Monday, August 22, 2011

Cutting files for free ...not always a good quality = frustration and blame in the wrong place

I have been using cutting machines for many years now. I now have quite a few of these electronic monsters...yes I am addicted. Certain machines will cut certain files differently, some with better accuracy than others. Software has to do with this also because software is what is giving the machine the commands to cut. I started with a version from Signmax and have used Funtime/Pazzles, SCAL, &  MTC to name a few. I am now designing mostly in Adobe Illustrator and sending these files to my various cutting softwares. Klo can attest to the fact I am PICKY about my files!
Just a thought for newer people to ponder...
Are you getting your cutting files from websites for free? If you are getting these free files, look at them closely. These files may look pretty at first but once you magnify up on them...they are not such pretty files. Look closely and you will find loop-backs/switch-backs, points and corners too tight for the blade to make a good cut. Sometimes there will be double cutting lines or even an invisible cut line way out of your image that you do not even know is there. Also look at the amount of nodes. The more nodes, the more time it takes the software to calculate the cut. Then the machine will cut very slowly depending on the software you are using with what machine. I have included 2 pictures from a "FREE" download site and 2 random files I picked. Both of these free files had some major issues that I was able to see. After downloading many of this sites files, I found each one to have many problems that a newer user would not identify easily.  These issues would make a newer user frustrated with the quality of the piece that they cut... not the machine's fault but the file. I made sure that my images are not identifiable as to what "free" site they came from. I am not here to bash the person that creates them, only to make people aware that not all files are created equal. I look back at some of my files that I produced in my first year or two and I cringe at some of them and the problems I now see with them.
My point is that if you are new to this, use files from a well known source either purchased or designed by someone that knows what they are doing. LEARN your software and how to spot these "not so user-friendly" files. Start with simple images and learn your particular machine's cutting ability. Do not start with a complicated file that you downloaded for free. Free is just that, no guarantee unless you really like to be frustrated. Yes these free files cause lots of frustration. But then the blame gets shifted to the machine and the company that produced the machine...and then people write their frustration out bashing the machine or software...when all along it was that one free file you tried to cut...... Complicated intricate files should be cut with good quality paper and a sharp blade set "just right". Test cut an area first before you ruin that whole piece of nice paper. Do you live in a damp 40% plus humidity area? Then your paper may be harder to cut. I am a Stampin' Up demonstrator and our paper can be very temperamental to cut with humidity. Ok back to my point of free files....start with files from ex: Pazzles Craft Room or Scrap-Savvy or My Time Made Easy or many other trusted sites. Look close at their files, most of these files are excellent cutting files and will show you what a good file should be. Do not make a complicated file smaller to fit a small card if it was made for a bigger card or 12 x 12 layout.
Oh yes above all!!!! Do not wait till the last minute to learn your machine when you have to get something done... this will always end up in disaster and know Murphy's law. Watch Klo's videos, Use Julie F.'s tutorials, go to You Tube and watch.
Disclaimer: No particular incident, person or site sparked this email, well Ok maybe one...hehe.  HAVE FUN!


Suzzi said...

Thanks so much for sharing this information.

Makes someone more aware of what they are doing when designing or cutting.

DtsArt said...

Oh I enjoyed this article. I am always amazed when people put up free files with comments like I haven't cut this file. I don't ever download them. I always test cut my files several times and make changes to them before putting them online for other's to download whether they are free or pay files.

Anonymous said...

Sorry I have to say something..I do understand what you are saying about free files but as one of those people who has posted 100+ free files I check my files very carefully before posting and make it very clear that I have cut in the machine I own but the other formats I have just converted because I don't own 5 different machines. I have had over 10000+ downloads and about 8 problems which I have addressed as soon as someone has told me. I have spent hours checking for double lines etc and to be honest I think it's unfair that you have lumped all free file providers in the same folder.