Author Topic: Etched Brass Name Plates.. design software?  (Read 8358 times)

Offline 10KPete

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Etched Brass Name Plates.. design software?
« on: February 01, 2016, 12:57:40 AM »
I've accumulated a ton of information on how to make etched name plates, and I've seen some beauties.

What I don't have is the software to do the design work! Sounds nuts but it's true. When I bought the MacBook Air 4 years ago
I thought it would come with, or could be equipped with, software like I was used to on my PC.  Nnnooooo!!

What I'm looking for is a program that will run on this Air, using OSX 10.7.5, that I can use to create the lines, curves, text,
shapes, etc, etc, typical for these name plates. And that will put out .pdf files for printing. And that doesn't cost much.

I've been looking through the MacStore but the problem is that the descriptions don't really describe what the darn program will
really do! There's no demos, and I really don't want to spend months downloading and testing all the programs to find the one
that will work.

Can anyone share their experiences with these programs so that I could close the selection set some???

Thanks,
Pete
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Offline Dave Otto

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Re: Etched Brass Name Plates.. design software?
« Reply #1 on: February 01, 2016, 01:05:28 AM »
Sorry Pete I'm not a Mac guy; but I have done a number of etched plates using Auto CAD for artwork design.
I would like to see what you are up to when the time comes.

Dave

Offline zeeprogrammer

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Re: Etched Brass Name Plates.. design software?
« Reply #2 on: February 01, 2016, 01:14:14 AM »
What I don't have is the software to do the design work! Sounds nuts but it's true. When I bought the MacBook Air 4 years ago
I thought it would come with, or could be equipped with, software like I was used to on my PC.  Nnnooooo!!

I have both types of machines. The problem I have is, even when I get a the 'same' program for both...they don't work the same.
Apple likes to be different.

I've not done this...but some people have made their macs 'dual boot'. That is, the mac will run 'windows' and windows programs.
But it's been a while and it may not be true any longer.

Worth looking at if you have loads of PC programs. But if you do have loads of PC programs...I'd just get a PC and not worry about trying to get a mac to jump through hoops.
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Offline crueby

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Re: Etched Brass Name Plates.. design software?
« Reply #3 on: February 01, 2016, 02:39:57 AM »
Pete, if you get to the point of making the etched plates, love to see how it works.

Offline Don1966

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Re: Etched Brass Name Plates.. design software?
« Reply #4 on: February 01, 2016, 03:44:26 AM »
What I don't have is the software to do the design work! Sounds nuts but it's true. When I bought the MacBook Air 4 years ago
I thought it would come with, or could be equipped with, software like I was used to on my PC.  Nnnooooo!!

I have both types of machines. The problem I have is, even when I get a the 'same' program for both...they don't work the same.
Apple likes to be different.

I've not done this...but some people have made their macs 'dual boot'. That is, the mac will run 'windows' and windows programs.
But it's been a while and it may not be true any longer.

Worth looking at if you have loads of PC programs. But if you do have loads of PC programs...I'd just get a PC and not worry about trying to get a mac to jump through hoops.
You could use Bootcamp to load Windows on a Mac. The only problem is you have to boot up with one or the other but not both. It only runs on one platform at a time. This is an apple software for running Windows. Probably the best for Windows on the OS system. Then you can run you Windows programs.

Don

Offline 10KPete

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Re: Etched Brass Name Plates.. design software?
« Reply #5 on: February 01, 2016, 04:28:49 AM »
Thanks for the replies fellas. I bought this Air thing after my PC went TA. I was intrigued with the idea of a small device. But it
seems the Air has half the memory of the Pro so a dual boot, or similar, will be difficult. That's according to the few folks I've
discussed it with. I didn't know that at the time. Had my haid up me arse. :facepalm:

I had AutoCAD 2000i on the PC, and still have all the discs and all my files. I love that program, and I don't even scratch it's
capabilities. My PC ran XP Pro and handled the AutoCAD beautifully. A new PC will have Win10 unless I spec otherwise. That
I have covered. The local computer guys (really great!) can set me up with Win 7 which will run the AutoCAD. But I'm warned
to never let that machine see the 'net as the 7 isn't supported by MS for bug repellant. That's cool, I use the Mac for that now
anyway.

