I am doing a wood working project and want to use a local large format printer to print a template for cuts for the project. How do I correctly scale the template design to have size accuracy. Thanks.

I don't know how big it is now. It was drawn to scale but i never set something to be a meter wide or anything. How do I check the dimensions?

  • 2
    I'm not sure I understand... Did you not draw it 1:1? – Joonas Jun 27 '18 at 17:49
  • So you have drawings that you want to make into a digital file and then print? Are they on paper? – Webster Jun 27 '18 at 18:06
  • If it was "drawn to scale", then we need to know what scale, otherwise it's impossible to answer this question properly. Also, there's no way to tell you how to check, since you haven't mentioned any software, or if this is even a digital drawing or a paper drawing. You need to add more details to the question. Thanks. – Billy Kerr Jun 27 '18 at 18:51
  • It may depend a little on the document, but you can tell the printer to print it at a certain size. Like if you say it should be printed lengthwise 1000mm and the document has some weird empty space in it, it may come out the wrong size. It is definitely safer to send 1:1 document to be printed and ask them to print it as such. — How you can check its size depends a little on the application you (or whoever) used to make it or what file types you got right now. CAD applications typically have excellent measuring and scaling tools. — As a side note... A printer would likely want a PDF file. – Joonas Jun 28 '18 at 6:41

Draw it 1:1. Draw it at real size.

A complete wood plank will be around 220 cm long, or a bit more than 7 feet max. That is not big deal on a vector based program.

The trick here is to use a vector based program.

Try Illustrator, Corel Draw, Affinity Designer, or the free ones Inkscape and Gravity Designer.

Keep the design in vectors, do not rasterize anything.

For the provider, you probably need to export the design to PDF. Always talk to him to ensure the design is not scaled by him.

Actually, the first step is to know what are the limitations of the printer or plotter the provider is using. If he has a 90cm max width roll of paper, that is your limit for the file. Make for example a file 90x220 cm and ask them to print it at real size.

One additional tip. Draw several scales across the template. Rulers for example of 6 inches or 15 cm here and there, so you can confirm the template is at scale.


You make the art dimensions in even fractions of the print dimensions.

How wide is your printer?

What size is the largest piece you need to print?

If you're going from an 11 inch file to a 60 inch printed piece then your scale ratio will be 11 into 60 is 5.45 or you will need to scale your file 565%.

I suggest scaling it up evenly so fractions do not come into play. Ideally your template will be scaled 100, 200, 400% etc.

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