View Full Version : Valiani Mat Pro cmc - new pen set up

Tom Mc Dermott-Walshe
September 1st, 2009, 04:24 PM
We purchased the pen kit (head attachment for writing onto board) and installed it and the new software - but it dosent work.
Id be interested to hear from any current user of what their set up is - ie - Machine settings / cutting head setup / pen ??????

The problem were experiencing relates to the vertical movement of the head - the pen does sometimes not raise at the correct time - so leaves a written trail on the work when moving from section to section on the work.

Any ideas / suggestions will be appreciated


Merlin Framers
September 2nd, 2009, 03:59 AM
At the top of the Pen Head Main body, where the air pipe exits there is a control valve. With a fine slotted screwdriver adjust the screw. This increases/decreases the air flow to the sliding mechanism.

The best way to do this is to go into Manual mode and move the travelling head clear of the Homing position. Fit the Pen head - without pen - and test using the Head/Blade control boxes.

Merlin Framers
September 2nd, 2009, 09:36 AM
I had intended to post the following image with the above reply.
Hope that makes it clearer.

Jim Miller
September 2nd, 2009, 04:23 PM
If you are in the USA, call Brian Simard, 1-888-825-4264, x 723. Elsewhere, there must be a Valiani representative who could answer your questions and help with the setup.

With Brian's help in a couple of phone calls, our Mat Stylus is working perfectly.

Merlin Framers
September 4th, 2009, 10:33 AM
Did you get sorted ??

Tom Mc Dermott-Walshe
September 5th, 2009, 05:09 PM
Thanks for your suggestion - I havent had a chance to look at this yet as Ive been away - hope well get sorted next week - Ill let you know how I get on.
Many Thanks

Merlin Framers
September 10th, 2009, 01:51 PM

And that post helps in what way ?

or another Spam

Shan Linde
September 18th, 2009, 05:43 AM

our Mat Stylus is working perfectly.[/QUOTE]


Jim Miller
September 18th, 2009, 01:24 PM
OK, OK Shan...admitting there's no such thing as perfection, it works as perfectly as one could expect from a new technology. And like every other technology under the sun, it has limitations.

Let's put it this way -- it draws better lines than most framers could draw using a ruling pen and straightedge, and as a calligrapher, I've been drawing pen lines for about 35 years. With the Mat Stylus, the accuracy of dimensions, crispness of the corners and line intersections is excellent.

The new version of the software required some tweaking, of course, but that is to be expected.

Pen selection is a matter of user preference, but proper pens are essential to good lines. The obvious limitation is that a fixed-reservoir pen must be used; not an open-reservoir tool such as a ruling pen. Personally, I prefer to use pigmented pens up to about .05 mm size; the finer the pen, the better the results, so I prefer to use multiple lines, a few thousandths of an inch apart, instead of a broader pen. I am not pleased with the quality of lines drawn by any of the metallic pens I have found so far (or their permanence). I plan to dredge up my old set of RapidoGraph pens and give them a go, as soon as I obtain a fresh supply of inks. Eventually I would like to find a pen that will enable the machine to produce lines using acrylic gouache, my favorite fluid for hand-drawn lines. Experimentation with various types of pens will continue for some time, I'm sure.

Retaining the pens in their collars is also essential, and that usually requires some shimming with tape. I expect there will be some improvements in the holding devices. I'm thinking about a collar with three Allen-head setscrews equally spaced on the circumference, similar to the way a glass globe is held in some light fixtures. A series of vertically split, thin wall, cylindrical sleeves would help to adapt the many pen diameters to a few collar diameters.

We have worked through the initial issues associated with the bleeding-edge of this technology. I am quite pleased with the tool so far, and look forward to continuing improvements.

Here's an example 8"x10" mat I conjured up just now, using two of my stock shapes, but the pen is starting to go dry:

Rick Granick
September 18th, 2009, 03:51 PM
I'll be interested to hear your luck with the Rapidograph pens. I still have all my old ones from school. My memory of them is of spending more time cleaning them and trying to get the ink to flow than actually drawing. I think of them as hand-held Epson printers; if you don't use them constantly they clog.
:cool: Rick

September 18th, 2009, 04:22 PM
Jim we sell the ink for them there tech pens. in 18 different colors
Believe it or not we still sell the pens too.
We also still provide a cleaning service for them & if the points don't come clean we will credit the cost toward a new tip.

Never thought the felt tip metallic markers were any good for french lines unless you wanted "do it yourself" results.

