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Cheap flexi alternative that scales objects


New Member
We have flexi at our shop that the designer uses. We import a picture of the bldg into flexi, set the bldg to scale and superimpose the letters on the bldg to show customer for channel letter jobs. We also do the same superimposing for vehicles, windows, etc.

My question is that I, as a salesman that has played with flexi at work a little over the past 5 years, would like a program of my own to use on my laptop for simple designs. I hear many arguments for adobe and corel but I never hear if they actually import photos and do objects to scale like flexi. Could someone elaborate and any other feedback is greatly appreciated.



Certified Enneadecagon Designer
You can do the same in Corel or Illustrator.

Corel has the advantage of having scale tools built into the program and it is inexpensive.

Illustrator can do it (I do all my sign designing in Illustrator) BUT you need CadTools (www.hotdoor.com) to work in scale, but CadTools has better scale options than Corel.

It's really preference, I prefer Illy because Cadtools is better for my drafting needs, Corel is great right out of the box and for half the price.
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New Member
I just checked out Rick's cadtools link because i never looked into it before... but I think I'll stick with the workaround I use for now, since my need for dimensioning is far less sophisticated then what Rick does on his projects.

I do layouts over digital photos of buildings, windows & vehicles just like you do & I don't mind just working in one tenth scale.

I'll "place" a photo in the illustrator document. Then I'll draw a box 3.5" x 3.5" to use as a gauge to resize a peterbilt door that is 35" wide. I'll resize the photo until the door is the same size as my box, then delete the box.

Now I design until it looks good, export as a .jpg to email for client approval, then when it's approved, I'll delete the photo, enlarge my design 1000% and save as a production file for importing into Flexi or whatever.


Certified Enneadecagon Designer
I used to work the way Doug did before CadTools came out, I mostly did the Full size to 8.333% or if was too big, then at a percentage. Most of the stuff is architectural and large or complicated signs with multiple scales on multiple layers and most of the people involved are architects or city submittals so I have to give them a drawing in an architects scale or engineers. I usually have to do city submittals, section views, plan, side and even rear views of the sign. It also figures out perimiter and square footages in a convenient window and it's handy as any Illy tool on the menu. I also like the options that Cadtolls has on customizing the labels and styles. 300 bucks is a chunk of change for a plug-in, especially after the 500 bucks you spend for Illustrator so 800 bucks is not cheap for basic scale needs. Corel is half that price and will do the job.

If there is nothing scale off of, I take a 2'x2'
(or 4'x4' if it's far away) black and white checkered panel and stick it to the building and use that for scaling up too.


New Member
Thanks for the feedback.

For the money, is there a particular Corel program I could buy off ebay that would work for me? Does Corel 9, 10, etc. all have the scaling capabilities? I would rather have a program that does it in inches. Does Corel scale in inches?

Pro Image

New Member
I think there is a Flexi lite program.........I don't know the price but you could ckeck out SAi Website..................