Saturday, 24 January 2015

Garamond open source font for economy: a quick standard test

Does it work for printing paypal payment emails? 
Garamond fails this quick standard test
I get Paypal emails saying

"someone has bought your item and the address somewhere down the blurb is
street numberbla bla bla bla
bla bla
postcode or zip code
bla bla the email carries on, and towards the end it gets to...
what paid and what for"
These verbose emails are a good source of customer's delivery addresses in a format you can bung inside a used window envelope and send without re-typing. If you want to avoid editing, then you need about 12pt type to get the payment amount on the same side of paper.

Garamond does not work well on screen at 12pt. Larger than 12pt it is still hard to read, and the email needs editing to get the vital payment amount and address onto one side of paper.

Garamond does not print well on HP lazerjet draft mode - that is in grey at 300 dpi. I can hardly read it at 12pt. The chances of it workng as well as OCRB for optical character recognition at a sorting office look low. This is a pity, because I thought while writing previous posts that Garamond provided was the best balance between ink costs and readabiliy. Now I think that if an ebay sale is to be trusted to the
  • scanners at the post office to recognise the right address and get it the right postie quickly without delay and human error 
  • posties to poke it through the right letterbox...

...then spindly type in barely legible grey is not the answer. Never mind.
Maybe there is some way of setting email software to display paypal emails in a certain way.

Infinate wisdom will be available on this blog some time, if not quite yet.

Oh this last bit is just about getting hold of Garamond font for free.
You may well have Garamond as one of your bundle of fonts that is somehow on your computer. If not, google an open source version which exists and copy the unzipped download files to your fonts folder. To find the fonts folder, search your disk for .ttf of .o ... no I've forgotten the second one, but those are the two file name endings most used for font files which are vector graphics of the extended alphabet in whatever font.

All that follows is an example of a payment email for some very good vegan boots, in case you don't know what payment emails for vegan footwear look like.

24 Jan 2015 10:08:48 GMT | Transaction ID: 1XR681024A062735M


You received a payment of £99.50 GBP from Smithey (
Thanks for using PayPal. You can now send any items. To see all the transaction details, log in to your PayPal account.

It may take a few moments for this transaction to appear in your account.
<h3>This item is eligible for Seller Protection.</h3>Don't forget to:- Send the item to the delivery address below within 7 days.
Please note: items delivered in person or to a different address are not covered by Seller Protection.
- Use a trackable proof of delivery.

Find out more about Seller Protection
Reversals:Please be aware that your payment can still be reversed, (e.g. if it is subject to a chargeback), even after you have sent  the item to your buyer. Complying with PayPal's Seller Protection and following the trading guidelines on our Security page helps to protect you from things like chargebacks.


Mr Smith

Confirmed delivery address
Mr Smith
10 Downing Street

Note to seller:
The buyer hasn't sent a note.

Dispatch details:
You haven’t added any dispatch details.

Purchase Details

Description: vegan boots made in the UK, Item # 131405305464
Qty: 1
Unit Price: 95.00 GBP
Total: 95.00 GBP

Postage and packaging: 4.50 GBP
Insurance - not offered: ----

Total: 99.50 GBP

Payment: 99.50 GBP

Payment sent to:


Questions? Go to the Help Centre at:

Please do not reply to this email. This mailbox is not monitored and you will not receive a response. For assistance, log in to your PayPal account and click Help in the top right corner of any PayPal page.

You can choose to receive plain text emails instead of HTML emails. To change your Notifications preferences, log in to your PayPal account at, go to your Profile and click My account settings.

Copyright © 1999-2015 PayPal. All rights reserved.

PayPal (Europe) S.à r.l. et Cie, S.C.A.
Société en Commandite par Actions
Registered Tax Haven: 5th Floor 22-24 Boulevard Royal L-2449, Luxembourg
RCS Luxembourg B 118 349

PPID PP753 - 2a9231c869809 

Sunday, 28 December 2014

Nesting software for next to nothing to use with free legal downloads of Adobe Illustrator CS2

Nesting software for curved shapes is expensive

People who have cut material out of sheet for years know the advantage of nesting cut-out shapes into the tightest possible pattern on least material. Some people are better or worse than others at doing it by hand, but those who do it for a living are probably good. Those who cut from irregular and blemished products like hydes have to work manually or use more specialised software. The idea of a computer program to give a second opinion on how to lay-out the parts is good too - particularly if you don't have years of experience, or you don't like the job, or else you are a machine and need vector graphic pictures to cut from, or if you have discovered that microfiber can be as good as leather with a more regular shape and less blemishes.

The flavours are
  • one dimensional nesting software, for cutting lengths - sometimes free,
  • two dimensional nesting software, for cutting rectangles - sometimes free, and
  • two dimensional nesting software, for nesting other shapes - nearly always expensive.

Nesting software for curved shapes is seldom bought or sold, so publishers are coy about prices in the hundreds or even thousands if part of a CAD CAM package for some niche market like igloo-building, ship building, which is the same but the other way up and has more internal parts, or footwear. clothing and apparel which is the same way-up as igloos but has more sizes.

