Trim Controller Help

The trim controller editor is a utility designed to allow for easy editing of the TRIMCATS.INI and FASTCATS.INI files that PostFrame Manager uses to govern placement of trim pieces and fasteners.

Note: Technically you can edit both TRIMCATS and FASTCATS by hand, but we don't recommend this.

To understand TRIMCATS/FASTCATS, we should discuss the PostFrame Manager trim control system.

The PostFrame Manager trim control system allows full user control over the types and colors of trim used to construct a building or a building wing. Trim use varies with locale, preferences, codes, materials, building use, and so on. There is no universal way to trim a given building. Nor are there univeral ways to handle overlap.

How the PostFrame Manager trim control system works is to make the application of trim user programmable. This occurs via the use of TRIMCATS to govern what types of trim are available at what locations and how this is applied and then deriving specific trim packages from this data.

TRIMCATS governs what types of trim can be used in what area of a building; trim packages are derived from this.

Specifically, TRIMCATS is used to spell out what is possible to use in a given area of the building. PostFrame Manager interacts with TRIMCATS via the use of 3 letter mnemonics, each mnemonic being an abbreviation for a specific measurement or count provided by PostFrame Manager.

For example, EAV is used to specify the eave length of the roofline. With EAV you would specify the types of materials you might use along an eave. If you do shingle roofs, you would alllow D trim to be a possible choice. Metal roofs, you might allow "closure strips." Or you could allow for interconnect trim that connects a metal roof directly to metal siding for building with no overhang, or a metal roof to fascia trim if it does have an overhang.

Again, TRIMCATS allows you to spell out what is POSSIBLE, not what you would USUALLY apply. What you apply in a given application is the function of the trim package which is essentially an application specific version of the TRIMCATS data.

Summary so far: TRIMCATS is what you use to spell out what trim you could possibly apply in a given location. The trim package is used to spell out what trim you will use in a given application. TRIMCATS is a master "here is what is possible" file. A trim package is a subset that is "tuned" for a given building.


This is an actual TRIMCATS line of data:

EAV;Closure (Roof to Framing);25;Used for Steel roofing only;12;2

Here is the format:


MNEMONIC = 3 letter measurement designator, in this case EAV is the measurement of the roof eave edge in lin ft. The mnemonic is used by PostFrame Manager to know what measurement to apply.

TEXT DESCRIPTOR = what you see on screen when building a trim package to describe what you are using the MNEMONIC to do. A trim package may use a given MNEMONIC many times.

TYPE LIST = a list of the types you want to allow (in this example there's but one, type 25, which is "Closure-Inside.")

HINT = a bit of expository text you want to display on screen for anyone who will be creating a trim package. In this case the hint is a friendly reminder "Used for Steel roofing only" that shows that this trim shouldn't be used in shingle applications.

OVERLAP = the amount of overlapping you want to apply, in inches.

SEAM ALGORITHM = a numeric representation of what algorithm is used to apply trim pieces. In this case it is "Least Seam Count."


The amount of overlap between individual trim pieces may differ depending on where on the building they are applied and/or the type of trim being applied. The trim system allows you to specify this per your requirement.


OK, we have discussed the mnemonic, let's turn our attention to the SEAM ALGORITHM. There are various ways to apply trim and leftovers and these can depend on where they are being applied. There are three basic ways (algorithms) you can do this. Here are the choices:

  1. use the mimimum number of pieces
  2. least seam count
  3. use only a contiguous length

Here's what these choices actually do for you:

1) use the mimimum number of pieces

In some applications trim is not necessarily exposed to view and there is no worry about seams and strength. Seam count is not important, so this algorithm uses the least count of trim pieces it can get by with. For example, you could get by with this with trim to connect soffit to a metal wall (F&J;?) So, if you have 10 ft trim lengths and you start applying this, let's say that after you wrap around most of the building that you now have a span of say 18 feet left but you also have some leftover pieces of 5', 5', 6', and 6'. In this algorithm we use the leftovers to create our last 18' of placement because we are trying to use THE MINIMUM NUMBER OF TRIM PIECES TO MINIMIZE THE COST.

2) least seam count

Same scenario as above, only this time we are concerned with the seam count. We toss the 5', 5', 6' and 6' leftovers and instead pull two new 10' pieces to cover the final 18 feet because this will result in only one seam. This choice will use 2 extra pieces of trim in this scenario. In daily use, your mileage will vary depending on what trim is getting applied where and so on.

3) use only a contiguous length

Different scenario this time. We are trimming windows, specifically the TOPS of the windows (WNT is the mnemonic used to specifiy window tops.) Some builders use drip cap and don't want it seamed. In this scenario, assume five 42" wide windows need to be trimmed and we are using 10' lengths of drip cap. 42" is 3.5 feet, so one 10' length of drip cap will trim two windows with 3' leftover. Keep going; 2 lengths of this will do four windows, and you have 12' of drip cap (4x 3' lengths) left over. But since we MUST have a contiguous length of our drip cap trim, we need to select another 10' length of drip cap to trim the last window. If we had allowed seams (algorithm 2, least seam count) we would have had two pieces of trim used, but using the "contiguous length" algorithm, we will require three pieces of trim for the desired coverage.

Summary: the SEAM ALGORITHM will affect trim piece count based on the rules you require for your trim style. Since SEAM ALGORITHM changes based on the MNEMONIC used, you can use varying approaches based on what trim you are placing and where you are placing it.

The TrimCtrl utility is shown below. As per the discussion, the idea is to choose the trim area (mnemonic) first, then enter the relevant information (e.g. placement preference algorithm and overlap dimension.) As you can see the accompanying graphic will show you what/where the measurement is taken and the material is applied to.

Note that the types are listed in the upper spreadsheet as 25 and 33, but the types are listed as their descriptors in the right hand side scrolling list. If you change which types are used in the list (don't worry about the numbers!) then after you have accepted the change these numbers will also change in the spreadsheet area.

Also note that the fasteners/labor tabs are similar; if you can run this screen then the other tabs work pretty much the same way. More detail for labor can be found Here.

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