Vinyl Cutting/Plotting software other than Corel?

Discussion in 'Design and Graphics' started by mulletman13, Jun 27, 2006.

  1. macrumors 6502a

    mulletman13

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2004
    Location:
    Los Angeles.
    #1
    Hey all,

    My dad recently got into the vinyl sign business (well at least, he wants to really badly, allready purchased the equipment), and I'm a little curious as to some things.

    Currently he is using CorelDraw 11 to Cut the signs, which I am not familiar with at *all*, and I was wondering if one of the Adobe CS apps are able to perform this action instead. I am familiar with the entire CS Suite, so it would be much easier for me to teach him how to do things, etc. but right now we are both struggling with Corel.

    Also if Corel is the only option here, anybody have any tutorial reccommendations, maybe video CDs online, or other things?

    Thanks in advance,

    Ken
     
  2. macrumors 65816

    redeye be

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2005
    Location:
    BXL
    #2
    What filetypes can the cutting software handle?
     
  3. macrumors 6502a

    eRondeau

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2004
    Location:
    Canada's South Coast
    #3
    Just wanted to say that I'll also be watching this thread closely. I've had a home-based "hobby" computer-cut vinyl signmaking business for nearly 15 years. Believe it or not, it was run off a 1991 Amiga 2000 with an aftermarket 68030 board running at a blazing 25MHz. Seriously, it cost like $6000 when it was new! Anyways, my Amiga's hard drive finally gave up the ghost last Christmas, taking tens of MEGAbytes of my hard work with it. (Yes I mean MEGAbytes... the 80 Meg HD was 95% full!) So now I'm left with a complete sign shop, tons of vinyl and substrates, and nothing to make it all work. I'm looking at selling everything, but it will be sad to see it go after all these years. I'd be curious to see if there are any shareware Mac-based vinyl-cutting programs out there, just to see how they would drive my old Roland CAMM-1.

    BTW, the "standard" language for such things is HPGL which my SignEngine Amiga software fully supported, now updated to HPGL-2. My cutter also speaks DMPL but I'm not sure it was ever as popular as HPGL. Note that's the serial/parallel communication language that the computer uses to talk to the cutter, it is not a file format. I'm honestly not sure what today's "standard" 2-D plotting file format might be... on my Amiga it was called DR2D (Draw2D).
     
  4. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2003
    Location:
    oith
    #4
    At work we use an illustrator plug-in called cutting master for our graphtec
    plotter. Maybe try a google for that.
     
  5. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2006
    #5
    NCS MagiSign plug-in for Adobe Illustrator


    NCS MagiSign plug-in (http://www.magisign.com) drives more than 350 models of cutting plotters directly from Adobe Illustrator 10, CS and CS 2 running on Mac OS X 10.3 (Panther) or 10.4 (Tiger). It includes recent as older models from Roland, Graphtec, Summa, Mutoh, Ioline, Anagraph, Zund, Aristo, GCC, etc.

    NCS MagiSign runs on any G3, G4 or G5 PowerMac as runs over MacIntel through Rosetta without known problems (note : Adobe Illustrator CS2 is not universal so you need more RAM memory in this case).

    Older versions of our products were compatible with older Mac and older versions of Adobe Illustrator (from 1996).

    NCS MagiSign includes its own USB drivers to drive as fine as possible cutters like Summa or Graphtec over Mac OS X versions described above.

    NCS MagiSign allows to drive many brand of old cutters build with only serial port through Keyspan Serial adapter and the appropriate serial cable for the cutting plotter.

    I keep myself at your disposal for any further info
    Best regards

    Philippe JACQUES
     
  6. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2006
    #6
    Mac OS X -> Software -> Plotter

    I have an orginal iMac (2 usb ports) I also have a Mac Mini. I am trying to find a new software so I can start using OS X. Biggest problem is currently the plotter hooks to a much older Macintosh with ADP dongle and the plotter connects to apples DIN8 (serial printer port) I have the Graphtec FC3100-60 and its now almost impossible for me to use... Need to get it working on the newer Macs! Thanks in advanced for anyones help.

    Matthew
     
  7. macrumors G5

    CanadaRAM

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2004
    Location:
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    #7
    Keyspan, IIRC, has both USB-ADB and USB-RS422 convertors that are compatible with a broad range of devices, but YMMV

    As far as Corel vs. Illustrator goes -- it all comes down to what the cutter's software expects to see as import files. If it only takes a CDR file, or ony includes a driver that is compatible with Corel, then you have to use Corel, or find third party sofware that translate you .AI file or act as a substitute driver. Depending on the quality of that software, there may be file translation or driver issues that consume a lot of time to troubleshoot, or it may be easy.

    Your first stop is the cutter manufacturer to find out for certain what they support natively.
     
