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I need a HUGE scanner

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I'm at work, and I've been given an assignment to cut production time for our products. It is a company that makes military and frontier outfits. I just had this assignment explained to me in a rather rough manner, so let me try and explain the best I can.


We have large templates (as large as 6 ft x 6ft) that guide us when we cut fabric. We take the template, trace around it on a piece of large paper, and place that paper over the fabric to cut it. This takes a pretty long time but its been working for us.


Now, we want to digitize everything to save us time and fabric. This means scanning all of the templates onto the computer, and arranging all of them onto a piece of paper as close together as we can to save fabric.


Now, the small templates such as hats we can scan using a simple scanner. But the larger ones are a different story. I was told hat there is some kind of pen around that could do this. Like, you trace around the template with the pen, and it appears on the computer the same size as the original template.


Anyone know what I'm talking about? I've kinda seen some pens like this, but they are usualy for drawing on tablets or something...

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I am taking a shot in the dark here, but what about this....


A color and distance calibrated large scale digital picture (like 8 megapixels) of each patterned object against a chroma background, then mathmatically calculate the pattern up/down via photoshop (after isolating it), then scale this into a 'canvas' of your fabric size?


Do you see what I mean? Once you get the background sheet and ratios calculated, you could apply it to anything that fits that master 'size canvas, and calculate usage and layout based on that. There are woodworking programs that do similar things.

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Sounds like you need either a digitizing table or a wide-format scanner. Problems with both - the price. We use both in my office (I design fiber-optic cable and telecommunications networks), and the price for a single good wide-format scanner and accompanying software is around $35,000. Yikes. I don't know the price of a digitizing table, but that may be a better option for you, as it's actually a table-sized platform, and you use a digitizing pen (!) to 'draw in' the pattern. That shows up on your monitor in CAD format or whichever software you've associated it with. Think of it as a big Etch-a-Sketch. Again, VERY pricey, and add another couple thousand for the CAD software.


How many sheets are you looking to need to scan? If this is a one-time thing, you can call up an independent contractor to do the scanning and/or digitizing for you. It'll certainly cost a lot less than buying the scanner and software, and you won't get stuck with a bunch of equipment that you won't be using that much.


Just do a Google Search (exact phrase) for 'Digitizing contractor', and you'll find all sorts of contractors who could do the job for you. Believe me, it'll cost a lot less.


Good luck!

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Have you checked with Kinko's? I'm with Flem. Outsource it.

Whenever you find that you are on the side of the majority, it is time to reform.

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Digital camera. Set up perfect perpendicularity with a laser pointer or (gasp!) string and square, and shoot a high res pic. Do a trace with a program to convert to a vector graphics file and you should be able to scale easily to a large format. Output may be a different matter however. Are you using some sort of CNC device to mark/cut your fabric?

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the logical question:


is this a once off operation or will there be a regular ongoing need for scanning of this scale?


if its a once off, im sure you can get some leads from FLEMTONE in regards to where to outsource your needs in your local area.

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