Maximizing efficiency for bespoke millwork and custom furniture-making


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Image courtesy of GANAS MFG


Ganas Manufacturing is a small startup based in Detroit that specializes in custom millwork and bespoke furniture for commercial and residential clients. Engineering these projects from the ground up required 3D modeling, but the company needed a solution that wouldn’t break the bank. The company found that Autodesk Fusion 360 provided all the capabilities they needed and more, including 2D CAD, 3D modeling, CAM and CNC support, and a nesting & fabrication extension that dramatically reduced the time and effort involved in complex cabinetry projects.

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Building custom installations from scratch

Ganas Manufacturing is a startup providing full-service architectural millwork and bespoke furniture-making, with a specialty in woodworking and in-house metalworking. Launched in 2015, the Detroit-based shop is 15 people strong, which puts them in a uniquely agile position.

“We can be nimble in the projects we take on and flexible in our capabilities because we’re smaller,” says CEO and founder Richard Ganas. “Our sweet spot is design-driven projects that aren’t a good fit for larger shops. We are craftsmen by trade so we have attention to detail in realizing the vision of the architect or designer. We excel at one-off statement pieces for public and private spaces.”

This kind of bespoke work can be a serious engineering challenge because there are no previous projects or parts libraries to reference. But this is exactly what this team is passionate about.

“We have a lot of things working against us,” Ganas says. “Timelines and budgets are tight. Everything is new and custom. There is an extreme amount of detail. That’s what excites us about working here. Of course, we’re always looking for technology that allows us to do our job better.”

Photo courtesy of GANAS MFG.

Making the move to 3D modeling

To engineer projects from the ground up, the Ganas Manufacturing team uses an in-house CAD team and 3D modeling with Autodesk Fusion 360. The decision to add 3D modeling was an easy one, because the company needed to create 3D models parametrically and use them to engineer joinery and construction jobs.

 Choosing Fusion 360 turned out to be an easy decision as well. Ganas’s background was in consumer product design, so he was familiar with a variety of 3D modeling tools. But the cost-efficiency of Fusion 360 was an undeniable draw.

 “We were a scrappy startup at the time, and the price of Fusion 360 was very obtainable,” he says. “Other platforms required larger initial investments and annual service contracts. Fusion 360 has everything we need, including support for 2D drawings as well as CAM for our CNC machines.”

Fusion 360 Nesting & Fabrication Extension. Image courtesy of GANAS MFG.

Saving time with automated nesting

On the CNC side of the shop, Ganas Manufacturing has a 3-axis and a 5-axis router as well as a horizontal drilling and doweling machine. One of the biggest benefits of using Fusion 360 for CNC is the Nesting & Fabrication Extension that automatically determines how to maximize the yield of sheet goods when accommodating a number of smaller pieces.

 “There is a big gap in the woodworking and millwork industry when it comes to nesting,” Ganas says. “There are a lot of products for cabinet libraries, but they are not custom. Fusion 360 can do nesting directly from the 3D model and that’s invaluable to us.”

 The impact of the Nesting & Fabrication Extension is huge for the shop, reducing expected scrap from 25% to just 5% of any given sheet.

Photo courtesy of GANAS MFG.

Automating repetitive tasks

Before the Fusion 360 Nesting & Fabrication Extension, which feeds CNC code directly into the router, Ganas and his team not only had to figure out the nesting but also cut every sheet by hand with a saw. This was very physically demanding, not to mention the fatigue factor of such a monotonous task.

“We always took pride in getting through the cut sheets,” Ganas says. “But how do you want to spend your time? Would you rather cut 50 sheets or assemble them and make them look beautiful with your craftsmanship? The Nesting & Fabrication Extension, together with all of the CAM tools in Fusion 360, lets our team focus on delivering a high-end product with perfect fit and finish.”

“Previously we were using a different program for nesting to make the cut lists, but that’s still susceptible to human error,” Ganas says. “You type one number wrong and now you have 200 sheets that are 1/16 of an inch off. Fusion 360 has eliminated those kinds of errors. Now we know it’s 100% correct, and that’s a game-changer.”

Richard Ganas, CEO, GANAS MFG

Example of custom millwork designed and manufactured by GANAS for a retail concept.  Photo courtesy of GANAS MFG.

Reducing production time on the jobsite

While those improvements are important in the shop, they also make a big impact on actual client jobs. Ganas Manufacturing has created and installed custom millwork for the lobby, exam rooms, and offices of a regional chain of veterinary clinics. It has done identical jobs without Fusion 360 and with Fusion 360 and the difference is big.

“It has lowered our costs and increased our profit margins while cutting our timeline in half,” Ganas says. “What used to take a month we can now do in two weeks. We can order everything pre laid-up, factoring in the lower scrap with nesting. We’re not guessing—we know exactly what we need.”

Growing the business

Ganas plans to grow the business significantly in the next five years and believes he can do much more work while maintaining an agile team by using Fusion 360.

“We’re investing in technology that allows us to do cool projects, that’s what excites us,” Ganas says. “Our team will grow but by using technology like Fusion 360 we can assist our craftspeople even more. If you need it, Fusion 360 already has it. It’s already in there.”

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