cutting rectangles from finite field

I have a rectangular sheet of plastic.
I have 22 rectangular shapes of various dimensions which I need to cut out of it.
Is there software which can calculate for me the optimal placements of these cuts such that a minimum of the material is wasted? Are there CAD packages which will do this?
Or, is there a known algorithm for deriving the optimal cut locations? I can code it up and share my implementation.
Right now I'm cutting the shapes from paper, and I'll try to move them around on the sheet and find a good placement. But this is a problem which I'll probably run into again many times, and I would like to find or make a better solution.
-- TTK
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Woodmagazine.com has a software package (shareware - limited use until paid for) that is used to arrange cuts in a piece of plywood,,,, similar process. Give that a try
On 1 Feb 2004 08:50:42 GMT, TTK Ciar
wrote:

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You might want to look in the field of box manufacturers. The name of the game in making money in that field is getting the most boxes cut using the least amount of material. A call to a few manufacturers might get you what you need. If it is a one time job, they might even do it for you for a small charge.
Try www.thomasregister.com and search for corrigated box manuufacturers.
Good luck.
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On 1 Feb 2004 08:50:42 GMT, TTK Ciar
wrote:

Plenty of them

A CAD package, like AutoCAD, with any sort of embedded code will generally have a plug-in to deal with this sort of problem.
If you code your own, take a look at "simulated annealing" algorithms.
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