Would you like to prepare simple and quick vector designs without having to learn basics of complex professional vector editing software like Illustrator or Inkscape?
It seems that the missing link for connecting simple tools meant for beginners or non-professionals with an effective software, is currently in development!
There is a neat tool out there now which could be the next addition to your digital workshop: Cuttle.xyz. After playing with the software for a couple of hours, we soon got in touch with Toby Schachman, the founder of Cuttle, and had an exciting chat about the team's future plans for development and directions.
Cuttle is meant to be an easy-to-use vector editor that also offers powerful CAD capabilities that you can grow into. Right at the start once we enter the editor user interface, Cuttle will offer an interactive tutorial which is broken into bite-sized portions to follow along. After going through the very short introduction to the basics, we are on our way to create simple drawings, edit something that we took from the Cuttle community's published content, or prepare something more complex using parametric design. Still have a question? The tutorials are available anytime. Cuttle also has a YouTube channel which they keep updating with new content.
Parameters, Parametric design
This is a key feature in Cuttle. You can define parameters — like your material thickness, dimensions of your finished piece, or custom text — and then use these parameters within your design. When you change a parameter, your design automatically changes. We are going to cover a few awesome examples in this article!
Parametric design is based on lines of code and scripts which can be either edited in the graphical user interface, or tweaked further within the scripts if one has the knowledge for that.
We placed three circles and a star (you can simply drag and drop geometric elements from the left sidebar), and later some more elements as we saw it would make the outcome more exciting. By using "Rotational repeat" and doing small edits to the shapes, then applying a Modifier called "Outline stroke", we get a result that looks cool and very interesting:
Since all of these are vectors, making changes and undoing actions is very simple and safe. The creative freedom here is immense!
Generators using parameters, made by the community
Cuttle provides freedom to make our own generators based on parametrics. There are future plans to introduce creative users into the world of programming by making them follow a few simple tutorials on how they could produce their own ideas into scripts. We thought this would be groundbreaking, as "learning coding for the sake of making a design" might sound very daunting at start, and can easily discourage makers to dive into a deep rabbithole they don't know much about yet. But if they are faced with a fun, guided challenge with a reward at the end they can immediately use afterwards, it may change the perspectives on this industry for many.
This is a keychain generator designed in Cuttle. We simply loaded the file into LightBurn, from where it was a button-click away from seeing our machine engrave and cut this design into our material. Right now, Cuttle can only import .SVG files, and output into .SVG, .PDF, .PNG and .SVG for Cricut machines (this is a separate option because it performs some actions prior to saving, making it readable by Cricut devices without issues).
You can customize the text, font, sizing, and hole placement, and the design automatically changes. Then you can export an SVG. Ready to cut!
Files generated through Cuttle are seamless with LightBurn workflow. In fact: you can simply copy and paste the designs from Cuttle into LightBurn with your keyboard or mouse!
Hinge Box generator
Some users with joinery-oriented projects have prepared a generator which lets you create cute hinge boxes. Same as with the keychain: you can change the parameters of width, depth, length, material thickness, finger joint sizes, and so many more. It is worth diving into and giving it a go!
If you would like to finish this hinge box with an insert, there is a matching generator to prepare that too! You can set the size of the slot, the shape of the insert and its depths. There are so many settings to customise!
Cuttle is in open beta phase right now — free to use whilst in development, constantly being improved with the help of the community and valuable feedback from creative users. The team is very open to new ideas and suggestions.
Once out of open beta phase, Cuttle plans to introduce monthly subscription fees for users at an affordable price for hobbyists.
We will keep a close eye out on Cuttle and definitely return with more articles featuring their software in the future!
Have you tried out any of the generators, prepared geometric designs or made your own scripts yet?
Show us your makes by tagging us (smoke_and_pictures) on Instagram and Twitter (@tweetsandmirrors) !