But do I really want two machines!!?? One for engineering and one for everything else?? Geezzzz.... :insane:

So that's why I'm beating me haid agai' th' wall trying to find something basic for the tag/label graphics. Oh, I'll probably end
up getting a PC going for the AutoCAD someday. It just seems inevitable somehow. I've got the Fusion 360 link but that seems
like such a huge, huge, change and right now I feel that there are too many changes going on and I just want to retreat to
the shop and do stuff I know about. :'(

And Win 10 won't handle the AutoCAD version and I ain't a gonna pay their price for a new one!! That's why the F360 look-see.

Any suggestions on "simple" software for this AirHead unit will continue to be entertained. Please!

Thanks,
Pete
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Offline Hugh Currin

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Re: Etched Brass Name Plates.. design software?
« Reply #6 on: February 01, 2016, 05:10:11 AM »
Pete:

How about xfig? I've used it a little under Linux. Not real easy to use but should do what you want. I believe there is a port to Mac.

There are likely more user friendly graphic programs, but xfig is free. I know nothing of Macs or this port but it could work.

Hope this is of some use.

Hugh
Hugh

Offline 10KPete

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Re: Etched Brass Name Plates.. design software?
« Reply #7 on: February 01, 2016, 05:21:43 AM »
Thanks for the link Hugh. I'll have to look at it more tomorrow but I'll say that when I just looked at what you linked to my
mind went screaming in the other direction! Initial impression is it's too strange to contemplate. :shrug: :o :noidea:

 But I'll look at it tomorrow.

Pete
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Offline Hugh Currin

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Re: Etched Brass Name Plates.. design software?
« Reply #8 on: February 01, 2016, 06:08:41 AM »
Thanks for the link Hugh. I'll have to look at it more tomorrow but I'll say that when I just looked at what you linked to my
mind went screaming in the other direction! Initial impression is it's too strange to contemplate. :shrug: :o :noidea:

 But I'll look at it tomorrow.

Pete

Pete:

I wouldn't blame you for running hard and fast. I've used xfig for a few drawings in technical journals (it plays well with LaTeX) but haven't gone deep and do not feel comfortable using it. The learning curve is steep. But then, it is free if you (as I do) consider ones time in cents/hr. Please let us know.

Thanks.

Hugh
Hugh

Offline sshire

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Re: Etched Brass Name Plates.. design software?
« Reply #9 on: February 01, 2016, 01:58:12 PM »
Pete
The guys who originally did Solidworks have a new company, OnShape.
Totally cloud-based CAD. Free unless you need the enterprise collaboration and billing stuff. Exports every CAD format and PDF known to man.
Runs on anything with a browser. I tried it on my MacBook Pro (2012.) ran just fine. Will even run on an iPad but I can't imagine doing CAD with my finger :ROFL:
See if it works for you.
Best,
Stan

Online Dan Rowe

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Re: Etched Brass Name Plates.. design software?
« Reply #10 on: February 01, 2016, 02:14:53 PM »
Pete,
I agree with Stan Onshape is a really good 3D program and the free version is the full package and is very useful to make .stl files for printing. I have run it on a PC and an iPhone.

Dan
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Offline kvom

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Re: Etched Brass Name Plates.. design software?
« Reply #11 on: February 01, 2016, 04:49:25 PM »
OnShape has a very limited selection of text fonts at present.  It does work well as a 3D CAD program.

Offline 10KPete

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Re: Etched Brass Name Plates.. design software?
« Reply #12 on: February 01, 2016, 05:53:40 PM »
Well, I've found the site and bookmarked it. Sorta scanned it and it looks interesting.

Here's a question for those who've used OnShape: Can I import my 2D AutoCAD drawings and continue to use them
as 2D drawings? For example, I have a drawing of the property here with the buildings, fences, driveways and all the
buried utilities. I need to work on that and not lose the layers and 'groups'. Also have the floor plans for the house
and garage/shop with electrical, plumbing, etc. Same need.

Each catagory has it's own layer; lot lines, water pipes, electrical runs, radiant heating tubes, etc, etc. For the obvious
reasons!

I tried with TurboCAD and it just trashed the layers and stuff; wouldn't import that data correctly. Which is why I
quit trying to use it.

Those are my big concerns, the rest is easy! I hope.

