Creating designs and artwork with an eye towards digital and CNC fabrication is different from producing work that will be printed or posted online. This checklist can help you prepare designs you’ve downloaded or received from other designers. It can also help you develop a clean workflow that will result in “CAM ready” geometry that goes smoothly from digital idea to physical thing.
Here is the list
1. Place Part Geometry on a Separate Layer
2. Reduce Line Weight
3. Geometry Should be Composed of Joined Vectors
4. Convert Specialize Curves into Standard Lines
5. Convert Fonts Into Curves
6. Simplify Overly Complex Vectors
7. Search for Irregular Vectors and Correct
Step 1: Place Part Geometry on a Separate Layer
Separate the part or object vectors from embellishment or raster information. You should create a layer where you have isolated the geometry that defines your object or part.
The two collections above have the same vectors, but the fill data on the left hides the underlying geometry. The same guideline is true for vectors that are only for visual effects.
The design on the left has additional vectors to help create
the illusion of an interwoven knot. For CNC geometry we want to isolate the vectors that describe our part.
Step 2: Reduce Line Weight
You should also assign the thinnest line weight supported in your drawing/drafting software to your part geometry. This will not only reduce visual confusion, but some of the drivers for our CNC tools use line weight to distinguish cutting and etching in their tool paths.
The circles above are all the same size, but the varied line weights can add confusion.
Step 3: Geometry Should be Composed of Joined Vectors
It is important that our geometry is comprised of joined vectors.
We can use four independent lines to represent a rectangle, but even if it looks like a rectangle, it is still four separate objects. Drivers and CAM software interprets each as an independent operation rather than one object.
This is also true for more complex geometry created from basic shapes where intersecting vectors have been trimmed. We still need to combine the vectors and join intersecting points for the vector be treated as a single piece of geometry.