Lumsdonia - Wagon Load Tarpaulin Sheet Printer LIVE

What are you up to on your workbench
User avatar
TimberSurf
Posts: 1801
Joined: Wed Jan 08, 2014 5:47 pm
Location: N.Wales
Contact:

Lumsdonia - Wagon Load Tarpaulin Sheet Printer LIVE

Postby TimberSurf » Sun Dec 31, 2017 10:44 am

The concept
It was mentioned on another thread about making Tarps available, that may not be in the range of the current commercially available, like "Roger Smiths Tarps"
The request was aimed at those that have some skills in desktop puplishing, asssuming that a graphics or visio type software would be able to reproduce the image and print to a pdf, for distribution to the masses.
I considered that it would involve some work for that individual to create each design as a one off and would require similar effort to produce a second design and so on.
It struck me (being that Excel is my strongpoint) that this could not only be created in a spread sheet just as easily, but could also be programmed to create all the variables that could be specified and automatically update size, proportions, colour, shape, font, etc ,etc by simply typing in instructions
This means that one Excel spreadsheet could be made, that any individual could use to make any variety of different tarps at will.
Having the skills and a website that it could be downloaded from and a need for some special "Lumsdonia" sheets, it seemed that I would have to have a go!

The design
Initial population of repeating text was easy. Then a bit of research was needed to learn how to programmatically change the variables with VBA. Most were straight forward and the basic shape and manipulation were done. The biggest problem was to make the 'North' (top) bunch of text to be "upside down". There are sites that can do it as a one off, but I needed it entirely in the spreadsheet. There is no way to do it Excel and no font available either. More by fluke than anything else, as my research on google basically said it was not possible, I remembered a clever trick I had used before (a long time ago when making xmas place cards for the dinner table) and managed to get it to work.

Tarps spreadsheet front end 2.jpg


The Basic version
The program now works, it is only basic, but can alter all dimensions, text content, font type, font size and overall colour.
Excel is quite querky when it comes to printing and as such is not good at printing to real scale dimensions, it's designed more easily to fit to a page by scaling. Plotters are equiped with scale correction so that acurate plots can be made at 1:1, but printers usually don't have that feature. This means that although I have set up the spread sheet to be configured in millimeters, the actual print tends not to come out at the same size.
To compensate for this issue and the fact that every printer has different attributes, I have put in a width and height factor in,so that if prints are measured, the error in size can be adjusted by tweaking the factors.

GWR Tarp.jpg
GWR Tarp.jpg (16.62 KiB) Viewed 414 times
NMR Tarp.jpg
NMR Tarp.jpg (9.31 KiB) Viewed 414 times
LR Tarp.jpg
LR Tarp.jpg (13.55 KiB) Viewed 414 times


The Result
So obviously it works..... and having printed a few off, duly scrunched and fitted, they look remarkably good! (far better than I had hoped for)
I obviously have a good printer, because even the black (although a bit soggy) has full coverage with no lines like you used to get on printers years ago.
Lumsdonia tarp fitted.jpg



So hands up, who who wants some?
Last edited by TimberSurf on Fri Jan 19, 2018 9:09 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Image
Lumsdonia <--- Hit link to go to my website for full story and wiring advice!

Dad-1
Posts: 5300
Joined: Sun Aug 24, 2008 8:05 pm
Location: Dorset - A mile from West Bay.

Re: Lumsdonia - Wagon Load Tarpaulin Sheet Printer

Postby Dad-1 » Sun Dec 31, 2017 10:59 am

I love the idea, but have no skills regarding excell, or any spreadsheets and have only a cheap
printer. Hence my kitchen foil tarps without any markings.

Geoff T.
Remember ... I know nothing about railways.
viewtopic.php?f=22&t=32187 and Another on viewtopic.php?f=22&t=28436&start=60&st=0&sk=t&sd=a

User avatar
TimberSurf
Posts: 1801
Joined: Wed Jan 08, 2014 5:47 pm
Location: N.Wales
Contact:

Re: Lumsdonia - Wagon Load Tarpaulin Sheet Printer

Postby TimberSurf » Sun Dec 31, 2017 11:17 am

Dad-1
Two things
The whole point of me writing the automation is so that you don't need to understand excel, just be able to type numbers and letters in a box and press a button to print. The rest of the program can be locked down so you cant break the sheet.
For those that don't own Excel, the file will work just as well in open source programs like open office.