Thanks,
Pete
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Offline Dave Otto

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Re: Etched Brass Name Plates.. design software?
« Reply #13 on: February 01, 2016, 06:43:31 PM »
It's hard to beat a good 2d program like Auto CAD for doing 2d only work. I can imagine what a pain it would be to create complex artwork for an etched tag using the sketcher in a 3d modeling program. the constraints would be a nightmare. Simple stuff would be ok though.

One program I don't remember seeing mentioned is DraftSight from the Solid Works folks. It is pretty much a carbon copy of Auto CAD and at least for know free. So if you are familiar with Auto CAD you would have any trouble running DraftSight.

One thing I'm not sure about with out checking into is if they have a version that will run on a Mac.

Dave

Offline Dave Otto

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Re: Etched Brass Name Plates.. design software?
« Reply #14 on: February 01, 2016, 06:46:05 PM »
It appears that DraftSight will run on a Mac; I would suggest giving it a try. I'm pretty sure that it won't screw with any of your Auto CAD layers and styles.

Dave

Offline kvom

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Re: Etched Brass Name Plates.. design software?
« Reply #15 on: February 01, 2016, 07:11:08 PM »
With OnShape you can import a DXF or DWG file onto a sketch plane.  Export what you want from AutoCad or Draftsight into OnShape.

Offline 10KPete

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Re: Etched Brass Name Plates.. design software?
« Reply #16 on: February 01, 2016, 07:19:55 PM »
Thanks guys! DraftSight is bookmarked for examination. Probably take a couple of days to soak up this stuff.

kvom, do you know if the import will mess with layers/settings?

Pete
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Offline kvom

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Re: Etched Brass Name Plates.. design software?
« Reply #17 on: February 01, 2016, 08:10:26 PM »
While you can import a DXF in its entirety, using it in a sketch a a starting point for a 3D model means probably deleting everything you don't need before doing an extrude, which usually the first operation.

Offline 10KPete

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Re: Etched Brass Name Plates.. design software?
« Reply #18 on: February 01, 2016, 08:46:18 PM »
Aahhh, OK. I wouldn't use my 2Ds to start a 3D. Don't have any I would want to do that with. But it sure would be cool to be able to '3D' new stuff and especially exciting to be able to animate linkages and such!  :cartwheel:
I'd just want to be able to 'maintain' a few of my 2Ds, like the property drawing.

Thanks!!
Pete
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Offline Steamer5

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Re: Etched Brass Name Plates.. design software?
« Reply #19 on: February 02, 2016, 05:03:07 AM »
Hi Pete,
 Give Draftsight a go.  I've been playing with it for a couple of years...more off than on....& it works fine. I can bounce "HELP" of either of my sons as both draft, Auto Cad though. Funny how when dad asks them to do something for him they are "too busy".....mind you when you want to go from a drawing with fractions......feet & inches to a 21% scale in mm they have got no idea!

 The thing I want to know with name plates what program you can use that will import a picture & tell you what the font is! Tried some on line with little to no joy! Anybody tried one that works??

Cheers Kerrin
Get excited and make something!

Offline 10KPete

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Re: Etched Brass Name Plates.. design software?
« Reply #20 on: February 02, 2016, 05:09:46 AM »
A font recognizer! Now that's something I'd love to see. I used to have print outs of fonts, pages of examples, just for identifying fonts. What a task that was. And before confusers! Good thing our offices were in the same building as a good printer.

I have a bunch of homework to do going through F360, OnShape and Draftsight. It's obvious I need to catch up here.

Pete
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Offline Dave Otto

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Re: Etched Brass Name Plates.. design software?
« Reply #21 on: February 02, 2016, 01:49:14 PM »
Kerrin

I have never had much luck matching fonts from the old name plates; What I have done in the past is to import a high resolution picture of the plate. Then scale it to 1:1 and use it as a drawing template do do my line work on. I will post a picture when I get home later today of one the more complex plates I have done. Once you have that art work you can scale it to what ever size you want. I once made a full sized plate for and friends Hit & Miss engine then scaled it down to model size and made a plate for a different friends model.

