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Everything posted by Wildgoose

  1. Wildgoose

    Best Transfer/Application Tape for small designs

    It looks like you are using Oracal 651. I often use a medium tack tape for stuff that I am afraid will have problems getting off the tape. I have some of the Clear Choice AT60 clear tape that works well and I also use this for the craft moms who I do stuff for. They like it because they can see the colors and line things up and it comes off nice. Also have some R-Tape medium I forget the number but it works about the same with less of the stretching you can get with clear. The only thing you have to watch with the medium tack is sometimes they don't lift off the liner as good.
  2. Wildgoose

    Vinyl decal question - please help

    I draw on a mac so that pretty much settles the question for me right there. I would be surprised if there is anything that one can do that the other can't. Different steps to get there maybe and sometimes that makes one easier than the other. There are things I don't like about illustrator. If you are working on a REALLY small graphic there is abuilt in logorithim that tries to align things to the pixel grid on the screen and makes it impossible to get the nodes to go where they should. No way around it and it pises me off. I end up resizing to a bigger size to get things to line up. The nodes can occasionally be hard to grab and you have to zoom in a bit and try again. stuff like that. Really hard to learn at first unless you are someone who has already learned photoshop. I bought the program and expected to be able to just start working with it but couldn't. I think it may boil down to getting used to what you want to run and stick with it to save your sanity.
  3. Wildgoose

    Vinyl decal question - please help

    Hey don't get me wrong, I have never used corel or flexi and they are probably both fine products. IMHO anyone doing simple vinyl work (as appossed to digital print) is building real simple graphic art anyway so just about any vector program is going to get you there and with practice and familarity I don't think it matters which program you want to use. Illustrators biggest problem for most newbies is that is is huge which overwhelms your brain and the program doesn't assume anything so you have to dial in most of the functions to fit what you are doing. Kind of like having a fancy camera that needs to be ran in the manual setting. Amatures can't get a good picture because it has very few auto settings but pros can do things with near perfect results. I didn't go to college to learn to use it but I took a college level online course that took over three months of evenings to get through. Lot of commitment but now its easy. My business actually started out as a vector file conversion thing and then morphed into vinyl work once I realized I could cut the stuff I had been doing if I bought a cutter.
  4. Wildgoose


    Ha Ha! Thats what happens when a newbie orders a 48" x 10yd roll of white greenstar vinyl with his new cutter. We bought an older home with outdated kithcen cabinets and I haven't had the time of $$$ to replace them. Was looking at the cruddy condition and decided to try to use up some of that roll I bought way back. It's obviously super thick and had stayed down real well and thats saying something because some of the shelves are bare chipboard with a little laquer on them. They were horrible but are nice and white now! Beats the heck out of contact paper.
  5. I work too cheap mostly but would have been at $6/ea on those so you are right in there. They still saved plenty over a lot of places. Doing vinyl is nice because you don't the high set-up costs screenprinters do. I get a lot of business because of it. (plus the local shirt shop has pretty much offended every living person in town)
  6. Wildgoose

    1989 Jeep Template of hood

    Hate to tell you but thats a 1997 or newer wrangler. Hood is a little different, and fender wels are bigger. I doubt it would make a huge dif for most stuff but wraps would be off I think. YJ wrnaglers switched to TJ wranglers in '97 and got round headlights and slightly tapered hood with cool latches, coil springs etc. I had a 93 YJ and always wanted a TJ.
  7. Wildgoose

    signcut pro vs sure cut alot

    I have both. My P-Cut came with the SignCut Pro but I got tired of paying a subscription so I jumped on the SCALP for $50 deal they had early on. I I am ok with SCALP as a cutting utility but it is lacking some key aspects that the tech support guys said they would get integrated sometime this summer. (not as of yet). I have since bought a new cutter and was not happy with the factory cutting tools and have ended up back with SignCut Pro. I may just go ahead and buy the dongle so I can stop making subscription payments. SCALP won't work with my new cutter and I kind of have it planned to keep with my old cutter as a back-up system or I may sell it off. My opinion is if you are just cutting smaller stuff SCALP is a decent cutting tool but not a very great design tool. SignCut is a good cutting tool and almost no design ability. Advantage of SignCut for cheap cutters is it has step-by-step cutting that will help get through long cuts on machines that don't track very good. It also does tiling and cut by color real easily. SCALP works and does have cut by color but often files import wrong and don't have the color layers you built them with. SCALP will accept native AI files in current versions rather than downsaving them to illustrator 8 which SignCut requires. If SCALP will eventually get the tiling and step-by-step cutting they would be pretty close to par.
  8. Wildgoose

