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Corel Draw TIP OF THE WEEK: Trimming Text in CorelDRAW

Dec 14, 15 • Front Page, TipsNo Comments

Corel Draw TIP OF THE WEEK: Trimming Text in CorelDRAW

The Trim Command, or “cookie cutter” is one of the most versatile commands in CorelDRAW. In these lessons are examples of the Trim command used on various styles of Text. CorelDRAW can trim text with a single line, or virtually any shape.

Create a string of text, and draw a straight horizontal line through the word using the Freehand Tool.

trim_text1

With the Pick Tool, select the line. Using the TrimTool (Shaping Docker), trim the lettering.

Note: I used an extra wide line to make it more visible for the lettering. However, the line width does not affect the results. Try this with a line width of .333. The results are the same.

trim_text2

Select Break Apart from the Arrange menu. Don’t worry about about losing the centers of the letters. We’ll fix that later on. With the Pick Tool Select on the top of the ‘B’. The blue handles I’ve use in the example indicate that it is a separate object. Click on the top and bottom half of the letters and you will see the separate objects.

trim_text3

Marquee-select all of the bottom half-letters as shown in the example (dotted red line). Choose Combines from the arrange menu. Here are the results after combining the bottom of the letters. I also changed the bottom to blue to better see the results.  Here are the results after marquee-selecting the top halves, combining, and changing the fill color to orange.

trim_text4

Here are some options you can do. In this example, just move the two objects apart with the arrow keys or the Pick Tool.

trim_text5

In this example, click twice to get to the rotation handles and center marker.

trim_text6

Move the center marker to the new position indicated. Then rotate with the upper right cursor.

trim_text7

Here is the results after the center marker was move to the lower left of, and rotated 10 degrees.

trim_text8

I duplicated the bottom part, offset it and moved it to the back.

trim_text9

In this example, I grouped the two parts, and contoured with a .05 offset to the Outside.

trim_text10

Download the PDF for additional lessons on the Trim Command, or “cookie cutter” command using CorelDRAW.

 

 

Application Tip of the Week: 3D Images in CorelDRAW

Nov 23, 15 • Front Page, TipsNo Comments

Application Tip of the Week: 3D Images in CorelDRAW

Introduction

This application tip will explain how to convert basic design shapes and vector logos into 3D images using CorelDRAW for laser engraving. 3D Image Corel Blog

Overview

CorelDRAW versions 12, X3, X4, X5, X6, and X7 will work with the process; however, lasers of varying watts will work though the process will be slow.

More advanced images such as photos and faces, cannot use this method.  Images from high cost advanced 3D scanners, 3D cameras systems or special 3D generation software are necessary for this kind of image.

If highly detailed images are necessary and cannot be generated using this tip sheet, there are companies with the software and hardware to create or convert your image to a 3D ready laser image for a fee.  These companies provide 3D clipart, and can do custom work.  If you are interested in this go to: www.gantryco.com.

Download the tutorial here!

-David Stevens, Senior Global Technology Specialist at Universal Laser Systems

David Stevens holds two Bachelor’s degrees in Graphics Design, and Computers and Electronics, and has worked at Universal Laser Systems (ULS) for the past 13 years.  David puts his experience and knowledge to task as the Sr. Technology Specialist in the Marketing department, and is the primary evangelist for ULS for all public events and tradeshows for the company.

 

 

 

 

 

 

TIME IS RUNNING OUT!: Tax Benefit for 2015

Nov 16, 15 • Front Page, NewsNo Comments

TIME IS RUNNING OUT!: Tax Benefit for 2015

The year is coming to an end but that doesn’t mean it’s slowing down.  In fact, for many companies this is one of the busiest times of the year.  Production is in full SAVEdemand!   Now is the time to purchase new and/or additional equipment for your business! Not only can it benefit production time but also provides BIG SAVINGS!   The accelerated deprecation deduction allowance permitted under IRS Section 179 is $25,000 for 2015.  This means up to $25,000 in qualifying new and used equipment, as well as off-the-shelf software, may be expensed this year if it is placed into service by the end of the day, December 31, 2015.