Dave

Offline Steamer5

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Re: Etched Brass Name Plates.. design software?
« Reply #22 on: February 03, 2016, 04:27:51 AM »
Hi Dave,
 Thanks for the reply. I have done something similar some years ago with the club logo so we could get caps embroided, took me awhile.....thank goodness for night shifts!
 I was just being a bit lazy & thought that in this day & age there would be software that would do it. Tried a couple of weeks ago & started out with lots of hits & go down to just a few....not what I thought was the right one!
 
Cheers Kerrin
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Offline Dave Otto

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Re: Etched Brass Name Plates.. design software?
« Reply #23 on: February 04, 2016, 01:52:00 AM »
Hi Guys

Here are a couple samples of name plates that I have made; If I have posted these before I apologize. The art work for each one was created using Auto CAD  and as I indicated before, a hi res. photo was used as a drawing template. Every letter, line, feather, cloud, Etc. was painstakingly hand drawn over the top of the original. I didn't keep track of time; but it wouldn't surprise me if I didn't have close to 100 hours in the Falk tag.

It is really a fun skill that is easy to do and master in the home shop.

Dave

Offline Steamer5

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Re: Etched Brass Name Plates.. design software?
« Reply #24 on: February 04, 2016, 03:22:32 AM »
Hi Dave,
 Man do those look good! Well worth the time spent. Don't remember you posting these before.....can you post pictures of them attached to the engine...please pretty please,
 On the process of copying the lettering, how much time did you spend making sure you got it spot on? Or did you work on the fact that you went from full size to a much smaller size that any little odd bits would shrink & not be any different from a casting slight whoops ?

Cheers Kerrin
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Offline kvom

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Re: Etched Brass Name Plates.. design software?
« Reply #25 on: February 04, 2016, 02:01:51 PM »
Dave, you are the MAN!   :ThumbsUp:

Offline 10KPete

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Re: Etched Brass Name Plates.. design software?
« Reply #26 on: February 04, 2016, 02:14:45 PM »
What I want to do is very much along the lines of the R&V plate. The graphic on the Falk is outstanding!!

After looking at the different 'free' CAD programs, Onshape, Draftsite, QCAD, etc., it's clear that none of them will do what AutoCAD or Solidworks, etc., do with respect to these tags.

So while I may continue to explore, and probably use Onshape for 3D, I'm going to get a PC configured for my AutoCAD.

Could a Onshape user please tell me if Onshape does mass properties, or can calculate element forces? I haven't gotten that far into it yet.

This has been most educational for me. You folks have exposed me (dragged me in to?) to an aspect of design that I've been appearently avoiding. I think it's and old dog too lazy to investigate new tricks thing. :slap:

Pete
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Offline Dave Otto

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Re: Etched Brass Name Plates.. design software?
« Reply #27 on: February 05, 2016, 01:37:02 AM »
Thanks for the kind words guys,

Kerrin; I try to put as much detail and accuracy into the CAD work as possible. The Falk tag is full sized (2 3/8" X 5") I made it for one of my full sized engines that is undergoing restoration. The tag mounts to the curved surface of the cylinder. I was very lucky that a friend of mine has a 5hp hopper cooled Falk; the Falk engines are pretty rare in any size. His tag was screwed to the flat surface of the water hopper; it was a simple matter of unscrewing it and scanning an image of it. Had it been curved it would not have been as easy. The R&V tag actually started out as a full sized reproduction for some R&V collector friends of mine. When my buddy started working on a R&V model from Randy Rockwell's castings I already had the artwork so I thought I would see how far I could scale it down with out loosing too much detail. I think where I ended up was about the limit for this one.

The pictures of the R&V are one that was built by model builder Ralph Milam, I supplied the tag for his engine also. I don't have any pictures of my other friends engine. Just for grins I have also attached a shot of the original art work that I created for the Falk tag.

Pete; I think DraftSight is capable of most anything that Auto CAD 2000i is; it just takes awhile to figure out the interface but all the tools and commands are there.

Dave

Offline 10KPete

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Re: Etched Brass Name Plates.. design software?
« Reply #28 on: February 05, 2016, 02:55:58 AM »

Pete; I think DraftSight is capable of most anything that Auto CAD 2000i is; it just takes awhile to figure out the interface but all the tools and commands are there.

Dave

Really! I'll have to dig deeper than I have. Which hasn't been much. :embarassed:
Thanks for the tip!

