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Thread: Programs for laser cutting?

  1. #1
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    Default Programs for laser cutting?

    So, I recently got checked out on the library's laser cutter/printer. The librarian in charge of the Maker Space listed Inkscape as a program to use to create objects for printing. I've been at it for a week, and find this program darn near impossible to use. After a week, I've barely been able to draw one rectangle and an arch; haven't found a way to draw or import a brick or stone pattern. Surely there must be a program that is better.

    The laser printer at the library is currently friendly to files in .jpeg, .gif, .png and .svg formats.

    Any suggestions on programs from those who are already using this tool? I am not necessarily looking for freeware, but I am not looking to spend a couple hundred dollars, either.
    Rheinland Bayern Bahn

  2. #2
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    Basically you just need anything that you can paint with -- i.e., you can use MS Paint.

    If you want to import a library I think you just need to look for simple illustration files (my understanding is that laser cutting basically uses two colors -- red and black to cut vs. etch).

    If you want to draw over an image -- for example, scan a prototype that you have and then draw your lasercut plan on top of that you will need layers -- one layer for the image you are copying and the other for your illustration layer (that is why Inkscape works well). If you want to key in dimensions you need to have objects.

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  4. #3
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    You want to use a vector drawing program like Inkscape, Corel Draw, Adobe Illustrator, and the others mentioned in the link above. Paint is a raster program. It draws with pixels not line and cannot easily be resized. Vector pieces are scalable with no loss of resolution as they are achieved mathematically. Laser cutters usually engrave raster images and cut vectors.

    There are lots of tutorials out there for Inkscape. Here's an example. YouTube is full of them.
    Cheers eh!


    I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it.
    Vincent Van Gogh

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