Posts tagged ‘Make-the-Cut’
It’s been over a year since I visited the details of each software package available to drive a Silhouette cutter. There’s still no clear winner for everyone, because so much depends on what you want to do, how much learning curve you are willing to endure and how much you want to spend, not to mention personal preference. I have made a radical update to my comparison chart to help you choose what’s right for you among Silhouette’s own software, Make the Cut or Sure Cuts a Lot. Funtime Pro is also an option now, but I’ve not had a copy to compare so the items on the chart in that column are provisional at best. Hoping for some input from Funtime users on this. I know many of you are like me, and already use more than one of these software packages. In that case, I hope this chart will help you find the best one for the task at hand.
In addition, I’ve added a detailed chart on file formats. Most of you can probably skip this, but if you are interested in being able to cut a particular file format (or a lot of them) then this may help you make a decision. This information may also be helpful to designers choosing which file formats to offer.
(Click each image to open/download the corresponding PDF)
Note: this chart was revised 3/24/13 to include new features in Make-the-Cut v4.6.0
With the popularity of the Cameo (and earlier SD model), and the introduction of premium software from Silhouette, there are lots of questions about which software is best. There’s not an easy answer, because it depends on what you want to do, and how much you want to spend. I have prepared a comparison chart to help you choose what’s right for you, Silhouette’s own software, Make the Cut or Sure Cuts a Lot.
Update: For the latest comparison click here.
New owners of digital diecutters often ask what are the best fonts for welding (or “connecting” if they haven’t been indoctrinated into our odd vernacular yet). We may give a few suggestions but usually brush them off with something about personal preference. It turns out that there are some fonts that are inherently weld-friendly thanks to their attentive typographers.
I set out to find a dozen or so that are nice looking, fool-proof for welding (as in, type and go; no tracking, kerning, nudging or schooching required, at least for the letter combos I tested) and, best of all, free. Here’s how they look typed out and then welded in preview. Gorgeous, aren’t they?
So here they are, for your welding enjoyment.
Once you have typed your word or phrase, the letters should already be overlapping properly, so all that is left for you to do is click on the word or phrase so that the selection box appears around it and activate welding as follows:
In Silhouette Studio : Press the Cut Style button then press “Cut Edge”
In SCAL : On the Appearance section of the Properties palette click the Weld checkbox (unless it is already checked)
In MTC : Click the Weld button or press CTRL + W
It is recommended that you always do a cut preview to verify that any welding is as expected before cutting.
Update: Repper appears to be down, not sure if its permanent.
And I’m sharing 6 free patterns I created using the techniques in the video.
Remember to scale the patterns down to around 30% after you fill your object to get great print quality.
Steps for doing that in Silhouette Studio are as follows.
IMPORTANT UPDATE: As of March 14, 2011, MTC no longer supports Cricut.
With new official releases of SureCutsALot and MakeTheCut finalized in the last few days, I have been busy updating my comparison chart. So click below for the latest on who does what, current for SCAL 2.038 and MTC 3.2. By the way, both MTC and the comparison chart are celebrating their first anniversary this week.
Update: MTC 3 is out of beta. Download MTC 3.2 to take advantage of these and many more features.
I played around with the beta version of Make-The-Cut 3 last night and I am amazed at the results. 2 issues have been standing in the way for reliable print and cut on the Cricut. One is being able to print at a specific size and position on the page and the other is the inaccuracy of the Cricut, especially its tendency to get further off course as you move away from the starting point. Somehow Andy (MTC’s developer) has magically overcome both of these problems to create a simple, flexible and accurate print and cut process using any printer and a Cricut machine.
Here’s a quick video
And here’s the step by step because I go really fast.
1) Open MTC and click on the Pixel Trace button and navigate to where your graphic is stored and click open. (I recommend you start with a simple graphic with a well-defined outline for your first try). I picked one from Lettering Delights, of course.
2) Set the threshold to 254. You want to be sure you capture the entire outer edge of the graphic.
3) Check the “Set Image as Texture” checkbox and click Import.
4) Click on the imported graphic to select it and click on the Blackout button.
5) Uncheck “outline shapes” at the bottom of the Visual Mat tab.
6) Choose File>Print and print to the printer of your choice. I used the default settings on both a Brother and an Epson printer, but you want to be sure anything that would change the size of the print (such as shrink to fit, etc.) is deselected. You also do not want it set to borderless printing.
7) Place the printed paper on the Cricut mat carefully aligned along the outlines in the upper left hand corner (as shown in photo above).
8 )Select Cut with Provocraft Cricut and cut using settings appropriate for your type of paper.
That’s it you’re done!
Note: If you don’t get satisfactory results using the simple process above you may need to make adjustments to your printer or cutter. I’ve put together a step by step process for finding and fixing problems here.
Buried in the update notes for Make-the-Cut 2.3.0 was a feature to “take in to account” the DPI of imported files. I hoped this would simplify the print and cut process and did it ever!
Here are the steps I used to get the results above in minutes:
1. Open a .jpg (.png, or .bmp should work, too) file in the program of your choice (I used PSE) and print it, being careful to select settings that will result in a 100% print size (uncheck shrink to fit, etc.). This image is from an ancient PC Crafter ClipArt CD.
2. Import the same .jpg file that you used in step 1 into MTC (if you made changes to the file before printing, be sure to save it before importing) or for a preprinted image scan directly into MTC. Adjust threshold until you see a solid outline (the internal details don’t matter) and click “Import” to trace.
3. In MTC, with the image still selected, click Break followed by Weld to create a solid outline (also called blackout).
4. In MTC, create a shadow layer at the desired size and turn off the original outline so that only the shadow layer will cut (click the corresponding eye icon in the layers palette).
5. Here you have a choice to:
a: Use the carrier method to print onto your cutout with an inkjet printer. Print a black and white draft copy of your image on scrap paper (to save ink). Cut the file prepared above and attach the cutout lined up over your draft printout using repositionable adhesive, load it into your printer and then print the final image in high quality color. This method has been in use for many years (see excerpt from my 1998 book) and is the first choice for those with a top loading printer and for less detailed shapes. I would not use this method with a laser printer.
b: Use the hinge technique to position the printout on the mat for cutting, and cut.
If you are not familiar with the hinge technique you can look at steps 12-15 on this page. I also have a video here. (Of course, if you are using MTC you can ignore the part in the video about the coordinates since MTC will cut your outline in exactly the same location on 2 successive cuts automatically.)
A beautifully cut out printed image is achieved without noting or entering a single measurement! Can you tell I am psyched?
c: MTC does a pretty good job of correlating the virtual mat to your actual mat when cutting, so if your file is forgiving (can tolerate ±1/16in.), you may prefer to simply position it on the mat using the guidelines (image aligned with same guidelines on both virtual and real mat, for instance).
Regardless of the method you choose, keep in mind that the Cricut’s “creep” will come into play with larger images and wreak havoc on your efforts to print and cut page size images.
Another note: The MTC steps above work great for making mats for your rubber stamps, too. Instead of step 1, stamp the image cleanly on a white piece of paper (or use the image from the back of the stamp). For step 2, scan the image into MTC and continue with the rest of step 2, step 3 and step 4. Then duplicate the mat shape as many times you like and cut out of blank card stock. Now you have custom cutout shapes to stamp on.
Use code MTC327 to order Make-The-Cut for $58.36 … the lowest price available.