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Need Expert Help With Offset and Overcut, i think!

PostPosted: May 1st, 2017, 1:49 pm
by rapo
Hello -- I've been experiencing some inconsistency with my cuts-- they seem to be 'okay' just not consistent. Suspecting a setting-based issue with blade Offset and Overcut in SCAL 4 Pro, i searched online and found myself a "test cut" of sorts-- a square spiral.
But, being too new at this machine to really interpret what the results, I'm asking an expert to help me with it.

The basic question is... Did the SCAL/machine pair do with the file what it was supposed to do? Or, put another way, is the software-and-SB doing what should be expected. If someone else that has a known "up-to-snuff" performing machine can try this out, and compare, then I'll know if my SB 24" is performing the same.

Machine settings on 'plain cardstock' (65 lb), v=300, f= 50, blade = 45 degree, offset 0.30 mm, overcut= 1.00 mm

I'm attaching both the svg file (SingleSpiral.svg) and a scan of the result (Square Spiral Result 300.tiff) for consideration.

I'm looking for help with what of the many variables (paper, mat stickiness, blade angle, blade condition, blade depth, v, f, offset, overcut, other?) to start with or even avoid to bring the machine performance up to 'par', whatever that might look like.

Thank you so much for any help you might offer!

Square Spiral Result 300.tiff

Re: Need Expert Help With Offset and Overcut, i think!

PostPosted: May 1st, 2017, 4:31 pm
by MeFlick
First welcome to the SB user support forum. Looks like you just joined us in the past few weeks and this is your first post and as you indicate, you are "new". Therefore, let me ask you a couple of questions. First, did you buy your cutter new from Sherri in the US or one of the other SB distributors or did you buy it used? If you bought it new, did you register for the SB Learning Center and access and review all of the information contained there yet? If bought used, did you get the original owner to transfer the ownership with the distributor they bought from so that you could get access to the SB Learning Center? While I didn't see any specific information related to the offset/overcuts on a quick review it is a great starting point to learning your machine. It will cover some of the other information that you are asking about in relation to "variables". Another reason i ask if it is new or used, will help us know if you are working with "new" tools or used ones - especially used blades. The correct offset to use with each type of blade should be listed with the package that the blades came in as I recall.

Second, have you looked at the SCAL site for help/information. Most of the SCAL 4 information you find there will be correct even though you have the SCAL 4 Pro version of the program. The main thing is that the Pro version adds a couple of other tools like weeding lines, cut by color selection, and tiling feature. The "basics" are the same whether its SCAL 4 or SCAL 4 Pro. You can find their list of SCAL 4 tutorials/info. here on Craftedge's website:
Here is the blade overcut information from there: ... .phpSecond and the blade offset: ... offset.php - You can also see this old thread from here regarding how SCAL handles the "overcut" versus other programs like Silhouette's: viewtopic.php?f=5&t=5588

In case you are unaware, Craftedge also has a user forum for questions by users related to the software - it can be found here: - a good source when you have software specific questions. A further search of this forum should find you plenty of threads and information where different variables and information have been previously shared. Yes, you will need to do a little work searching but it is a treasure trove of information. However, the important thing to remember is that any and all "settings" used by one person will be different from the next person. There are so many "Variables" that come into play that there is no "one and done" in regards to settings and such. How old and used is your mat or is it new - same for blades? Both will have an impact on the settings needed. Material being cut - how intricate is the design? Is it humid or dry where you are? etc., etc. There have been some basic "beginnings" settings shared - they should be considered a good starting point but each user will find their "perfect" settings will vary somewhat. For example - I tend to have to cut vinyl at a much lesser setting then many others. I believe that Penny Duncan had shared a "beginning settings" document in the past. I don't have those because I have learned that I need to find what works with my cutter.

Third, are you setting the speed and pressure via the software or on the cutter directly? You can do it either way. Some prefer one way, others another. To use the settings in the software (and override that on the cutter) you have to make sure you check the box to use the software settings as I recall. I tend to use the one on the cutter but as I said, either should work.

I don't have any software on the computer that I am presently on that I can look at your SVG file its self at the moment however, from looking at your "test" file image - I would not consider this a "good" file to test with. Is the image one of one "continuous line" so that there is no blade lifting and it is just one continuous cut swiveling around the corners or is each line segment its own line so that it cuts the line, then lifts the blade and holder, turns and puts it back down and cuts the next line, lifts again, etc? Looks like from the image that it may be individual lines. To find the proper offset, use the one listed for your blade you are using. In my opinion, you really only need a couple of basic shapes to test your settings to make sure they are cutting correctly.

