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Setting Custom Rules for Panels and Cleats

Setting your company preferences helps Crate Pro generate your designs quickly as you want them to be, however you may have designs you use often that don't follow your default settings so you're designing each crate and making changes. Instead, consider setting new rules for that design and either save it as a stock design or create a template. When you duplicate the design or use the template, your new rules will be in place and you'll be able to change the dimensions or swap out materials while maintaining the new rules. 

Lumber Fields:

If you modify a lumber field using a formula, such as entering a new calculation in a field, the new calculation will not change upon duplication or when creating a new design from a template, even if you lock/unlock the design and/or run cleating and plywood rules. 

  • Example: On your Lower Assembly>>Skid 1 - on the light duty if you click in the 'Long' field you might see 'WOD'. This tells you that Crate Pro is calculating the length of the skids by the 'Width of the Outside Dimension'. You would like the skids to be extended by 2" more than the outside dimensions. In the 'Long' field you would enter 'WOD+2'. Now you have created a new formula. If you duplicate this design the new formula will also duplicate. If you change the dimensions and Run Rules, Crate Pro will account for the new dimensions and the new formula and your result will be the new outside dimension plus 2".

If you just enter a new value then Run Rules will revert back to the default calculation. Example: Your calculated value for a 1x4 is 30" Long. When you click in the field it might show 'LID', which tells Crate Pro to calculate by the 'length of the inside dimension'. You overtype the value and enter 28". If you Run Rules, Crate Pro will revert back to the formula and it go back to LID which is 30".

Plywood Fields

Plywood rules are different due to the many settings that are available. The primary plywood or panelboard rules are: 'Minimum Dimension of a Panelboard Piece' , 'OK to Rotate Panelboard' and any Undercutting values, which are set in Preferences for your company default settings. The size of the material being used as indicated in Inventory can also a factor based on the required panel size in a design. Your default settings can be modified on a design by design basis in the Rules tab of the design.


Based on the dimensions of your design, the style and your undercutting rules, you will get a required  'Panel Size' value, shown for each panel. Then before Crate Pro fills in the 'Pieces' fields (splicing), it looks at the other two rules and the result then goes into the 'Piece' fields. These fields do not have a calculation, they're the end result of the calculation. So while you can manually make the changes in the 'Piece' fields and even enter a calculation, if you Run Rules, Crate Pro begins the calculation process at the  Panel Size and follows the same steps of applying the rules in the original order, which will remove any changes you may have made.


  • Example: In the Piece fields you change how the plywood pieces are spliced; such as one piece is calculated but you manually change the Piece fields so there are 2 pieces and then Run Rules, Crate Pro will look at your plywood rules and revert the field back to one piece based on the rules.

To change the rules on how the Piece fields are calculated you need to change the Rule for that panel or panels. Then if you Run Rules or change the dimension of the design, the new Rule will be applied instead of your default rule settings. To not change your company's default settings you should make the changes in the design and save it as a template. 


Here are some examples:

  • You want the panel to splice differently - In the design in the Rules tab, change the 'Minimum Dimension of the Panelboard' and/or 'OK to Rotate Panelboard', APPLY the rule on each panel you want to change. This will be the new rule for this panel. (Clicking on Run Rules in the Rules tab applies the change to all panels)
  • You want to reduce the size of a panel by 1" from the required Panel Size - change one of the Undercut values in the Rules tab, then in the panel apply the undercut by clicking in the 'Panel Size' field in either the Length or Width dimension (or both).  Click on APPLY. This will be the new rule for this panel.You may chose to use a combination of changes with all of these rules on any panel or all panels to get your desired result- set the Rule and APPLY it to the desired panel, make changes to the Rule and APPLY it to a different panel as needed. This allows you to have different rules for each panel.

USE THE OVERRIDE LIGHT INDICATORS! This will help you know when you have made changes to your default settings.

Changes from your company default settings can give you the results you want but if you don't note that the change you could end up re-using a design with the expectation it will calculate based on your company defaults, and get an entirely different result than you were expecting. To avoid confusion Crate Pro give you the ability to include indicator lights on each panel or lumber framing field that you made changes to, whether the change was manual or the change was based on a rule.

Understanding the color coding for the panel indicator lights:

 Clear: The required size of the material matches the calculated size as shown in the Piece fields for plywood or Long field for lumber. Your company default settings are being used OR manual changes to a field dimension still meet the required dimension. If you made a change in the field from your company defaults and the required amount of material is still matching, you may go to the Rules tab and click on the green arrow next to the plywood or override box next to lumber and the light will change to Blue.This indicates there was an over-ride but the new size matches the required size.

Blue: The new size matches the required size. When you Run Rules your indicator may change to clear but you may chose to go to the Rules tab click on the green arrow next to the plywood or override box next to the lumber field of any panel you made a manual change to. This will give you a blue indicator light which tells you that a change has been made from your default settings but the sizes match

Yellow: Crate Pro has identified that there is a mismatch between the required size and the piece size as it appears in the Pieces fields or the Long field of the lumber. The over-ride is off. This occurs if you change a rule or manually change a material that affect other components or if you change the dimensions of the crate design. When youRun Rules Crate Pro will try to recalculate these fields for you. If you have made any changes to the rules for any panel, the fields will be recalculated based on your modified rule.

Red: You may manually made a change in a field or added a calculation in a plywood field that shows a mismatch between the required size and the size you have specified. This may be intentional. If so you can go to the Rules tab and click on the green arrow for the ply panel or the override checkbox for lumber and the indicator light will turn red. This lets you know that there is a mismatch but its intentional.  Important: This does not lock the field - if you Run Rules on the design or on any panel, Crate Pro will attempt to resize the materials based on requirements.

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