Today’s lesson is about another way to add flexibility in your cut job when you use the advanced cut mode — cut order. Cut order is the sequence in which the machine cuts the shapes in your project. When you cut by line color, fill color or layer, you can pick the order you want. We’ll talk about how to find and change the cut order and why you might want to. To start with Lesson #1 in this series, go here.
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First, you’ll need to know that the option to change the cut order is only available when you cut by line color, fill color or layer. Simple mode is just that — simple. It doesn’t give you as many options.
We’re going to go into more detail in a later lesson about why the machine doesn’t always go left to right and top to bottom when cutting your project. That’s not what we’re talking about today. This time, we are focusing only on the order of the various rows in your Action by: Line, Fill or Layer list.
Where to find the cut order
The order the rows will cut is the order they are in your list. For example, here I’m using Action by: Line. My shapes with green lines will cut first, then blue, then pink, then yellow.
Initially, the rows are in order of how you created the shapes. For example, in this file I created the blue rectangles and then the yellow ovals. If you look in my cut order in Action by: Fill, you’ll see that’s the order of the rows — blue then yellow. So my blue-filled shapes will cut before my yellow-filled shapes.
Remember: we’re not talking about if the shapes on the upper portion of the page will cut before those on the lower. That’s a different setting we’ll look at later. Right now we’re only looking at the cut order of the rows of fill colors, lines color or layers.
How to change the cut order
To move any row up or down in the order, you’re going to–
- Hover over that row. The best place to do the hovering is on the color square or the RGB numbers. If you do it here, you’ll avoid accidentally changing another setting.
- Click and drag the row up or down in the order to where you want it.
It can be a bit tricky to get it in the right place, but just keep at it. Version 3 had the option to right click the line and choose “Move up in the order,” but that’s gone in version 4.
Why to change the cut order
You may be saying to yourself, “This is fascinating, but why in the world would I ever need to change that order?” I’m glad you asked! Here are just a few reasons:
- When you have a design you’re going to sketch and then cut around the outside of, I find sketching first is best. That way you don’t run the risk of a piece that’s been cut moving around while you sketch.
- You can use sketch pen colors in the order you want. For example–
- You are using 3 colors of pens. 2 will use the pen holder, while 1 uses an actual sketch pen. You can sketch with the holder first and then put the sketch pen in. That gives you time to change the regular pen that’s in the pen holder from #1 to #3 while the actual sketch pen (#2) draws.
- You are using 5 colors of sketch pens, but can only find 3 in the creative mess on your craft table. By altering cut order, you can start with the 3 you have while you search for the other 2.
- You have 4 pieces of material on your mat. 2 need a blade of 3, while the other 2 need a blade of 5. Cutting the 2 with the same blade numbers next to each other in the order means you don’t have to adjust the blade as many times.
- You have several pieces of HTV on your mat at the same time. Since you’re on a deadline you need to be as time-efficient as possible. You can put the material for the more intricate design on the bottom of the mat and have it cut first. Then you can weed while the simpler pieces cut. Or vice versa — whichever makes most sense to you.
–With any of these, you need the machine to stop while you make necessary changes. Never fear! Next time I’ll teach you how to insert pauses in your cut order.
–Sometimes the color row order won’t actually be based on the order in which you drew the shapes. If you create shapes, fill them, delete those, create new ones, and fill them with the same colors, the software remembers the order of the first set. For example…
- I draw a circle and fill it with blue.
- I draw a rectangle and fill it with yellow.
- The color order is blue then yellow.
- I delete both shapes.
- I draw a square and fill it with yellow.
- I draw a pentagon and fill it with blue.
- I’ve switched the order — filled my first shape with yellow instead of blue.
- The cut order in Action by: Fill is still going to be blue then yellow. Even though that’s not the order in which I created the shapes currently on the page, the software has those original shapes and their fills in memory. Because of that, it keeps that original order.
- This applies to any tool holder, cut style, material, action and tool you have previously chosen for that line color, fill color or layer on the current file.
- It’s not supposed to carry over to a new file you start, but sometimes it does.
- If it’s a file you purchased from the Silhouette Design Store, you won’t have any idea in what order the designer created the shapes.
None of this is a big deal, but I always try to answer absolutely any questions that might come up. Just pay attention to the order and don’t assume it will be what you expect.
Since we’ve learned we can cut by line color, fill color or layer and also change the order of those, we want to learn how it’s possible to change or adjust a tool between each. In the next lesson in this series, I’m going to teach you about adding pauses in the cut order to do just that.