Posted in Software
Like it or not Microsoft Office is still the most widely used office productivity suite in the world at this time. Despite the incredible amount of features and tools provided by each of its components there are still some tasks that require add-ins to be performed properly so today we'll take a closer look at 1DCutX a Microsoft Excel add-in that is supposed to aid you when in need of cutting material with a minimum loss or no loss at all if possible.
As I write this 1DCutX's current version is 1.0 fully compatible with Excel 2003 and later. Freely available for download and use for a period of 15 days the trial version of this piece of code also comes with two additional functional limitations only allowing a maximum of 5 (five) stock sizes and 10 (ten) parts sizes. After the 15 days period expires you won't be able to use the calculation function. The license key required to unlock the program is currently priced at $29 $49 or $69 - more details about what you'll get for your money can be found here.
1DCutX 1.0 comes inside a setup package that has about 1.8 MB in size and also contains the hot fix KB908002 for Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 that may be needed. The installer looks a bit outdated but I can't say there's anything really bad about it - just be sure to close Excel before running it. Setting up 1DCutX is as easy as 1-2-3 and the best way to get started with it is to load one example sheet into your Microsoft Excel and take a closer look at what can be done with this add-in.
So far so good so... let's move to the looks and works shall we?
Since 1DCutX is all about crunching some numbers and more than that it's an Excel add-in I hope you're not expecting any visual candy here. As you can see in the screenshots at the end of this article 1DCutX's options are pretty straightforward and in case you get stuck you can check the Help system coming with it - it's not pictured here but I can tell you it should be enough for most users. Sure making that documentation look like in 2011 not 1995 would be a pretty good idea but let's stay on the topic - time to see what this piece of code really does!
The problem is that cutting various materials as your clients require may end up causing some losses. The obvious reason for that is - or at least seems to be - the absence of a perfect cutting solution so that all your materials end up being sold as required not thrown away because nobody needs them. Well... that's exactly where 1DCutX steps in providing a quick solution that is able to read the definitions of your linear stocks and parts (lengths and quantities) straight from the Excel spreadsheet then generates an optimization task.
As far as I can tell 1DCutX works as it should. I went as far as creating a new spreadsheet adding some values running the add-in and defining all the data that it needs to get the job done. Calculation was done in about 0.2 seconds and the new spreadsheets containing the solution to the problem were created instantly. I guess that's all I can ask from this Excel add-in isn't it?
Well I may not be really a math guy but I can add some more info that may sound interesting to potential buyers of 1DCutX - this tool can handle numbers specified in decimal scientific or fractional formats and in case you're going to use knives or saws for cutting the saw kerf (thickness) can also be taken into consideration when solving the problem. Well... I guess that's all!
Tips & Tricks
1. If you're using Microsoft Excel 2010 remember that there's no Tools menu - here 1DCutX can be found in the Add-Ins tab.
2. To register your copy of 1DCutX go to the Settings tab inside its interface and click on Show Registration Form/Enter License Key... First you'll have to buy that license key of course! ;)
1DCutX works with more than just one Excel version (sure it would be great to see it work even with oldies like Excel '97 since I know a lot of people/companies still stuck with it) is well documented and gets the job done pretty easy & fast. The trial version has no ridiculous limitations which sounds really good to me.
I think 1DCutX could be improved to require less user input (not to mention the ability to cut wide surfaces in various shapes not just linear materials - but it seems Optimalon Software has another product for that already) and finally documentation could be easily made look much better because all the info one needs is already there.
1DCutX is not a tool for every Microsoft Excel user there's no doubt about it but I am sure that those who need such a thing will be happy with it. Sure it may not be the best piece of code out in this world some improvements would surely make it a more attractive choice but at least it cuts the deal right if I can put it this way... ;)
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