A new machine has arrived in Variable: a paper, vinyl and fabric cutter. The budget was limited, so we had to look in depth for machines that were not too expensive and that worked with Linux. The ideal scenario was to find a second hand (semi-)professional machine. Alas, none were available for our budget. A pity, because the lower level machines tend to work with sticky mats, and other potentially proprietary bits and bobs. I was 85% percent sure that the Graphtec Silhouette Cameo SD worked on Linux. However I was not sure how hard or easy this would be.
These were the links and references I had before buying it.
The blogpost by Alexandre Prokoudhine gives a nice overview about the possibilities:
The sofware and drivers provided for the vinylcutters do not work with cups, they work differently. They all start with vectordrawings and SVG’s. So Inkscape is a potential starting point for what you want to be cut.
Inkcut = Fail
Some of the proposed software should work directly within Inkscape, such as Inkcut, which should be a kind of plugin. I installed Inkcut, because it looked the most promising interface-wise.
However, the software Inkcut is no longer being developed. After installing it, nothing appeared..
On Gitorious and Launchpad – Lanchpad directs you to Gitorious..
This post seemed really promising. The Ultramini blog in Italian confirmed the compatability of the cutter with Ubuntu (I run Mint, which is also a Debian/Ubuntu based distribution of Linux). He uses Robocut, but he did some modifications. As he indicated, Robocut does not work out of the box. It did run, but the vinylcutter was invisible. I e-mailed Ultramini and very quickly he sent me his modified version of Robocut. I tried it after installing the next software: Graptecprint, as the mail came after I started out with this driver.
————–> Scroll to read more about Robocut..
There is a blog and a github page for Graphtecprint. The confusing part comes in the instructions: on the Github page they indicate you should download the .tar – however, there is no tarball (.tar.gz) on this page. So I used a bit of personal experience to deduct what the instructions should be for the github page. Afterwards I saw it was available on the blog page. The code on Github is more complete. You also need to run it from the commandline and it uses.ps files you can make in Inkscape when you print to file. This is a bit clumsy.
Install, run.. Fail.. Darn!
Luckily the commandline tells me what is going wrong: it is looking for a particular file –> this seems to be a python script, which is also in the downloaded software folder. I had to copy both .py scripts to my usr/local/bin folder. This is not very elegant, but.. It worked!
Now what to cut!!
Very quickly I made an Inkscape test, with the Cricks font (based on vinyl letters – nice loop!), a circle and a word in Inkscape calligraphy. I only had paper, no vinyl.
First mistake: where should the paper be:
Not all was cut on the paper itself.
Next mistake, the caligraphy letters create too many cutting lines, so they fail. Cricks comes out nicely, the P does lose it’s inner shape. and the circle was round.
Next step: fabric! I chose felt. Textile has it’s own knife, different from the paper and vinyl knives. Alas this was a big failure. The felt was too thick, or too flaky. On top of that, it ruins the sticky mat.. And it just did not work. Ouch!
Robocut revisited =
No Success !! yet— perhaps with a little more help
I unzipped Ultramini!’s altered version of Robocut. In the zip you have a install.txt, which basically tells you how to install the program. Of course, I did not go to Gitorious, because my code came from Ultramini!
For the moment it does not want to compile. I will update this post when it does! Robocut is worth the effort, because they provide you with reg marks (reference marks) and you cut directly from SVG. There is also a sweet animation function. Hopefully more news soon!
It feels good to strikethrough 🙂
In the meantime, he wrote a blogpost in English explaining what he did including the code in a zip file.
Grazie per la spiegazione!