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Getting BMP, JPG, PNG or just about any graphic format into Cut2D

edited February 2015 in Tips & Tricks
Evening all,

To start off, I found a great source of thin timber veneer material today. I was browsing in Bunnings (Lowes to our American friends ) and was in the flooring section. Here I found some take home samples of the various timber floor material. Rather than the whole section 10mm thick, it was just the top layer of the laminate, a nice 2mm piece.

See below, they charged me $1 each for the samples but I thought it was worth it.

Laminates

Anyway, the purpose of this post is to illustrate how easy it is to get images from web pages or any other source and get them into Cut2D as vectors. The only additional software you need is Inkscape, free from inkscape.org.

1.
Select your image, doesn't matter what it is, if Windows can render it then Inkscape can deal with it.

2.
Open Inkscape and Select File -> Document Properties
Set the page size to the size of the material you are going to engrave or cut

T1

3.
File -> Import and select your image


T2

4.
Make sure the image is selected (look for the crop marks) then choose Path - Trace Bitmap

T3

I use Edge Detect at 0.5, play with the setting and see what you get. Try selecting Greys for a totally different effect, have a play.

Drag the original image out of the way and see what's left

T4

5.
Select the new vector and then File -> Save As and output to a DXF

t5

6.
Open Vectric and create a new project the same size as the one you did in Inkscape
Import the DXF, add your toolpaths and away you go

t7

The result looks like this

40 minutes to do
100% power
1200mm per minute

Coke Sign

Comments

  • This is the same process I used, until I realised that importing DXF files into Cut2D laser creates vectors with hundreds of nodes – even for simple shapes.
    My solution was to save the vector as a PDF file. Opening the PDF in Cut2D laser preserved the low node count.
    The result was faster, and less jittery, cutting.
  • I have found that Cut2D likes .EPS files (and hates DXF Files) these translate easily with the vector information in-tact. Also, I have networked my mac and the PC which controls the laser cutter, so I can design inside the house, send the files to the PC and then go into the garage/open air space to use the Emblaser...
  • True on the EPS, the bamboo cutting I did in another thread was EPS, Cut2D handled them very easily and produced a much smaller gcode file than DXF
  • I'm currently experimenting a whole lot with settings because I need the sharpest possible engraving for my method, which is to engrave into spray paint. I've gotten a few good results but I'm tweaking to see if I can improve even further. I've only been exporting from Inkscape to .pdf but I'll try .eps to see if there's any difference.
    I was trying artwork that I use on one of my product, which is quite complex with lots of random shapes of all sizes. Producing the code took over two hours, which is absolutely absurd!
  • I tried this for something before but I was trying to do it on a small piece of material so the jittering steps caused excessive burning. I saw this and was going to try it with EPS and PDF, but the image I'm trying this time won't even work with the trace tool for some reason.
  • Hi David,
    Have you managed to cut through the laminate samples? After reading your post I went and got one to try out. Just wanted to check though, is laminate safe to cut or does it have hidden somewhere in the middle something that will destroy the world when cut, or at least my little part of it, such as chlorine?
  • Hi Phil

    Cutting and engraving are very much dependant on the colour; dark is much harder I presume because of a different material.
    No issues as far as I can tell with chemicals but always check your ventilation first.

    David
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