This article applies to version 1708xxx and later

The design process should be extremely quick and simple based on the assumption that you have taken the steps to configure your baseline settings.  This article will cover basic design and general modifications.

You can save hours and hours of design time each week by ensuring that your baseline settings are accurate for your company. Most companies can complete a design with changes in under 5 minutes.

Creating a New Design:

1> In the Design module > click on NEW in the upper left corner to select your preferred crate style template

2> Versions 17xxx and later: If you selected your preferred style templates you can select them from the Preferred drop down. The style filter will allow you to filter to styles that meet your specific needs. Click on the ? to the left of the filter for an explanation of the terms in the filter.

Versions 6.2 to 6.4: If you set up your preferred style templates you can select them from the Preferred tab. If not you may see all the available crate style templates from the Crates tab or crate styles that meet published standards in the Spec tab.

3> In the new design window, the only required input is the Inside Dims or Content Dims values.

Note: On this window there are fields that you can select data before Crate Pro creates your design.   If you often find yourself making many changes here, you may want to adjust your baseline settings in Preferences module. Here are a few commonly changed fields.

  • Customer Name: Desirable if this design is specific to a customer and you do not want it to be used for another customer.  Adding a customer name will also add this design to the Customers record in the Customer module
  • Description. This will allow you to easily locate the design and if you intend to reuse the design, it'll be identifiable. Crate Pro 6 will fill in a design number if you leave it blank. 
  • Material Groups - Crate Pro 6 allows you to build the same crate using any one of five unique groupings of lumber and plywood. This field allows you to swap out the materials in favor of another grouping. You preset these groups in Preferences > Construction
  • Packing Materials Similar to Material Groups. You can create up to five unique groupings of materials that can be automatically applied OR can be entered in the fields as suggestions.
  • Assembly /Closure Fasteners - Your defaults appear here. If not what you want to use, change out the fasteners now. The calculated Assembly Time is controlled by your fastener settings. Closure fasteners are applied to the panels indicated by the Closure Condition setting: example - if your choose TO or Top Off, fasteners listed in the Closure Fastener field will be used for that panel only.

4> If you are happy with your pre filled information in the other fields, select the Green Arrow OR Enter on your keyboard.   Crate Pro 6 will use your settings, the, check your Preferences module, User module and Customer module settings and apply any applicable values.

5>CUT LISTS / MANAGERS REPORTS:  To review your cut lists and other reports, click on Print Email located at the top of the window.

Note: Additional details on options in the New design screen will be available in another article shortly or can be found in the manual.


Reviewing and changing your Design: Basics

When your design has been created you may wish to make changes, add packing materials or other items.  

Panel Tab review: Top, Ends, Sides, Base, Lower Assembly:

The Ends and Sides tabs will display the configuration for one panel. This allows you to easily make changes.  The ENDS and SIDES have a Panels box that allows you to change the value from two to one such as if you may wish to replace one panel with a door or ramp.

Sheathing, whether lumber or plywood will appear on the left side of the screen. Cleating will appear on the right. The actual materials that appear in each field are based on the Material Group you selected when you created the design. 

See image below:

1> This displays the selected sheathing material based on the selected Material Group

2> This displays the cleating based on the Style Template you selected with the material used based on your selected Material Group

3> When panelboard(plywood, OSB) is selected and the design requires a splice, the pieces are displayed. The splicing is based on several settings: The value shown to the left 'Minimum: 16". In the Preferences module > Settings tab > Minimum DImension of any Panelboard Piece, you have a baseline value which tells Crate Pro how narrow you allow a single piece of panelboard to be.  If you would like to change this value just for this design, go to the Rules tab in the design. Return back to the tab and select to 'Apply'

The second baseline setting set in  Preferences module > Settings tab > OK to Rotate Panelboard tells Crate Pro that if by rotating the panel will it reduce the number of saw stops? If you selected this is settings, Crate Pro will automatically calculated this setting. If not and you want to apply it for this design only, click on the Rules tab and check 'OK to Rotate Panelboard'.  Return to the panel tab you want to recalculate and select 'Apply'

4> Also based on your Preference settings, the quantity and number of support cleats will be displayed. The support values are 100% managed by settings in Preferences > Construction > [style family tab] > Rules & Other. Users can manually change any of these values by clicking in the fields and/or remove items by clicking on the red X and the end of the component line.

5> Support Rule: This information is based on the application of any support cleat. Shown above is the SIde panel so the values are based on the Side Support Rules. The rule here indicates that 'V1 - Vertical Only' that support cleats will be placed vertically or top to base. Horizontal or left to right cleats will only be applied if there is a horizontal splice.

The First / Rest values are based on when the first support cleat is applied and the rest of the support cleats are applied. Here it indicates that if there is 36" of unspanned area between the top to base framing cleats OR there is a splice, the first support cleat will be placed. The Rest value of 24" indicates that after placing the First support cleat, if there still is 24" of unspanned area, additional support cleats will continue to be added until there is less than 24" of unspanned area.

Base Tab: And lumber panels

If the base has panelboard it will displayed on the left just as on the other panels. Crate Pro 6 will not calculate a gap unless the specific style has an open base. Based on the material in the selected Material Group Cleating materials is displayed on the  right side of the window.

If base (or panel is lumber) a new value will be displayed:

Rip - based on the material shown, this amount must be removed from one board to fit. This is based on the style template and material you selected.

Clean Fit - the material fits without any ripping or gaps

Gap - There are two values. The first indicated the spacing between each board. In ( ) the total spacing on the entire deck. By seeing the total amount of spacing, users may chose to add a Base Lumber 2 to fill in.

Users can change the material and or quantity of boards and click out of the field to see new results. Testing different options should take seconds. Many users will swap materials and check how it affects costs.

Lower Assembly

If skids and/or Rub Strips are applied, the material will appear here. The icons to the left of the materials indicate if the materials is placed FLAT, ON EDGE or is a SQUARED material such as 4x4's or 6x6's.  The default orientation for non-squared material is set in Preferences > Settings. Users can click on the icon to change the orientation in this design.


The list of fasteners includes all fasteners preset in Preferences whether you use them or not in this design. Clicking in any field will show the available list of fasteners to swap.

When selecting a fastener field to swap out the current fastener, you may not see the fastener you want. Go to the Inventory module > Fasteners and locate the fastener you're looking for in the list. Click on it. 

Confirm that the checkbox is checked for how that fastener will be used. Uncheck any box that includes a position that the fastener will not be used for. (image 2)

Material Swap and Effects on Dimensions

You may want to swap out a material which affects the dimensions of joining materials. In this example on the END panels the default 1/4 CDX was swapped for 1/2 CDX. The tabs that have components that are affected by the change will have a yellow light appear. (image 1)

Click on the light OR on the RULES tab to see the affected components. (image 2) Click on RUN RULES to allow Crate Pro 6 to resize the affected components. If there are any lumber sheathed panels, you will need to click on the individually so confirm the GAP, CLEAN FIT or RIP values that may have changed are accepted.