Merlin Framers
September 18th, 2009, 05:01 PM
Jim, Have you tried the PILOT drawing pens. [PILOT SW-DR3-B]

They use the pigment ink. I have used the 0.5 mm tip with very good results.
Even on textured mount/mat board with the speed at 1/3rd of normal.

Rick Granick
September 19th, 2009, 11:11 AM
Jim (Gumby), have the new pens been updated designwise to make them more trouble-free than the old ones? Just curious.
:cool: Rick

(Oh how I recall the hours spent disassembling the points of Rapidographs, cleaning them out, and trying to get the cylindrical weight with the wire to thread itself back down the tube without bending, reassembling, loading the pens, and trying to get smooth inkflow making marks on various paper surfaces, tapping, moistening with spit, more mark-making, etc...) :popc:

Jim Miller
September 19th, 2009, 12:41 PM
Jim, Have you tried the PILOT drawing pens. [PILOT SW-DR3-B]

They use the pigment ink. I have used the 0.5 mm tip with very good results.
Even on textured mount/mat board with the speed at 1/3rd of normal.

Yes, Pilot pens are among several brands I've tried, which have pigmented ink. Most of them work very well.

In addition to reducing speed, I've found that reducing air pressure to about 50 PSI (that's for my shop air system, but yours may be different) places the pen in contact with the board surface more gently.

September 19th, 2009, 01:52 PM
[QUOTE=Rick Granick;521186]Jim (Gumby), have the new pens been updated designwise to make them more trouble-free than the old ones? Just curious.
:cool: Rick


Absolutely not still the same old design & cleaning method.
About 75% of the pens I clean end up working again.
They have improved some of the inks in the last 5 years.

Rick Granick
September 19th, 2009, 02:23 PM
What ink do you recommend for those? Maybe I'll play with'em.
:cool: Rick

Jim Miller
November 11th, 2009, 03:57 PM
An update...

The Rapidograph pens work just fine on smooth-surfaced matboard, but I don't have guts enough to try a technical pen of that type on a textured or pebble-finished board. I guess there's no need to, since penned or painted mats are nearly always smooth, anyway. Cleaning one of these pens is a 5-minute job; disassemble, flood, shake, and flush with clean water until it flows from the pen with no tint of color.

All things considered, I'll probably use porous point pens most of the time, and save the Rapidographs for those special jobs where inks need to be intermixed for precise color matching. Some of the porous point pens make good lines and have good quality inks, but color matching is impossible with them. Also, the Rapidographs make an incredibly crisp line.

For best results, I suggest turning down the air pressure on the machine's valve to about 2.5 bars, and reducing the tracking speed to "3". Low pressure lands the pen softly onto the surface, and the slower speed enables good flow characteristics. Just remember to restore normal settings before you deboss or cut openings, or you may end up with the sloppy corners shown on one of these photos. My bad.

I've used the Rapidographs on Crescent RagMat, Select, Berkshire, and Bainbridge ArtCare. I prefer the purified-pulp alphacellulose boards, which are harder and have greater fiber density. Crescent Select works fine, and I'm sure Artique boards would be OK, as well.

The technical pens pick up tiny bits of lint and the ink slightly bleeds on certain areas of the RagMat boards, which may indicate inconsistent sizing on them. Better quality cotton boards, such as the heavily-sized Peterboro or Strathmore, should work better.

Here are a few photos of my recent pen work on a simple vine-border design. I used to draw this on mats by hand, for use in resoultions I used to inscribe. Now I do it all by computer. Isn't technology great?

I made this design in Corel Draw for projects almost twice this size, but it scaled down with no difficulties. In order to get a sense of the scale, the space between the rectangular border lines is just under 1/4".

The Rapidograph pen used for the black lines is size 3x0/.25, which is the smallest diameter Rapidograph I've seen. The green lines were made by a .01 ZIG Millenium porous point, pigmented pen.

November 11th, 2009, 04:45 PM
Rapidograghs go down to 6x0/.13mm and the pigma micron pens(pigmented) go down to .005/.2mm

Jim Miller
November 11th, 2009, 05:21 PM
Wow, Gumby. 6x0/.13?

That would be like drawing with a needle -- literally. Would such a fine line be visible a few feet away from the frame? I doubt it. From about ten feet these 3x0/.25 lines are almost not there.

I like the Pigma Micron pens and have the smallest of them in black. Their inks are good and they make a crisp line. If only I could intermix their colors...Oooh, I wonder what would happen if I ran multpile colors in the same pattern? Would that be a way to "mix" the colors on the board?

Hmmm. Back to the drawing board, so to speak.

November 11th, 2009, 07:33 PM
Yes that.13 is very fine. But we do sell a few now & then.

