Laser Tips and Tricks
NYC Resistor and TechShop use CorelDraw X5 as the primary 2D cad tool for printing to the laser.
Issues with CorelDraw:
- $500 piece of software = ouchie! Poor laser artists are poor! Maybe we can get a discount for a group buy?
- CorelDraw imports SVG, but the flavor of SVG exported by Inkscape gets corrupted.
- CorelDraw imports EPS, pretty nicely as long as you set it to import as 'curves'.
- CorelDraw imports PDF, but some raster image portions of PDFs can get dropped.
- When etching an image with a lot of separate rasters in it, CorelDraw instructs the laser to etch each raster separately. This is slow. To speed up etching, you should select all bitmaps in your image and select "Bitmap -> Convert to Bitmap..." to create one unified bitmap. This etches much faster. :-)
- The primary virtues of Inkscape is that it's free and multi-platform.
- Sadly, the SVG file format that Inkscape generates has difficulties when being imported into CorelDraw -- in particular, translations of objects tend to get lost.
- The least error-prone method of exporting from Inkscape to CorelDraw seems to be PDF, but even that isn't 100% reliable. Please also remember to try copying from Inkscape SVG and pasting into CorelDraw. This can possibly work when file import fails.
- Although Illustrator is not free, people have had good luck buying older versions of Illustrator on eBay.
- Versions of Illustrator 8.0 and higher will generate PDFs or EPS files which are readable to Corel Draw. When saving the file, anecdotal evidence suggests that setting the compatibility to acrobat version 5.0 and unchecking "Preserve Illustrator Editing Capabilities" produces a clean pdf that Corel can handle.
- Set your cutting line strokes to 0.216pt (max) in Illustrator for Corel Draw to read them as hairlines.