How to Get Started with Sure Cuts a Lot 4
Configuring Sure Cuts a Lot 4
You can download the latest version of Sure Cuts a Lot 4 from their website. Installation is fast and easy, just follow the wizard!
The first time you launch Sure Cuts a Lot 4, it will run in demo mode. You’ll need to activate or buy the full version.
Installing Your Cutting Machine
Before you can get started with Sure Cuts a Lot 4, you’ll need to install your cutting machine.
SCAL4 can automatically install the USB drivers for most cutting machines. You’ll need to install the driver before you connect your cutting machine to your computer.
Under the “Help” menu, there is an option called “USB Driver Install.” This will give you a list of cutting machines to choose from. If your machine is on the list, you can select it and click “OK” to install the drivers.
If your machine is not listed, it doesn’t need a driver installed. Or, you need to install the driver manually from a disc or the manufacturer’s website.
Setting Up Your Cutting Mat
SCAL 4 provides an on-screen, virtual cutting mat as a workspace for you to create and edit your designs. There are several default sizes you can choose for your cutting mat, or you can create a custom size.
You can set the size of the mat by selecting “Mat Size” from the “Cutter” menu or the “Document Properties” tab. Setting up the cutting mat is the first and most important step for getting started with Sure Cuts a Lot 4.
The “My Library” menu allows you to choose shapes, fonts, and projects. You can choose from default shapes and fonts provided by Sure Cuts a Lot 4, or you can import your own shapes and fonts.
You can create custom arrangements called “Workspaces.” These are windows, tools, and various other panels. There are two pre-defined workspaces available (“Basic,” and “Advanced”. But, you can also create a new workspace from scratch.
You can select or create a new workspace from the “Window” > “Workspace” menu.
There are many options for creating new designs in Sure Cuts a Lot 4. Whether you’re starting from scratch, or just editing a design you’ve imported, SCAL 4 makes it fast and easy. Here is a rundown of what you can do:
You can add text to your cutting mat or design using the “Type Tools” in the tools panel. There are several options for different types of text. This includes horizontal type, vertical type, type on path, and type on arch.
“Type on Path” allows you to add text following a line that you create. The line can be anything from a wave to a box, to any other shape you can imagine.
“Type on Arch” creates your text in an arch, which you can adjust to your desired size and slope.
The default “Text Tools” option creates horizontal text. The “Vertical Text” is self-explanatory.
Under the “Fonts” tab in “My Library,” you can specify the fonts and special characters you’d like to use in your text.
To add a pre-existing shape to your cutting mat, go to the “Shapes” tab in “My Library.” By default, the shapes will go to the center of the cutting mat.
Once your shape is on the mat, you can edit them using the “Selection Tool.” Once you’ve selected the shape, eight blue dots will appear. You can use it to move, resize, and change the angle of the shape
You can also change the properties of the shape while it’s selected. The “Properties Panel” allows you to change attributes like the size, color, and position of the shape.
The “Welding” option in Sure Cuts a Lot 4 allows you to merge several overlapping shapes or text into one single object.
Simply arrange your objects on the mat so that they overlap. Select both objects at the same time, then check the “Weld” checkbox in the “Properties Panel.”
Now if you click the “Preview” toolbar button, you can see how the shapes will cut. The lines around the overlapping areas are removed so the cutting machine won’t cut them.
SCAL4 allows you to import artwork from other sources. Also, it automatically traces the image to create cutting lines. To open the “Trace Image” options, you can navigate to the “File” menu. Then, choose “Trace Image, or you can click the “Trace” toolbar button.
Drawing Your Own Shapes
You can use the “Drawing Tool” to draw your own shapes on the cutting mat. You can draw straight lines as well as curves.
You can edit imported or self-drawn shapes using the “Edit Tool” in the toolbar. This will allow you to highlight the points you wish to change, then drag them around to reposition them.
The “Path” menu provides options for combining two shapes together to create a new shape. There are several different methods of doing this.
“Union” combines two or more overlapping shapes into a single, larger shape. Unlike the “weld” option, once the shapes join together, they create a permanent new shape, and can’t be separated again.
“Intersection” will output the overlapping part of the two shapes, erasing everything else.
“Exclude” does the opposite. It erases the overlapping part of the two shapes, outputting the rest.
SCAL4 allows you to create rhinestone templates. While you have an object selected, navigate to the “Object” menu and select “Rhinestones.” You can then choose the size and spacing of the stones. Furthermore, you can preview how the design will look with the rhinestones.
You can add a shadow outline layer to any object by choosing the “Shadow Layer” option from the “Effects” menu.
Then, you can choose a standard shadow, a rounded shadow, or a shadow with beveled corners. You can also select the size, and adjust the outlines and position.
Other Menu Options
Yes, we’ve covered a lot of the basic settings and operations in Sure Cuts a Lot 4. Yet, there are still many more options you can change. Rather than going over every single menu option, we’ll just look at the most commonly-used choices.
The Tools Panel
We have mentioned several tools already. Yet, there are still several more menu options available in the tool panel.
“Selection Lasso” tool allows you to hand-draw a selection area in your design. This is an option, rather than selecting the whole object.
“Freehand Draw” tool lets you draw freely, rather than only drawing lines.
“Draw Shape” tool gives you options for creating rectangles and, rounded rectangles. You can also create circles, triangles, stars, and polygons.
“Knife” tool can create a cut line to separate an object into separate segments.
The Properties Panel
You can adjust the settings for your cutting mat and any objects on the mat using the “Properties Panel.”
- “Fill and Stroke” options will change how you fill your objects. Then, you can choose a color, pattern, or gradient.
- “Style” menu lets you choose object styles like the shadow, weld, or cut line type.
- “Layers” menu allows you to organize how your layers are displayed.
The Object Menu
The “Object” menu contains options for manipulating an object on the cutting mat.
“Transform” allows you to move, rotate, or resize an object.
“Arrange” offers options for changing the layering order of objects on the mat.
“Align” menu gives you options for aligning all objects on the cutting mat to a particular location.
There are many other options in the “Object” menu, including “Group,” “Break Apart,” “Merge,” and “Duplicate.”
The Effects Menu
We briefly mentioned the “Shadow Layer” option that’s found in the “Effects” menu. Besides, there are a lot of other effects you can choose from. This includes “3D Rotate”, “Bulge,” “Lattice,” and “Puzzle Generator.” One of our favorite effects is the “Title Crawl”. This effect makes objects appear as if they’re vanishing off into the distance, like the intro to Star Wars!
Cutting Your Design
Once you’re happy with your design, it’s time to send it to the cutting machine. All the settings for your cutting machine are under the “Cutter” menu.
- “Manage Cutters” allows you to add the model of the machine you’re using. Then you can select your machine from the “Cutter” menu, which will set it as the default.
- “Mat Size” lets you choose the size of the physical mat you’re using with your cutting machine.
- The “Mat Orientation” lets you choose between portrait or landscape.
- “Cut Settings” gives you customizable settings for your cutting project. Some of the options will depend on the model of your cutting machine. Yet in general, this is where you’ll choose how many copies to cut, and see a preview of what’s going to be cut out.
Once you’re ready, you can either click “Print + Cut” from the “Cut Settings” menu or click the “Cutter” toolbar button.
Now you know how to create, edit, and cut a project from start to finish. To get started with Sure Cuts a Lot 4 or to download and buy the software, you can visit their self-drawn shapes.
- Easy to use software to cut virtually any design with your electronic cutting machine.