Saturday, May 10, 2008

What makes a good file

When I first bought my Silouette I found all kinds of free cutting files and downloaded all that I liked. I had thousands of files! I seperated them into catagories and sub-catagories. Then I went to cut. My machine would whirl and grind, and take forever to cut. Some files would cut faster and smoother than others, which I couldn't figure out at first. Then I did my homework. It was because of nodes.

These machine would cut from node to node. A node is a connection point of a line segment. If there was a line, lets say 3" tall, this line could be made of 12 quarter (1/4") inch lines and each line is connected by a node. These machines would cut from one end to the next, starting and stopping 12 times. You can make this same 3" line with only 2 nodes. These machines would glide though this line, starting and stopping only twice.

The above W's are another example. The 2 W's are almost exactly alike, but the one on top has less nodes. When you make a file, you need to clean up those nodes. Unfortunately a lot of people do not know how to clean up nodes until they learn. In the meantime they have uploaded all kinds of files that make your machine grind, and whirl, and take forever to cut. That is why I am now deleting all those files that I downloaded earlier. I am going from file to file to see if it is a good file, or one I should throw away. I still download a few free files, but I examine them before I download. Most files I will purchase from designers I know. I have tested their files and know they cut smooth.