View Full Version : Need Help with 2 Issues:

01-26-2003, 04:15 PM
I'm having some difficulty with 2 issues that I think a few of you have already worked out:

1. When doing profile cutting pink foam (like letters) what bit cuts the cleanest? I am doing a lot of things messing around in foam and the finish on it needs too much sanding to look good. Do you run the full 3/4" or 1-1/2" thickness with your bit in one pass or multiple? I have tried both ways with varying speeds.

2. I have a logo that I designed on paper that I want to get into Part Wizard. Can you tell me the best way to do this? I did successfully do this, but I am having trouble converting it to a vector...I get a lot of 'bitmap' jagged lines after it is scanned in that the Bot in turn makes jagged on the finished piece. How are you guys smoothing out your scanned in images?

Any and all help is greatly appreciated.


01-26-2003, 07:16 PM
Brady to answer your 2nd question I have to take peoples logos and cut them on either the bot or on my vinyl plotter all the time I have tried many auto trace programs and found that they don't give the fine line I or you need so what I do is to import as a bitmap and then trace by hand I have gotten very good at this and have done some very detailed traces at least to the point that my customers never can tell the difference. When you trace choose convert to lines or what ever your program will alow so you can pick one portion of the image- zoom in so that you are not working to small then use your line drawing tool in any cad or signmaking program trace with straight lines and to make a curve just go small amounts then click- then the next segment and so on.after you finish one section delete that section ( the original) the nice thing about this techniqe is that where you dont want two lines (one on each side of the line you are tracing) then you only make one: where the auto trace programs will trace both sides. This sounds like alot of work but I did a logo of the tazmanian devel holding a skill saw with tool pouch and tools on his hip and he had on a plad shirt in just under 1 hour. I charge for this of course but when you show the customer what the exploded image looks like on the computer and they see the zig zag of the pixels they then understand. Give it a try just be patient. David in Wyoming

01-27-2003, 11:23 AM
Thanks David!

What program are you using to import the bitmap? I looked in TurboCAD and didn't see anything in there that would let me import it.


01-27-2003, 12:39 PM
We've experimented with auto-tracing scanned outline images with Designcad Express (under $100.)and it seems to do quite well. It put arcs where there should be arcs.

01-27-2003, 01:21 PM
Hi Brady,

In the version of TurboCAD I use (4.1), there's an "Insert" menu item and "picture" is one of your choices. In version 4 it has to be either a Windows metafile or a bitmap.


01-27-2003, 02:41 PM
I'll check it out tonight.

Dennis, has DesignCAD proven that it's worth the price for what it can do? I see that they have a stand alone Raster to Vector package available.

Thanks again!

01-27-2003, 05:06 PM
Brady and Dennis the reason I do the hand trace is very simple the auto trace programs that I have tride usally follow the pixel and line and you get the jaged edge that you are talking about (Brady) for simple line work of an ark or straight line work Auto trace works Good but in a very complex logo or a scaned business card forget it. also as I mentioned alot of the time the Auto trace does a line on both the inside and the outside of a line in a bitmap thus giveing you two cut lines but if you trace by hand then you put only one line in. to answer your question about what program I use/ I use ve LXI Master and Inspire Pro a $6,000.00 program and have tried many many Trace programs turbo cad is a great program and I use it alot also I am looking at ArtCam pro this next weekend in Salt Lake and most likely will purchace it ( Gulp) anouther $7,000.00. David in Wyoming

01-27-2003, 10:16 PM

Just my 2 cents worth, but I have been using DesignCad for years and just upgraded to Express. It may not be perfect, but worth the money? - absolutely!

The most frustrating thing about it is that it will often not present arcs and text accurately on the screen, even though those entities are accurate in the drawing and will always print accurately. The worst part is that I never had this problem in the earlier version, only in the recent version.

Other than that it is very easy to use, and I have had no problems converting to ShopBot code using the .dxf converter in ShopBot or using Part Wizard.
Of course, the Express is only good for 2D drawings, but for under $100 I would recommend it to anyone. I've only met a couple of other people who use it, but they all swear by it as well.

David B.

(for more info click the DesignCad Express web site (http://www.upperspace.com/products/cad/express12/default.asp))

01-27-2003, 10:31 PM
Great guys! I tried the TurboCAD tracing tonight and I am pretty pleased with the way that it turned out.

This is a major leap for me in getting sketched designs into the computer, and out of 'Big Blue'.

The logo that my friend designed looks great after zipping it out of foam, priming and painting. The look on his face was priceless when I took him the finished logo (4" X 44") and plopped it down next to his original sketch.

I feel like I am starting to get into the groove a bit...


01-28-2003, 09:41 AM
Yes, I think Designcad Express is certainly worth the price! I saw it some time ago at CompUSA for $89.95 or less.
It includes a raster-to-vector routine, and will scan directly from some scanners. We scanned an outline with it, then did the auto-trace, and it put arcs where there should be arcs, and the lines weren't jagged. We've been using Designcad since it was Prodesign back in the eighties. Our Shapetracker program, created in the early eighties for people who did not have CAD/CAM systems, traded drawing files back and forth with Designcad for nesting and editing, and wrote CNC programs from Designcad drawings. These days, most of our users digitize a pattern and then export a DXF file from Shapetracker for import into their own CAM or CAD systems. We do the same thing using Bobcad.
D'Cad is valuable as a file conversion program as well as a CAD program. It reads and will convert a number of file formats.
It's not always our preferred CAD package. We also use AutoCad, TurboCad, QuickCad, and BobCad for CNC programming.