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Lasercut map

Good day!

I made a few laser cutted maps of european cities. I intend to put them into a frame with a colored backing paper.

I did so far BARCELONA and PARIS.
LONDON is currently cutting and I will post a picture later when it is finished.

Cutted at 2amps 100% 29mm/s 1pass
It shows that the emblaser is also capable of lasering very fine details.

IMG_4903.JPG 939.2K
IMG_4904.JPG 969.8K


  • That looks great Dominic.

    Can we put a request in for Melbourne?

    Keep up the great work.
  • Yes I can do a version of melbourne as soon as time allows.

    Which Format would you like?
    I will put the C2D file here after it is finished.
  • Ladies and Gentlemen

    This is London :-)
    Had some troubles with the fine details and had to peel out most of the paper pieces with a needle. Maybe I should slow down the laser by 1 or 2 mm/s to get a cleaner cut-through.

  • And this is all three maps in one frame with a blue backing paper..

    IMG_4907.JPG 593.2K
  • Different version
  • I'm working on the melbourne map for Darkly Labs.

    I think that I can finish it and run a test until Saturday. After that I may need to adjust details. At the end I will post the C2D and PDF file here.

    Attatched a screenshot of the picture which I use to generate the vectors in inkscape. It is a edited map from

  • That looks great Dominic.

    We will cut it and place it in our Lab.

    Thank you
  • What format will you cut it? Do I can do my test in the same format and I can adjust the amount of details according to the format.
  • Hi Dominic,

    What do you mean by 'format'?
  • How long did it take to cut those maps?
  • Darkly Labs: Sorry thought the english word is the same as the german one..

    By format i mean the size like 170x120mm with my original ones.
  • Jared:

    The Barcelona map was the easiest one because it has the least amount of details. It took about 15mins to cut and some hand-work to pop some stuck paper pieces out.

    The London map took about 25 mins.
  • Ahh.. Ok.. The same size as yours would be perfect. Thank you.
  • So i finally got the time to finish the melbourne map.

    I attatched the C2D File.

    If there is something that needs to be changed, just tell me.
  • @darklylabs:

    Did you already try to cut out the melbourne map? Are there enough details in it?
  • We haven't cut it yet because we were searching for a nice frame to place it in first.

    The detail from the file looks great.

    We will post pictures once we have the project completed.
  • I'm looking forward to see some pics of the melbourne map framed :)
  • edited June 2015
    Awesome job! What is your process of conversion in inkscape? Do you use the trace bitmap feature? I was wondering how I might make one for my home in Los Angeles.


  • These maps look wonderful, simple and elegant at the same time. Where is ever one finding these maps at?
  • We just found some time to cut the Melbourne map created by Dominic.

    The result was fantastic. The photo does not do justice to the amount of fine detail in the map.

    We opened the .crv file Dominic posted above into C2D-L and created the .nc cutting file. Then we ran it through UGS.

    The green & gold were chosen because they are the Australian Olympic colors.

    We will find a good place to hang this in the Lab!

    Map Melbourne
  • edited July 2015
    @Kathryn Davidovich

    My workflow might not be the most efficient one but if worked out for me so I am happy with it.

    First I got the map I need from or got it out of

    After opening the svg-file in inkscape, I removed all the unnecessary details like street names or paths that are too small, railway lines and other things. They are normally splitted into different layers so it is easy to delete them.

    After that I saved the resulting "only-street"-Map to a png and opened it up in gimp. I painted all the roads black with the color-bucket feature.

    When this is done, some rework with the brush-tool is required to remove small mistakes in the map or sometimes you need to add some small connections between paths to ensure stability. Remove too small details.

    After saving this picture to png again I vectorized it with inkscape and the "trace bitmap" tool and saved it to pdf.

    After that only some work in C2D is required to fit the drawing into the frame and add the name.

    Hope this described my workflow appropriately.

  • Darklylabs, that looks amazing. I'm glad it turned out so well.

    How much manual work did it need after cutting? I noticed there is a big difference between different papers and shapes of the maps.

  • The map looks great Dominic. It gets comments from anyone who sees it. This is a really good example of the fine detail that can be achieved.

    We cut the map twice. The first time about 50% of small internal pieces just fell out. We started to pic out the remainder with a small pair of tweezers and the decided to run the job again with a slightly slower feed-rate.

    The second run was much better and about 90% of the little bits fell out by just shaking the paper. The rest popped out with the tweezers.

    The cutting took 27 minutes.

    We would really like to run a similar design but much bigger with the same level of detail. Perhaps a full A3 map with the same resolution as this one.

    Can't wait to see more of these as you create them. Keep posting those pics!
  • Dominic,

    Have a think about designing a small laser-cuttable 'Designed by Dominic Hanselmann'. We will cut it and add it into the picture frame we have.

    Maybe something that fits with the style of these maps.
  • edited July 2015
    @Dominic Hanselmann

    Thank you for giving me a good start! I believe I found a workaround for you so there is no need to use gimp.
    Here is what I did:
    1) Using OpenStreetMap (, I used a Standard Map and instead of "sharing" and exporting as an SVG file, I exported it with my custom defined area as an OSM file. See export on the left hand side of the menu in OpenStreetMap.
    2) I downloaded Maperative (free) and imported my OSM map data into it. The reason why I had to use Maperative was because the SVG file directly exported from openstreetMap is not layered for editing. In Maperative, in the lower right hand corner, delete the default OSM data, leaving only the file you imported.
    3) Go to Tools -> export to SVG (For Inkscape)
    4) Open the SVG in Inkscape and open your layers. Delete all the text and unnecessary layers.
    5) Change the Coastline to no fill but give it a black outline

