Thursday, July 25, 2019

ScanNCut Design to Cutter

In this part I'm going to discuss the way I like to transfer ideas to finished card. EDITED WHEN I FOUND A EASIER WAY. - 4 AUG 19.

In Brenda's generator - the instructions say to use the letter X or x and the dash -  and I found it worked for me in a .txt file. It doesn't say, but the Word didn't load. Nor did Excel.

What I found what that the letter X or x and the letter O or o (not zero) worked just as well in the making the SVG file and much, much better with how I like to work. EDIT, Thanks to Fransico for telling me how to take the tab formatting out of the notepad, so I leave the dash in.

Righto. I start with excel set for all ideas/designs to
column width = 2
row height = 12, or less if you like
first row numbered and locked. But it's not to scale.

Then I like to colour the either the x or - for some, or the row colour for multicolour jacquard.

When I'm happy, with it, I SAVE it.

Then expand the design for a couple of repeats, across and down. This certainly takes care of any oopsies that I can undo and correct, then do the repeats again. Best to be sure.
when I'm happy undo the expansions and save.

Then I take off all the fill colours to no fill and while I've got it all highlighted, copy the entire design. I also take note the the row count - it varies.

SKIP THIS AND GO DIRECTLY TO NOTEPAD,  (I've left it in, just in case it doesn't work)

Open Word and paste in and click the top lefthand corner cross icon thingy to highlight the entire table,
Select Table Layout and right at the end is
CONVERT TO TEXT click that and say yes to TAB
then go to HOME
and on the far right (again) is REPLACE, click that
in the bottom of the box is MORE, click that
leave the REPLACE empty, we don't want any information.

Then I usually select save them all as TEMP or if I think I want to refine it, I might save it individually, but really it's usefulness is over.

Then select ALL (Ctrl+A)

HIGHLIGHT any blank TAB formatting
Select EDIT, REPLACE, and paste in formatting - it will be blank, don't worry,
and SAVE as a .TXT file, usually with row count and D (Deco) J (Jac).

I tried saving from Word as a txt file, and as I said up above - didn't work. Using the dash - character was so helpful that word converted some of them into either an M or N dash - ggggrrr. I'm glad I forgot to convert to the dash from the letter o and it worked.

Open up the generator,
SELECT the TXT file, and the card type (deco, 24st etc)
and the repeat is THE NUMBER OF TOTAL ROW repeats, Usually one or two, sometimes I'll do a double check and do 3 or 4 to see how it lines up, then go back and do 1 or 2 repeats.
and SAVE, again with the row count, D, J or SK, identifier and if I need it, LGE MAT for all designs that need the large mat. I found saving useful identifiers was more than essential and super helpful.

Then open up the ScanNCut software, IMPORT from the computer, SAVE

I've got a good selection of OUTER cuts for most of the row counts now. so if I have it already, I delete the outside cuts, sprockets, upper and lower joining rows. - they are already in the xxRow OUTER CUT templates.

Now for the annoying part. The cutter will only cut up to 600 holes, so I cut half off - save as CUT 1, undo, delete off the other half and save ad CUT 2.

Sometimes it's under the 600 cuts and will do it all in one go, usually the smaller rows, but mostly it's painless to get it cut in three steps.
xxRow OUTER template.

The cutting takes around 30 - 45 minutes, depending on how many rows and holes I want.

Once it goes onto the cutter, it just cuts away while I do something else, probably a minutes to get the machine to do all the cuts.

I had a good tip to remove the cut holes from the mat with an old credit card - I used an old store loyalty card and that did make it easier. Just press very lightly to position the paper onto the LOW TACK mat. The first couple I pressed down far too firmly and it was very difficult to remove the very stuck down remains. This takes a 5-10 minutes. If I've done too good a job at sticking them to the mat, the instructions say to clean the mat with alcohol, dye, etc free baby wipes. A couple of wipes over, remove all the overly stuck bits of paper, let the mat dry and put it's dust cover on.

