SOP to create/transform images for laser cutter?

Hey all,

Margo and I were chatting about our various projects involving the laser cutter and realized that we’re both getting stuck. We’re having difficulties navigating Adobe Illustrator (or Inkscape) in order to create and/or transform a vector image into a workable laser cutter file.

Is it possible to make an SOP for this? It’s probably really simple, but as with any new program, the buttons/shortcuts are always somewhere in an unknown dropdown menu or preferences.

Thank you for your help!

I agree, had enough trouble doing that too! May be we could post here all the troubles that everyone encountered and solved, and include it into the document.

For Inkscape, I had trouble with scale and precision of exported dxf, even with the recommendation from the Laser Cutter’s SOP to remove ‘LWPOLYLINE’ in the dxf settings. I found the first post in this discussion useful. It’s a little bit cumbersome, but always produced good result for me.

Another trouble I had was that RDWorks did not produce any cuts even though the lines were imported well and visible. Then Brian soved it by unchecking some advanced option in the cut properties in RDWorks. I don’t remember the option’s name, but it’s probably the only checkbox in ‘Advanced’ settings of a path.

So I was writing up a reply to address how a lot of dealing with images on the Laser Cutter is more a matter of artistry than clear steps taken when I realized I may be complicating the request’s intent. So can the request be clarified more? For example, the image referenced could be a photo with a background that you want to etch in full into something, a basic line drawing you just want to burn/cut or anything in between. Additionally, are there particular parts of the process you feel need special attention?

For me it is how I deal with PNG files or other stuff I grab from the internet. I am not at the place where others are in terms of making elaborate laser designs or photo images. I just want to make sure my text and my simple images come out clean!
I think of class would be helpful perhaps it’s in addition to the s o p.

I can try to throw something together some tips for Illustrator (I’m not the one to ask wrt Inkscape), but its pretty dependent on the source file and the desired output / layout of the design. There’s not as much a one-size-fits-all process. Sometimes it works really well, and sometimes it just doesn’t work and I have to recreate the artwork manually.

This video is a pretty good walkthrough of what I do when I use live trace to make laser cutter paths.

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