    Here's where you don't need gimp.
    6) Go to Extensions -> Color -> replace color. Here you can use the eyedropper tool to select any colors you want to make black and make them black throughout your entire file. Use the RGB Hex code that is given to you when you hover over the color of choice. You'll see it at the bottom of the screen. Do this for all the colors you wish to make black.
    7) Save this as a SVG and make another copy as a PNG/JPEG, etc.
    8) Now use the trace tool to get your defined lines.

    santa monica
  • The only question I have is how do you trace a high quality image without making the sharp corners round or skewed? Inkscape doesn't do a very good job of maintaining sharp corners during the trace operation. I am using 2 color image trace optimization (non smoothing) and I get the following result. I've tried other methods but they aren't very good. trace
  • I've yet to find a tracing program that gives any better results than what you've gotten from Inkscape. I'm wondering though ... an svg file is a vector file. You describe taking a vector svg file, making a bitmap (png/jpeg) copy then tracing that to get a vector file. Would not the original svg file work? I don't have time at the moment but I'll try this at another time.
  • Yes, you're correct! I need to play around with it more myself because I have joined vectors in inkscape using the "combine" and "join" features. When I tried doing this with my map layers it didn't work. I will give it another try. Might have to turn object to path, then combine and join. This would give very clean lines and save much time.
  • Hi togheter

    Sorry for the long delay on my answers. I'm in mandatory military service (Switzerland...) and only have access to a computer on the weekends. Only one more week and I have time again to work with the emblaser.

    @DarklyLabs: I'll try to design something. I also thought about that to engrave it into the white mat that is around the picture. But in the works I did until now I always decided not to do it.

    I recently also discovered Maperitive. But I've had not the time to try it out until now. Nice to hear it works and the data is usable.

    I also discovered the SVG-Export-Function of OSM is not that good, therefore I needed the workaround with vector data and gimp. This worked out until now but was very time-consuming.

    For the tracing rounding the edges: I also discovered that but it did not disturb me because it generates smooth cutting lines, the paper pieces fall out better. Maybe it helps to make the white background transparent in a program like gimp. Also make sure you get a clear black/white image and nothing like grey or so.

    I think you need to do it with an image because in the OSM-SVG File there is everything combined from multiple small vectors. For example a Street may contain multiple segments even though you see it as a solid line. Importhing this to C2D will result in weird cutting results. With the re-tracing you make sure to get the vectors from what you see on your screen and nothing different.

  • I was sure there was a way using Inkscape to create cuttable vectors from an Open Street Map svg file without having to use another program or doing any tracing so I spent some time and figured it out.

    I'm quite familiar with vectors in Illustrator but also have Inkscape installed on my mac computer so this exercise was good for making me more comfortable with Inkscape.

    The Stroke to Path operation can take quite a bit of time (depending on the complexity of the map) so I chose a small village in Mexico that I'm familiar with that only has a few dozen streets. If you want to try what follows I suggest you also choose a small place to try this with. The following procedure will give you excellent clean sharp results ready to open in Cut2D.

    What I describe below might seem complicated but once you do it a time or two it becomes pretty easy.

    • In OSM choose the map area you want then choose Share from OSM and save as an svg file - open that in inkscape - enlarge window and zoom in if needed

    • in the Layer menu choose Add layer … name it "roads" (or another name) and make sure the layer is unlocked (click the the padlock icon in the layers palette to unlock/open it if necessary) The new layer will be highlighted in the layer palette. The original layer that you see with all the data is unnamed and not evident in the layer palette, but it's there.

    • again in the Layer menu choose Switch to layer below or click (with the select and transform tool) somewhere in the map to deselect/unhighlight the road layer. This puts you back on the (unnamed) original layer.

    • choose the Edit paths by nodes tool and click on one of the roads to select it.

    • in the Edit menu choose Select same - Stroke style - this should select all of the topmost road paths. In the map I used there were two road paths, the lower one has a wider and darker stroke that shows as an outline around the lighter and thinner stroked top paths. **We'll only be using the uppermost road paths and deleting everything else.**

    • from the Object Menu choose Fill and Stroke and change the selected roads to black (or another colour) with the Stroke Paint tab and if needed change the stroke width in the stroke style tab then close the fill and stroke palette.

    • in the Layer menu choose Move selection to layer … choose roads to move all the selected top road paths to that layer …

    • lock the roads layer (click the lock icon to close the padlock)

    • again in the Layer menu choose Switch to layer below or click somewhere in the map to deselect the roads layer.

    • In the Layer menu choose Lock/Unlock Current Layer.

    • in the Edit menu choose Select all then again in the Edit menu choose Delete to delete everything on that layer leaving only the roads on the roads layer

    • in the Layer menu choose Switch to layer above (roads) or click the layer titled roads in the layer palette to highlight it.

    • unlock the road layer

    • in the view menu choose display mode-outline to see the single line paths (the stroke is only an effect applied to the single line paths)

    • in the edit menu choose select all

    • with all the paths selected open the Paths menu and choose Stroke to Path - this will outline the stroke that was assigned to the paths. This will take some time depending on how complex the map is. Wait for the operation to finish.

    • again in the Paths menu (with all the now outlined paths selected) choose Union to join all the outlined paths together. The Outline view should now be showing all the paths neatly outlined and united. You can now go back to the Normal view from the Display Mode option in the view menu if desired.

    • The drawing can now be scaled and added to (frame, city name etc.) …. those could also be done in Cut2D.

    • From the File menu choose Save As, give it an appropriate name and save the file as a .pdf.

    • Open the pdf file in Cut2D.
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