Dalco Athletic Lettering
- 12/16/1996 – Created initial document and findings of the Tajima format.
- 11/12/1998 – Revised findings to fix some errors in our interpretation of the format. Mostly I incorrectly reported ASCII 2D as the delimiter of the format.
The header seems to contain information about the design. Seems to be ASCII text delimited by 0x0D (carriage returns). This must be in the file for most new software or hardware to consider it a good file! This is much more important than I originally believed. The header is 125 bytes in length and padded out by 0x20 to 512 bytes total. Here’s an example…
I’m also including an imbedded copy of the sample file for easy reference. Here’s a breakdown of the parts of the header we know and don’t know. All entries in the header seem to be 2 ASCII characters followed by a colon, then it’s value trailed by a carriage return. First is the ‘LA’ entry, which is the design name with no path or extension information. The blank is 16 characters in total, but the name must not be longer that 8 characters and padded out with 0x20. Next is the stitch count ST, this is a 7 digit number padded by leading zeros. This is the total stitch count including color changes, jumps, nups, and special records. Next, is CO or colors, a 3 digit number padded by leading zeros. This is the number of color change records in the file. Next is +X or the positive X extent in centimeters, a 5 digit non-decimal number padded by leading zeros. Following is the -X or the negative X extent in millimeters, a 5 digit non-decimal number padded by leading zeros. Again, the +Y and –Y extents. Next is AX, AY, MX, MY, and PD. I didn’t have any clue what these were, but a really cool support guy at Brother cleared it up for me…
AX and AY should express the relative coordinates of the last point from the start point in 0.1 mm. If the start and last points are the same, the coordinates are (0,0) MX and MY should express coordinates of the last point of the previous file for a multi-volume design. A multi-volume design means a design consisted of two or more files. This was used for huge designs that can not be stored in a single paper tape roll. It is not used so much (almost never) nowadays. PD is also storing some information for multi-volume design.
A record consists of 3 bytes. All three contain vector info. The high bits are y and the low bits are x. You must add the corresponding bit values that are in the following diagram. The last byte also contains bits that define the functions.
…to make y -.8 mm you must set byte 1 ( bit 8 and bit 5 )… which is +1 and -9. Adding together those values you get -8 points. 1 point is equal to .1 mm. To make x -4.2 mm you must set byte 1 ( bit 3 ), byte 2 ( bit 3 and bit 1 ), and byte 3 ( bit 4 )… which is +3, +9, +27, -81. Adding these together you get -42 points or -4.2 mm.
The function codes are in the last byte. Bits 1 and 2 are always on. The last bits ( 7 and 8 ) make up the function code. The only exception is the end of design code which spills over into bits 6 and 5, thus bytes 1 and 2 are set to 0.
- Normal Stitch 00000011 0x03
- Jump Stitch 10000011 0x83
- Stop/Color 11000011 0xC3
- End Design 11110011 0xF3
- The max stitch length is 21.1 mm in the positive or negative direction.
- The reason for the complex stitch formatting is that the original format was made for rolls of punched paper tape read into a machine. Not as a disk format. The scheme they used is very compact.
- The coordinate system is a standard right handed system with positive values up and to the right.
This information could be totally wrong, but it should be really close. I take no responsibility with any issues that may arise from use of this document.