Illustrator For Lasering

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Potential Instructor(s):

  • Burton Kent


Some topics to cover include:

  • Adapting/editing existing designs quickly
  • Hotkeys
  • Precision placement/scaling/sizing of cuts/holes/joints - essential, especially if working in 3 dimensions/fitting things together.
  • Parametric boxes
  • Project boxes
  • Living hinges
  • Wood hinges
  • Gluing acrylic
  • Vector hatch fills (faster than raster cutting, looks better too) http://www.cuddleburrito.com/blog/2014/6/16/vector-path-crosshatching-in-illustrator-to-speed-up-laser-cutting
  • Finding/using vector graphics
  • Etching using the rotary tool (and compensating for distortion if it's not a cylinder)
  • Kickass joins (good for CNC routers too) http://makezine.com/2012/04/13/cnc-panel-joinery-notebook/
  • efficiently using the pathfinding tools — not so basic as it turns out
  • joins, compound paths, and clipping masks — again, not so basic as it turns out
  • locating stray points and paths that can cause the machine to re-trace certain lines, which can ruin some of the work I do — tedious and non-intuitive
  • using the alignment tools re: relative placement of the cutting head and generally — sometimes overlooked
  • accurately setting the machine's absolute origin to desired tolerances — advanced
  • using jigs for repetitive procedures (I set it to ~.005-.010 so people get cuts against the rulers rather than the machine leaving whatever raw edges were on the piece, if that makes sense) — advanced
  • rubber stamp mode for stamps, dies, and simple engraving (fences and mirroring) — medium advanced
  • color mode — advanced — requires some knowledge of PS threshold, posterization, or color separation strategies.
  • Photoshop strategies for cleaning up raster images to get good results with the Illustrator image trace tools, and image trace cleanup/path smoothing/pathfinding. I do this a lot for preparing images for silk screen printing.