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SignLab v. Corel Draw

Discussion in 'Signlab' started by vikingmedia, Oct 24, 2012.

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  1. vikingmedia

    vikingmedia New Member

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    I have been running my sign shop with 2 laptop computers ever since I started using Adobe CS3 a while back (Windows Vista on this laptop) along with SignLab Print & Cut 7 (Windows XP2000 B.C. on the laptop connected to my printer). I would like to purchase one single laptop that can house both pieces of software (with the added benefit of bringing only one laptop home to design so I do not have to be at the shop at all hours of the night, but I digress) and here is my snag. My current SignLab will not run in newer versions of Windows (7 most likely will be what I go with) so it seems an upgrade is in my future. The Adobe software, through a quick Google search, will work fine, but I am leery of upgrading to SignLab Print & Cut 9.1 (or the 8 if I really get tight on the wallet).

    Oh, and by the way, I am printing and cutting on a Roland SP-300 that my old man bought back in 2005-ish before I graduated college and bought the shop. I am hoping someday to upgrade to a 54" version, just as soon as I save enough money to make it happen.

    Here is why I am questioning the SignLab upgrade and researching Corel Draw:

    1) Does SignLab truly have the extra capabilities that a new Corel Draw (no experience with this) would lack?


    More specifically, cutting vinyl, contour cutting printed decals, vectorising, line and node editing vector objects, outlining text and vector objects, and on and on. I imagine these will be small processes to learn either way depending on the route I choose, but level of difficulty of adopting the new Corel Draw v. paying a good chunk of change for a USB clip that validates the new SignLab will factor in my decision. And really, the USB clip? Am I reading all these posts right in saying I'm on my own if the clip gets lost or stolen? Seems like a shady business practice to me, but hey, I'm only 28 and certainly don't know everything and have been lucky not to lose the one I have. I mean, do we pay thousands of dollars for a set of car keys? Phew, life is good and I'm back on topic now (a 28 year old attention span at work).

    2) If I do decide to pass on SignLab and pick up Corel Draw, how different will my printing and cutting experience be?

    This may be a simpler question to answer than I am making it to be, given my lack of experience in Corel Draw, as well as any RIP software that I imagine will be needed. With my SP-300 I have been able to get by with all my output needs using SignLab Print & Cut Manager and have recently learned to print, laminate, and re-load to cut which I can thank Terry from Far From Normal for that! As a side note, I made my own version of the Big Squeegee out of an extra post wrap and PVC pipe one afternoon when I was bored, so I no longer have to send my prints to another sign company to laminate. I have never attempted to output anything from Illustrator by the way, something I'm sure an appropriate RIP would help with if I needed to go that route. Obviously, there will be a learning curve either way and I am prepared to read posts, watch countless tutorials and YouTube videos for either software I choose.

    I honestly have question after question, which I will research on my own as I see my post has gotten longer than I wanted and thank everyone who spent the time to still be reading at this point. As you can tell, an upgrade on all fronts is overdue, but want to make sure I cover my bases before I throw a bunch of money at it.

    Any advice is greatly appreciated, thanks!
     
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  2. Techman

    Techman Major Contributor

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    Corel Draw and Cocut will do anything and more that Signlab will do.
    Cocut has a special huge discount going on right now..
     
  3. GAC05

    GAC05 Major Contributor

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    CorelDraw does not include a RIP so large format printing directly from Draw is not going to work very well.
    All the other stuff it can do.

    wayne k
    guam usa
     
  4. Techman

    Techman Major Contributor

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    have you tried to use their postscript drivers? A little experimenting might reveal a surprise.
     
  5. WildWestDesigns

    WildWestDesigns Major Contributor

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    I can't speak with all wide format printer experience, but Corel doesn't output very well to the wide format sublimation printers. It does really good with the Ricoh's and other small format ones, but doesn't for the large format Epsons.

    To the OP: One thing that I have found out that usually getting somethings that is dedicated to a particular task is typically better. Now, you do have work arounds and depending on your particular work, they may be sufficient for you. I used just Corel and Ai for cut work, never even had to get a plugin to do it. So I'm in no way saying that it can't be done using just Corel, you just might be limited in what you can accomplish, although in my experience, a RIP would be a good thing to have for the printing aspect. Using Corel for sublimation large format doesn't work as well compared to a RIP, but that's just what I have experience with.

    You can do a lot with just Corel and/or Ai. I've messed with embroidery plugins that work with those programs. However, they are very limited compared to a dedicated program, but depending on what type of embroidery work you are doing, they can be made to work. Some options are lacking though that, in my mind, should be there to ensure good stitch quality, but I digress.

    As to the dongles, that's pretty much how it goes, especially when you really get to the specialty software. Now there is always software insurance though if that is a big concern. If I recall, Techman isn't much of a fan of that, however, depending on the price point of your software (SignLab Print and Cut without any modules is about 1/4 the price of my software) and how much at risk it is. I travel a lot with mine, so there is always the danger of it getting lost, broken, and/or stolen (not because I think they know what it is, probably think it's a jump drive and has some stuff on it). Now, just be careful though if you do go this route that you make sure that your agent knows what it is that they are really insuring as they can jack up the policy just because they don't know what it is exactly that they are covering. Mine's about $200 a year. For me, it's worth the peace of mind, but that isn't everyone.
     
  6. James Burke

    James Burke Being a grandpa is more fun than working

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    How about running Win 7 Pro? It will emulate XP, thus allowing you to run SignLab.


    JB
     
  7. Jim Doggett

    Jim Doggett Very Active Member

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    Tends to be buggy writing out to port (vinyl cutters) from an XP shell in Windows 7
     
  8. GAC05

    GAC05 Major Contributor

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    I don't think an SP 300 is a postscript printer. Not sure how that would work without a RIP to translate the postscript into something the Roland could use.

    wayne k
    guam usa
     
  9. Salmoneye

    Salmoneye Very Active Member

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    If it's a sp300 can't he just use versaworks as his rip and either corel or illy for design?
     
  10. Mosh

    Mosh Major Contributor

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    [​IMG]


    I have used both for a LONG TIME. Corel is an awsome design program, great to design from...SignLab is an awsome vinyl cutting/output program. They both have their place so no one can say one is better than the other. Like asking if an peach is better than an orange...

    Using SignLab 9 and Corel X4 now....Use both daily.
     
  11. David Wright

    David Wright Active Member

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    Agreed.
     
  12. lexsigns

    lexsigns Member

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    I use Signlab 9 corel x5 and sometimes illy cs2. I think it honestly depends on what type of work you are doing the most. I use all 3 but mostly signlab. If I had to pick one I could not live without definatelt SL. It will do everything corel does- some easier some harder. I avoid ai if I can but really depends what I am doing and where the file is going in the end. I start design in SL or corel- If its getting a drop shadow and printed sometimes will go to ai.

    Hope that helps...
     
  13. OldPaint

    OldPaint Major Contributor

    well, i have been CUTTING FROM COREL, since version 3, NOT X3, 3 that was on 6-7 1.44 floppy discs.
    i have done signs since 93 on computers and COREL.......IS THE ONLY CUTTING PROGRAM I USE. I NEVER NEEDED ANYTHING MORE..........
     
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