  8. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2006
    #8
    Eww Corel

    I would like to stay as far away from Corel as possible, I am very familure with Freehand (wonder what will happen with it vs illustrator now that adobe owns both) I been using Freehand before MacroMedia owned it. So I would like to stick with it or illustrator for my designing

    CASMate (the software i have for pre X) used EPS files. Since I posted I contacted Graphtec (I have a Graphtec FC3100-60) I also contacted a few sign shop supply outfits online and several macintosh sign software companies to see what they suggest doing. I would really love to be able to just design in the same app (such as freehand or illustrator) and plot it out with out switching back and forth and trying to translate. Maybe Graphtec can tell me they make a replacement that replaces all those ports with a nice USB 2.0 port (doubt it be a 2.0 if they did have usb) It just appears to look like those two ports can be removed and replaced like a PCI card would in a desktop...

    I should have my mail box full of answers in the morning if not Monday morning.

    Matthew
     
  9. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2006
    #9
    NCS Magisign drives also Graphtec FC 3100-60

    >I would really love to be able to just design in the same app (such as freehand or illustrator) and plot it out with out switching back and forth and trying to translate


    This is exactly what does NCS MagiSign (http://www.magisign.com) from Adobe Illustrator (but no more from FreeHand). Our pug-ins is a palette that appears as any Adobe Illustrator ones.

    It computes the selected paths on the fly so you just have to click on "send" to see your cutter moving. An intermediary dialog allows you to setup the cutter (speed, force etc).

    More than 350 models compatible with MagiSign. By default, Summa devices appears in the plotter menu of the demo version. Not a problem : select the right plotter group from the menu at the top right corner of our palette (behind the arrow) and all the FC3100 range will replace Summa models. This choice will than be saved in preferences so you will not need to change it late.

    NCS MagiSign drives all the Graphtec, from the first one to the most recent ones. Your FC3100-60 is really a familiar model for me. We drives it both in HPGL or GPGL (the native language from Graphtec).

    To drive this model from NCS MagiSign installed on an iMac mini, you have to buy a Keyspan Twin serial adapter (http://www.keyspan.com). This device is provided with the required drivers to emulate 2 serial ports recognised by NCS MagiSign over Mac OS X (10.3 or 10.4, from G3 to MacIntel).

    I keep myself at your disposal for further info

    Best regards

    Philippe JACQUES (infos@magisign.com)








     
  10. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2006
    #10
    Magidesign

    Does this plugin require any hardware, like a usb dongle? If so I am going to have to order my a nice USB hub... Maybe that one that looks like a Mac Mini that allows you to install another hard drive into, $399(software)$79(keyspan adapter)$79(usb hub)8%(Sales tax)+Shipping=$600.00+ To get plotter working with newer computer
     
  11. macrumors 68020

    wmmk

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2006
    Location:
    The Library.
    #11
    Sorry for the dumb question, but what is vinyl cutting/plotting and what are vinyl signs?
     
  12. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2006
    #12
    What's a vinyl cutter ?

    Vinyl cutter is used by sign makers and graphic designes to produce signs. Go in any street and open your eyes : you will see hundred of letterhead that are not print-out, not screen printed, but cut-and-paste in vinyl with a cutting plotter. Just examine all the letters on cars, road signs, glass, banner, etc...

    This kind of device traces vectors over a thin adhesive sheet (commonly called vinyle) and cut them with a cutter (or pen) moving over it. Once cut, the material must be peel (to remove the negative parts of design) and transfer to the final surface with care.

    The design related thus not on dots like common printers, but on vectors connverted in a plotter language (commonly HPGL, sometimes GPGL, DMPL...). This is the job of the sign software drivers. Some are dedicated, I mean developped only for signmaking. Commonly expensive solutions. Some, like NCS MagiSign, rely on common design software (like Illustrator) for the creation and manage the conversion and transmission of the result to the cutter.

    The color of the result is related to the color of the material : you have to cut and assemble various sheet to obtain a multicolor project. This is one the reason the vinyl is nowaday in competition with large ink plotter that produce large output in a way similar to a desktop printer. Meanwhile vinyl are more time resistant that large format printing.

    Major brand in this domain are Summa, Graphtec, Roland,...
    Expensive flatbed models also exists from Aristo and Zund.
     

    Attached Files:

  13. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2006
    #13
    About USB dongle and price

    Yes, sorry, it includes a USB dongle : market is so small we can't leave free copies on the market ! But we care to keep competitive updates. There are advantages too : ShareIt guarantee you a 30 day trial period after which you would receive your money back if you are not satisfied by the product and send us back the protection key. Concrete trial would cost you the shipping duties in this case.