    Vinyl decal question - please help

    I agree. SCALP works fine for cutting but the design side is a little tough to work with. When it first came out I played with it a little to see how it felt and thought it was fairly easy, then I actually tried to build a file in in one day on a lark and found out it was not. I am a dedicated Illustrator guy and have always felt that Inkscape was clunky and counter-intuitive but Inkscape is definitely heads above SCALP for design. (AND FREE) If you have the coin and time to learn the program, Illustrator is the boss. It is real complicated until you learn it then it is absurdly simple and you look back wondering what seemed so hard. Like driving with a clutch.
  9. Wildgoose


    Yup. What he said. I use the Greenstar as a cheap option for folks who are really wanting to keep the cost down. Its not horrible stuff but the longevity is suspect and it shrinks a lot. Oracal 651 is great affordable vinyl for most applications, even small decals on vehicles and glass. I usually step it up to 751 for any real vehicle applications like door logos etc. The 751 is cast and won't shrink. Lifespan is longer too and I have better luck getting small stuff to stay stuck. The 651 can sometimes be easier to cut real small graphics on because it is a little stiffer and doesn't tend to pull up during the cutting process but then is harder to weed for the same reason. I do 75%-651 20%-751 and 5%-GStar. GStar is pretty tough though. I used some white to cover the inside of our kitchen cabinet shelves that were looking shabby. It has lasted so good I can hardly believe it and gets abused everyday with plates and all the usual getting tossed and slid on it. Been in there over a year.
  10. Wildgoose

    Vinyl Material for T-Shirt and Sticker Cuts

    Unless you have an order I wouldn't go all crazy ordering a bunch of stock. The likelihood of having the right color for the job will be low. I made that mistake when I started up too and still have several 10yd rolls of vinyl I just assumed I would be using for something. For shirts you are absolutely safe getting Black and White. If you have a school nearby that you anticipate making misc for t-shirts I stock the school colors and consequently have grabbed a LOT of work for parents and kids that want a quick shirt or a name on their sweatshirt etc. Over time as I have done misc work I have accumulated a lot more t-shirt vinyl colors and usually charge any large job with a full roll and then can make great coin on the one-at-a-time shirts when they come along by using the leftovers. I prefer Siser Easyweed products. They have a lower app temperature and I like having the carrier with some stickiness that helps keep it in place when pressing and if you accidentally pull up something you shouldn't you have a chance of getting it to stick back down.
  11. Wildgoose

    Need Help with New SC Cutter

    Nice Slice, Like the worksheet. Buster, it is possible to have cutter issues with the blade offset being wrong but most likely it is the file as the others have described in previous posts. Personally I only do the 'trace image' thing on rare occasions and rather spend a little extra time tracing things out from scratch. I get clean results the first time that way and in the end am happier with the results. All depends on the job though. If its a one time only cut then I might not want to invest as much effort if I can squeak by but I hate a goobered up cut. There are some good YouTube training vids out there particularly for Inkscape which is a great free program. Inkscape also has a pretty good tutorial section in the help menu that will walk you through a lot of the basics. I import my image and then lower the opacity to about 50% and lock it so you don't accidentally select it and then start tracing the various parts of the image. Lets you decide how you want things layered and clean up places that 'live trace' has a hard time interpreting. I actually work in Illustrator but all the vector drawing programs are essentially doing the same basic things. There are bells and whistles that I would miss if I were having to work in the cheaper programs but the same results can be obtained with any of them with enough practice and familiarity.
  12. Wildgoose

