This will be a glossary of sorts for actions used frequently in the SimpleCut software program. I will add to this list over time so that eventually we will have a comprehensive resource for this program.
Add a border/outline to your design
There are 2 options for doing this: the autoborder tool and the offset tool.
The autoborder tool allows you to: select paint or a cut line; program the distance of the border from your design and have the border inside or outside of your design. The difference between selecting a cut line versus a paint line can be seen visually in the figure below; the cut line is thinner, more broken looking than the paint line. When a paint line has been selected, the Artistic Edge digital cutter will expect a drawing tool to be present in the cradle holder. When a cut line has been selected the cutter will expect a cutting blade to be present in the blade holder.
The position of the border, inside or outside your design can affect the size of your design. An outside border will make your design larger, an inside border will not affect the overall size of your design. Click on your design and then right click your mouse and select autoborder. A panel will open which allows you to select these features. Adjust the settings to your liking and click ‘ok’.
The offset tool is used primarily for moving your paint or cut line away from your design. Click on your design, the object properties toolbar will become visible on the right hand side of your workspace. Designate your design either as ‘cut’ or ‘line’ and then add the distance you would like to move the cut or paint line away from your design in the offset box.
In some instances it might be desirable to put a negative number into the offset box; this will move the cut or paint line on to your design. For example when you intend to draw your design, an outline with an offset of -0.1 can make the finished edge look sharper.
Use the ‘add shapes’ tool
The ‘add shapes’ icon can be found on the toolbar on the left hand side of your work space. Click on the icon and hold, an array of shapes will appear select the one you wish to use.
Click a point on the mat and drag your mouse away from that point so that you form the shape you’ve chosen. The more you ‘drag’ the bigger your shape will become. Click on the ‘selection’ icon to deselect the‘add shapes’ tool.
Centre an object within another object
I’ve used the ‘add shape’ tool to add a circle and a square to the mat for this example. Select the circle by clicking on it. Hold the shift key down and select the outer object eg a square. Click on the align centres (vertically) icon and the circle will move to the vertical centre of the square. Then click on the align centres (horizontally) icon and the circle will move to the horizontal centre of the square. The circle should now be perfectly centred inside the square.
Change the colours of your lines and objects
The colour palette sits at the bottom of your work space. For each colour there is a square inside which sits a blank triangle and a solid triangle of the colour in question. The blank triangle controls line colour and the solid triangle controls fill colour. To change line or fill colour, click on the line or the inside of the object for fill and then click on the blank triangle of the colour required to change the line colour or the solid triangle to change the fill colour. To remove the colour from the shape or line, click on the empty triangle or the solid triangle of the blank square which sits at the very beginning of the colour palette selected for the project.
Change the orientation of an object
You can flip an object easily using the ‘mirror x’ and ‘mirror y’ tools on the tool options toolbar. Create an object from shapes using the ‘add shapes’ tool. Click on the ‘selection’ icon to deselect the ‘add shapes’ tool when you have finished. Overlap your shapes; select them either by clicking a point on the mat and dragging the mouse over the shapes or by individually selecting them and holding the shift key down for each shape after the first. Click on the ‘weld’ tool. Select your object and click on ‘mirror y’; this will flip the object in the vertical plane. If you click on ‘mirror x’; the object will be flipped in the horizontal plane.
Create a mask or frame
To create a rectangular frame, click on the ‘add shapes’ icon and select rectangle. Click a point on the mat and drag your mouse away from that point so that you form a rectangle the size you require. Click on the ‘selection’ icon to deselect the ‘add shapes’ tool. For the inner cut out or frame, I’ll use a hexagon. Click on the ‘add shapes’ icon and select the hexagon. Click a point on the mat and drag your mouse away from that point so that you form a hexagon the size you require. Click on the ‘selection’ icon to deselect the ‘add shapes’ tool.
Click on the hexagon and move it onto your rectangle. To centre it, click on the hexagon, hold the shift key down and select the rectangle. Click on the ‘align centres’ (vertically) icon and the hexagon will move to the vertical centre of the rectangle. Then click on the ’align centres’ (horizontally) icon and the hexagon will move to the horizontal centre of the rectangle. The hexagon should now be perfectly centred. To create a permanent fixed hexagon mask/frame: select the hexagon, hold the shift key down and click on the rectangle. Right click your mouse and select ‘combine’. You now have created a mask/frame in the shape of a hexagon.
Trim an object
By overlapping objects and using the ‘trim’ tool we can remove parts or ‘trim’ an object. This feature can be very useful for making objects smaller when you don’t want to resize the whole object. In this example, I have a rectangle which I want to remove the corners from; how do I do this? We will use the ‘trim’ tool located on the upper toolbar.
Create a small and large rectangle using the ‘add shapes’ tool. Click on the ‘selection’ icon to deselect the ‘add shapes’ tool.
- Move the small rectangle to one of the corners to be trimmed. Turn the rectangle 45°by going to the ‘rotate’ box on the toolbar and typing in 45 (then enter). Position the long edge of the small rectangle over the corner of the rectangle to be trimmed. Make sure the small rectangle completely covers the area to be removed.
- Click on the large rectangle, hold the shift key down and click on the small rectangle. Click on the ‘trim’ icon on the toolbar, the area to be created/modified is usually highlighted in yellow (but not always).
- When you move the small rectangle away you will see that a ‘corner’ piece in the centre of the rectangle has been removed.
- If you now select the small rectangle first and then the large rectangle and click the ‘trim’ icon on the toolbar, the corner will have disappeared when you delete the small rectangle.
Weld shapes to form new shapes
By overlapping two individual shapes we can create a new shape using the ‘weld’ tool located on the upper toolbar (see figure above).
- Create your shapes using the ‘add shapes’ tool or alternative means
- Overlap your shapes as desired
- Select the overlapped shapes by clicking a point on the mat and then dragging the mouse away from the point over the shapes to create a ‘bounding box’. Click on the ‘weld’ tool icon. All the individual shapes will have been consolidated into a single shape and it will have a single outline.
If there is a specific technique you would like me to cover, let me know.