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Tips & Tricks

Make and cut your own files (SignLab)

When you click on the scissors to cut (or by clicking cut, then plot, and then OK), you come face to face with our famous Set Tiles screen. Most people look at this and simply press OK to cut. That's fine, but how about getting more out of this screen and saving on your output material, or facilitating the manual production?

  • # In the Set Tiles screen, you will see your image surrounded by a red dashed Tile line.
  • You can set your own Tiles by dragging a line from the top or right hand sides of the Tile border.
  • Drag a line down from the top, and you have split your job in two pieces. Do the same thing from the right hand side, and you've now split your job into four pieces. Thus your job will be cut (Tiled) in four pieces.
  • If you just want to cut the lower right piece, simply click in the square and you will see a red X applied in that square. Now the marked tile will be the only one cut.

How can this be useful?

  • For example, you ruined one of the legs on a stencil font while applying it. So that most of the sign has already been applied, and you only need to touch up that letter.
  • Therefore, you drag Tile lines to form a box around the letter and you can even include a small part of the letters before and after (you will use these to help you align your piece)
  • Place an X in the Tile, by clicking it, and cut only that small piece of vinyl.

You now have a replacement piece that contains visual alignment cues.

Cutting Multiple Copies of Same Design (SignLab)

Rather than making duplicates or arrays during design-time, why not tell the cutter to make the number of copies you need during output-time?

  • When you're ready to cut your design, select "Plot" from the Cut menu
  • In the section of the dialog box dealing with Copies, select the number of copies you want
  • In order to make the best use of your material, enable the option called "Stack Copies". Specify an X-space and a Y-space (so the designs have a bit of "breathing room" for weeding).

SignLab will figure out the maximum number of designs it can "stack up" the material and will make allowances for any options that could extend the boundary of each copy (such as specifying that you want a weed border)

Setting Text Widths (SignLab)

If you need to set text, but need it to stay within a specific maximum width, proceed as follows:

  • select the text tool (the button with an A on it)
  • draw a bounding box for the text with the text tool (the "T" which appears after selecting the Text Tool button), rather than just clicking on the screen.

This will automatically select a Character Width Compression for the text.

Toggle between applying color / fill an object (SignLab)

When using the color palette to change an object's colors, you can use the Line/Fill toggle button... in the bottom right hand corner of the SignLab window.

To toggle the palette from line color to fill color even faster...simply left-click with your mouse on the color plate for a fill, or...right-click for a line color.

How to avoid unnecessary welding (SignLab)

Rather than welding a white object out of other objects, it is far quicker to use the Make Path option on the objects using Ctrl+H. This produces almost exactly the same effect as the XOR Weld, but the weld function can occasionally take some time, whereas the Make Path command is almost instantaneous..

Note: This does not work when you are welding an item of any color other than white.

Reducing Nodes (SignLab)

Quickly eliminate half the nodes in an object

  • Double click on your object to get to your node editing mode;
  • Sweep select all of your nodes;
  • Hit the letter "U" on your keyboard (this will deselect every other node);
  • Then hit "delete" on your keyboard to remove the selected nodes.

Congratulations, you've just halved the number of nodes in your image.