Ellen Million (ellenmillion) wrote,
Ellen Million
ellenmillion

Weekend, cutting and making files...

Happy weekend!

Made stickers and magnets for Anthrocon, sat in the sun with my husband eating cherries, worked a few non-stressful hours, got a stuffed moose from my sister (who was gone for two weeks in Nebraska), drew a little (little portrait for the Project), wrote a little (started a print file article for Woodworks, answered a letter for Halrae's column), ate well (go grill!), slept in, watched StarGate (I usually miss it on Sundays!) and the Sunday cartoons and basically enjoyed the heck out of myself. Got orders out on Friday, that's a plus, and have another order for some EW T-shirts to put out tonight. And did I mention the stickers and magnets? I also cut out about 50 bookmarks.



So I've been in need of a good trimmer for freakin' ever. I bought a guillotine-style model a few years back, but it was wiggly, and I ended up cutting cards crooked, which is horrible and I won't tolerate that. Yes, some of my stuff looks a little homemade occasionally, but it doesn't have to look homemade and horrid, too. Blech. So I returned that cutter and got a rotary-blade cutter (the kind in a frame). Which I promptly wore into the ground. About three months, and the blade was completely dull and the squishy bar you cut into was shredded. And I couldn't get replacement parts, and part of the bar broke (it was made of plastic...). Rats!

For a couple of years, I labored with a metal straight edge and an x-acto on a cutting mat. Ugh. Bending over like that kills my back, and Jennie can tell you all about how *frustrating* it is to get things to hold still while you're cutting them. Particularly laminated things, but even the glossy prints for magnets and stuff. And the magnets I was using then were pretty thick and difficult under the best of circumstances. (I do get my cards cut professionally with one of those great big electric cutters... they still screw up on the measurements occasionally and I have to pay $1 a pop, but it's a helluva lot better than doing them by hand)

I improved my lot in life a couple of months ago by purchasing a rotary hand cutter, just a little handheld rotate-y version of an x-acto. Sooooo much easier to use. But still, it's tricky getting the ruler to hold still for long cuts.

This weekend, I went to Michael's (they had a sale!) and bought another rotary-blade cutter in a frame. It was exactly what I wanted, cut up to 18", seemed like good construction, and I was smart and bought a replacement strip and some spare blades at the same time. I took it home with grand plans to cut out these magnets and stickers with ease and happy back. It was even 40% off!

However, it was a piece of shit.

The head was poorly designed, and of material too flexible to maintain a straight line. The guide-bar was made of plastic, and any kind of wear at all was only going to create more of a problem. I tried cutting cardstock. I tried cutting magnet. I tried cutting plain old white paper. Wiggle-city.

I packed it back up in its box with all its replacement parts and pouted.

What does it take to get a decent damn trimmer? Ugh.

Well, I found the trimmer I probably need on the Internet. $700. Which of course I don't have.

So, EMG still gets stuff cut the usual way. With the rotary hand tool for long cuts and scissors for all the little stuff. It means the cuts aren't perfect, and I end up with a lot of stuff for the bargain bin, and it probably takes me about twice as long to make everything as it ought to. I've showed them around and asked for 'is this too sloppy' input. Susan actually asked if they were dye-cut... they were straight and uniform enough to fool her!

I did spend some time cussing at Ursula for making such complicated shapes outside of the frame, and kicking myself for being ambitious enough to attempt to cut out around them. The results are super-spiffy, but it's a bit of intensive cutting. And there were several oh-shit-there-goes-that-part's... Good for the bargain bin. :P



I have an article on creating art files just about finished that I'd love to have a couple people take a look at... make sure I haven't gone off into unnecessary areas, and it's still understandable. I'd like both knowledgeable people and people who know nothing about the subject, please, as I am writing to both ends of the spectrum. Let me know if you're up for offering some input and I'll email it to you. :)
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