Munson Joinery

Biesse Rover 5-Axis Router and bSolid Software Power Munson Joinery's Build-to-Order Furniture Model

Paul Munson has dramatically transformed his custom woodworking business since installing a Rover A 5-axis router and implementing bSolid CAD/CAM software from Biesse America. Already, Munson Joinery of Oakland, CA, has transitioned from making furniture for architects and designers to becoming a go-to source of 3D wood parts and architectural components designed with bSolid and fabricated on the Rover A.

Customer: Munson Joinery
City: Oakland, CA
Country: United States
Product: bSolid, ROVER A

Paul Munson has dramatically transformed his custom woodworking business since installing a Rover A 5-axis router and implementing bSolid CAD/CAM software from Biesse America. Already, Munson Joinery of Oakland, CA, has transitioned from making furniture for architects and designers to becoming a go-to source of 3D wood parts and architectural components designed with bSolid and fabricated on the Rover A. His even more ambitious plan for the new 5-axis pod and rail router and software will not be fully revealed until this fall when he hopes to launch Radius, a collection of build-to-order fine furniture. “With the help of Biesse I’m concentrating on making parts for other wood shops and architects,” Munson said. “These are usually more complex parts that can only be made on a 5-axis router. When a customer realizes that I can make the dream part they want for their project, I am really solving a problem for him. I can just as easily make 100 pieces as I can one with the Rover A.” Munson Joinery was established in 2007 and currently occupies 3,400 square feet of shop space. Munson and his one full-time employee who was trained at Biesse’s West Coast Showroom in Anaheim, CA, are each capable of programming and operating the Rover A. Munson had previous experience programming and operating a 3-axis router. His former partner, a robotics engineer, modified a 3-axis router into a 5-axis router. “It really opened up my eyes to this other way of woodworking and this approach to looking at workflow from the front end and planning a project from the component level,” he said. Munson attended the 2015 AWFS Fair in Las Vegas and met with several suppliers of 5-axis routers. “I wasn’t really even thinking that I was in the ballpark with Biesse. I just assumed that as a small company I wouldn’t even come close to being able to afford a Rover five-axis. But after I had a couple of conversations with them, they made me feel like maybe this could be a possibility. After the show the Biesse reps came to my shop and were able to dispel the notion that this wasn’t affordable based on my profile." Munson said he knew it was important to look before he leaped into such a major investment as 5-axis technology. “My former partner used to tell me that moving from a three-axis to a five-axis machine is not a trivial jump. The learning curve is exponential,” Munson said. “I’m not a technologist; I’m a furniture maker. Biesse promised and delivered software that would bring the learning curve of the programming down to operator level. The user interface of bSolid is extremely helpful.” Since the Rover A was installed in spring 2016, Munson Joinery’s other woodworking equipment – jointer/planer, table saws, etc. – has taken on auxiliary roles, especially for dimensioning lumber into “a nice clean piece of geometry” to be processed on the Rover. “The traditional equipment has pretty much been relegated to augment the Rover A,” Munson said. “The Rover A with its router tools, shaper tools, saw blades and boring can do so much more. We can really come out with a next to finished 3D part on one machine.”

Munson Joinery: Photo 1

Build-to-Order Furniture app in the Works 

Munson is working with web developers on a new “configurator” app that will allow customers to quickly and easily design a custom furniture piece online. “A different configuration of the same design can make a coffee table, a console table, or for that matter a chest of drawers. It’s all about proportions and dimensions and whether or not the piece has drawers, doors or shelves. I got to thinking, ‘Maybe I could come up with a design and let the user determine how they would want to use it in their environment.’” Using the configurator app, a customer chooses one of Munson’s Radius designs then builds a piece of furniture tailored to their needs. “You can adjust the height, length and width within parameters that we set,” Munson said. “You can add the number of drawers, doors or shelves you want. The configurator will show you what the piece looks like with each change and generate a final price based on all of the selected properties so that we can deliver that fine piece of furniture to you.”

The bSolid CAD/CAM software, with its parametric modeling ability, will create each of the component designs and code to be fabricated by the Rover A. Walnut will be the main species. Munson said he will outsource some parts, such as architectural-grade veneer panels from Artistic Veneers. A neighboring shop will be contracted to provide a hand-rubbed oil finish. Anticipated lead times from placing an order to deliver is six to eight weeks, Munson said. “We can produce a kit of parts so quickly to go to the bench that I can’t imagine that it will take us longer than the standard time.” “Our first market will be the B2B community including residential, commercial and hospitality designers,” Munson said. “Right now, I’m thinking the Bay area but after that I guess we’ll deliver to wherever.”

Source: Rich Christianson June 2017

“As I looked closer at the Rover A’s capability, I began to think this is not such a big leap to get into this more robust industrial technology and come out with so much more product. The Rover A coupled with the Biesse bSolid software plus the fact that Biesse owns the whole kit and caboodle made me realize that they could solve a lot of problems for me.”
Paul Munson Munson Joinery President
Paul Munson
Munson Joinery: Photo 2
Munson Joinery: Photo 3
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