Scaling of SVG file

So I am trying to get a vinyl stencil made from a place. I sent them an SVG file. The stencil must be sized right because it’s a very precise design. So I have been working with the stencil people to get it scaled correctly.

I created the SVG myself through a home made program I created. The program creates the SVG file and also creates measurement marks on the border for scaling.

I did it this way because I don’t know how the file will open with their software of choice. I figured they could take my file, open it, and resize it as needed to get the inch marks to truly be an inch.

This is causing confusion no matter who I send the file to. It’s frustrating to me because I don’t see it as all that confusing. I feel as though this isn’t all that complicated.

I’m currently trying to get this sorted out with a place I ordered 5 stencils from. So I already paid my money. They have been struggling to get it right and I think they are getting annoyed with me because I’m being a stickler about this sizing.

They asked me to send the file scaled to the proper size so they can just send it to the plotter and cut the stencil without any scaling on their end. This is where I become the confused one. Won’t the SVG file open differently on different computers using different software? That’s my understanding. Is my understanding flawed? I’d happily have it sized right and just send it, but my understanding is that it doesn’t work that way. I can size it right on my computer and send it, but will it run the risk of being a different size on their end?

I’m completely and utterly willing to be the one that is wrong. I’m new to this SVG file stuff. So, if I’m way off here, please set me straight. Thanks!

First, I know absolutely nothing about this SVG creation program you created. That alone sounds a bit odd, but I’ll just assume it works and outputs scalable vector graphics. Second, I don’t know what kind of issues the stencil makers are having with it or why.

I don’t know if your homemade program includes artwork bounding box dimensions, but that’s a standard line of code in PostScript (written as %%BoundingBox: xmin ymin xmax ymax in the file). So if those measurements are included in the SVG file, it won’t automatically scale unless those measurements are overridden or changed. The dimensions should be retained in whatever program opens it or whatever RIP processes it.

Assuming your SVG file is a normal SVG file, as I understand them, the stencil makers should be able to open it in Illustrator to resize it, but I don’t know anything about these vendors you’re using or their level of expertise in anything. SVG is still a bit uncommon for the kind of thing you’re doing, so maybe they’re just stumbling over that.

The bottom line is there are just too many variables in your problem to say for sure what the problem might be.

The decision to use SVG for this is not a good one.

From what exactly? Surely there is some form of input.

In theory, it shouldn’t be complicated, but SVG is not a standard output format, and it actually does introduce a range of variables that aren’t normally encountered in processes like stencil cutting.

Exactly. That’s why graphic design is practiced using industry-standard software and file formats (not SVG; a format intended as a solution for screen-rendering scale-ability), that provide predictable, common-ground control points to the designer and the output provider. Here, you are attempting to “invent” process and force it on your output provider. Frankly, I’m surprised they’re willing to try so hard.

Cool. Thanks for the input.

I use SVG because it allows me to create vector images using code. I definitely need to keep the SVG format in my own process but I think that I need to go a step further and take that SVG file and open it up in a more universally accepted format and scale it myself before sending it out.

I’m a newbie with a lot of this stuff, so I’m still learning.

What are some formats that would be good for vinyl plotting? How about software? I’d like to be able to send it to them and just have them plot it without having to mess with it at all.

Geech! You created the image in a code editor? Do you normally do things the hard way? :wink: :grinning:

The standard application for this sort of thing is Adobe Illustrator. Illustrator gives you the option of saving out to SVG, but that’s mainly for web graphics. For what you’re doing, just supplying them with the Illustrator file would probably be best and what they would expect.

Of course Illustrator costs money. If that’s an issue, open source Inkscape might work, but I’ve never sent off real jobs to anyone using that software.

Setting people up for them to succeed: Win-win.

Setting people up for them to fail: Lose-lose.

I would try to make people’s life downstream easy, just as I appreciate upstream people making my life easy.

Adobe Illustrator 7-Day Free Trial

lol. Yep! Why not? No but seriously, thanks for your help. I’ll look into those suggestions you gave. It’s been very helpful, so I really appreciate it!

I cut vinyl all day long.
SVG files only work if Illustrator can read them, if the “vectors” aren’t thousands of splines, and the shapes are fillable. Well, the last isn’t necessarily true. The vinyl plotter will cut whatever line you put in the file, whether or not it slices through another shape. The file will be taken from illustrator into a sign software to cut. Some signwares don’t recognize SVG.

If the SVG opens in Illustrator it can be scaled.
Usually when sending a file to be scaled, it’s simplest to include a square that represents a known number of inches. That way, the vendor can click on the square, then scale the whole file by doing the math to get a scaling factor. Hopefully it doesnt multiply by a number with several decimal places. Illustrator stops at 1/10,000 (but it isn’t really that accurate anyway…)

But know this, a vinyl plotter is usually a friction feed device (unless you happen to run into a oldie still using punched media.) It is only as good as its step calibration allows. Anything much over 8 to 10’ is going to have some creep one way or the other. Most of them are pretty good at being within 1/8" over that distance, but not all. If you are expecting something to be exact within 1/16" that can be tough even on small pieces. The usual method we use for “exact” is to cut large and trim, application allowing.

Oh wow. Thanks! That was all very helpful stuff for me to learn!

A real world version of how difficult you are making things for yourself by writing/using your own software. I hope you take this joke in the spirit in which it is intended.

When I create a new design…
I prefer to drop down big piles of toner, get on a pair of stilts, and use the feet of the stilts to draw my design. I then hire a hot air balloon and use my Go Pro to video the image from above. I watch the video and pause it when I see the image cropped just how I like it. I then print it out on a Xerox machine in sections and tape it all to a wall. Then I use graphite to fill in the areas and create my negative space. I take it from the wall and lay it on the floor face up. I lay my canvas upside down on top of the artwork. Then I put on snow shoes and stomp on the canvas until the graphite transfers. I then pull the canvas off and hang it on my easel. I paint the positive areas around the negative space full color btw. I then erase the graphite and drop the canvas onto a plotter. When the printout is done I scan it (Make sure you use TIFF!).

Not sayin’, just sayin’.

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