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Determine optimum sizes for fabricating materials

Figure out how to get the most out of stock-sized materials with the least amount of waste.

Determining how to get the optimum lengths from stock-sized materials--such as pipes, bars, and beams--while reducing waste can greatly affect costs for fabricators and manufacturers. This handy app can take some of the pain out of those calculations.

1DNest launches a rather plain-though-functional interface. Although similar to the familiar three-paned e-mail client, this app features four panes: one across the top specifying the current project, a vertical pane on the left for listing and describing required parts, an upper-right pane for listing source materials, and a lower-right pane for entering size and waste allowances. A menu bar allows the user to specify units of measure and to select new or existing projects to work on. This app performed nicely during our tests. Entering materials and sizes was a simple matter, and the app ran its optimizing calculations quickly. We liked that we could easily resize the interface panes simply by dragging them to review long lists of materials. The output files for the calculations' results are handy references for ordering materials and specifying parts; unfortunately, the Print function is disabled for 1DNest's trial version. We liked that we could specify the type of report the app output--graphic, text, Excel files, or labels (including Microsoft Word labels)--and the ease of importing data from an Excel file for defining materials before running the optimizer.

The trial period should be sufficient for any commercial user to determine the app's suitability. Its ease of use and simplicity for navigating its features are very appealing for busy staff members who have little spare time to devote to a new app's steep learning curve.

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