I don't know anything about 3D software nor the overlaps with CAD CAM software that can make searching difficult: a product can be described as free 2d Cad Cam software but not do nesting. When searching, you also find a lot of references to Viking-invader style attempts to get software by any means. £200 for nesting only

I have searched a great deal for cheap or free nesting software and found multiple un-answered threads with one reference to stuff under £200 from Aliexpress. It is called UCanNest from a Beijing Chinese firm at It is known for providing bundled software to go with Chinese cutter plotters. The site itself often doesn't download but cached copies of the site, copies of pdf manuals, and youtube videos are available. The software does several things for users of cutting-plotters, and nesting is one of them. For example a sign writer might use a plotter to cut sticky-back plastic into letters and shapes, using  a cutter plotter and Ucancam to cram the most onto the least plastic. You have to buy a dongle before the software even lets you run a trial, but if £200 is affordable that might be worth it. I guess that people who have bought cutter-plotters have also somehow bought this software, and might have a copy if they're leaving the trade. $15 for nesting only

Cheaper still is a $25 product from of Novosibirsk which is in Siberia as you know. The link is to Pavel Mishakov's A1Nesting page - - which is a program that does nothing else but nest in an attempt to be so simple that it needs no instruction. It takes a lot of trial and error, but there isn't any choice: eventually you might get there. I haven't yet managed to trace a curved shape in another program and import it as a curve - it's imported as a rectangle with a pattern on it - so ideas as comments below are welcome.

Other Mishakov software on the e-cut site - and htp:// - works as a plugin to recent versions of CoralDraw full edition from version X3 or Adobe Illustrator Creative Suite 5+ and does other things as well, but A1nesting is ultra-simple and cheap. There is no dongle but you have to buy a code, confusingly starting with "ain" in small letters before the number-plate-like key that activates the program allowing it to open and save files in .ai format from Adobe Illustrator 8. I've bought a copy with some vague idea of making vegan shoe uppers for a vegan shoe shop and some of the experiments with it have worked.

free vector graphics software to use with nesting software

Adobe CS2 products are now available to download for free, as far as anyone can tell from Adobe's publishing of download links and free universal serial numbers, even if they state that this is a service for people who have lost old details. (The question to ask a lawyer is whether Adobe would prosecute and win a case for use of an old program that they give away free.) I don't know of an e-cut plugin for Adobe Illustrator CS2, but it can save and open files in illustrator 8 format if you tick the right box after "save as". The files endi .ai just like different more recent adobe illustrator native files.

This older version of the .ai format is very similar to encapsulated postscript .eps files, and if these are renamed .ai there is a good chance that A1Nesting from will open those as well, and the .ai files it saves can be re-named .eps and read by other software, whether or not it has a setting for .ai.
There's also a chance that the files will open as a .pdf if renamed .pdf - I haven't tested this yet.
Newer .ai files are a different thing.

Once saved as .ai files, the files saved by A1cut open in Adobe Illustrator CS2 although the document size doesn't get recognised, reverts to a default, and needs to be re-set and the nested images selected with control+A and one of the lower arrow selectors to be slid back into their frame. A1Nesting also has trouble with overlapping images and probably all sorts of other limitations as well, but for $25 software I find it pretty good.

I hope u-cut develop a plugin for open source vector graphics editors like or Open Office Draw or even the free-ish Adobe Illustrator CS2 or free older editions of Serif Draw Plus, to save work-arounds for those who prefer open source, free or cheap software.

prow of a viking ship made with regular shapes and a lot of stylea glimpse of what other people pay for CAD software shows prices for clothes CAD software at $5,000 or $7,000. These CAD CAM footwear softwear companies don't show prices and probably charge the same or more. But while clicking-about on Wikipedia I found an embroidery program for free.
A lot of people also try to raid software instead of paying for it - rather like ancient Vikings. It's claimed that one of the sellers on the fashion incubator list managed to forge the dongles from another software company and sell a re-labelled copy as his own. From a safe distance, you have to admire Vikings for their cheek as well as their designs, which were possibly made with looted CAD CAM software too.

Plus2D from Nirvanatec has some free versions on download sites, but I guess they're trials because quotes €650 or €800 for a working core module. Money transfer to their bank is cheap via Transferwise but  €650 or €800 are a lot in any currency.

Mynesting charge between $7.50 a nest & $150 a month for an online service charge between $2 and $59 a month for an online service to .dxf or .pdf tried to offer a similar service free for beta testing, but offers a "busy" message instead when I try to use their test samples. lists a few programs for "advanced nesting".
The site is about wood carving software so it may leave out some programs that just do nesting
Shopbot Partworks $795 on their site
Vectric Aspire $1,995 / £1,295 / €1,650
Delcam Artcam Express with nesting plugin £99 €125 $149 plus the plugin @ £299 €399 $499

This blog is by a vegan footwear company called that sells vegan shoes boots and belts - the connection  is a need to make vegan footwear uppers or bags out of microfibre