Okay here is some of my 34 years of experience at selling art supplies!`
Take a pair of pliers grab the barrel end of maker you will see a small cap twist it and pull at the same time. It will come off & inside you will find a plastic tube with cotton fiber in it.
That is what is holding the ink.
Get a pair of tweezers out and you can remove it.
It will fill by capillary action. Now all you have to do is find the source for the pigmented ink. I have no Idea maybe the Winsor Newton calligraphy Ink or one of the Jet Printer inks that they use that are light fast. Maybe even thinned Winsor Newton Transparent watercolors may work.
If you get really ambishus(sp?) let me know how it works....

Jim Miller
November 12th, 2009, 02:45 PM
You're talking about re-inking a porous point, disposable pen?

But Jim, wouldn't it be easier and more reliable to put properly-intermixed ink into a Rapidograph?

Rick Granick
November 12th, 2009, 05:26 PM
Wow, that Rapidograph performance is pretty impressive. Thanks for posting those pictures. Have you tried putting text on mats with the Rapidograph?
:cool: Rick

November 12th, 2009, 05:30 PM
You're talking about re-inking a porous point, disposable pen?

But Jim, wouldn't it be easier and more reliable to put properly-intermixed ink into a Rapidograph?

This was just something an artist told me he had done...nothing I would waste my time with.

Merlin Framers
November 12th, 2009, 05:47 PM
Not wishing to steal Jims thunder
Here is a photo of Text on Matboard. The pen used is the Pilot Drawing Pen that I mentioned ^^. 0.5mm and Pigmented Ink.

The ROBO text is 0.75" in height. You can see how crisp and clear (with no apparent bleed) the decoration is at top and bottom.

Jim Miller
November 13th, 2009, 01:43 PM
Nice work, Robo! Your great experience with interwoven designs is obvious.

Take all the thunder you want...you deserve it and it isn't mine, anyway.

Jim Miller
November 13th, 2009, 01:59 PM
I'm interested in finding a better way to hold the pens in the collars. Has anyone been experimenting?

One possibility is to use a solid (not split) collar of the correct outside diameter with a center hole larger than any pen barrel. Three identical, small wedges of hard plastic or metal could be fashioned to slip between any pen's barrel and the collar. A smaller pen barrel would require more depth of each wedge in the hole, and a larger barrel would require less depth. When all three of the wedges are installed to exactly the same depth, the pen would be perfectly centered in the collar.

That sort of design would eliminate the variances of diameter created when the split collars are tightened around various pens. It also would eliminate having to shim the pens' barrels to the collars' holes, and it would ensure easy, near-perfect centering of every pen by eyeballing. And it would be a quick-change device.

I plan to make drawings and take them to a local machine shop. Soon.

Merlin Framers
November 13th, 2009, 03:09 PM
Jim which collets are you using at the moment.

I have two types supplied by Valiani.
Type 1 - I believe the originals - were a two piece collet which had two rubber 'O' rings to hold them together.
Type 2 - A single piece collet with an 'allen' key bolt.

Jim Miller
November 14th, 2009, 02:30 PM
With my set up I received the split collar with an Allen-screw. These work OK, but the concentricity of the collar could be distorted by tightening the screw and thus narrowing the split, and most pens require shimming with wraps of tape.

I have this disease, Gottabeabetterway Syndrome.

Merlin Framers
November 19th, 2009, 10:31 AM
The following is a 'first run' image using the MatStylus Pen Head of Royal Navy Squadron Crest. It will need some work just to 'tidy' it up.

The design was completed in Corel Draw 9 in .PLT format then resized down to only 2 inches in height. I would imagine that it would reduce even further to 1.25 inches before any detail is lost.

The Pen used is the PILOT 0.5mm Drawing Pen. In future, I will keep the external crest and rope work as 0.5mm but the internal Logo and Squadron Number will be in 0.3mm size.

I am quite pleased with the results. Design time was 2 hours and print time was 2 x 3 minutes. - It had to be done as two seperate applications because there were just too many elements for one run.

Jim Miller
November 19th, 2009, 01:21 PM
Excellent work, John. Have you tried drawing it in colors? We can do that by using a separate mat layer for each color of selected entities. Change pens when the machine stops and tells you to remove fallouts.

When I first installed the new software, I ran out of entities in designing several types of cut-word signs. By phone, Brian Simard walked me through the software fix, and that was the end of the problem. Sorry, I don't remember how the number of entities may be adjusted, but I'm sure your Valiani contacts can tell you if there's a way to increase the number in your machine.