Ultimately, Section 179 of the IRS tax code allows businesses to deduct the full purchase pr
ice of the qualifying equipment and/or software purchased or financed during the given tax year.  What does that mean? It means you can deduct the FULL PURCHASE PRICE from your gross income.  For example, when a business buys a certain piece of equipment, it typically gets to write them off a little at a time through depreciation [i.e.$10,000 over a five-year period].  While it’s better than no write-off at all, most business owners would prefer to write off the entire equipment purchase for the year they actually buy it.  The whole reason behind Section 179 is to motivate the American economy, especially small businesses.  For many small businesses, the entire cost [up to $25,000] can be written-off on the 2015 tax return.

Limits of Section 179

Section 179 does come with limits – there are caps to the total amount written off ($25,000 for 2015), and limits to the total amount of the equipment purchased ($200,000 in 2015). The deduction begins to phase out dollar-for-dollar after $200,000 is spent by a given business, so this makes it a true small and medium-sized business deduction.

Who Qualifies for Section 179?Savings

All businesses that purchase, finance, and/or lease less than $200,000 in new or used business equipment during tax year 2015 should qualify for the Section 179 Deduction.

The deduction begins to phase out if more than $200,000 of equipment is purchased – in fact, the deduction decreases on a dollar for dollar scale after that, making Section 179 a deduction specifically for small and medium-sized businesses.

 

Section 179 vs. Bonus Depreciation

Bonus Depreciation is offered some years.  As of now, it is not being offered.

Although it is not available at this time [2015], here are some of the differences.  The most important difference is both new and used equipment qualify for the Section 179 Deduction (as long as the used equipment is “new to you”), while Bonus Depreciation covers new equipment only.  Bonus Depreciation is useful to very large businesses spending more than the Section 179 Spending Cap (currently $200,000) on new capital equipment.  Even businesses with a net loss are qualified to deduct some of the costs.

Section 179 “More Than 50% Business Use” Requirement

The equipment and/or software must be used for businesses purposes more than 50% of the time to qualify.  How do you know if it meets the requirements? Multiply the cost of the equipment and/or software by the percentage of business-use to determine the monetary amount eligible for Section 179.

CorelDRAW Shapes & Transformations: Notching Corners

Nov 2, 15 • Front Page, TipsNo Comments

CorelDRAW Shapes & Transformations: Notching Corners

When using FlexiBrass or other products that your laser can cut, you can add notches to your layouts. I use them for perpetual plaque plates and to change the look of my awards plaques.

Overview

Here is an overview of the step in notching corners.

Here are the steps in notching.

1.Draw a rectangle 1” x 1”

rectangle

  1. Draw a circle .50 by using the Ellipse tool. Remember holding down the CTRL key while creating the ellipse gives you a circle. Release the CTRL key after you release the mouse.
  2. Under the View Menu, select Snap to Object.
  3. Select the circle and Click-Drag by the ‘x’ Center Marker and move it over the corner of the rectangle (see Illustration 01). The circle should snap to the corner point of the rectangle.

rectange_circle1

A good tip to remember is that when working the SNAP funciton, Zoom in on the object. The SNAP is more active with a higher Zoom.

rectange_circle2

  1. Now Select the circle and Right-Click-Drag by the ‘x’ Center Marker towards the next corner. When you release the mouse, select Copy. Make sure it snaps to the corner.
  2. Move copies to the other two corners as you did in step 5.
  3. Now go to ARRANGE -> SHAPING and the Shaping Docker opens.

rectange_circle3

  1. Click on TRIM from the pull-down menu. Make sure that the Leave Original boxes (source and target) are not checked.
    Trim_tool
  2. Select one of the circles, and click the Trim button. A bold, black arrow will appear (see Illustration 03, above).

 

  1. With this Trim cursor, select the rectangle. The Trim option is also known as the cookie cutter. Do this with the other three circles.

