainly out performs any similar software that I have used and far exceeds my own design for it. I think it will be well received, but only time will tell.

If a major bug is found, of course I’ll always be around to patch that up.

Why doesn’t Autosort just give me the most efficient layout possible? (Why do I have to keep clicking it?

Well, there’s a few reasons here.

  1. Fit It was created to save time as well as money. The layouts it creates are made in such a way that you will always be able to cut the panels you need using a tablesaw or circular saw – basically a straight cut from edge to edge each time.While more space efficient layouts can be made, they end up looking like a game of tetris, panels are just jammed in everywhere. These are much harder to cut as they generally require a jigsaw – which means you need to cut again to square up the edges afterwards. You save a little bit of wood, but lose a lot of your time, no good.
  2. I realised early on that having multiple options when laying out panels was a real bonus. Sometimes you want to have a long skinny offcut to use elsewhere, but sometimes you want as large a rectangle as possible. Having a program decide for you what the ‘best’ layout is, quite frankly doesn’t work. This way, you make it display what is best for you.
  3. Adding in Grain direction makes it a lot harder to come up with a suitable layout. In a lot of cases, you will have to manipulate the layout yourself to make best use. Having different layouts automated, means you can quickly see which layout will be easiest to tweak.

So how do I buy it?

Here you go!