speleopower

My initial assesment and continuing help thread

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After a dissapointing first start using Sure Cuts A Lot Pro we got the update to 3.035 and then quickly to 3.036. That got the software to communicate with my SC machine.

I am not in anyway shape or form a professional sign maker or graphic designer. I would consider myself an advanced hobby user of vinyl cutting machines. My vinyl cutter and software will be used primarily for making airbrushing stencils to use on jetskis and larger radio control airplanes with an occasional coroplast type sign made for a friend or family member.

For my above specified uses I would like a single software package that is:

1) Easy to make basic coroplast signs with a few words and maybe a graphic.

2) Ability to quickly import an image and convert it to a vector graphic.

3) Easy intuitive node editing the graphic to use as an airbrush stencil.

So far my experience is with Inkscape to convert an image to a vector graphic and then importing it into SignBlazer to edit for airbrush stencils. I will be comparing Sure Cuts A Lot Pro 3 with Inkscape and SignBlazer based on the above 3 uses.

Luckily I am sick today and the house is empty of family so I will just sit in front of the computer working with Sure Cuts A Lot all day.

Finally I have attached a picture of a full scale airplane tail graphic, the completed stencil set and finally the completed painting on my model airplane. I used Inkscape to change the picture into a vector and then SIgnBlazer to node edit and group the elements into an airbrush stencil set. Today I am going to attempt to use Sure Cuts A Lot to reproduce the stencil set. This will be a good benchmark comparison.

I hope this helps anyone contemplating getting Sure Cuts A Lot.

-Scott

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It's been over 2 hours since I last posted that I would try and use Sure Cuts A Lot Pro to make a set of tail graphic stencils.

Here is my thoughts and attempts to use the trace and node editing tools.

I watched both the "trace and tools" video tutorials and learned quite a bit.

I do not like the node editing tools.

Here is the main reasons why and solutions that would help solve what I consider issues:

1)the zoom in and out function is time consuming to use. If I could zoom in and out using the mouse wheel and have the "mat" zoom in and out where my mouse pointer is at would solve the zoom issue.

2)with both the draw tool and the shape tool the nodes blink in and out of view. The solution is to have a wire frame view with all of the nodes "On" and showing at all times when either the draw tool or shape tool is selected.

3)The node editing is just not intuitive for me. I don't have a solution for this. Remember I am doing a side by side comparison to SignBlazer and Inkscape. Node editing in SignBlazer is extremely fast and intuitive for me.

I am really liking the Trace tool. I am finding it quite powerful and the layers menu is awesome. I plan on doing more work with the trace feature today.

Unfortunately, the part that has killed me is the node editing all the different pieces and nodes to get the photograph of the airplane tail graphic down to a file that has the basic shapes to cut.

I have spent a little over 2.5 hours attempting to make some stencils. So far I have gotten no where on the node editing side of things and have given up for for awhile.

Here is the 100% most awesome part of this software!!! It has gotten rid of 99.9% of the tiny scallops when I try and cut things. Please see this thread http://forum.uscutte...-cut-correctly/ The little scallops have been a problem since August. Today I tried cutting some 1/2" tall letters "Trident School of Aviation" and it cut about 99% perfect using Sure Cuts A Lot Pro with no adjustments for offset or overcut. With SignBlazer and SignCut cutting letters at 1/2" tall is useless.

Lastly Sure Cuts A Lot Pro has to get .eps file support ASAP! I have a feeling I will be using Sure Cuts A Lot for cutting and basic editing but for more complex node editing I think I will have to use another program. Might be time to purchase Corel Draw.

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I agree on the node editing. Like I had said I would like to see, is to make the nodes- well, umm, visibile? maybe....

The only way to MAKE them visible is in the "Preview" view. Not while editing. BOO.

NOTE: Figured this out.... If you select Show Outlines Only under View they show up...

Edited by vinylmotivations

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Yup I got that part figured. I'll keep working on it. It's just not quite intuitive. I hope I can get it figured out to the point that I can edit hundreds of nodes quickly.

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Thanks again. This is the type of feedback we are looking for. Bug fixes can't be issued if the developer doesn't know about the bug.

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I purchased Pro for $50 and downloaded it last night (v3.036). I like much of the UI, much more modern (than SB I was using) with much better path rendering. I really like the tracing feature compared to SB. I would like to echo most of speleopower's feedback. Particularly editing nodes (specifically I don't like not being able to edit the type of node, such as corner, etc) and lack of mouse wheel zoom.

Although I haven't yet been able to get it to cut on my MH-721 MK2 cutter (separate thread).

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I've spent another couple hours with the node editing tools and my brain just is not wrapping around them. I have made zero progress toward all of the node editing that went into making a set of tail graphic stencils which is the benchmark I wanted to achieve with the software especially since I was able to relatively quickly make the stencils in Inkscape and SignBlazer.

I will keep at it but I have a feeling this is not the software for me to use to create stencil designs with. It does seem to cut very nicely and I will probably try and use it for as much cutting as possible from here on out if I can get a file into a usable file type.

-Scott

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Here is an update that should be simple to do in the Text-"font" submenu. I have several hundred different fonts and it takes way to long to wait until the list scrolls down to the end. Also, if I scroll down to say a font with a name starting with S the next time I open the font list it is still at the S's and I then have to scroll upward for a long time to get back to the A's.

Update for 11/4/2012

I have found a slider for scrolling quickly through fonts. You have to click on the "Text" tool in the tools menu which opens the Text options window. If you then click on Font a slider will show up. Why there is no slider when you click on "Text" and then "Font" on the main menu bar I don't know.

