A Few Laser Engraver questions

Trying to work on a little project today I hit a few roadblocks.

  1. It looks like Laser 2 (the older, weaker one) is not able to do vector (cutting). It’s working fine for engraving. Yesterday another member told me that, but today I tried every workaround I could think of to cut, for example, a small circle on scrap wood. The machine only beeps when you hit the “Go” button.

  2. I use Inkscape at home (I run Ubuntu, and I couldn’t use Adobe Illustrator even if I wanted to) and I’ve run into enough issues with using Inkscape with these printers or converting Inkscape docs to A.I. that I’m willing to park my butt in the learning lab and re-make my current document using Illustrator, but it seems that the machine I tried today asks for a username and password to open Illustrator. Does anyone know those credentials, or if there is a machine that (like the ones connected to the laser printers) doesn’t ask?

  3. alternatively, if there is anyone using Inkscape and successfully engraving and cutting, I’d love to trade tips.

Thanks for help!

1 Like

I use inkscape for vector cutting files. The work flow involves saving it as a pdf and making sure all the lines have a color fill to them before doing so. But it then will happily cut away (print from a pdf viewer)

I’d be happy to walk folks through the inkscape work flow for cutting on the laser.

1 Like

There are definitely some quirks to converting, but as Gary mentioned, it’s not impossible.

Laser 2 definitely cuts (I’ve done so)- If it’s beeping and giving a 0-path time, then it’s usually that some prerequisite isn’t met.

Check for-
Line size: There’s a specific size for printing… "0.01inch"s? (Can someone correct me?),
Line Color: It just needs to have a color, as I believe “colorless” reads as “0” when printing,
Print Size: Match laser bed,
Project Size: Ideally also matches laser bed,
Vector Choice: Just make sure Vector is selected.

Hope that’s helpful!

Thanks both @Gary and @RobinLloydMiller. I will tinker a bit with getting Laser 2 to cut. My notes from the class I took a while back say 0.01mm line, but I swear I just tried opening Illustrator, drawing a circle with a 0.001 circle and sending it to the printer as vector with no luck. I know that I’ve just used a black line for this in the past with Illustrator. Also know that I’ve had luck with Inkscape using a RED line, and using the PDF trick that Gary mentioned in the past, but that seems to not be working for me either. I’m blaming it on poltergeists, but I’ll keep trying.

1 Like

Dont forget we have Open Studios for many of our shops

Laser Open Studio Apr 18th

Granted it seems to focus on Adobe but maybe you could leverage that knowledge in to sorting out your workflows

1 Like

Great point, @Gary. I need to get to one of those.
I spent some time experimenting with a few things with @TimLackey on Laser 2 and we got mostly consistent good results with cutting (vector) and engraving (raster) on Laser 2 directly from the currently-installed version of Inkscape with 0.025 stroke width, red ink color. Still a bit wonky. Some other widths w/ red seemed to work for vector. Tim had a more complex file that got wonky (seemed to be sent from Inkscape to the printer software with a Time:0, and would just hang when we tried to actually print).

Thank you Russell for walking me thru Inkscape to laser troubleshooting yesterday. I am looking forward to the class tomorrow and wanted to make sure I was on track with file compatibility. I knew from our conversations during volunteer shift overlap that you were an open source proponent. I stopped back into the computer lab later in the afternoon and I confirmed that saving as a pdf from Inkscape and changing the file extension to .ai did in fact include data on overlapping or obscured objects when I opened it in Illustrator. It maintained groups but did not include group names. Same experience when I opened the .svg in Illustrator. Not necessarily the solution we were looking for but possible file conversion option if needed. I see Gary can print directly from the pdf so this might be completely unnecessary.