Pete
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Offline Don1966

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Re: Etched Brass Name Plates.. design software?
« Reply #29 on: February 05, 2016, 03:17:14 AM »
That is some beautiful work Dave and a heap full of patience........... :praise2:

Don

Offline Steamer5

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Re: Etched Brass Name Plates.. design software?
« Reply #30 on: February 06, 2016, 04:40:20 AM »
Hi Pete,
 Just had ago go at importing a picture into Draftsight, worked a treat! Only problem is it's not a very hi res picture........have to see if I can get somebody to hopefully get me better ones. That the problem when you want to build something that 1/2 way round the world!

Ok back to the picture, I used  poly lines, I wasn't sure how but blundered ahead! Right I had Esnap on...turn it OFF! You need as many points as you think you need to go round the curves, suggest you use LOTS, .....question for Dave, is this what you did?....the other thing is make the picture as big as you can, I see why Dave did this, it makes it easier. The down side is you NEED  a hi res picture so mine was a bit fuzzy......or was it  :old:? Probably a combo of both. Hope this helps.

Cheers Kerrin

PS Dave are you going to give us a master class in etching plates?
Get excited and make something!

Offline Mosey

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Re: Etched Brass Name Plates.. design software?
« Reply #31 on: February 06, 2016, 01:08:26 PM »
If you are referring to Draftsight by Dassault, yes it is free, and on a Mac, it is worth just that! Full of unexplained glitches. I deleted it after many tries. It may be better now, as it's been a few years since.
Just saying.
Mosey

Offline Dave Otto

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Re: Etched Brass Name Plates.. design software?
« Reply #32 on: February 06, 2016, 04:22:31 PM »
Thank you Don!

Kerrin; Yes I used Poly Lines or Splines, not sure if there is a difference. I did this on most of the curved geometry that was traced. For the letters I would use horizontal and vertical lines to define the letters then go back and trace the curves in with the Spline, then trim everything up. I has been awhile but I seem to remember a command that will smooth the spline after you finish it. If you put in enough control points (the more the better) by the time you zoom back out it all looks pretty smooth anyway. You can always go back and adjust the individual points to match your picture if you didn't get them placed in the correct spot the first time.  A good sharp high resolution photo is a must; also some time is well spent getting the photo sized correctly and square. this makes it easier when placing the horizontal and vertical lines.

Yes keep the Esnap and Ortho turned off when tracing, and I do use Ortho when placing the orthogonal lines.


I would like to see what you are working on Kerrin.

Mosey; I can comment on the Mac version but I haven't had any trouble with the windows version. Hopefully they have fixed the bugs.

I'm just a novice tag maker but I would be happy to share what I have learned.
Dave

Offline Steamer5

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Re: Etched Brass Name Plates.. design software?
« Reply #33 on: February 07, 2016, 04:26:03 AM »
hi Dave,
 Thanks for the info. Would agree the more points on the curve the better!

Mosey, as to the pro & cons of Draftsight...well I've got it running on windoz....the recent issue was my graphics card died & it didnt like that! I hooked into the Soildworks web site, they release Draftsight, & was going to go along to a presentation that was going to be here, the guy rang me up & we had a chat about what I was using it for etc...he would of been VERY happy to sell me a copy but at $10000 I figured I could use Draftsight AND have change for more TOOLS! Eldest son tells me Draftsite is c@@p & I should upgrade to AutoCad...but he's not paying!!

Dave attached is what I'm looking at making...plates for K1, just one of those things you think about when you have a bit of quite time. The first is from the front tank & is 1' 4 3/4" between the bolts, the 2nd is from the hind tank & is 11 1/2" between the bolts. Incase you dont know K1 picture 3 is here! Any hints tip & or tricks on making the plates would be most welcome. Just read about a guy 300 k's away whos into wax printing...hmmmmm could be worth looking into....
I'll contact the preservation group & see if it would be possible for them to send me a nice square on hi res picture, & if possible what font. Or if anybody on the group lives near by were K1 is please let me know! My wife & I made it to Caernarfon in September 2013 when we were on a tour of the UK, got to spend all of 10 minutes at the station with no trains, when we left one was going round the carrages but it wasnt K1!!

Cheers Kerrin
Get excited and make something!