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Laser cutter software issue Answered

I use a laser cutter that runs on LaserCut 5.3

To create my files, I draw in Inkscape, save as a DXF file, then import that into Lasercut5.3

Unfortunately, importing into LaserCut5.3 creates artifacts in my files - polygons are created where none were before, and lines are invisibly doubled up, meaning that the laser cuts some lines twice, which wastes time, energy, and can spoil a project if a line goes too deep.

Two typical examples are below.
  • In an ideal world, the "e" would come out as two continuous lines (inside & outside).  Intead, it comes out as three lines, and the straight parts of the lines are "doubled over" - it cuts twice.
  • Where two or more straight lines are contiguous, like the "k", the sections gain extra lines that break it up into smaller polygons. (I have shown the extra lines in red).

Both cases are fixable, on a file-by-file basis, but, in the clunky LaserCut5.3, the fix can take longer than the original design.

Has anybody else experienced this issue, and how did you fix it?


16 Replies

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mikeasaurus (author)2015-06-10

Does it happen when you import vectors from another program into LaserCut?

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Kiteman (author)mikeasaurus2015-06-11

I haven't tried that yet, since I have been avoiding paying out hundreds on Corel etc.

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mikeasaurus (author)Kiteman2015-06-11

AutoCAD is free to students and educators (which you are, right?). PM me and we can chat off thread about options.

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steveastrouk (author)2015-06-10

I use the same program, and always "unite lines" - I don't see these artefacts.

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Kiteman (author)steveastrouk2015-06-11

I was when I united lines that I discovered the double-line issue described in the "e".

What software do you use to create your DXF files?

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steveastrouk (author)Kiteman2015-06-11

Usually straight from "proper" CAD, like GeoMagic, but I also use a lot of Coreldraw stuff, and that exports cleanly too.

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Kiteman (author)steveastrouk2015-06-11

So, that points to it being an Inkscape issue, rather than a LaserCut5.3 issue, thanks.

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Downunder35m (author)2015-06-09

Well, I do not have a laser cutter (yet) but I do know what you are talking about :)
A few questions: Does the DXF file look right when opening with another program or viewer?
I noticed that some programs love to mess up cad files on export.
If the look ok: Do the look ok when imported into your cutting software?
From your image I would say the laser does not know when to turn off, like the blanking is disabled for short travel distances.

Do you have an option to see the cutting on the screen in real time?
If you see the laser working correctly and moving correctly but not being turned off if these cross section it is your laser cutting software that needs tweaking.

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Kiteman (author)Downunder35m2015-06-10

I haven't tried opening the DXF in any other software yet (such as?), but they look OK when I re-open them in Inkscape.

It is as they are imported into the cutter software that the issues arise, not when running the cut. The laser does exactly what it's told, but, unfortunately, the software in my laptop (not the cutter's firmware) sometimes tells it to do extras.

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Downunder35m (author)Kiteman2015-06-10

Maybe you can give Visicut a try to check if it cuts and better?

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Kiteman (author)Downunder35m2015-06-10

Have you got a download link? All the ones I've found trigger my antivirus software before I get anywhere near the download button.

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Downunder35m (author)Kiteman2015-06-10

Hmm, you must be looking in the wrong places ;)

http://hci.rwth-aachen.de/visicut-download

If are not using XP for the printer better take the Zip file.

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Kiteman (author)Downunder35m2015-06-11

That's one of the links I tried - as soon as I hit the download buttons, all the bells and whistles went off. I'll try the zip version, but probably not until next week now, as I am spending the next four days either at work (shh, I'm there now), prepping for camp, or camping with Cubs. Sunday afternoon, I plan to sleep...

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gmoon (author)2015-06-10

Hmm. Is it just letters, or other polygons?

There are different schemas for fonts, like Truetype vs. Postscript, and how they define the enclosed "counter" in characters like "e" and "o". Some just reverse the directions of the path. Even Postscript has several font definitions. It get's seriously complicated with path clipping, etc.

It might be the way Inkscape converts to DXF. Maybe convert the fonts to paths before saving as DXF? I know inkscape has various path manipulation commands, joining paths, etc (simply, reverse). Does LaserCut accept any other file types?

It also could be the original font definitions (i.e., changing the font, same font from a different source might help).

There may be some DXF->DXF filter programs that "fix" files for cutters...

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Kiteman (author)gmoon2015-06-10

It's other polygons as well, but (usually) only those with straight lines.

I already convert fonts to paths, otherwise they don't show up in the DXF.

Lasercut accepts other file types, but DXF is (I think, I'll check) the only one that overlaps.

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gmoon (author)Kiteman2015-06-10

Seems there are DXF optimizer programs for cutters out there.

It would be a heady undertaking, but something might be done with scripting inside Inkscape...

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