Illustrator For Lasering
- Burton Kent
Some topics to cover include:
- Adapting/editing existing designs quickly
- 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.