-Scott

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Guest David

Have you had any troubles importing .ai vector files? Whenever I try to do so I get an error stating: Microsoft Visual Runtime Library Runtime Error. This application has requested the Runtime to terminate it in an unusual way."

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Can I report a bug? Program freezes (in Mac V. 3.036) when I hit "cancel" during a cut. Also in WYSIWYG mode when cutting only font (laserpoint I) it stops mid cut. Program acts like it's finished cutting but cutter still says "waiting." I have to reboot the cutter. I was getting it to work in Origin mode but now even that is hanging.

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I've been playing with Sure Cuts A Lot Pro 3.032 for a couple days now. I've also had a lot of trouble with ai files. I did find that CS2 ai files imported without any trouble. I purchased the software because I was interested in the possibilities of making some rhinestone templates with it. So far I'm not too pleased. I keep getting stray lines of stones across most of the images I've tried. Too early for me to make any good judgement on this software. I've been using Sign Blazer for so long. At 1st glance Sure cuts a lot seems like a step backwards from were I was hoping to go.

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I gave the software about 8 hours worth of total time today. The best I could do is make basic signs and graphics that require only very basic node editing. From a beginner standpoint the software works well (after patches) and I really like the layout and menus. Luckily I am not a 100% beginner otherwise I would have been really stuck.

The node editing is just to clunky and really feels like a step down from SignBlazer as I was not able to achieve my benchmark and create a set of airbrush stencils even after 8 hours of playing with the software I had nothing other than a mess of layers with so many nodes I got lost.

As I mentioned before there needs to be a mouse wheel zoom, nodes need to stay visible at all times and the wire frame needs to be a thin line. On the nodes themselves there needs to be more options just like SignBlazer. If Craft Edge essentially copies SignBlazer's node editing functions and zoom function the software would be perfect for me.

I really like the font tables and layer option and abilities of the layering menu. A slider to quickly scroll through the fonts would be a great simple addition especially if you have a lot of fonts.

I'm begging Craft Edge to please get .eps file support!!!!! For Pro software the ability to use many file types is a priority and a must otherwise it's not Pro.

Has anyone tried converting .eps files to .svg in Inkscape?

My final thoughts are I like the software and its ability to quickly make simple signs and basic designs plus it seems to cut much better than SignBlazer and SignCut i.e. the driver for the SC machine used in Sure Cuts A Lot works better.

For me I am going to have to use a seperate design program (probably CorelDraw) and then import into Sure Cuts A Lot.

-Scott

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No, I'll try inkscape for converting today. I'm pretty desperate to get this working and not hanging. I've been using AI to convert eps to svg and the sucker just won't cut.

***edited to say that now I tried inkscape for the conversion and the cutter immediately started cutting the first time. However it still hung mid cut like it'd finished and I had to turn off my cutter. Now it's back to hanging on "initializing." I'm going to try uninstalling and reinstalling the program and see where that gets me.

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I just found a couple .ai files I grabbed awhile ago and when I tried to open them in Sure Cuts A Lot Pro 3 the program crashed.

I have attached a compressed copy of the .ai file to see if anyone else can get it to open in SCAL.

Is 3.037 out yet???

-Scott

Holloween Page 1.zip

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ladymare-I will try various conversions with Inkscape today and see if I can get anything to work. I'm still sick and going to just sit in front of my computer again today playing with the software. I also really want this software to work for me because I really like the layout and menu system.

-Scott

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Speleopower - sorry you're sick but I'm really hoping you find a conversion that works. My PC with SB crashed and burned (motherboard) so I need this to work with my mac! I uninstalled/reinstalled programs, drivers and all and it looked promising for about 20 seconds. It once again tried cutting, got half way through and hung. But the inkscape SVG is the closest I've gotten so far...

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I'm coming to the conclusion it's a big bug. Just installed on my husband's netbook laptop just for kicks and same thing. Cut off halfway through the cut, now it says it can't find the cutter whatsoever. At least his netbook doesn't hang up and actually is telling me it can't find something. Maybe we can hope for a 3.037 on Monday. :/

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Vinylmotivations which file did you try converting? The .ai file I posted? Sorry I don't know what CS, CS2, 3, 4 and 5 are or I'm just so sick my brain can't remember :-)

Uggh it's not looking good for Sure Cuts A Lot Pro 3 as viable for much right now. Dang it.

I really like the interface and the features. Now they just need to make is Pro and add mouse wheel zoom, node editing like SignBlazer and .eps file support.

-Scott

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The halloween file... Each of those are the specific formats for the given version of Adobe Illustrator wether it was CS3 or CS5 etc.

Corel does the same thing... with their "versions" of Corel being X3 or X6. I have Corel X6 now.

I did successfully save it as an SVG in corel and import it.

One thing I wish happened in SCAL was that the outline lines, were finer or more slim and not appearing to be really heavy thick!

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Vinylmotivation-thanks for the clarification.

Yes the outline needs to be a "wire" frame just like SignBlazer or at least have an option to change the thickness of the outline (if it does have that option I have not found it yet).

Do you have a fairly complex .svg file that you could post? I want to try cutting something complex to see if the software crashes while cutting like some people have mentioned.

I'm starting to agree with ladymare that this software might be a big bug like I've mentioned I'm pretty sick this weekend with a cold so I've spent a lot of time playing with the software. I wish it wasn't buggy/lacking features because I do like the layout and many of the options plus it seems to cut much cleaner than SignBlazer i.e. I have not seen the little scallops in the cuts.

-Scott

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