28 December, 2013

Silhouette Pen Holder, Drawing And Fonts

Pen Holder

I bought Chomas Creations' marker holder for the Silhouette. It's much more expensive than Silhouette's official one (USD$22 vs $10), but better made. People are saying the Silhouette pen holder's screws strip easily. I'm not sure, but the hole on Silhouette's holder seems a bit small and it may only fit certain pens or pen refills. Chomas Creation's marker holder was thinner and lighter than expected (I guess it's necessary to be able to fit thick markers), and the surface is quite rough, as you can see from the picture. The screw is plastic, not metal.

Does the marker holder work? Yes, it fits in the Silhouette very well and holds pens securely, despite only having one plastic screw. As to why you might want a pen holder, refer to my post where you can make a temporary one for 10 cents. Also, I see X-acto has a knife with a swiveling blade. I wonder how well it swivels...


So now that you have a pen holder, you probably will want to write things at some point. Here you face the main problem with the Studio software - it is overwhelmingly designed for closed paths, meaning you end up with outlined hollow letters (left), while you probably want something on the right.

Here are some solutions, roughly from worst to best:
  • Manually trace out each letter. If you do this often, you could do A-Z a-z on a studio file and copy and manually position them as required.
  • Make The Cut, an alternative, paid, software has a function (Thin Paths) to "average" a closed shape into a path:
But the best way is to just use the offset function in normal Silhouette Studio, which is what I used for the second and third rows of words, and they look just like if they were written with a thick pen. As an advantage, you can also use this method for embossing. How to do this is: write and select the text you want. Choose the offset tool and "Internal Offset". Choose a suitable offset distance (I usually use 0.02 cm) and click apply. Repeat if your shape is still not filled (I did it 3 times for the picture below).

Update 6 May 14

Alternative methods:

Stick Font, by NCPlot. 2 MB freeware. Generates DXF files from text you input. DXF files are compatible with Silhouette Studio Designer Edition (there are actually several versions of DXF files and some don't work). The default font is those they use on CAD drawings, which you may or may not like. Has a few fonts to choose from, and supposedly you can even make your own. You can even make curved paths. I'm not sure if the fonts are truly single-line, though. If I try and drag the points it looks like there are 2 lines in the same position. Have to try and cut to see.
  • Free and light software
  • It works and is compatible with Studio software
  • Can change fonts and create fonts
  • Can create curved paths
  • Not sure if truly single lines

Discussion: Technical Q: Monoline fonts. (another term you can use to search)
Also search for: single path text, single stroke font, engraver fonts, plotter fonts

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