The Zaar

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  1. I just wanted to follow up this thread with a report of successfully running my SC2 from my iMac (early 2009; OS X 10.11), via a regular USB cable. As it turns out, SCAL5 for Mac includes the SC2 as one of its built-in selections. The cutter in SCAL5 is selected in a manner similar to adding a printer via the System Preferences dialog. From the top menu bar, choose Cutter > My Cutter > Manage Cutters. The following dialog box opens, allowing the SC2 to be added to the list of available cutters: At that point, it just "works." If you want to delve into the settings, here are the defaults, which I won't change: And here's the dialog that opens when you tell SCAL5 to cut your design (I make no changes before pressing the "Cut" button): I don't know enough about the nuts and bolts of the cutter to tinker with the settings, so I just leave everything at the defaults. I did change the SC2 to the "typical settings" mentioned in the User's Guide (Speed 500; Pressure 100), but then had to back the pressure down to 75 to keep from scoring the carrier (Oracal 651). I hope this helps other Mac users who may be having problems.
  2. Thanks for the clarification. I was thinking "steps," but do all cutters have the same number of steps per inch or cm? If the program thinks it's cutting to a machine that has, say, 1000 steps to the inch, and the machine actually has 2000 steps to the inch (i.e., higher resolution), the design will come out half the size it should. Maybe that's one of the things the driver does... tell the program how many steps it takes to move one inch or cm. Sorry, I'm into SWAG territory here. I'm better off to just plug it in and watch it work. :-)
  3. Pt is points, which is 1/72 of an inch. That's the "standard" measurement for fonts. The "10 pt type" in newspapers is 10/72 of an inch, or 0.139" high. Can you see why typographers say "10 point type" and not "0.139 inch type"? Pc is picas, which is 1/12 of an inch. That's the "standard" measurement for blocks of type, like columns, mostly used in page layout programs. Thanks again for recommending Inkscape.
  4. Hmmm... If the command language is HGPL, then it's likely there are drivers out there that will work. HGPL is a widely used standard for plotters, 3D printers, and CAD (computer assisted design). Macs can drive a lot of those things. Something else on my list of things to look into. Thanks for the info!
  5. I get that inches is what everyone in the sign world uses, and if that's what you're used to, that's fine. Just like we in the U.S. CAN measure temperatures in Celsius, drive our car with a speedometer that displays kilometers, buy our gasoline in liters, and design on a page that's designated in cm or mm, but since that's not what we're used to, it's more difficult than it needs to be (unless we're visiting England). The option to use inches or points in the text tool dialog boxes would be a trivial program change, since I'm sure the software uses some other measurement internally and converts it for display, just like Photoshop's internal measurement is pixels, which then converts to inches, cm, mm, picas, or points for display in the dialog boxes. I CAN design my menu in inches, and I HAVE designed my menu in SCAL using its inch scale, but having a Post-It stuck on my screen to remember that 1.25" is 90 pt – the measurement system I work in – just seems unnecessary. The basic philosophy of a good user interface is to make the program conform to human users, not to make human users conform to the program.
  6. SCAL5 (not Pro) is the only "design and cut" program I've used, and I have issues in its use of fonts. I'm sure that as a design and cut professional, you are looking for things other than font handling, but my biggest complaints are that 1) all font sizes are expressed in inches, so people like me with 40 years of typographic experience scratch our heads when 90 pt is converted to 1-1/4"; and 2) there is no concept of a "baseline," which is the imaginary line upon which the type rests. For problem 1, SCAL does do the conversion if you enter "90 pt" into the size box, but a better option would be to allow the user to choose inches or points for the type tool, like he can choose inches or centimeters for the document size. For problem 2, the "bottom" of a line of type with descenders (letters that go below the baseline, like g, j, p, q, and y) is different than the "bottom" of a line of type with no descenders. It is impossible to line up the words "September" and "October" horizontally, for example, because the first word has a descender and the second does not. I have to set "Sextender" and "October", align the "bottoms" (which is the same as the "baseline," since there are no descenders), then edit "Sextender" to "September". Yes, in this instance I can align the "tops," because both words are capitalized. But I cannot align "april" and "may" by the "top" of the text, because the "l" in "april" is higher than any of the letters in "may". This is why the concept of a "baseline" is the bedrock of typography. I have been using Photoshop on a Mac since Version 3 (1994). The original design of my menu was done in Photoshop CS4 (2008) on a Mac. I don't expect SCAL to match the capability of Photoshop, mainly because SCAL5 cost me $60 and Photoshop cost me $700 (ten years ago). The real shame is that Photoshop cannot export vector graphics when 100% of the image is composed of vectors, as when it's a page of type.
