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Steve Luck

Posts: 19
Reply with quote  #1 
Sorry to admit this, but I've been so busy running my sign shop that I have not been able to devote any quality time to learning Aspire 4.0. I have a ShopBot CNC 4' x 8' machine and have been using the old VCarve Pro software that came with it. I am actually only doing 2D for now but wish to expand into more
true 3D pieces. Is there such a thing as a beginner's workshop for Aspire? I do have the DVD tutorials which are nice, but as I mentioned before, finding the time has been impossible. Has anyone experienced this before?

How did you learn all about using the software and keep your business running at the same time? It is so frustrating trying to fit this into my schedule and try to make payroll with sign jobs that take up most of my time. I know this sounds like venting, but I could use some advice on time management or how someone else has successfully learned new things and kept their shop running.

I like hands on training and wondered if anyone teaches Aspire. If not, it looks like a long road for me to learn it on my own with the tutorials and finding enough time to practice with it. Maybe I should shut the shop down for a week and do nothing but study! I don't know if I could afford to do that, but it seems like a pretty good idea!

Any suggestions would be really appreciated.

Sign-cerely, Steve
Sign Magic, Inc.

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Posts: 146
Reply with quote  #2 
Hey Steve!
Don't sweat it! When I was learning the 3d stuff, it was at the same time as I was learning computers and cnc. I bought my first machine, and could barely check emails. I was given a copy of corel draw, and that was it. I'm a pretty obsessive guy, and just worked on the software end every spare chance I got.

On that note, I am planning a 3d course at our shop. I just have to figure out how I want to handle it as there are a lot of different stages that people are at in 3d. There will probably be a beginner, intermediate, and advance poly-modelling/ slicing course.

I will post something soon, when I get it nailed down a bit better. This would be at least 3 days with Aspire and other software, hopefully building a fully dimensional piece from concept to final

Jamie Oxenham

Steve Luck

Posts: 19
Reply with quote  #3 
Thanks Jamie. I would love to attend a workshop on CNC which is what I thought I was doing last summer in Indiana. Although it was good and I learned a few things, I was expecting something totally different. I guess just mentioning 3D signs was enough to get me to sign up but I thought I would be watching a start to finish production on a CNC with detailed information on how it's done.

Aspire looks pretty good so far, but I use my sign software for designing because it is what I'm used to and know it pretty well. SignLab is very good for vectored files and I hear they have their own 2D/3D program called EngraveLab which is similar to VCarve Pro.

I am realizing that I will just have to block out some time to really learn what to do with Aspire. I tried to start on the Mechanical Fish project when it started but the shop was super busy and I just couldn't find the time. My wife is constantly reminding me that I have a life outside of Sign Magic and that I need to come home and be with the family. I am sure many of us in this business struggle with this and are borderline work-a-holics. It's just so much fun to create and build dimensional stuff that you just can't punch a clock sometimes and go home at 5pm.

I am pretty sure I'm "singing to the choir" on this subject! Thanks for your inspiration and advice that I received in the Indiana workshop and for creating this website for all of us to get help or share ideas.

I Sign-cerely thank you!

Leo Voisine

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Posts: 54
Reply with quote  #4 
Steve - my situation is a little different, but at the same time - very similar.

I work full time as a manufacturing engineer - so I get NO time at all for Aspire, V-Carve, or anything sign related during the workday.

At home - I have the home maint, yard work, car repairs, etc.  I cannot hire anyone to do any of that.  So - even my home "time" is compromised.

I work at sign and artistic stuff, in my non-work, and non-chores time. 

Sooo - ALL in ALL - my learning time is extremely limited.  In this we are very similar.

You do have a benefit over me in that you are in a sign shop and all you need to do is make a decision to move forward in Aspire and the 3D world.  Dan's formula of a little here and a little there really does work.
Yes I know that is easier said than done.  I have also been self employed.

I do NOT watch TV - or if I do it is rare.

My non-work and non-home chores "time" is pretty devoted towards learning.

I did have V-Carve for a time then upgraded to Aspire.  Aspire and V-Carve are so close to the same that they are indistinguishable from each other.  So, I suggest - stop using V-Carve for 2D and start using Aspire for the same things you use V-Carve for.  That will be the first step and get you into the habit of using Aspire.

The VECTRIC forum is invaluable for learning about Aspire.  There are so many questions being asked, ans answered.  Just reading the threads is awesome - you get to see real life applications.

I watch Dan's Enroute blog - daily.  Every project he does gives me more insight into how to do the creation of the reliefs and 3D.  Dan is the one that pushes MY bar higher.  He does not use Aspire, and some of the terminology is a little different - but - so far I have not seen anything he does in Enroute that cannot be done in Aspire.

My pholosphy is ---- Learn ONE stinkin thing at a time.  Then try it and get functional at it.  Build a little knowledge base at a time.  Do NOT try to sit on the top of the mountain before you actually climb to the top.

Watch the tutorial at night.

Try one new thing a week - watch the tutorials. 

Try making some 3D letters for a small sign.

Try a small 3D thing then another - and another. 

Sooner than you can imagine you will be into it.

Imagine the possibilities
Steve Luck

Posts: 19
Reply with quote  #5 
Leo, you are absolutely right. I need to use the "Dan method" of a little at a time and just keep going. I too do NOT watch TV because I am busy with the house chores, maintenance, etc. This past week was painting the bathroom and one bedroom which is going to be our office now. I will check out the vectric forum a little more closely. I guess I may be a little impatient because I want to do it all now. I know that their is a learning curve. Understanding some of the terminology is part of it for me. I also need to get more familiar with certain router bits and what they look like. Thanks for taking the time to encourage me and I will try and learn a little each day until I can feel comfortable enough to tackle a 3D project with confidence.

Sign-cerely, Steve
Dave R

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Posts: 8
Reply with quote  #6 

Shop-bot has also been running training sessions on line and they have been videotaped and are available on their site. Some of it may be too basic for you at this point but it may be worth checking out. Of course, they are using vectric software in the design aspect of the videos.
Steve Luck

Posts: 19
Reply with quote  #7 
Thanks Dave. I'll check it out. You never know what you may find when you think it may be too simple and find more than you bargained for!

Sign-cerely, Steve
Ernie Balch

Posts: 14
Reply with quote  #8 
I like to be paid while learning.  Sell some jobs that force you to stretch your abilities with Aspire.  I find it much easier to learn with the pressure of a job forcing me to solve the problem.  Small bites are less stressful than taking on a huge job.  Once you have a problem to solve you can watch the videos with more interest.

I always find that I don't retain the info that flies by at a meet.  I would rather read or watch a video and then try it myself.  The Vectric videos are priceless for learning how to use Aspire.
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