I've been out of the signage industry for a while.
I used to use SignBlazer, but this seems to be off the market.
Which will be the best software to purchase for a printer/cutter - and why?
It will need to do digital printing and cutting.
This is a loaded question - everyone has their "best" tool in the box.
You need to post up more of what equipment you want to drive and what you are going to produce.
You can break it down into 4 general categories:
1. Design - needed if you are going to build your own files.
2. Receiving software - If you are going to take client's files you need an app that can reliably open and prep them for printing and or plotting.
3. RIP - Needed to drive the printer
4. Cutting program - needed to plot stuff.
So what is best? hard to say.
You can rent Flexisign from SAi by the month and it will do all 4, more or less - I use it, I don't like for 1 & 2 and sometimes 3 (buggy & cranky for no reason).
Illustrator is good at 1 and best at 2 - will not do 3, can do 4 with a plug-in or bridge program (most cutters come with free apps that will do this) Has to be rented monthly for the latest version.
Signlab is another all in one that will do all 4 - I don't use it, but from posts here on the forum it seems (to me) to be a little less capable than Flexi.
Corel Draw - about the same as Illustrator - good at 1, less so dealing with 2 - does not do 3 and can plot via plug-in or bridge program.
Dedicated RIP programs are fairly expensive (and complicated) and work better with some printers over others. Best to figure what printer you are going to purchase before choosing a RIP.
Most printers come with brand limited apps that will print and plot.
I use Flexi 8.6, Flexi 12 (Mutoh version), Illustrator CC (subscription version) CorelDraw X5(my go-to app to build my own layouts) and a bunch of other add-on programs to round things out.
One size does not fit all.
Thank you for your good reply.
I did try to get reaction when asking for the "best software" as everyone will have their own opinion -
but I can deduct if a specific option is more or less favored or disliked.
Master of Arts
we have Corel, PhotoShop, Illustrator, Versa Works and Caldera
personally, I use Corel - design, within Corel is WINPLOT plug in for plotter, Versa Works for wide format
Like Wayne said, each person has their preferences on how to get work done
AI and CorelDRAW can actually do 4 without a bridge program. It has it's quirks (like it cuts according to layer hierarchy), but it can be done. Just so long as you have the drivers for your cutter installed and just treat the cutter as a "printer". Even Inkscape can do this without a bridge program (even in Linux as long as you set up your cutter accordingly) at least with my experience with Roland.
Originally Posted by GAC05
Bachelor of Arts
Illustrator with Graphtec's plugin software, Cutting Master 2, also Gerber Omega, but I only use that with old files or if we are busy enough (Large Jobs) to run 2 plotters
Illustrator cs6,Sure cuts alot 4 pro ....So Simple and easy to learn,use and navigate to get what you need... I tried many before finding the combo that didnt want you to pull your hair out....Any questions just send me a message.Im more than willing to teach and show you how everything works before you buy..
This is true but it is also true you could hand code the HPGL in Windows Notepad by typing in each node's coordinates. Personally I would not do either but it could be done.
Originally Posted by WildWestDesigns
The windows print driver for my Graphtec has 2 very short tabs of options to get basic plotting done and that's it.
There is a fast difference between those two examples. What I am talking about is still very very simple.
Originally Posted by GAC05
Bachelor of Arts
Welcome from frosty Winnipeg, MB.
What kind of printer would it be driving? (sorry if this has been asked/mentioned)
We use Versaworks for our Roland printers and Onyx Thrive for our Oce flatbed. We'll be upgrading to an all-onyx workflow this year which will eliminate all the headaches associated with Versaworks.
If you ever need any questions or want some info/advice just give me a holler. We have a good relationship with all the vendors in Manitoba and maybe I can put you in touch with someone that can help depending on what you're looking for. Send me a PM if you like and I can give you my email address. After all, we are practically neighbors!
(I'm away for a week as of tomorrow but will reply when I get back)
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