  7. Thank you everyone for the replies. I appreciate your help. I know the type looks really small, but the JPG I posted is a Photoshop rendition of a 4x8 foot menu board. The columns are 30" wide. The headers are 160 pt type (2-1/4"), the item names are 90 pt (1-1/4"), the prices are 120 pt (1-2/3"), and the smallest type — the bullet points at the bottom of the first panel — is 42 pt (9/16"). I know that it will be a lot of weeding, which I'm sure is the main reason sign shops want to charge me hundreds of dollars to do the job (since "time" is more valuable than "vinyl"). I will look into getting a Trip-lite USB2COM adapter. But frankly, I can't believe that here we are, 18 years into the 21st century, with the USB standard on its 3rd iteration, and there is still hardware being offered for sale that is not compatible with even USB2. The USB standard is not rocket science. Even China makes USB chips that are up to the current standards. Printer drivers are not rocket science. It's not like someone is asking to run a cutter with their Commodore 64 or Atari. Macintosh computers have been around since the 70s, and unlike Commodore 64 and Atari, thousands of Macs are sold each year. And Apple is no minor player -- it is the most highly valued company in the world (stock value). Sorry for the rant, but it's inconceivable to me that USCutter is offering a product that is incompatible with millions of computers people use every day. And they can't blame "China" for that. That would be like buying a computer that's not compatible with WiFi and the company saying, "Sorry. The WiFi chips in China are not up to current standards, but you can either use dialup or buy a Trip-lite USB2WiFi adapter."
  8. Thanks! I'll check it out.
  9. Okay, here's the deal... I don't need a "workhorse" cutter. I'm not opening a sign shop. Actually, I'm avoiding a sign shop. I went to a couple of sign shops and got prices on cutting the vinyl for my menu board, and I found that I can get a 34" SC2 for about the same price as having a sign shop cut the vinyl for the initial board. My idea is that the price of the cutter would break even at the get-go, then any new menu items, future price increases, etc., would be pennies for the vinyl instead of dollars for a new menu item. Next, I assume that if I spend $400 for a 34" cutter, then it's not in the same league as a toy Cricut. Again, I don't need a big thousand-dollar cutter that will cut vinyl, draw designs, play music, and serve three-course meals. And it doesn't need to be particularly fast. If it takes two weeks to cut the whole thing, that's fine with me. Once my initial menu board is done, it may be 6 months before I fire up the cutter to add a new menu item. But my application for the cutter is font-intensive (like, 100% fonts), as you can see:
  10. I sent the first page link with my March e-mail. Someone at <> has known about that page since March 8 and not changed it. Pull up Ticket 79538 from that date and you'll see what I mean.
  11. For my purposes, that's exactly what VinylMaster is -- a program to move the cutting head around, like a printer driver. OF COURSE printer drivers are free; the printer won't work without it. But the design that the cutter cuts has to be created in a different program – a typical Windows solution. SCAL both creates the design AND drives most cutters. If it won't drive mine, then USCutter and I need to have a serious conversation about why they told me it would before they sold it to me. For USCutter to "upgrade" an established cutter model with one that "breaks" the established work flow is not a good strategy, and they need to fix it. Simple print drivers are not all that difficult to program. Assuming the same is true of cutters, they need to hire someone and get it done.
  12. No, but I attended the USCutter's VM Webinar on Aug 30 and asked the moderator about using fonts. He said a design that uses fonts other than VM's own would have to be designed in some other program (Illustrator, CorelDraw, etc) and imported into VM as a vector file. So if I were to use the "free" VinylMaster software that came with the machine, I would have to spend several hundred dollars on a design program to make up for what VM can't do. Instead I spent $60 on SCAL5, which can use the system fonts VM can't.
  13. My first post was less than a half hour ago. This is my second post. "The OLD USCutter SC2 page offered..." I'm referring to the page on the USCutter Web site that offered SC2 for sale – BEFORE the option to buy it with SCAL was removed. That was around the time that both SC and SC2 were being offered. I don't know or care who "makes" the cutter. As far as I'm concerned, it is "made by" USCutter, because it has USCutter's name on it. If I buy a Ford or Chevy, I don't care that it was "made by" Joe and his friends at some Detroit factory. Now, perhaps you can explain why the support page – active right this moment -- says, "With exception the of the MH cutters ... all of the vinyl cutters we sell will work with Mac OSX." USCutter sells SC2; therefore, SC2 (as part of "ALL vinyl cutters we sell") will work with Max OSX.
  14. I can do better than a screen shot; here are links to the actual USCutter pages (active 9/30/18) that say SC2 works with Macs: From the "support" pages: Refurb'd SC cutter with SCALP3 included: The OLD USCutter SC2 page offered SC2 with a choice of VM or SCAL. In February or March, 2018, the option to include SCAL software with the cutter was dropped from the order page. On March 7 e-mailed support with this question (Ticket 79538): "I'm about to buy a vinyl cutter, and I've settled on your SC2, but I can't get consistent information about whether it will work with my Mac (iMac/ OSX 10.11 / 4GB memory). Depending on where I look on your site, the SC2 either will or won't work with a Mac." ... and they replied, "Sure cuts alot is the Mac option. I am working on getting this typo corrected thank you for bringing this to my attention." The "will it or won't it work with a Mac" inconsistencies persist on their site, but I took the answer from support as true and bought the printer (it came with VM, which as far as I can tell, cannot use my system's fonts). I later upgraded to SCAL5 (not Pro) directly from Craft Edge (as suggested in USC's Aug 31 Webinar), which CAN use my system's fonts. Since my only use for this cutter is the creation of menu boards for carnival concession booths, the use of fonts is not just critical -- it's absolutely required. Randy The Zaar