If you really don't want to have to play with the program, simply ask someone else to do it for you. They can produce pdf's to your spec and send them to you. Just specify the text, colour, style and overall dimensions.
Image
Lumsdonia <--- Hit link to go to my website for full story and wiring advice!

User avatar
Dave
Posts: 683
Joined: Tue Feb 15, 2005 12:20 pm
Location: Up North

Re: Lumsdonia - Wagon Load Tarpaulin Sheet Printer

Postby Dave » Sun Dec 31, 2017 12:32 pm

An interesting idea. I have some commercial tarps that came in a job lot quite a few years ago, I haven't a clue as to their origin. If I come across them anytime soon I will pass them on to a good home.

User avatar
alex3410
Posts: 3126
Joined: Wed Nov 14, 2012 4:39 pm
Location: Essex

Re: Lumsdonia - Wagon Load Tarpaulin Sheet Printer

Postby alex3410 » Mon Jan 01, 2018 10:53 pm

That's actually a really interesting idea, the trouble with it is making sure the prints are 100% right size when printed but this is down to the person printing them out.

Excel is also not ideal - I wonder if its possible to do it as a website, again it would be getting the image the correct size. (would be interested to see the file if you're going to put it up for others to use?)

User avatar
Bufferstop
Posts: 10079
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2010 12:06 pm
Location: Bottom end of N. Warks line

Re: Lumsdonia - Wagon Load Tarpaulin Sheet Printer

Postby Bufferstop » Mon Jan 01, 2018 11:20 pm

Perhaps Mikem can help us here, he has editable signs in some of his PDFs where you just supply the text. This is just a different application of the same software, but whilst PDF readers are free PDF editors cost. Meanwhile say thanks and use Timbersurf's solution.
Growing old, can't avoid it. Growing up, forget it!
My Layout, My Workbench Blog and My Opinions

User avatar
TimberSurf
Posts: 1801
Joined: Wed Jan 08, 2014 5:47 pm
Location: N.Wales
Contact:

Re: Lumsdonia - Wagon Load Tarpaulin Sheet Printer

Postby TimberSurf » Tue Jan 02, 2018 12:15 am

Alex, the whole point of using Excel is that it is programmable, so although it has it's foibles, I have set it up in mm and if the print is slightly the wrong size, there is a "factor" value that can tweak it.

Bufferstop, to do it in a pdf there would have to be hundreds for all the sizes and colours and and each individual text would have to be manualy entered, pdf editors are not configured for multiple mods at once.

The basic version works brilliantly and I have now got the graphics added. I am now working on an export function and import function so that configurations can be saved and reopened later for a second print, so you don't forget all the settings after trying a few others.

You can see some of the range needed here http://myweb.tiscali.co.uk/gansg/9-loads/9-tarps.htm


Graphical sample - note the dims shown at the sides (which are all adjustable) to define the gaps between text lines and overall sizes
BR GNR Tarp.jpg
Image
Lumsdonia <--- Hit link to go to my website for full story and wiring advice!

User avatar
TimberSurf
Posts: 1801
Joined: Wed Jan 08, 2014 5:47 pm
Location: N.Wales
Contact:

Re: Lumsdonia - Wagon Load Tarpaulin Sheet Printer

Postby TimberSurf » Tue Jan 02, 2018 10:25 pm

TimberSurf wrote:The basic version works brilliantly and I have now got the graphics added. I am now working on an export function and import function so that configurations can be saved and reopened later for a second print, so you don't forget all the settings after trying a few others.

I have finally cracked the export/import macro's (VBA is not my strong point), so once configured, the parameters can be saved to a text file, that can then be used to reset the tarp back to that configuration by loading the previously saved file. (phew)

I now need to look at the little text that looks like a fraction, I think I know how to do it, but will need some experimentation. Are they really needed? does anyone know what they signify?
Image
Lumsdonia <--- Hit link to go to my website for full story and wiring advice!

User avatar
End2end
Posts: 3364
Joined: Sun Jan 12, 2014 9:58 pm
Location: At the end....... and sometimes at the other end

Re: Lumsdonia - Wagon Load Tarpaulin Sheet Printer

Postby End2end » Tue Jan 02, 2018 11:12 pm

Is there a list somewhere that gives the common wagon sizes and / or manufacturers so we would know what size (in mm) to input for the tarps?

