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laser_cutter_workflow_tips

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General Software Usage

Scale Issues

DXF has no concept of scale, and you have to select a scale when you export DXFs. The laser software (EasyCut) assumes a millimetre scale. In other words, a DXF will contain a unit-less dimension of 1.0; and that could be 1 inch, 1 metre, 1 foot, or 1 millimetre for all the DXF format and/or reading software knows. No scale issues have been seen when using MM for export from various CAD packages.

Unite Lines

Select every line and choose Tools > Unite lines. The “unite lines” feature will close loops by connecting lines. If loops are closed then the software automatically figures out what shapes are nested (one inside another) and cuts them from the inside-to-outside correctly. No need to manually order nested cuts.

Scaling downloaded designs

Often you can find a great design on a site like Thingiverse that is made for a material you don't have or don't want to buy. Opening the design up and editing all the slot widths is often impractical and time consuming. If you don't mind resizing the whole object you can do just that to make it fit your material.

  1. Open the original design and measure the slot width (eg. for the Butterfly the slot width is 1.7mm - the text mentions 1mm, this is why you need to measure it).
  2. Do some test cuts with your material to determine the optimal slot width for a tight but useful fit (eg. I use the 5.2mm Virola ply from Home Depot - the optimal slot with is 4.8mm).
  3. Work out the scaling factor between the two (4.8 / 1.7 = 2.82).
  4. Convert the downloaded file to DXF (outside the scope of these instructions, in general you want to load into the right s/w and export)
  5. On the laser cutter PC import the DXF into Corel. During import Corel shows a dialog that you usually ignore. Don't ignore it. Ensure the dimensions are set to mm and enter your scaling factor (eg. 2.82) from above to resize the design on import, then click OK.
  6. Export from Corel as DXF, import into the cutter software and cut your new object.

Online tools

Box Generator generates arbitrary finger jointed boxes in SVG format. Use Corel to convert the SVG to DXF.

FURTHER INFORMATION

laser_cutter_workflow_tips.1377534195.txt.gz · Last modified: 2013/08/26 16:23 by tomkeddie