    Round helmet decal question

    I usually go with clear app tape along with cast vinyl to allow for a little stretching. I also warn them a little about the hazards of curved surface application so they aren't pissed when they have wrinkles. You might burn a few extras to give out if they are regular clients, keeps the good vibes going.
  13. Wildgoose

    brushed aluminum dibond sign blanks

    It cuts and routers super easy with regular wood blade and bits. I bought a full aluminum blank 12" x 18" from the local supply for like $7 or $8 a few weeks ago, it might be easier to go that route for a few small units like that. You can cut and shape the aluminum too, just a little tougher than diabond but not much.
  14. Did you move the files on your mac? I draw on mac also and know that if you move them to other folders they will become lost to the program that you created them in until you go open them from the new location. If the older files that you have already used are all of a sudden not working it may be something wacked out in your cutting application program. You might try re-installing it. I am unfamiliar with Cutstudio. If it is a plug-in perhaps you have re-booted your computer and lost the plug-in. I sometimes have that happen with my font manager and have to re-start everything to get my fonts to show up in illustrator. Good Luck!
  15. Wildgoose

    problem importing picture properly

    Dakota is exactly right. Trace won't get you the look your after. I would re-draw the whole thing if it was me. The text is simple block text so you should be able to match it easy enough. You'll also have to either distort the words or write them on a curved line. If you have never done this type of thing it can look overwhelming but with a little practice it's no biggie.
  16. Wildgoose

    Using a PCUT for plotting

    I have a P-Cut that I have as back-up at this point. If you are drawing the lines (text) that you want the machine to trace it will do that but the pen tool that come with it is just a ball point pen. I think there are felt tip attachments that could be made to work and maybe available from USCutter or as simple as the holder is you can probably fab up something to get by with. As far as the font, if it is a true font then your cutter will see this as a wire frame image and trace the outer edges of the letters. With the correct pen type, maybe a sharpie style with caligrafic point you could simulate someone writing out letters and look reasonably close to hand written IF YOU HAVE A SINGLE LINE TO REPRESENT THE TEXT. Using a font won't get you there with a plotter but on card stock that small you should be able to print what you are looking for easier. There are tons of hand written fonts that look pretty much like someone just wrote it with a pen or marker. Most of us cut these kinds of things out of vinyl and the cutter/plotter is going to be more useful for that type of thing.
  17. Wildgoose

    Latest zombie themed design

    I wonder of you have a cool spot on your press or something. I have never had a problem with the JPSS as long as I get the temp up good and hot (375* range) I had to buy an infrared thermometer to figure out my swing-away USC machine was quite a ways out of sorts. Its supposed to be in Celcius but isn't in either C or F, somewhere in the middle. Now that I have the right temp, no problems at all. I have not done more than 10 or 15 opaque transfers but have done lots on white shirts. I have read that there is some real stretchy opaque transfers that used to be around but went out of business and are back now. Can't recall the name this second but I looked them up and had to buy 100 at a time so I am waiting for that BIG order to come before I go for it. the ones I have are Jet opaque and Jet opque II I think. Just kind of thick and crinkly feeling to me so I haven't pushed them on any customers. If they want a pic on a dark shirt I warn them so they aren't upset about the feel. I did spring for an Epson WF30 with the pigment ink cart from Cobra Ink Systems. That has made a huge difference in the quality of the tranfers and they seem to last great.
  18. Wildgoose


    I spent a couple years out there in Florida. Mostly up between Jacksonville and Wintersprings (Orlando). Gator is pretty good eating. Had some turtle meat that wasn't half bad either. I think one of the coolest parts about having a sign business is being able to crank out cool stuff like that sign. I do tons of stuff for family and friends.
  19. Wildgoose

    TED! Is this your handiwork?

    That's awesome! The bad part is they will probably find the jokester and throw the proverbial book at the guy. Things have sure changed since I was a kid. We got away with all kinds of stuff that was really basically clean fun but would likely be a federal offense now-adays.
  20. Wildgoose

    Latest zombie themed design

    OK so I'm learning something new here. You guys are using this "siser mask" to pull up opaque transfers off the backing then apply? I have definitely had trouble with getting them to lay out flat without curling up due to pre-heated shirt. I have so far limited myself to making a colored simple background like a cirle or oval around the whole boject so I didn't have problems with this. Gonna have to give this a try! I really don't like the feel of the opaque transfers. I have mostly done transfers on white shirts with JPSS if I can convince my clients to stick with white.
  21. Wildgoose

    Annoying weeding frame problem.

