Automating the fixings template

When making my fiber art pieces the spacing of the fibers is quite critical.

When I created the first one, fiber-proof-two, I used Adobe Illustrator to generate a template which was fixed to the back of the canvas, and then screwed in 50 self-cutting wood screws.

As I now want to explore alternate sizes, I looked at the template I created in Adobe Illustrator and realize it has some limitations. Firstly, I used a pattern for the screw positions, and it is not very accurate. Secondly, when adjusting the size the pattern does not fit very well into certain sizes (due to the way that Illustrator repeats the pattern).

To circumvent these issues, I decided to automate generation of the template. Eschewing Illustrator, I decided to use DrawBot, which uses Python as its language, and can spit out PDF and other useful formats.

The initial version of the code worked very well, and I parameterized the input so it would be easy to adjust for the physical size of the piece.

After generating some templates I hit a slight hiccup when trying to print them from Acrobat as it would not include trim marks, and these are essential. Rather than battle with Acrobat I modified my code to slightly increase the page area and generate trim marks directly. Problem solved.

When making smaller pieces I have never had to worry about the quantity of material that I use, as the small size tends to manageable quantities, and my guesstimating has been accurate enough to date. However, as I wanted to scale up, I modified the code to calculate exactly how much fiber was required, and how this relates to unit quantities of standard lengths of the and rolls of fiber. It is sobering when scaling up to large sizes just how much material is required (and how expensive it suddenly gets).

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