Thursday, 5 March 2015

Scan2Cut with Sure Cuts a Lot V4.017 and Silver Bullet cutter. A whole new realm of creativity!

How to get a Great Scan2Cut with Sure Cuts A Lot 4

I have to confess to nagging Craft Edge over the last couple of weeks. It appears to have paid off though!  While I have created work arounds, I saw no reason why the software could not get this function worked into it, the building bricks were there, but the company has worked really hard to add this to the menu, as a separate function, really quickly. I was given  betas to test, which is why I can now show you, in detail how it all works.

No special mats needed!  It is also possible to use a Photo to do this instead of a scanner. The advantage of that is that you are not limited to the size of your scanner bed. The disadvantage is that it isn't quite as accurate unless you are very careful.

Click here for the video

 I wanted this feature, largely because I paint in watercolour and it would be nice to be able to cut out some of my doodles for use as embellishments. Stampers will find it invaluable to cut multiple images at a time.

First, find a suitable item that you want to cut out. For the first attempt, choose an image that has a defined edge, for ease of tracing.

You now have two choices, either use the page size from the drop down menu or the Custom Size, where you put in the measurements of your rectangle made by your hand added dots.
If you choose the latter -

Put 4 small dots in a rectangle around your image.

Scan the image to your desktop or take a photo of it.

Open SCAL and choose File/ Scan2Cut.

Click on Load image, locate the file, open and it will appear in the window.
Move the corners of the ‘cage’ to around your dots. NOTE - on the released version, they have added a magnification viewing window to this box.

On the actual paper, measure the distance between the dots and fill in that measurement in the ‘W’ and ‘H’ menu - make sure to get them in the right order. Tick the blue ‘Use custom marks’ box.Click ‘next’ when you are done.

 Move the crosses over the dots. The more accurate you are, the better the result. Click OK when done and the image will import into your SCAL workspace. With the image selected, click on Trace Image and trace as normal.

After tracing and while selected, make sure you go to the Style window and select Print and Cut Cut, or the registration marks will not appear. The registration marks are based on your dots and there will be four. You will use the actual pen dots on your paper as registration marks, nothing gets sent to the printer! That's why it is important to make small dots, make them too big and you will make things harder for yourself.

You can edit your cut lines as normal but it is good practice to go into the layers menu and lock the dots to make sure you don’t lose the reg marks and have to start over.

Here I have chosen to view in 'Line mode' and I have moved the image to one side (the arrow shows you can just see its rectangle outline). I have edited out some of the interior lines that I did not want.

This is what it looks like in Preview mode, you can see the reg marks and the cut lines. You can delete the image itself.

If you are concerned that any white areas may show due to not taking care on the trace, you can now go to Path/ offset and put an offset in place from there (inside obviously!)  NOTE  The offset function is unlike the shadow function in that it DELETES the original line, to avoid confusion.

So now we are ready to do a Print and Cut (without the Print!)

Put the paper on the mat, and use a point near your lower right dot marker as the origin point to set to Zero. After that, check the settings for the material, blade height etc as usual. Use the four dots to line up your laser, the software will automatically  include 4 to line up instead of the usual 3.

So here is the result

The slight white area to the right was due to my not altering the auto trace at all but I have got some extremely good results, as you can see in the following pics.


Although the software allows you to use standard paper size as an option (instead of the Custom one here,) choose from the drop down menu, if you are scanning white paper it is hard to see the edges, if you want to use that option, either mark the corners of the page anyway, or put a dark paper over it in the scanner for contrast. Believe me, I have squinted at the edges too often!  In that mode, you don't get the second window with the crosses to line up - which is why I prefer this one, more accurate.
If you want to do a trace on something that has badly defined boundaries,like this Origami paper either outline things with a black marker or use software like Gimp to mask and fill the shapes of the scanned image  before tracing. The first option is easier (and quicker) unless you know your way around editing.

On very 'busy' papers, put small plain adhesive stickers roughly where you want your dots to be, then put your pen dot on those. I recommend using a 0.1 fine marker for them.

If you have lots of little images you want to cut, instead of doing them one at a time, glue them on to a thin backing paper, put the 4 dots around the whole lot and scan or photograph it in one go.

I made an acetate sheet filled with a grid of 1mm holes, click on the link to download it. The spacing does not need to be a specific measurement, mine are approx 1 cm apart. It is just to make sure you get a true rectangle.

BTW, if you make one of these, put paper under the plastic while you cut. (Do you really want to spend ages scraping them off?) When done, if they have not dropped out, put the plastic over a sheet of craft foam and use either an embossing tool (small one, obviously) to punch them through, or a pencil. The dots will embed in the foam, making it a lot easier! Makes a pretty effect in the foam too...hmmm, I'm sure to find a use for that.

A metal rule can then be used to accurately measure from  one dot to the  next. A minute spent doing that will save you time, paper and nerves!

OK, I think that's it. A long post but I wanted to make sure that I covered everything that you may need to know!   Now you can go through all your old greeting cards and cut the pretty bits out to re use!

