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Guides/Illustrator for Laser Cutting

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Exporting

It seems to work well if you export to DXF with these settings:

  • DXF Format
    • AutoCad Version = R13/LT95
  • 1:1 Scale (1 Mm = 1 Unit)
  • Preserve Appearance

A reminder that all text should be converted to outlines and double/triple check that only one outline exists (if the stroke was also converted to an outline/compound path). Object menu -> Expand. Then the word must be ungrouped.

Other files imported into Lasercut v5.3 tests

In the Import dialogue box of LaserCut v5.3 there are options to import Illustrator AI files. Using a demo version of LaserCut v5.3 these files have been successfully imported:

  • Illustrator CS4 - AI
  • Illustrator 10 - AI
  • Illustrator CS4 - DXF R13/LT95
  • Illustrator CS4 - DXF R14/LT98/LT97

The curves and lines look correct and are all placed on a single colour/layer in LaserCut.

These have not been cut to prove the import/download to laser cutter process works.

Pre-setting engrave/cut lines before Import to LaserCut v5.3

A direct DXF export from Illustrator will import into LaserCut with every line as a cut line, on a single layer. If you want to prepare your design with raster lines, engraving and ordering of cuts, you'll need to follow these steps:

  • Using Illustrator:
    • Use a colour palette for the lines in your design that the LaserCut corresponds to layers. The first four colours/layers in LaserCut are Black (0,0,0), Red (255,0,0), Blue (0,0,255) and Green (0,255,0)
    • Select all the cuts and engraves and rasters into the same colour. Red for cut, black for engrave etc. If cutting sections within sections, use another colour for those cuts, grouping them as much as you can. For example, if you were cutting a donut, one colour for the hole and one colour for the outer ring and one colour for the delicious frosting and sprinkles on the donut. Mmmm. Sprinkles.
    • Make sure your line thickness is 0.01mm across the whole design.
    • Remove all layers that aren't visible, guides and end points not necessary to the design. Recommend manually checking each layer/object or carefully copy/paste to a new file.
    • Save As an Illustrator file (any Illustrator version, Inkscape will import it).
    • In the 'Options' check 'Create PDF Compatible File' is selected and deselect 'Embed ICC Profiles' and 'Use Compression'.
  • Moving to Inkscape:
    • Open the Illustrator file you just created.
    • Select all, right click and ungroup.
    • Bring up Fill and Stroke and check all lines are 0.01mm. At that size they won't be visible in Inkscape, so make them 0.4mm to check the colours and the designs. Set the lines back to 0.01mm before exporting.
    • File/Save As Desktop Cutting Plotter (AutoCAD DXF R14) .DXF
    • In the Options tab, unselect 'ROBO-Master' and 'LWPOLYINE'. Set the Base Unit to 'mm'. Check that 'Layer export selection' is set to 'All'.
  • Moving to LaserCut
    • Import the DXF file you saved from Inkscape.
    • Check the coloured layers and reorder them so the engraves go first and the cuts are in the correct order.

Adding a custom Palette to Inkscape with LaserCut colours

Guides/InkscapeForLaserCutting#Custom_Palette_for_making_cut_lines_appear_as_layers_in_LaserCut_v5.3