    I always do a preview and watch the little knife go around so I don't waste vinyl. Not that that will help you figure out whats going wrong but might help prevent a screw-up. I have never had anything like that happen. SignCut has decent tech support. You might have to get in touch with them.
  22. Wildgoose

    un complicate

    Did you make the vector file? Lots of vector files that people download are just tracings that someone with Illustrator or Corel made and aren't going to be very great to try and cut. Illustrator has a "simplify" option that will remove nodes on a selected object. I haven't looked for this option in SCALP. If you are doing the tracing yourself you should be able to define how small the smallest size can be. Again I draw in Illustrator and have used SCALP primarily for cutting with my P-Cut 1200. My experience even with high zoot programs like Illustrator the results from a quick tracing are RARELY (like 1 in 50) good enough to cut IMO. Sometimes if I can find a file large enough to trace that I will need to shrink it down to cut I can get away with it and it will look ok but even then there tends to be tiny little jogs and bumps that will cause your cutter to wig out and be upset with you. I usually trace then spend some time cleaning up and removing the offending spots. I almost never trace text, it never looks clean enough. If you have a black object with a white background you can sometimes get a decent first shot trace. Multi colored files get real messy.
  23. Wildgoose

    How to layout for print..

    I guess I'm not clear on the contour cut instructions. The instructions they are giving you by uniting and changing the color and puting it all in the separate layer folder should create a shape the same size as the design. I don't print/contour cut so some of the proceedures are not in my area of experience but this is going to produce a cut line exactly on the edge of the design. I was always under the understanding that typical contour cutting was either just inside the color or just outside but rarely exactly on the line so that a little variance could be accounted for but maybe they do it differently. As far as set-up on the file I would probably do two separate files. I typically set up my artboard to the size I want. If you already have the file built you can click the artboard adjustment button and resize it from there. If you are trying to do both on one file it may cause problems. They should be able to print and contour two separate files onto one print job. You might ask about bleed settings. Another helpful thing I do is pull up rulers from the view menu and switch them into whatever increment you are working in such as inches (right click on the actual ruler and it will give you the options for various measurement types) If you do this it will switch all the measurement tools to follow that type of number so if you are working in inches you can click on an object and see what size it is, etc. Basically I size the artboard to the size I need the final output to be abd then resize the graphics to fit that and save it as the proper size. You will need to do this once for each size. also be sure when you do the copy past thing into the other layer that you use the past command from the edit menu like paste in place or paste in front/back kind of thing to be sure it pastes exactly in the correct spot. I don't know if any of this helps you at all but hopefully it will. Good luck!
  24. Wildgoose

    Software and machine question

    I actually started out digitizing those business card images that people would try to have put on shirts and hats. A local embroidery shop hires(d) me to do that kind of work. They started slowing down (in housing the work rather than paying me to do it) so I got a wild hair and decided to try my own cutting and started with a 48" Creation P-Cut. I have had a viable sign business running nights and weekends for 2-1/2 years now and am probably stealing some of their clients since I branched out into the apparel side of things. The P-Cut was adequate for the work I did but I finally stepped it up into a top of the line cutter this summer and it really changed things for me. I didn't want to invest that much to start with because I wasn't sure if it would even pay off. The better cutter basically makes the biggest difference in really small stuff and really big stuff. All the middle from about 3/4" lettering up to maybe 48 inch long graphics the P-Cut did just fine although slower, noisy and would glitch out if I tried to do a bunch of multiple copies of decals. If you get cutting software with step-by-step cutting like SignCut Pro you can even do the real big graphics decently but the budget cutter still had trouble matching up all the lines on large complicated cuts. Most of the time a little hand work with an exacto knife and you couldn't even tell.
  25. I finally decided to spend the bling on a 26" Cut Vinyl Tool. I have debated over it for a year and been getting by just fine but I have 3 large format orders that are in the design stage and was able to bid in the $100 and try it out. I was skeptical to be honest. It looks like a couple pieces of pvc pipe someone glued together in their basement. After using it, I think it IS a couple pieces of pvc, one flat the other a portion of some round sewer pipe but it worked surprisingly well and I was able to churn out several nicely covered pieces last night with almost no learning curve. You do need to practice getting it set up straight but the videos on youtube do a fair job of showing how to do that. I think the guy in the vid is a little careless, or he seems to be. I worry about screwing up and wasting vinyl. I was happy to be able to better utilize the cheaper app tape from USC that I have had problems with in the past. The USC app tape has nasty edges and won't lay down smooth for me in normal circumstances but using the BS Tool it puts a nice even tension on it and it went on like a dream. I haven't done any 24" app tape yet but I am not too worried after trying it out on some 12" and 15" tape and the 24" is some good R-tape.