Happy Scan2 Cutting and a big Thank You to Craft Edge for making this happen.


  1. Thanks so much for this tutorial. I have to try this out. What a great feature ! I'm glad to hear that it works exactly the way it should .

    1. So am I! It has so many uses from cutting out stamped images if that's your thing, or just using scraps, to cutting around your own art work. The other thing to note, is that if you use the camera to get an image, you are not limited to a scanner bed size.

  2. check your scanner software (or just graphic software in general) some have a feature where you can stitch two (or more) images together - this might help with sheets larger than A4 (general scanner size)

    also the drawing around the edges on things like the origami paper - you can also tape a piece of acetate over the sheet, and trace onto that, once you have scanned in the image, remove the acetate, leave your paper exactly where you had it, no drawn lines to worry about, and you should be able to clean the marker off the acetate and re-use it.

    Gaz (who loves how it says unknown even when I sign in!!)

    1. Good tip on the acetate Gaz! Yes, my scanner does have that but the method mine uses to line up is not very accurate - others may be. In general it isn't an issue for me. Regards your signature, is the unknown here? if so I apologise, my strengths are not in social media settings....:(

    2. Hi Sandra, yes the unknown thing is here but it's on all blogs. it asks me to log in, I select google account and it still says unknown then the date I posted.


  3. Thanks for doing the nagging! This is a fantastic new feature, can't wait to try it out.

  4. Good tutorial your blog instructions were great for filling in the gaps on how this process works... With that said... I believe the first set of lining up the squares is to ensure correct perspective of the photo when importing. Which is why I think in the instructions in SCAL says to use the corners of the paper or the mat as they are cut straight. If you use your dots you should ensure that they are a perfect rectangle all angles are 90 degrees or it will throw the perspective off. You can test this theory out by making a trapezoid dots around your image and at the first screen prompt - where you are lining up the squares. Click next. You will see your image is skewed. This is to correct for people that take photos from an angle instead of taking a photo from directly above or via a printer/scanner.

  5. You are partly correct Rob. If you read the software instructions very carefully, it gives two methods. If you are NOT using dots then you use the paper corners- and yes that will be to get your true rectangle. If you click custom size, your first line up with the boxes still needs to be on the dots you have placed, you will then get the second screen with the crosses. I agree that you need an accurate rectangle, hence the dot template. When I say the spacing does not need to be a specific measurement I meant that the gaps can be 1 cm or 1,3 for example but they do need to be in a grid and I do specify a rectangle. The placement of the crosses is very important.

  6. Here's a short video on the point I was trying to make where those red square placements are important and if you get it close but not close enough your image is skewed.

  7. I take your point Rob, I should not have been quite so carefree in the video! I'm pretty accurate by nature but when I checked the vid I had rather stretched the point... it's what comes of talking and using the software at the same time!
    I've made an annotation on the video, the images above clearly show where the squares should be!

    1. Like I said - great video and even better that you had the blog post as it that filled in the gaps to my follow up questions ;)

      Question: If you are using those "dots" like you did in your video to define the boundary of the project (Red Squares). Do you need to redefine them again when you are moving to the next step of the custom marks?

      Since you're a beta tester maybe you can pass along this information. I found it confusing when going to the "Print and Cut" when it said move to the first registration mark I was like I didn't print any... Maybe if SCAL detects that there are 4 points needed it could show a graphic letting us know that it's looking for the SCAN2CUT references rather than a printed one.. Or maybe there should be a button called cut the scan and cut... If I follow the on screen instructions it wants me to print again ;) (I know in the video/blog you say to bypass) I thought I did something wrong because it was telling me to go to the first registration mark... Maybe it could tell me to go to top left.. .go to top right...etc

  8. Re the first bit of your question - if using the dots (which you put around the picture before scanning), this is a two part process. First you put the squares around the dots, then when you click next, you pinpoint the crosses over the dots EXACTLY. Because you have chosen a Custom size and entered that into the software, this is what tells it how big your design is and therefore how to cut it when traced.
    After your trace has been done and you go to 'print and cut' you ignore the instruction to print. It will use the dots that you have placed, as the registration marks. (It does actually say that in the instruction box on the left of the window). You can see the reg mark positions if you have clicked on 'preview'- it does not need to print them, they are on the paper already and it knows it. The first registration mark is always the top left in SCAL, so the developers probably thought there was no need to point this out - especially as the window has a little graphic showing it. Sometimes we just don't see things because we are trying too hard but it is there, promise!

  9. Thank you,,, i have just got my Silver bullet and i am really struggling. Yours was the first tutorial that made any sense to me... I wonder if i'm too dense for all this.

    1. It will be confusing at first, but you will do it! I am on the Thyme Machines Forum (Sandra Alicante). I recommend you sign up for that, it's free and there is always someone there to help and answer questions. Go through my video play list as and when you need the help. Once you sign up to the forum that Dawn runs, you will find it easier! Everyone is very friendly and helpful.