The Benefits of Using Digital (SVG) To Make Paper Patterns For Scroll Sawng Projects vs Templates

This is an example of a hardboard template used for laying out some toy truck parts. The nails hold the template in place while it is being traced and mark where the axle holes are going to be drilled.
Creating precision toy truck parts with the help of hardboard templates and nails to mark the axle holes.  

My Goimagine Shop

I've been making toys and other small projects for over 40 years. When I first started, I used templates. However, everything changed when I discovered the power of Inkscape, a free and open-source vector graphics editor.

When I first started using a scroll saw, I made project templates. I would trace the pattern and create a template using plastic laminates, hardboard, thin plywood, and posterboard. Eventually, I had boxes full of unorganized templates and a pain to search through. Once I had a scanner and could print paper patterns, this changed.

When starting a new project, I scan the pattern and convert it to SVG format. From that point, I can make the lines any size and print as many as I want. The lines on paper are much easier to see and follow. Clear, precise lines can be essential for projects requiring precise cutting. Using Inkscape, I can change the width of the lines and make them any color I want.

A template cut from thin plywood positions toy car fenders for gluing, ensuring they are in the same position on both sides.
One of the templates I rely on in my shop ensures that the fenders on this toy car are perfectly aligned every time.

A significant benefit of using Inkscape for woodworking projects is the ability to arrange parts to maximize the use of the wood. By setting the page size to the size of the wood and organizing all the pieces for the best fit, I can minimize waste and save money on materials. This feature is handy for larger projects that require a lot of parts.

In addition to saving money on materials, Inkscape has also made it easier for me to create custom personalized projects. I can change a design to add a name, date, or any other personal touch in seconds. This feature has been a hit with family and friends who have received these personalized gifts.

Finally, there's the issue of storage and backups. Every digital pattern is stored offsite and in multiple locations automatically. The storage space required is essentially zero since I would have a computer even if I were not woodworking. If I name my files well, finding them is a piece of cake.

Because of all these benefits, I'm never going back to using templates. Inkscape and scanners have revolutionized the way I approach scroll saw projects. Today, I consider them essential tools in my woodworking shop.

#odinstoyfactory #handmade #woodtoys #madeinusa #madeinamerica #goimagine


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