While I have not given you specifics - A, B, C answers I hope I have given you some basic information and sources of where to start to learn your cutter and the tools available. The key is to take your time, don't work with a deadline and play with the machine and the program and the different media you are wanting to work with in order to learn your machine and the proper settings. Once you learn that, it is fairly easy to use. I am sure others will be along at some point to give your further insight.

Re: Need Expert Help With Offset and Overcut, i think!

PostPosted: May 1st, 2017, 6:00 pm
by Gigi
What a great response, as always, Melanie. Thank you for taking the time.

Rather than reiterate all that Melanie said, I will confirm that the machine was purchased from Sherri as we have had conversations.

I have never seen a file like this to judge offset/overcut - but tried it anyway just to see what would happen. I have Wasau card stock which is 65 lb and used a 45 degree blade. I cut it at a force of 54 and a speed of 755. As we have seen time and time again, files most often cut better at higher speeds as long as the card stock is not too think and the image is not too detailed.

As you can see this file, albeit strange on the corners (that is now it was made) cut fine for me - my lines and corners seem crisper to me. I didn't scan it - I took a photo and cropped it and cut the entire file that you attached. Your blade could be slightly nicked thus causing the corners to not cut as clean. But then again, since this file is unfamiliar to me (and a LOT of files have been posted on the forum) - I have no clue if this is a standard you should be setting your sights to!

When you say you are getting inconsistent results - you seem to assume that it is overcut and/or offset. It could be so many other things - like the quality of the file you are cutting, the stickiness of the mat (as you mentioned), the card stock etc. But I am not clear at all what your inconsistent results are. Having more information might help.

All of the information and sites for additional help that Melanie suggested are great.

Re: Need Expert Help With Offset and Overcut, i think!

PostPosted: May 1st, 2017, 7:44 pm
by rapo
Thank you Melanie and Gigi for you very thorough and immediate responses, I am impressed and humbled!
There is a lot to digest and absorb-- and I'll be getting to it all in due time.
I was trying to come up with an increasingly challenging path (especially at the corners) for the SB to make, to try and reveal something (useful) about the machine-- increasing my understanding of its capability.
I am so thankful for Gigi taking the time to actually run the patter--just to have a "known good" to compare. I have found other patterns I will build svg files for; I hope to have a test pattern or two (more than just the rectangle) to try before committing to a critical project.

Going back to this project, what i meant about not obtaining consistent cuts -- was that i started out with a silhouette of the Statue of Liberty, 4" tall, then replicated and reduced it by 50%, four times (so i had a 4", 2", 1", 0.5", and 0.25" tall versions of Lady Liberty). But, i noticed that key features (crown, torch, etc) were not as consistent as I expected-- they were not just reduced, they were also malformed and in different ways among them. Thinking an "offset and/or over cut" setting issue, I came up with the square spiral. I figured if 4 corners were good to gauge those settings, dozens of samples were 'better'. But, I realized i did not have a 'known good' machine to compare to, nor do I have the experience and expertise to correctly interpret the results.
That's why I appealed to you all-- and, I'm so glad I did!
Again, a sincere 'thank you so very much for being there', Melanie and Gigi! I feel I'm on my way to successfully using my SB 24!

Re: Need Expert Help With Offset and Overcut, i think!

PostPosted: May 1st, 2017, 11:09 pm
by Gigi
Rick -

You are welcome. And I would like to comment off the top of my head (hope this makes sense) regarding your Statue of Liberty issues. Here goes - will try not to put my foot in my mouth!

I am going to assume that you found the silhouette imaged and traced it. When you trace an image automatically in the SCAL software, it does a great job, but you often get a lot of nodes. Will talk more about that later if you want - don't want to overdo it! You can email me. So when you reduce the size, you are not necessarily reducing the nodes. Again I am assuming that you didnt do a fresh trace each time but just reduces the cut file. That can cause all sorts of issues. And not all images reduce well either! Getting anything intricate at 1/4 tall is expecting a lot. Sure I have done it, but I am careful what I choose to make small. I have a photo on my blog of Easter cards that I did and one shows carrot tops next to a ruler that are super small.

Just be careful because you may be trying to create something that won't ultimately produce good results.

And I would still double check your blade because I did not have the choppiness at the corners like it seemed that you did. And I watched my machine as it made the cuts and it was super smooth.

Good luck. We are here if you need us! :)