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Posts posted by Wildgoose

  1. 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.

  2. I just ordered my vinyl machine a couple of weeks ago, but have had sublimation and heat press machines for a couple of years. I found that it was easier to make a decal like that in other programs besides SCAL.  If you plan to try to sell decals I would suggest purchasing design software that is more advanced so that you have more options. 

    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. 

    • Like 1

  3. I think you will find most people usually use their greenstar stuff to play with or practice.  I believe most people use oracal 651 or 3M products

    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.  

  4. 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.  

  5. 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. 

  6. 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.

  7. 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. 

  8. 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!

  9. get your skull correct then place your text back in - iv you try to let the program trace the letters they will never be as clean as fresh text

    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. 

  10. Hi All,


    I was looking to purchase a PCUT machine to create "Hand Written Letters", I can create a PDF of the file to be plotted but I have a few questions:


    1) What format do I need to drive these plotters, can I set it up as a Windows printer or will the software included with the PCUT read a PDF or .AI file?


    2) Has anyone plotted using "Hand Written Fonts", does it look jagged or smooth, Does it look like it was written by a person using a pen?


    3) If I bought a 24" or 28" model and wanted to print on 6" X 8" card stock does anyone see any issues with the material being too small?


    4) Is there anyone here in the Atlanta area that is running a business with one of these machines that can pen plot. I'd like to see if this will work before buying a machine. Obviously I'd pay for time.

    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.

  11. I grew up wearing t-shirts with heavy transfers on the front, so it seems nostalgic to me.  I have much better luck getting a high quality result with 3G Opaque or Jet Opaque II than I ever have with JPSS - I always seem to have one spot on every transfer that doesn't completely adhere with JPSS... :-(


    I had to dial back the pressure on my cuts on the opaque material because I was cutting into the liner (I think adding a carrier sheet since my original dial-in is causing that) and when I when I would try to peel off the transfer with the heat mask, it was pulling the clay layer off of the liner along with the transfer - once I dialed it back a bit it seems to be going much smoother... /knock on wood.


    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.  

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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! :rolleyes: 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.

  15. 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.

    • Like 1

  16. 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.

  17. 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!

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. Teresa, you will get it figured out with a little learning and patience. Most if not all of us were in your shoes once ourselves. I draw in Illustrator but it is similar to Corel as is Inkscape. All of these design programs are working in vector format which to be simple is just a bunch of lines and curves rather than images like photoshop. The lines and curves may have a line weight and may be connected into objects that can have fills but if you remember that your cutter is looking at it as a line it will help your minds-eye comprehend what you need to do to get all the technical mumbo-jumbo figured out. I would imagine that Corel will have an option to look at the graphic in an outline mode. It's a good idea to switch to outline mode once in a while to spot any mistakes you might be making. Objects with lineweight will trick you into thinking you are ready to cut out a cool design or text and it will not turn out like what you thought without converting things over to objects.


    As mentioned above, start simple and then you can work into more advanced stuff. You do have a lot of learning to do but it will surprise you how fast you will catch on and then once the basics are no problem then you can start fine tuning and getting more technical and really turn out some sweet stuff. Your graphtec is a great machine that is several levels above what a lot of people start out with. I just barely upgraded after 2-1/2 yrs with a P-Cut which is a very basic model and was able to run a fully functional sign business this whole time. If you have a pen attachment you might invest in some butcher paper and use the pen before you cut for a while as you learn so you don't waste as much vinyl as I did when I started. If it looks right with the pen then you just have to get the knife depth, pressure and speed set right and your cuts will come out good too.


    Good luck and have fun!

  21. Ya the bigger front logo might as well be centered if it gets too big, much over 4" starts to look wrong. I sometimes modify the back placement to coincide to avoid the neck line from the front of the shirt. If that thing gets in the way you will have trouble getting a good press. Might consider a press pad to insert in situations that you have underlaying seams etc. Also protects the front or back if its already got the design on that side.

  22. That file was fine for a print job but all the lines have to be outlined and merged/welded and the text has to be converted to outlines. The lower part of the box was a separate item that had to be welded into the jeep shape that was behind it. I run CS5 also and couldn't open the native file but I was able to get preview to open the image and save it as a pdf which opened up in CS5 fine. I evidently don't have that lower font so I just traced it for a quick fix. If you blow this up real big it may have less perfect lines in the text but at normal size I think it will be fine.


    I like this logo. I don't currently own a jeep but I have had 5 CJ5's, 2 Willy's and my last was a 93 Wrangler on one tons and 40's. I just ran out of play money and had to give it up. :-\