To vinyl cut some stickers for my laptop (learn how to use the vinyl cutter) I drew up some .png images on my Bamboo drawing tablet using a program called Paint Tool Sai. It works mostly like Photoshop but is used mainly to make new images instead of just editing existing ones. Once these images were sketched up; I sent them to the vinyl cutter for printing. In order to do this you have to open the terminal, open the mod, load the .png file and click CALCULATE. If you don't click calculate you will simply sit there for hours wondering where you went wrong. Lesson learned. I cut two images, and used transfer tape to plaster my new laptop with these new homemade stickers. So cool!
I also spent a long time learning/ almost learning Rhino as well as Solidworks. Solidworks, to me, seems quite a bit more straightforward for everything except printing. Once I finally got the files set up (having to convert to .dxf files to print them) I tried to cut out the pieces on several occasions. On the first occassion I could not determine how to turn the computers on (a small button on the bottom of the table) that was a bust. The second time, the laser cutter I had chosen immediately became stuck in the upwards position, causing the tip to be rather sad (bent at a 90 degree angle), so that was also a bust. The third time, I managed to cut, but, I ran the laser through twice and it didnt cut all the way through. Without realizing this, I took it off the bed, ruining the work I had put into it so far. Once placed back into position, it didn't line up with the cuts previously made, so I had to start over. On the final try, just to be sure, I ran the laser over 3 times. Finally, this resulted in a success! Some of the pieces still refused to come out of the cardboard; but knives can be very persuasive. Finally, the pieces were done, and I could build...well, anything! With the large variety of pieces, you can build various structures or animals but with a little bit of awkwardness. The joints hold out well (a simple 45 degree angle with a .13" hole) but they could be made better. In the future I will make larger pieces so that I have the ability to add more complexities to my pieces. I, of course, built a dragon from the pieces: posted below. Hope you enjoy as much as I did!