SWOOD Design Basics

Article by TriMech Solutions, LLC updated February 10, 2023


If you are a SOLIDWORKS user in the cabinet industry you may have heard of an add-in called SWOOD Design. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s designed to make cabinetry and shelving design as easy as possible and ties in with another product for programming wood working CNC machines called SWOOD Cam. This article is to discuss how SWOOD Design makes kitchen design as easy as four clicks per cabinet piece once it has been set up with all your company standards. There are a few concepts to cover about the set up that will help us understand how this is possible. The initial set up includes creating panels, frames, boxes, and a connector library. This new SWOOD vocabulary is explained a bit below, and a basic overview of how the SWOOD Design add-in eases complicated but repetitive design tasks associated with cabinetry design.


Initially users will set up panels to match the types of materials that they have available to them. A panel is a SOLIDWORKS Part template essentially that stores the material conditions that you apply. It can have custom thickness core and laminate materials, edge bands, and machined grooves applied initially. The panels sizing happens inside of a SOLIDWORKS assembly called either a frame or box depending on how you wish to use it. See the SWOOD materials library and an example of a panel below:

example panel

Example panel


A frame is used like a top-level assembly inside SWOOD Design. Frames can be used for individual cabinet units, but also for an entire room layout containing multiple cabinet frames. A frame is made up of panels that are placed on some initial planes and sketches in the assembly template that SWOOD uses. It is easy to insert panels through a menu that appears in the property manager. You must mate the panels in position using the initial assembly template, but this allows the “frame” that is created to be resized very easily.

Connectors such as (but not limited to) dowels and cam locking hardware can be added to the model through a connectors library that the user also sets up. Adding connectors is as easy as dragging a connector component over the edge between two panels and dropping it in the model. SWOOD automatically cuts the necessary holes in the panels to mount the hardware. In this example, a simple IF loop controls what type of hardware, quantity, and location of the hardware placed by measuring the length of the connection edge.


Boxes are used like a subassembly that you would like to add to multiple styles of cabinet or shelving units. Boxes are automatically sized by the boundary region that you drag and drop them into from the SWOOD Design library. They can use scripting to control how many components get added based off the size of the boundary region. Components can be panels in the form of shelves or doors and can also include hardware to get added into different cabinet frames as well. If the main frame is resized, the scripting used to apply the components gets re-calculated and can even change the number of components based on the new cabinet size.

SWOOD Design boxes

SWOOD Design boxes

Connector Library

Users can build a connector library from SOLIDWORKS part or assembly files from connectors that they use in practice. The SWOOD Design add-in allows for scripting that can set up basic rules for how the different connectors get applied based on the length of the edge they are applied to. Once everything is set up adding connectors (as well as the holes required for them) is as easy as dragging and dropping the components over the edge you wish to apply them to. An added time saver is that the scripting controls the component positioning and mates are not added to the assembly for the hardware components.

Connector library

SWOOD Connector library

Putting it all together

The result of this initial set up makes designing an entire cabinet layout with multiple cabinet frames extremely simple. All of the frames and boxes and panels that were set up are easily able to change size to fit whatever location you want to put them in. Inside of the room layout drawing that you wish to add cabinetry to all you have to add are simple 2D sketches to define the boundaries of the cabinets. Then you insert copies of the cabinet frames you set up by clicking the corner points that define the cabinet unit. Once you have all of the cabinet and shelf units in position, reporting for the assembly is also handled by the SWOOD Design add-in, which can produce a detailed BOM including part files for all of the panels that will need to be made. The next step to manufacture these would be to write whatever CNC code needed to make the panels with the SWOOD CAM add-in but that will be covered in another article.

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TriMech Solutions, LLC

TriMech provides thousands of engineering teams with 3D design and rapid prototyping solutions that work hand-in-hand, from sketch to manufacturing. Javelin became a subsidiary of TriMech Solutions LLC in 2021.