Reading all that, it seems like a lot to do, but it really isn't. The excel spreadsheet takes the longest time, but is helpful to me, I like the visual and takes the longest time. Plopping it into Word, do a couple of clicks to convert it and paste it into Notepad, save it, isn't hard and takes minutes. Of course playing around in Excel takes the time it takes, sometimes I think of something better, and I'm sure it's easier to fiddle around there, so when converting the idea to the card is painless.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Brother ScanNCut CM900 Die Cutter/Scanner (Passap Deco Cards)

I finally unpacked the box. And decided to make a Passap Deco card.

The machine is marketed for quilting, scrapbooking and card making. And has a lot of features to enhance these types of projects and I'm looking forward to attempting some card making. But I wanted to cut some punchcards.. Of course!

Now this has to be remembered. The function and design of the machine is to cut out a shape to keep and discard the outer part. With the Deco, there's the outer discard and hundreds of little circles that have stuck to the mat. Which is not designed for this!!!

The A3 has to be have the longest edge cut down 11.5cm to fit in the designated square on the mat. Instructions specifically say not to go over the markings, so I cut the excess off.

First project I decided to do is a Passap Deco card from Fay's class. I couldn't get all the cuts in one go, too many small cuts, and after experiments I made some Templates:
pen markings - arrow and 8th row marker
blade cutting holes - outer ratchet holes, card snap holes and 3 rows of holes each end.
blade cutting holes - inside template of all pattern holes for future projects. (marker for each square isn't possible)

I liked the 210gsm best for a card I'd use more than once.
210gsm on std mat, 3.5 blade didn't cut through all layers
210gsm on std mat, 5 blade cut through, (4, 4.5 didn't)
Low tack mat didn't hold properly, first try, but patting it down did. The quality of the board is better than the 120gsm and the std held it well. Gently patted it down so it was all stuck down.

120gsm on std mat, 3,5 blade and tore as I was removing it.

120gsm on low tack mat 3.75 blade. Much better result. I didn't pat it down all over, fearing that it would tear and next time a light smooth over the surface will be much better. This is perfect for a once off project, its only 20 minutes to make one in thicker card stock. I think would go through the deco once, the quality of the stock I bought isn't great, The better quality is about 10 times the price and maybe I will have to get some. If it goes through the deco once, then not.

Experimenting to get the best result has been a good two days spent - doing the templates and working out what the machine can and can't do. The accuracy of the cutting is outstanding, and once I got the hang of the (limited) program to edit the projects, the three templates are ready to go. One for printing, Two for cutting the outside border and removing unwanted holes for the pattern. It didn't want to know about cutting and printing on the same file.

After cutting is finished, I lightly pressed over to stick the punched out holes to the board. I didn't with the thinner paper, thinking that it would tear. But the low tack would have been fine.

I don't think its worth the bother of trying to make blank cards, while it's on the machine, might just as well cut the desired pattern. AND the small holes for every square is a bridge too far for the machine to do with ink or blade and it spat the dummy and said nuh, can't do.

When I get more familiar with it, I'll branch out and cut holes in a bought card.. Another day.

My next experiments were with cards that had more holes. The machine is capable of 600 individual actions. (draw or cut)

Card: 210gsm
Blade: No 5
Low tack mat

I decided to reduce the number of rows to over the 36 rows (which I think will be a very tight fit and perhaps not a good idea with using card stock), to I settled for 40 rows, and 800 individual pattern cuts.

One was the 4x4 holes/blanks every 2 rows.
The 8sts x 8 rs Card 77.

Both had 800 pattern holes plus 3 rows each end and ratchet and cardsnap holes.
I'd already worked out that doing the edge cuts was a better idea and kept it.
I tried two divisions,  half on the x axis and half on the y.

Both worked out perfectly, and cutting in halves not a hassle.