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Today's lame question

Discussion in 'Newbie Forum' started by oc63rag, May 31, 2007.

  1. oc63rag

    oc63rag Member

    May 7, 2007
    I've searched and haven't found the answer to this. If you have a printer and a cutter (separate machines), how do you design, print and cut?
    Let's say I have an HP Designjet, working in Illustrator and would like to take the printed output to the cutter (Summacut D60) for contour cutting.
    Is the file created in Illustrator, saved to another program like Flexi, and then sent to the cutter? If the cutter does not have an optical eye, how does it know where to cut?
    Thanks for any help.
  2. WVB

    WVB Very Active Member

    Feb 25, 2005
    It doesn't know where to cut... You have to tell it where to cut. I believe the method you are looking for is called the Bomb method...
  3. signguy95

    signguy95 Active Member

    Dec 5, 2004
    If your cutter can't detect registration marks, it will be a guessing game if it will cut correctly or not.

  4. Techman

    Techman Major Contributor

    Jun 24, 2003
    You need software for this. one that will print and cut and make registration marks for each .
  5. oc63rag

    oc63rag Member

    May 7, 2007
    Thanks for the replies. What software would do this?
  6. Pro Signs & Graphix

    Pro Signs & Graphix Very Active Member

    Apr 18, 2006
    Can't say about Flexi, but SignLab does allow for contour cutting on a plotter that does not have OPUS. This is accomplished manually, by setting plotter over the three individual registration points and then telling SignLab where the registration "box" is.
  7. mondo

    mondo Active Member

    Mar 21, 2007
    I actually use flexi8 for printing on HP5500 with registration mak
  8. The Big Squeegee

    The Big Squeegee Major Contributor

    Oct 10, 2005
    Lawton, OK, USA
    I had an an electric eye on my cutter and found that it was faster to line the graphic up without it. It takes little experimenting to see what works the best.
  9. oc63rag

    oc63rag Member

    May 7, 2007
    Mondo and Dale, would you mind elaborating a bit? It sounds like your doing the exact thing I'm trying to figure out.
    By the way Dale, I received the squeegee and it is awesome. It's amazing that such a simple tool would work so well. It's well worth the money.
  10. bob

    bob Major Contributor

    Nov 4, 2005
    If your plotter does not possess an automatic registration sensing apparatus it's perfectly possible to do acurate contour cutting. As long as the same software does the print as does the contour cutting and is aware of both.

    This is how it works, in Flexi...

    Create a contour cut path. You can do this via Effects->Contour Cut to create a whole new path or via Arrange->Contour Cut->Make Contour Cut to convert an existing path to a contour path.

    Send your image off to the Production Manager via the Rip and Print. On the Rip and Print Advanced->Contour... dialog select "4 point" from the list of registration marks. Note that the 'Contour...' button will only be enabled if your job has at least one contour cut specified. This will cause Flexi to print a little gun sight looking thing at each corner of the job.

    Set everything else to suit your prejudices and send the job to the Production Manager. Note that Flexi created two jobs, one for the printer and one for the plotter. Print the image and load it into the plotter in exactly the same XY orientation with which it came off the printer.

    Send the cut job to the plotter. Flexi will now run through a dialog asking you to position the knife at each registration mark. You move the move the media and knife to be in the exact center of each of the marks and press "enter" or whatever it's called on the dialog. You can use the knife itself to position over the mark, pushing the blade gently down onto the media to check its exact position or, for most plotter, you can buy either a laser light point or an optical bomb sight which you temporarily install in place of the knife holder. Dealer's choice but using the knife, if you've got good eyes, is inherently the most accurate since that's what's going to be doing the cutting.

    This enables Flexi to know where the four corners of the job actually are. This, combined with knowing where they should be enables a simple transformation to map every point from it's logical location in the software to its actual location on the media. The cutter will then cut the contour paths. The job will be as accurate as your location and reporting of the registration marks and the repeatability of your plotter.

    The point being that something has to map the logical space onto the real space. It can be either the software or the plotter itself. Note that letting Flexi be aware of the contours even with an auto registration system causes Flexi to do the mapping. It merely uses the plotter's recognition tackle to report back exactly the same information as if you had positioned the knife manually. It's only when Flexi is not aware of the contour cut that the mapping can be done in the plotter itself. That's a whole new lesson to do that
  11. Bradster941

    Bradster941 Very Active Member

    Sep 5, 2005
    Good job Bob.

    To add one thing, since your profile doesn't show what equipment you have, your cutter must be capable of bi directional communication. (to the best of my knowledge anyways).

  12. oc63rag

    oc63rag Member

    May 7, 2007
    Thanks Bob. That's about as thorough as anything I could hope for.

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