Picture of Designing Vectors for CNC & Digital Fabrication

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

Picture of 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.

BitsC10 months ago

thank you for posting this!

As a graphic designer i've always liked vector working, now that I have a CNC business, i notice the lack of knowledge of many designers when it comes to vector based art. Sometimes we receive documents for cutting in our plasma, the client says its "vector" and when I go to my CAD-CAM and open it...I get this beautiful almost fractal design, loops and open lines everywhere, it makes me cry.

This instructable has made me think of coming up with literature for handing out to those designers.

Thank you

jayeshshinai BitsC10 months ago


I think some details and caution notes would be really helpful for newer designers like me..


Following you. Please keep posting CNC based instructables.


BrettBlack1 year ago

Great information. REALLY hope people follow your advise.

shalomo1 year ago

Very helpful info. Thanks for posting!