You can also Combine or Group the four .50” circle before trimming.  Then you can TRIM all four circles at one time.

rectange_circle3

CorelDRAW Training Tip of the Week: Creating an Awards Plaque

Oct 26, 15 • Front Page, TipsNo Comments

CorelDRAW Training Tip of the Week:  Creating an Awards Plaque

ULS Acrylic Award Creating an award or plaque that has a consistent look in a minimal amount of time is the goal of this lesson. Since my roots are in the engraving industry, I learned early that an award layout was best done with line ratios, or the relationship of the sizes of lines in a layout to each other. A text line height of .50” vs .25” has a ratio of 2:1. After the ratios of the individual lines have been developed, then all of the lines can be changed as a group to fit the size of the plate, with the ratios remaining constant.

The wording on an award usually consists of (4) groups, listed in order of importance; Recipient, Presenter, Body and Incidentals. The importance of the groups will be emphasized with the size of the text used for each group. After some experimenting, I use the following pt. sizes of text in order of group importance; 24, 20, 18, 12.  These point sizes are also my ratios.

ULS Award

award_1 award_2 award_3

CorelDRAW: Logos for the Laser Using Contour, Weld, and Trim

Oct 19, 15 • Front Page, TipsNo Comments

CorelDRAW: Logos for the Laser Using Contour, Weld, and Trim

In a few short days we will be heading down to San Antonio, Texas for our 1st Annual Technology and Educational Expo.   One of our main educational topics will include CorelDraw x7 so we wanted to give you sneak peak of what you can expect.  If you are new to CorelDRAW or just upgraded to X7 from a previous version, you are in for a treat.  CorelDraw x7 has all the power and features of X6, but the interface has been revamped so you will find it to be extremely user-friendly, whether a beginner or an expert.  CorelDRAW is feature-rich without being overwhelming, and once you learn the tips and tricks of this drawing program it’s going to be as easy as ever.

Let’s take a glimpse into how easy it is use some of the tools in CorelDRAW to create a Logo for the Laser……

AND DON’T FORGET TO REGISTER FOR OUR TECHNOLOGY & EDUCATIONAL EXPO in San Antonio [Oct. 23rd or 24th].

LOGOS FOR THE LASER USING CONTOUR, WELD, AND TRIM

In these logos, I use the Contour, Trim andWeld functions to create examples. The Cadiallac will be usedon wood. The logo will be vector cut out of vinyl, and the background rastered to enhance the logo.  The NY logo will be two colors of vinyl cut out on acrylic.

 

Remember, the vinyl will be placed on the surface of the award prior to lasering. Sometimes you may have to mask the vinyl to avoid burning the edges.

blog_1

 

The lettering on this logo is too thin to work with laser. It won’t be prominent enough if we laser on wood, and the letters will be too thin if we cut the logo out in vinyl. We contour the original logo to make it bolder, and then create additional contour lines for the raster background and the gold vinyl.

 

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Consider The Savings: Tax Benefit for 2015 is Expiring…

Oct 12, 15 • Front Page, News, TipsNo Comments

Consider The Savings: Tax Benefit for 2015 is Expiring…

What are you waiting for? Now is the time to purchase equipment for your business! The accelerated deprecation deduction allowance permitted under IRS Section 179 is $25,000 for 2015.  This means up to $25,000 in qualifying new and used equipment, as well as off-the-shelf software, may be expensed this year if it is placed into service by the end of the day, December 31, 2015.

Savings

Ultimately, Section 179 of the IRS tax code allows businesses to deduct the full purchase price of the qualifying equipment and/or software purchased or financed during the given tax year.  What does that mean? It means you can deduct the FULL PURCHASE PRICE from your gross income.  For example, when a business buys a certain piece of equipment, it typically gets to write them off a little at a time through depreciation [i.e.$10,000 over a five-year period].  While it’s better than no write-off at all, most business owners would prefer to write off the entire equipment purchase for the year they actually buy it.  The whole reason behind Section 179 is to motivate the American economy, especially small businesses.  For many small businesses, the entire cost [up to $25,000] can be written-off on the 2015 tax return.