I will say now I have no experience with excel or pdf's except reading them and I don't have a printer available and I've only ever printed the most basic of documents with no resizing. :?
Thanks
End2end
"St Blazey's" - The progress and predicaments.
Welcome‎
Planning
Building
St. Blazey's Works & Depot thread

User avatar
TimberSurf
Posts: 1801
Joined: Wed Jan 08, 2014 5:47 pm
Location: N.Wales
Contact:

Re: Lumsdonia - Wagon Load Tarpaulin Sheet Printer

Postby TimberSurf » Wed Jan 03, 2018 11:30 pm

End2end wrote:Is there a list somewhere that gives the common wagon sizes and / or manufacturers so we would know what size (in mm) to input for the tarps?

They seem to be about 21x11 or 20x14ft i.e. about 2:1.5 ratio, that equates to about 45-55x80+mm
Over the years and across companies, I don't think there was a standard

End2end wrote:I will say now I have no experience with excel or pdf's except reading them and I don't have a printer available and I've only ever printed the most basic of documents with no resizing. :?
Thanks
End2end


Obviously excel is not ideal for everyone, however, I will "lock" it down such that you don't have to know any more than - open program/type in figures/print! If your printer defaults to "no scaling" then a pdf should come out the size as defined by the pdf. (I have included a 'factor' for width and length, so that even if there is an erronius configuration on your PC/Printer, you can compensate for it. If you don't own a printer, then a friend could print them, else go to your local prontaprint type shop.
Last resort, just ask me!
Image
Lumsdonia <--- Hit link to go to my website for full story and wiring advice!

User avatar
TimberSurf
Posts: 1801
Joined: Wed Jan 08, 2014 5:47 pm
Location: N.Wales
Contact:

Re: Lumsdonia - Wagon Load Tarpaulin Sheet Printer

Postby TimberSurf » Sat Jan 06, 2018 12:12 am

As usual, my attempts at VBA are laboriously slow and end with a program that is unstable!
It is certainly usable by me, but is not fit for general distribution!
So I have decided not the share the program at the moment, but to create some tarps for my self and test them on my stock. Once I am happy I can create a range that is suitable for various trucks and get the swing of what all the parameters need to be, I will print a large selection in various sizes and embed them in a new page on my website, were all can download for free. Once I have a wide selection as a base in the "shop", I will consider taking requests for specials and add them to the website page for all to take advantage.
Image
Lumsdonia <--- Hit link to go to my website for full story and wiring advice!

User avatar
TimberSurf
Posts: 1801
Joined: Wed Jan 08, 2014 5:47 pm
Location: N.Wales
Contact:

Re: Lumsdonia - Wagon Load Tarpaulin Sheet Printer

Postby TimberSurf » Sat Jan 13, 2018 5:32 pm

ANNOUNCEMENT

Lumsdonia to unveil new range of tarpaulins


Either tonight or tomorrow the links will be published on my website. Eight sample sets of 4 tarps for people to experiment with and feed back any issues. :)
Image
Lumsdonia <--- Hit link to go to my website for full story and wiring advice!

User avatar
TimberSurf
Posts: 1801
Joined: Wed Jan 08, 2014 5:47 pm
Location: N.Wales
Contact:

Re: Lumsdonia - Wagon Load Tarpaulin Sheet Printer

Postby TimberSurf » Sat Jan 13, 2018 10:40 pm

NOW LIVE!

SHOP
Image
Lumsdonia <--- Hit link to go to my website for full story and wiring advice!

User avatar
TimberSurf
Posts: 1801
Joined: Wed Jan 08, 2014 5:47 pm
Location: N.Wales
Contact:

Re: Lumsdonia - Wagon Load Tarpaulin Sheet Printer LIVE

Postby TimberSurf » Sun Jan 14, 2018 2:28 pm

I am struggling with the next batch. Web search does not reveal many pictures of tarps, so my template is based on the tiscali site. But I am struggling to determine what the fonts are?
Fonts Q.jpg


Did the individual companies have a corporate font?

Does anyone know what they should be, or can tell me because they are a Font guru? :lol:
Image
Lumsdonia <--- Hit link to go to my website for full story and wiring advice!

User avatar
TimberSurf
Posts: 1801
Joined: Wed Jan 08, 2014 5:47 pm
Location: N.Wales
Contact:

Re: Lumsdonia - Wagon Load Tarpaulin Sheet Printer LIVE

Postby TimberSurf » Thu Jan 18, 2018 10:04 pm

Still need help with above!
Has anyone tried printing some and had a go fitting them?
Image
Lumsdonia <--- Hit link to go to my website for full story and wiring advice!


Return to “The Workbench”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest