Wood, Steel and Glass Winder Stair

As experienced fabricators, we know the importance of clear co-ordination between the shop, the job site and other trades and our work is central to that communication. Fabricators often defer to us for their construction problem solving and we then model/draw as if we were building it ourselves.

In this extreme winder stair, every piece of steel and glass was CNC cut and formed from this 3D model resulting in fewer than 4 days installation of the structure.

(Click on the drawing for 3D view)

The finished stair as shown below:

(Click on the drawing for 3D view)

Not just CAD…..

Shoreline Parametrics Ltd is a small highly skilled company created by Rufus Cooke assisting other companies in the custom woodworking industry. Having a strong understanding of 3D geometry has lent itself well to the stair industry and as notable builders and architects have recognized this resource, more diverse projects have evolved – including cupolas, domes, eyebrow dormers and architectural metalwork. Having a joiner’s background merged with the developing technologies of both CAD and CNC we can offer a wide array of services from:

  • 3D CAD (using SolidWorks®)
  • Stair building and tangent hand railing
  • CNC integration
  • Cutting List Strategies based upon
    • extensive prior use of both Cabnetware® and Cabinetvision®
    • AlphaCam®
    • Cadcode®
    • Microsoft Access®

“spoil the ship for a ha’porth of ta”

Or for us in the States, it translates to:

“don’t spoil the ship for a half penny’s worth of tar… “


So what’s the relevance? Plenty.

Lately, I hear “I don’t need anything fancy, I can just draw that in …. (sounds like what you put on a hamburger/hot dog). Well, if you can, than you’re either missing something or you enjoy living dangerously.

Ask yourself are you willing to spend +30k on a project facing a rigid deadline with other jobs to follow based on a tool that rhymes with ketchup? Can it flatten your twisted parts into machinable components that consistently fit? Can it adapt to dimensional changes? And can you trust those changes to be accurate and still maintain proper tangency?

Flat Packed Cantilevered Stairs?

Lately, we’ve been working very closely with BLUBLK Inc. a company specializing in beautiful ornamental metalwork. Often times, these projects require that finished work be shipped ‘flat packed’ for onsite assembly with minimal tools. This particular project was an entire contemporary stair with treads cantilevered off of wood framed walls. These sorts of stairs are usually reserved for masonry walls, but were resolved with the addition of concealed steel stringers and verticals. An added (and very substantial) challenge was that it had to be delivered ‘flat packed’ in kit form for bolting together only (no welding). Hence, this required all part drilling/tapping to be clearly executed in the fabrication stage.

SolidWorks® performed brilliantly for this task and the project was substantially assembled on-site in just over 2 days.

And, we’ve just received a few of the builders photos below courtesy of Cheney Brothers Construction:

  • Upper Cantilevered landing

What do you use for CAM?

Sure programming at the machine is ideal for the last-minute changes, but what about the rest of the project? Do you:

  • manually generate the geometries and then assign the tool paths?
  • import geometries and then manually assign tool paths?
  • set up macros to automatically import geometries, let the CAM software read the geometry and assign tool paths?

Perhaps it’s time to consider utilising your 3D model data more for CNC and optimized cutting lists.

“The time’s they are a changing

What other roles do shop drawings perform in your company? The ones listed below are what we see to be the most typical:

  1. General Arrangement/Approval Drawings
  2. Detailed Construction set
  3. Setting out
    • Part Listing
  4. Parts manufacturing
    • CNC
  5. Outsourcing
  6. Assembly
  7. Project Coordination
  8. Installation