Today's post will be brief. I didn't get to finish cutting my new projects yesterday as I planned to do. First off, I decided to add more into one of the projects. It is a design that has some lettering included with it and I thought it would be nice to offer an entire alphabet to go with it. That way those who buy the pattern can customize it to say anything they want. They can even use the alphabet for any other project they care to use it for, making it really versatile.
Then, me being me, I decided for my one project to offer two versions of the alphabet with the pattern. One set of lettering would be suitable for overlay pieces – scrolling a second thin layer of wood and adding it on top of a back board, box, or whatever. The second lettering set would be cut directly from the wood.
Each of these methods require a different criteria and therefore need to be drawn differently. For those letters that are cut into the wood, you need to alter the lettering so that places like the insides of the "e's" or "o's" don't fall out. It is an entirely different process than the overlay pieces.
It is very rare that you find an attractive font which is the kind that you can just 'type and cut'. Usually it takes me a couple of days to first convert it to vector (line) graphics and then manipulate it to work. In essence, I am re-drawing things to a great extent. It is also important to only use fonts that are licensed for this type of use. I have to be sure to either purchase the rights myself or use fonts that have free commercial licensing.
In any case, it takes a lot more time and work than one would think. It is an involved process that when done properly, makes a nice pattern for cutting. So I spent pretty much of the day at the computer yesterday, picking around with lettering.
But in the afternoon, something wonderful happened – We got our PRINTERS and HARD DRIVE! (YAY!)
I love getting new equipment to help our business! Anything to make things more organized, professional and efficient really makes me happy! To me, these are just more than printers – they are a sure sign that our business is growing, little by little and that our hard work is paying off. A couple of years back, we would have never been able to justify purchasing these printers. But we have had many more customers lately and many of them are still not comfortable with handling PDF copies and want paper copies. Also, I have been making more painting patterns. My last couple of patterns had over 30 color photographs in each. My customers like that I make these patterns so complete and I want to continue making them in that manner. That requires an excellent printer so that those who want paper copies can get the best that I have to offer. That means investing in myself and our business.
We purchased two of these printers because we got them at an amazing price. They were under $200 each, and in our research we saw that they were highly rated. The regular price that we have seen them at was anywhere from $500 up to $700 each so when we saw the sale, we decided it was time to take the plunge. Our little Canon Pixma served us well, but with the increased volume that we have been printing, we needed a printer that was rated for a much higher print cycle per month. This printer should be faster and much more efficient, and since it uses pigment ink instead of dyes, the quality of the printing will be better.
The hard drive will serve as our backup to replace the one I lost earlier. I had things shifted around a bit on my computer since last week when I lost the other and it will feel good to get things back to normal.
Richard was the first to inspect the boxes:
He immediately climbed to the top of the tower and sat in the box for a while. I am sure he felt like Yurtle the Turtle – King of all he could see!
We carefully unpacked one of the printers:
It is quite a bit larger than our little Pixma. But we were thinking ahead and Keith is working on rebuilding our media wall in our living room and it will easily accommodate the larger printer. I am going to have to do an entire blog series on that. We are always working to make our place neat and efficient and keep it uncluttered.
While we inspected the printer and got it set up, the cats (Pancakes and Richard) had a ball with the packaging:
We were able to integrate it into our wireless network very easily. So both computers can access it without clumsy cords. For now, we are keeping it on the end of the kitchen counter, until the new printer stand that Keith is building is completed. Everything is falling nicely into place.
We did have a glitch though. As we were trying to print out a catalog using the duplex (double sided) option, we were having trouble with the paper jamming. We called HP 24 hour tech support and got though quickly. The tech spent nearly an hour with Keith troubleshooting the problem and it turned out that during shipping, a piece fell off of the duplex part:
Once it was figured out, we were able to print on both sides without trouble. However, HP is sending us the new part, along with a label for sending back the defective part. We were very happy with the service and the solution and have confidence that they will stand behind their products.
I know some of you may be thinking that we should have returned the printer, but other than the small glitch, everything went flawlessly. The quality of the print – even on the basic settings – far exceeded the Canon printer. It printed much faster and was much quieter than our other printer as well. We are excited at this upgrade and we think that not only our customers will benefit from it, but we will too. Less baby sitting and more time to design along with better quality patterns will mean a WIN/WIN for everyone!
We have also ordered an ink system for this printer from the company that provided ink for my Canon printer. This will bring the cost of printing down a great deal as well. I will certainly report on that after I receive the ink and we get it up and running and try it out. But after using this type of system for several years, we are confident that it will work wonderfully and will be a great savings to us over purchasing cartridges.
I should be able to finish cutting today. I hope to get things done for the next update at the end of the week. It is sunny here and warmer, and it looks to be a beautiful day.
Have a wonderful Tuesday!
-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"