We’re fortunate to have our own laser cutter in the ITP shop, the Epilog Mini Laser with a 12″x24″ cutting bed. Because students design on their personal laptops but must move these files to single PC terminal that is calibrated to control the machine, any project that requires any revisions after the first cut presents a workflow problem: any edits you make to the local file on your laptop or the laser cutter PC don’t sync to the other, and the ensuing deluge of multiple versions can get confusing.
Here’s an easy fix: combinine the power of your dropbox public folder and a URL shortner like to create easy one-way sync.
- Move your design file to your DropBox public folder. You’ll want to make all of your edits from this file. Rename it — not just “ITP Laser template Copy”
- ctrl-click on the file and select the DropBox context menu. Choose “Copy Public Link”
- Navigate to tinyUrl.com and paste in the public link you’ve copied from your dropbox folder. It should look something like, “http://dl.dropbox.com/u/6283763/myMeaningfullyTitledIllustratorFileName.ai”
- Under “custom alias” choose a short, easy-to-remember name for your tinyURL link, like, “shopNameTagJustin”
- Walk over to the laser cutter PC, open up a browser, type in “www.tinyURL.com/shopNameTagJustin” (replacing “shopNameTagJustin” with whatever you chose for your tinyURL custom alias) and your file will download and open up in illustrator.
- Make any future edits on your laptop, not the laser cutter PC. Make sure to “save” on your laptop, then type in the same tinyURL address on the laser cutter PC. Your updated file will download, as before.
There you have it. It’s important to note that this method only achieves one-way sync — you still need to make your changes to the file on your computer (and only on your computer), but at least you don’t need to repeatedly email the file to yourself. And, as long as you’re working off the file in your dropBox and you save after you change something (so that the changes are pushed to your Public Dropbox Folder), you can continue to use the same easy-to-remember tinyURL link to access the same file.