The biggest rage in scrapbooking and card making right now is the use of digital cutters. The one most people are familiar with is Provocraft’s Cricut. The familiarity is largely in part because they spend a ton of money on advertising- both in print and constant late night infomercials.
There are many different types of digital cutters in a wide price range. With most cutters you can create, buy or download cutting files and use on your machine. What makes this confusing is the file format. Most machines will only recognize specific formats and leads to endless forum discussions on file conversions
What is an MTC file? MTC is format used by third party software Make the Cut In my opinion this the best software available for your digital cutter.The software works with all the major machines ( excluding Cricut) and is easy to use as well as being quite powerful- A lot of bang for your buck!
What is an SVG file?
SVG or ( Scalable Vector Graphics ) files have become popular because they can be used with third part software and a variety of cutting machines. If you are lucky enough to have older version of SCAL, SCAL 2 you can cut SVG files just with your Cricut. After several lawsuits there is no software available right now they will let you cut images on a Crciut other than with Provocraft products and cartridges.
In my opinion SVG format will keep growing in popularity and I suspect will be the industry standard.
SVG files can be imported into Klic N Kut software, Sure Cuts A Lot ( SCAL2), AI , Inkscape and Funtime. Files are usually created in a vector program then imported into this format for use. You can open AI files and save as SVG in Inksacpe or AI. So if you have SCAL software and see a file you like for sale or downlaod but it is not in SVG format- get the AI version and easily convert.
SVG format can also be use din the most popluar thrd part software for digital cutters, Make the Cut.
What is a GSD File?
GraphTec Vector Graphic Data or GSD format- This file is read by software used with machines made by Graphtec , including Craft Robo, QuicKutz Silhouette the newest addition, Silhouette Cameoand Wishblade. Yes- there are all basically the same machine!
With a and the Robo Master software its comes with you can also download an encrypted GSD file from Quickutz website ( these are saved as GST files). Only A Silhouette can cut these files and they are not transferable. i.e you cannot share or distribute.
There are several version of the Robo Master software used with GSD files and they are not backwards compatible. This means if you get a GSD file created with version 4 it will not open in version 2. MOst design files are made using Robomaster 2.4. Any one who sells there GSD files knows this and uses this version so you will not have trouble opening. Where is can be a problem is if you are downloading free files from the Internet. If you have trouble opening the file- try converting or download the 2.4 version as an alternate for your up to date version.
GSD files can also be read by third party software. For example, You can SOMETIMES import a GSD file into Klic N cut software and cut with a Klic N Kut machine or with Graphtec machine if you are using GE version of KNK software.
GSD does NOT work with Funtime software
What is a DXF file?
DXF or Drawing Exchange Format file used with many vector programs and machines that use vector files.
They can be read by the Graphtec machines bundled software including Wishblade, Craft Robo and QK Silhouette. You can load DXF files in Robo M aster software and save as a GSD file or cut with the DXF file. DXF is about the closet thing to a “universal” file. A DXF file will open or be imported into Funtime, KNK Software, Inkscape, Robo Master and Adobe Illustrator (AI).
DXF file are easily converted to different formats. You can using various vector programs to create you own DXF files and then load into Robo Master to cut on your Silhoutte, Wishblade, etc. Downside to DXF files is that they are huge- typically 10 times the size of a GSD file.
Inkscape is an open source ( free) program . Adobe Illustrator is probably the most popular and well known.
What is a KNK File?
KNK is a Klic-n-Kut file. They are used in Klic N Kut software which comes with KNK cutters. You can also buy Klic N Kut Studio GE and use with other cutters. Only KNK software can open a KNK file, Once opened a KNK file can be exported into many other formats.
AI files are Adobe Illustrator files. These files can often be used in free vector program, Inkscape, ( if created with pdf capability) Many people use Inkscape and Adobe to create files then save and import into other formats. You can also cut directly from AI program to your cutter.
What is a SCUT file?
SCUT files are SCAL ( Sure Cuts A Lot) software files for Cricut. They have become more popular to buy and downland because they are so much smaller than SVG files- not to mention Cricut users are tired of being held hostage by Cricut cartridges.
Most pdf files are vectorized. If you import you can then save selected and edited image to use in your cutter. For example, import a vectorized pdf into Inkscape then save the image as a dxf file and load into Robomaster and cut.
You can import pdf files into KNK but not Funtime.
Software Downloads – Free Downloads- Other Helpful Links
Free vector program http://www.inkscape.org/
Klic-N-Kut Studio GE tyo use with Craft Robo, Silououtte, Wishblade
Funtime Software There is also a free trial version of Funtime here .
Adobe Illustrator CS4