Saturday, July 7, 2012

Those Wayward Patterns!

This is a general question for everyone, so I'm asking the smartest bunch I know! It may not apply as much to flute making as to the workshop in general. I'm talking about patterns. Like I said, not so much a problem for small things like most flutes or fetishes. If you're anything like me, though, you do a lot more in your shop than flutes. My partner and I share a shop. She creates stained glass and wooden Intarsia art. We both tackle other woodworking projects as well. Much of this requires full-sized patterns in paper or something similar. It has become more and more a problem to file patterns so that they can be found easily for next time. I guess I should mention that we generally design our own patterns as well, usually starting with sketches on paper, proceeding to a final pattern sketch.
Scanning them into the computer works pretty well. Since many are larger than 8 1/2 x 11, I use a panorama program to stitch several scans together into one .jpg or .pdf file. It takes some time to do this, but once it's done it's great. Often I then copy the .jpg file into my CAD program as it gives me a lot more control and flexibility in scaling and printing. Once I have done this, then it becomes easy to print a new pattern as needed. (Would be so much nicer if we had access to large format printer!) Needless to say, the computer can store a whole lot more patterns than a house full of special drawers or files!
Many patterns just don't lend themselves to scanning. We still have the problem of filing the paper originals for future use. Does anyone else have a system for doing this? Anything I can think of takes valuable room in the house, and the shop just isn't an environment suitable for paper storage.

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