Las Vegas, Slot Machines and CorelDRAW

April 22, 2012

This past week I went to Las Vegas to meet with a client. Of course one of the questions someone always asks when someone returns from Las Vegas is “did you win?”. My schedule was quite busy the whole trip so I didn’t get a chance to even visit a casino. To answer the question, I didn’t win or lose as far as gambling goes. I did see quite a few slot machines in various stages of construction and wanted to talk a bit about the process since it involves CorelDRAW and a number of output devices.

Before we talk about the output process, I need to roll the clock back to 1996. The inaugural CorelDRAW Unleashed Training Boot Camp was about to begin. One attendee had not yet arrived and someone noticed a rattlesnake just outside the door. I went to get something to take care of the snake. One of the attendees volunteered to take care of it. He pinned the snake’s head down and picked it up with his bare hands. That part went really well. When he attempted to throw the snake, it had wrapped around his arm. The snake wasn’t very happy about being thrown and got a little bite on his index finger. After a night in the hospital, he was just fine and shot one of the best rounds of golf in his life two days later. Quite the start and it was “snake” who introduced me to CorelDRAW’s role in the world of slot machines.

In those days, the artwork was screen printed on to the back of the glass and even on the reels. If you played the slots back in the 90s, you may just have seen the CorelDRAW balloon on some of them. This week I got to see how things are done today and it is much different than in the old days. Most all of the printing is now a fully digital process and the artwork is output as color positive film. Screen printing is still used for a few things like putting white ink behind the artwork to make it pop. There are also a number of laser engravers used for cutting overlays and even thicker acrylic. Probably one of the things most interesting to me was the outside of the machines now have a digital print to simulate wood or other textures. What a cool use for the textures in our Textures Unleashed collection.

As nearly all of the parts are now digitally printed, the design of a machine can be changed in place on the casino floor. Being able to remodel a machine on the floor means that it can stay in service for all but a few minutes and the casinos like that!

Thanks to “snake” for arranging the tour and to all the folks at the plant for welcoming me!

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Foster D. Coburn III

Foster D. Coburn III is author of 13 best-selling books on CorelDRAW and has been a contributor to numerous technology and graphics-related magazines. Foster has taken many projects, including this Web site, from the early design stage through to a finished piece. He has been a featured speaker at many graphics conferences. His first Web site was built in 1995 and he has been working exclusively in WordPress since 2013.

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