Nodes are reference points that the cutter moves the blade to. Imagine you are directing someone to a shop at the end of the road, you could tell them "pass next door, go round the wheelie bin, step over the bike when you get to the cracked paving stone go over the bump". yes, they would end up at the shop but if they have to stop to check all the points you told them along the way it's going to be a jerky long walk. Instead, you will give them a more sweeping instruction.
Here is the letter "S" written in Ravie font. To view the nodes we first need to make it a separate shape to do this right click and select "ungroup", now click on the edit points button from the left-hand panel. A number of squares will appear along your cut line these are the points "nodes".
You can see there are quite a few nodes or reference points for the machine to read. At this size there are not any issues, but when the letters are made an inch tall its way to much to create a smooth cut. Anywhere there are a group of nodes there is greater potential for your media to snag or rip.
The easiest and quickest way to resolve the issue of too many nodes is by using the Simplify button which will activate in the top panel when in the point editing mode.
Each time this button is clicked the number of nodes will be reduced, resulting in a smoother cut line on your machine.
This process will sometimes lose some of the detail from your design, in my next post I will go over how you can fine-tune your design to get the finest detail back, but for small cuts this option is perfect. I hope you will revisit some of your favorite fonts and give this a go. Not only does it result in a clean cut it also means the cut is quicker.
The process is the same if you are doing an image so if you're having cut issues check out how many nodes you have and try the simplify button!