    Our USB dongle is valid to run our solutions for Adobe Illustrator 10, Adobe Illustrator CS and Adobe Illustrator CS2. Any minor updates are free to download and will be so until release 2.0 (in the loop of 2007). So in 10 years, our customer have only paid for updates for moving from Mac68000 to PowerPC and from MacOS 9 to MacOS X.



    About price : any macrumors readers would use the below special coupon to obtain an holiday discount at order :

    GYE98ASM

    This one is valid until end of july 2006 and is to enter in the appropriate field in the order process from this link :

    http://www.shareit.com/product.html?productid=300048494



    I keep myself at your disposal for any further info

    Philippe JACQUES
     
  14. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2004
  15. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2006
    #15
    Mac only

    NCS MagiSign is dedicated to Mac only. We concentrate to keep it as close as possible of Apple evolution days after days.

    Both app you mentionned :
    - are based on Windows applications "opportunely" ported on Mac by their developpers, not dedicated Mac solutions.

    - are not true plug-ins (they export datas from Adobe Illustrator to a standalone app, thus a bridge).
     
  16. macrumors 65816

    beatsme

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2005
    #16
    well...

    when I worked for a sign company, they had some kind of package (I don't remember what) that drove the plotter...and yea it was PC. I just did everything in Illustrator on my Mac, saved it as an .eps, and imported it into that program. It worked fine, and I would imagine you could do the same. Just work in Illustrator and import your finished product into Corel. Why don't you try it and see how it works?
     
  17. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2006
    #17
    Flexi Sign

    They dont even make it for Mac OS X yet do they? Besides its way to much money compaired to other solutions. SignCut X2 PE is the best solution until MagiSign offered us that 35% discount. Sign Cut was about $30 cheaper, then MagiSign they want $60 for shipping. I need to buy my hub for the USB gear and the keyspan usb adapter, then save up some more and get the software. Probable be august until I can afford to do this.
     
  18. macrumors 68020

    wmmk

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2006
    Location:
    The Library.
    #18
    ah, thank you. this makes a lot of sense and is very interesting. is this how they'd make those white apple stickers that come with new macs and iPods?
     
  19. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2006
    #19
    Apple Stickers

    No, those are just stickers on some sort of plastic. You know the Kalvin and Hobes character pissing on raiders or bin landed or x and replace x with anything you can think of, honda/ford/chevy/sportsteam/car maker etc


    Those are what these machines do, look for signs that light up outside of a building, banners that have lettering, magnet signs on side of vechiles that pill off, usually all those have vinyel lettering on them. If i wasnt redoing my website i would show you some of my work.
     
  20. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    mulletman13

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2004
    Location:
    Los Angeles.
    #20
    Hey everybody, thanks for all the responses!

    Sorry I've kindof neglected this thread :X

    In any case, my dad is running it on a PC (bleh), while I am an avid Mac user. It seems he's learning the Corel software, but I'd like to swoon him over to Illustrator for editing the actual files. To cut and plot he uses Signtools 3, which seems decent, but their design and everything is pretty sad =\

    I've also been trying to convince him to switch over to a Mac, and we've recently ran into a debacle that may be the nail in the coffin -- I had to format his computer because there were a couple huge underlying problems (a disaster and very frustrating time for me).

    In any case thanks for all the suggestions and I hope to hear more from you guys, I love this community =)

    Ken
     
  21. macrumors 65816

    Sweetfeld28

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2003
    Location:
    Buckeye Country, O-H
    #21
    At work we just recently purchased a plotter to all of our cutting. As far as i know we have it running an a PC, couldn't tell you the software they use either, but i will try and get those for you later today.

    However, i did use this machine the other day to create some Vinyl logos of the TRD emblems for my car. All i used was Illustrator, i didn't have to do anything special either. I just had to make sure my graphics were all in outlines, then output those outlines to the plotter, and away it went.

    BTW, i think it was Illustrator CS i was using.
     
  22. macrumors 65816

    Sweetfeld28

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2003
    Location:
    Buckeye Country, O-H
    #22
    hey guys,

    i just asked my supervisor, and he told me that we are using a plug-in for Illustrator CS, didn't ask him what it was called, but the plotter that we are using is Graphtec Cutting Pro 7000.

    *ours is the one on the top of that picture.
     
  23. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2006
    #23
    Plugin

    Kinda obvious its a plugin if your doing everything from within illustrator... Id think when you go to the spot to tell it to plot, it would tell you what its called
     
  24. macrumors 65816

    Sweetfeld28

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2003
    Location:
    Buckeye Country, O-H
    #24
    Well since i rarely use the Cutter/Plotter, i couldn't remember the name of the plug-in, but i did happen to find out that it came with the plotter.

    It is called Master Cutter.
     
  25. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2006
    #25
    Master Cutter

    Does it take a hardware dongle?
     

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