Limits of Section 179

Section 179 does come with limits – there are caps to the total amount written off ($25,000 for 2015), and limits to the total amount of the equipment purchased ($200,000 in 2015). The deduction begins to phase out dollar-for-dollar after $200,000 is spent by a given business, so this makes it a true small and medium-sized business deduction.

Who Qualifies for Section 179?

All businesses that purchase, finance, and/or lease less than $200,000 in new or used business equipment during tax year 2015 should qualify for the Section 179 Deduction.

The deduction begins to phase out if more than $200,000 of equipment is purchased – in fact, the deduction decreases on a dollar for dollar scale after that, making Section 179 a deduction specifically for small and medium-sized businesses.

Woman with coins in jar

Section 179 vs. Bonus Depreciation

Bonus Depreciation is offered some years.  As of now, it is not being offered.

Although it is not available at this time [2015], here are some of the differences.  The most important difference is both new and used equipment qualify for the Section 179 Deduction (as long as the used equipment is “new to you”), while Bonus Depreciation covers new equipment only.  Bonus Depreciation is useful to very large businesses spending more than the Section 179 Spending Cap (currently $200,000) on new capital equipment.  Even businesses with a net loss are qualified to deduct some of the costs.

Section 179 “More Than 50% Business Use” Requirement

The equipment and/or software must be used for businesses purposes more than 50% of the time to qualify.  How do you know if it meets the requirements? Multiply the cost of the equipment and/or software by the percentage of business-use to determine the monetary amount eligible for Section 179.

How to Clean Laser Focus Lenses

Aug 24, 15 • Front Page, NewsNo Comments

Perfect engraving and cutting results require perfectly cleaned optics — especially when working with wood or rubber, which produce more dust than other applications. To ensure the quality of the laser engraving or cutting, you should check and clean the lenses and mirrors regularly.


Quick and easy

It takes no more than 2 minutes per day to keep the optics clean!
Start by visually inspecting the lens and the mirror on the machining head once a day and checking the side mirrors once a month.

It is a good idea to set fixed times for visual inspections. For example, check the lens every morning, and inspect he side mirrors on the first day of the month. That is all that is necessary, because the optics are protected from dust and dirt by the InPack Technology™.


Cleaning lenses in 2 steps

Clean the lens whenever you see dirt on it to improve the quality of the laser engraving or cutting, and to prevent the lens from breaking.

Step by Step

Step 1: Preparation

  • Blow off lint and dust with a blower or compressed air
  • Have some detergent and wipes on hand
  • Move the working table upward. If the lens falls down during removal, it not fall far and will not break easily.
 

Step 2: Detergent and wipes

  • Remove the lens and rinse it with cleaning fluid
  • Place a drop of cleaning fluid on the lens and leave it on for about 1 minute
  • Wipe off with a moist cleaning cloth

Now the lens is impeccably clean again and ready for the next application. When cleaning the mirror, you can take the same steps.


Optics: More sensitive than glass

The lenses and mirrors are fragile, so handle them with care. Avoid touching the lens with your fingers or with tools, because the danger of scratching the surface is too great.

We recommend using the included cleaning set, but you can also use cotton swabs.

Engravers Network Opens New Office in Houston, TX

May 27, 14 • NewsNo Comments

Houston, TX – May 23, 2014 – Engravers Network LLC, a distributor of engraving & marking equipment since 1984, today announced the opening of a new sales office in Houston. This is the second major expansion for Engravers Network since the 2013 purchase of a new 15,000 square foot building to house their corporate office and showroom in Arlington, TX.

(more…)

Do you have a Favorite Computer Utility Program?

Mar 25, 14 • Computers, News1 Comment

FastStone CaptureWithout a doubt, my favorite utility program is FastStone Capture, a screen capture utility. While CorelDraw Capture, Camtasia and other video programs are very strong capture programs I have used in the past, FastStone Capture is quick, editable, cheap and most of all portable. My job involves personalized training of a variety of software programs. And since the training is unique, it’s hard to have a complete script for my customers. (more…)