Have you ever wondered if there’s a way for you to minimize the amount of scrap raw material that is produced while cutting your materials and also reduce production cost? If you did, you’re in luck, because today we will explore this subject in depth.
Nesting is the process of cutting custom patterns out of different materials in a way that maximizes the usage of space. It can be used with glass, wood, steel, ceramic, plastics, etc.
The process of nesting is done by using nesting software. This type of program analyzes the shapes that you want to nest, and, by using computer algorithms, fits as many cutting patterns inside the available space as possible. This allows you to waste less material, reduce times of production, avoid any possible human errors, and also reduce overall costs.
The actual cutting is done by specialized CNC (computer numerical control) machines, that can be adapted to the cutting material of your choosing. The model/models to be cut can be created using CAD (Computer-aided design) software compatible with your CNC machine.
Today we will explore some of the best automatic nesting software options on the market.
Automatic nesting tools for Windows 10: Reduce production cost
TruNest by Autodesk
TruNest from Autodesk is one of the best nesting software option on the market because of it’s incredibly wide range of features and customization options. It can be easily used with materials ranging from thin sheet metal and fabric composites to thick plate materials.
What makes TruNest truly great is its ability to automatically program itself and the fact that it has such a great number of professional features.
When it comes to data input and compatibility, TruNest is fully compatible with CAD software like AutoCAD and Inventor, can read files that are CAD neutral types – DXF, IGES, STEP, DWG, XML, etc. This software also offers direct translators for products like Catia and NX, and utilizes ODBC compatible architecture for a seamless integration with your manufacturing software.
The material optimization capabilities of TruNest don’t disappoint either. For a more efficient workflow, you can use the powerful nesting algorithms of this software to nest your model perfectly and fast, on any material.
You can run TruNest without actually being present, in two different ways. You can use batch nest processes to calculate the nesting process overnight, or during off-work days. This allows you to run your CNC machine unattended.
Earlier, we mentioned the advanced features of Autodesk TruNest. Now let’s explore some of them :
- Common line cutting – efficiently creates the nesting model by optimizing shared edges and allowing to free two parts with one cut
- Head down optimization – uses optimization of start location of profiles to reduce retracts and large movements from one area to another
- Automatic tabbing – places tabs on geometry
- Can be used with wide range of machine tools – Plasma, OxyPlasma, Waterjet, Laser, Punch,
- Punch-laser combos, and routers
- Can integrate easily with PLM, PDM, ERP and MRP systems
- Automated material handling and ordering
- Automatically create reports
There are several versions available.
TruNest Composites – cutting of fabrics for composites:
- Flat ply splitting
- Ply cutters
- Customizable user interface
- Supports for enterprise solutions
- Menu tree and ribbon control
- Grid controls
- Viewport controls
TruNest Contour – automatic nesting of various materials:
Can be used with laser, waterjet, plasma, and oxy/plasma cutting machines. Adds new features to the Composites version :
- Translate part data from many sources
- Automatic part assembly
- Product data management (PDM) integration
- ERP/MRP system integration
- Etching and labeling
TruNest Multi-Tool – for router and punch nesting:
The tool allows you to program tool heads on punch presses, routers, etc. – contains all the features found in TruNest Contour and adds :
- Automatic tool cycle optimization
- Punch presses
- CNC routers
- Saw cutters
If you feel like all this information is a bit overwhelming and need a guide, you can find a good range of tutorials and how-to’s on the TruNest Official website.
SigmaNEST is a powerful and easy to use full suite of CAD tools that allow you to design parts and nest them, can import data from all major CAD systems, and allows automatic NC (numerical control) and full NC simulation with G-code display.
With this software you have full control over quoting and cost estimation, inventory management and stock control, work order and job tracking, and also integrates perfectly with MRP/ERP business systems.
By using the wide range of features found in this application, you can reduce waste materials, lower the production cost per part, allows part-in-part nesting, and offer you the possibility to choose from a wide range of nesting strategies.
You can also use SigmaNEST to optimize tool path sequencing – allows you to reduce the time-cycle of your CNC machine for faster and more effcient results. You can also use common-line and continuous cutting features that offer you full control over the cut direction and sequence, and many other options.
If you want to see a full list of features accompanied by detailed descriptions, click here.
Some other features that are worth mentioning, based on their type :
Nesting key features include:
- Move common line pair – allows you to align and rotate parts
- Sheet defined task parameters – can apply cutting directions directly to the material to reduce scrap
- HD Super Nest supports Best Sheet and the Continuous Nesting module
- High definition rectangular nesting engine – improved nesting for rectangular parts
CAD import and geometry:
- Batch support for files in inventor vault
- Easily import CAD data
- Solidworkds support
Inventory features :
- Can assign configuration rules
- Advanced material handling – easily assign part removal
You can find a good range of training material on the SigmaNEST official website.
NestFab is another great automated nesting software that offer a wide range of useful features, all of them being covered by a user-friendly UI.
You can fully control nesting settings like quantities, sheet size, part rotation, and also have full automation processes that allow you to produce nested parts around the clock.
Key features of NestFab include:
- Interactive CAD importer – you can easily import any CAD data to NESTfab by automatically searching for the part that fits
- Export nests – you can save your layouts to CAD formats and select from a huge range of export options that assures maximum compatibility
- Can print detailed reports – a variety of nesting reports that can assist the production team both before and after the cutting is done
- Automates workflow by using a production planning system
You can also add the Ultra Performance package to NESTfab, that adds a few more incredibly powerful and useful features :
- Professional-level nesting efficiency
- Can set exact part and sheet spacings – including no gap
- Free rotation of your parts
- Can set tilt tolerance for materials that are grainy
- Repeat nest options – allows more efficient production by repeating the commands
- Common line cutting
The NestFab official website offer useful tutorial videos to help you get started with using this software. You can find them by clicking here.
- Editor’s Note: If you’re interested in other software and tools for your business, check out our wide collection of guides.
MyNesting offers you with a great open-source nesting software, that allows you to automate your nesting creation process at a fraction of the cost compared to other applications presented in this article.
Even though the services provided by MyNesting are free to download and use, in order to be able to export your nested items, you will need to pay. There are two ways in which you can get a subscription and manage to export your files.
The first option is to buy ‘Nest Credits’ (1 credit allows one export), the second is to buy an unlimited nesting subscription for either 30 or 90 days.
You can find a good range of tutorials on the MyNesting official website.
DeepNest is another open source nesting software that works perfectly with CNC machines equipped with laser, plasma, and other cutting tools. This light-weight and efficient tool can be purchased in a ‘pay-as-much-as-you-want’ style. This offers every user in the world access to the features of this software.
Deepnest supports automatic line merging, allowing you to save material and time by creating efficient cutting plans based on computer algorithms. You will also find a great part layout engine that allows you to nest bitmap images to be set up for laser engraving.
This software can read DXF, SVG, and Corel CDR files, and it can write DXF and SVG files.
In this article, we explored some of the best nesting software options available on the market.
We chose to present software that cover both the needs of professionals and beginners. If you are new to nesting, you can start off by using the free DeepNest software. Once you get used to it, you can then try the MyNesting option with added ‘Nest Credits’.
If you are a professional with high levels of experience under your belt, then you can choose to jump right into the powerful features of Autodesk TruNest, SigmaNest, or NestFab.
The nesting software options presented above cover all your possible needs when it comes to automating the nesting process. What they also have in common is the fact that the services come at a pretty steep price.
Let us know what software you chose from this list in the comment section below.
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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in January 2019 and has been since updated for freshness, and accuracy.