67Views3Replies

Author Options:

How to make exact size svg fiels for eleksCam software? Answered

I bought this DIY Chinese laser machine. After some trials. I got it all fixed and yes it cut and engraved. They gave me 2 softwares. One is Engraver Master which i found useless as non of my dxf files show up properly. it's always warped. Then I tried EleksMaster. This software is great. But there is a major problem. It cuts only texts and engraves. But when i insert a new image and ask it to cut outlines, the image does not load up. I even checked this instructable and asked help. So to cut I found SVG files work. But there I encountered another problem. I cannot resize the images. All SVG files opened through PicCarve Appears way larger. Sizing is very important for me. Sometimes the size is way larger than my cutting area. It's really frustrating and annoying. It's more than a month now, and I'm still unable to cut custom cake toppers cause I can't seem to get a single software right for me. Someone said to try laseraxe but that does not connect to my laser. I have no clue why. So please help me so that i can cut the exact size of an image using PicCarve . Ther is a place that says input G Code. I'm not sure what that is. Currently I'm reserching that too. But if Anyone knows...Plese Please help.

Thanks

Discussions

None
Downunder35m

6 weeks ago

The Eleksmaker support is usually quite good and there were topics about the problem with outlines and images in their forum as well.

Having said that....
When I started with my CO2 Laser the first order of business was to get rid of the controller and to put my own in there.
Chinese adaptations and software are just not as advertised in the consumer sector.
You said you used different softwares with various outcomes.
Can I assume that those programs are able to properly communicate with the machine?
Or do you generate code with the programs and then load that through the software that came with the machine?
Either way your main problem might be resolution.
Images should be resized to a workable resolution.
For example if you have nice pic from your 40mp phone then your software will struggle to get it right.
Unless you can do extreme fine details with your machine a resolution of 100 to 300DPI is plenty.
Above that and you ask for trouble.

SVG is a vector format, so the "resizing" has to be done in the software.
Vectors however come with their own problems if the engraved size is not enough for the detail level.
In most softwares that offer a simple interface a click on the image should open a dialog or popup to set the dimensions.
If you use a normal image format like PNG, JPG, TIF, BMP and so on it helps to convert it into a 1bit BW image.
Depending on the raster you choose the result in an engraving is much better than a gray scale image.
If you do need true gray scale then try to convert and rezise before using in your engraving software.
Do a test and see what happens if you resize your image to something quite tiny.
If that works for the visibility and placement in the software then increase the sie/resolution until you find the area where the program craps out.

Have a look around what people use that installed GRBL on their machines use for images and so on.
I still use my home cooked Inkscape plugin and Marlin based firmware with Laser addon LOL
Time have moved on, my machine not so much.
One day it gets a proper 32bit controller though.

None
shazniDownunder35m

Reply 5 weeks ago

Thank you so much. Will try what you said for engraving. I too use inkscape for most of my projects and finally for my laser too that worked. I installed plugins for gcode extensions after watching various videos. So now it cuts well. But finding the right settings is like killing me. what cuts directly from the elekscam software in 3-4 cuts takes loads of cuts when making gcodes. especially wordings as opposed to normal circles. To get settings right I did circle cuts. But i found sometimes it didn't cut words and i had to repeat. Sometimes...certain places didn't cut at all even after repetitive cuts. It was so frustrating...but then i thought i can't expect miracles from a $500 laser cutter which is a focused 7W laser. As long as i cover my cost and save up to buy a better one...I should be happy :-D.
I wonder though if it's the wood though that is the problem. I'm using thin 3 mm plywood.
Again thanks loads for your reply

None
Downunder35mshazni

Reply 4 weeks ago

LOL - So nice to see I was not the only wondering why nothing compares when NOT using the chinese software....

Maybe I can help you again though...
I did some quite basic tests with my machine when I had all running and properly calibrated one day.
Generating Gcode manually isn't too hard but of course using Inkscape is about as simple.
Here is most of the procedures I used for reference:

Put a sheet of white paper in the machine and whatever way you like create a single laser line.
With every repetition of the line you slowly increase the laser power while the speed is set to what you would use for a slow cutting movement.
Once you actually see a thin brownish line appearing on the paper you found the minimum power setting for the machine - note this value!
The maximum you can use should only be used on the machine if both the driver and the laser are designed to operate at max power continously!
It is prefered to limit the max ouput at about 85-90% of the real max the laser can produce.
This drastically prolongs the lifetime of the laser!
Now that you have the working minim and maximum power you need to find a way to get this range into your code generating software as base values.
Ok, sound complex I know, so let me explain further:
If your software would only accept power values from 0 to 255 then this would correspongto 0- 100% for the laser power.
However, in reality the laser might start to engrave at 34 and you limit the max at 240.
Means you only have working range between 30 and 90% - makes grey scale engraving quite hard.
So if possible it makes sense to remap the values so the 34 is transfered to 0 and the 240 to 255 so you get the full range again.
Even better of course if you can map it all with two bytes to get a range of 0 to 1024 or like I did with my modified Inkscape plugin to go between 0 and 10000.

Back to resolution and missing bits in engravings....
Inkscape is quite nice - once properly set up for the task.
Same for whatever generates your code.
Take a cursive letter as an example.
In most cases one would just select a nice font and place the thing.
This gives you the outlines to be engrved or when filled the engraving to remove those bits to some extend.
Keep it to just the outlines or use a single line font for starters.
Zoom in.
Zoom in ;)
You notice the tiny and short straight lines?
The laser can not make continous movements, it only moves in straight lines.
The shorter these lines the more problems the machine has with the positioning.
Results in tiny stops and such things.
You need to either reduce the speed or the line count in the letter to be engraved.
If your engraving should result in a letter that is just 5mm heigh and you take into account that the beam can't be indefinately small you soon realise tat too many lines are just overkill.
Compare it to using a really big paint brush to write your signature on a piece of A4 paper...
With your power setting settled do try outs on paper.
Start with a really big letter of lets say 5cm height and check how it turns out.
Since you work on paper you can play with the power and speed - at higher speed you need more power to get the same result on the paper.
With this you figure out what the max, save, travel speed for the machine is.
Once it loses steps that cause the letter to shift sideways while engraving you are over the speed the machine can handle.
Reducing the letter size will reveal at what point the machine or software starts to struggle with the code.
If even quite loq speeds won't produce a correct letter here than you need to reduce the line count to generate the letter.

Almost all software allow for custom code variation to some degree.
See what you can find in your ;)
Sometimes it is as simple as the laser turning off at the end of a line instead of staying on unless the next move is just a positioning with no engraving action.
This is nice for some things but in most cases just annoying as it means the laser turns on and off rapidly for no reason.
As there is always a slight delay short engraving paths might be over before the laser is back on engraving power.