I am preparing existing jpg files to vector files for a laser cutter to cut and etch the artwork onto acrylic sheets. I followed the instructions for image trace, expanded the file and saved it as an .ai file before emailing to the laser cutting service. At their end the file appears just black and white and does not have the red and blue lines the laser cutter machine requires to follow in order to cut and etch respectively. At my end the file appears black paths on white with black boundary line and the paths appear blue when my cursor hovers above them indicating it is a path. I have played around with image trace presets, mode and settings thereunder without success. I have also tried saving in different formats without success.
If anyone has any tips that might assist or are even aware of this issue themselves I would appreciate hearing from you, particularly if you've prepared files for laser cutting/etching
Does this mean that their laser cutting software requires literally red and blue-stroked lines?
Yes, a cut line is red and an etch line is blue - the laser cutting machine
software will only recognise red and blue strokes. I looked through
Illustrator to change colour of the chosen paths but could not seem to make
it work. I wondered if this is a preset option or is otherwise provided for
in Illustrator but again couldn’t locate any function nor information re
On Wed, 3 Apr 2019 at 5:07 pm, Doug A Roberts <firstname.lastname@example.org>
No, there's no automagic to it. You just select a path and apply the stroke colour. Presumably the printer defines a particular swatch you should use?
Do you know the basics of applying strokes and fills to paths? A traced image will be a group after expanding. You may need to ungroup it or just select paths with the direct selection tool (white arrow).
Ah now you see this is exactly the kind of detail I need to know, this
explains why I can’t colour individual paths.
I haven’t had the lead time to familiarise myself through tutorials. TBH I
learn much more easily with one on one tuition but have been slowly making
my way through the tutorials. When pushed for time, using a tutorial for a
specific purpose changes the learning process as we discard information we
assume is not directly relevant but in actual fact it is foundational -
without the foundations we struggle to find a proper context to “save” the
information. I am certain if I’d had an experienced person looking over my
shoulder I would have the files done by now. Thanks though for reminding me
of this - when I have time I’ll start at the beginning.
On Wed, 3 Apr 2019 at 6:32 pm, Doug A Roberts <email@example.com>
On Wed, 3 Apr 2019 at 7:05 pm, Doug A Roberts <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Thank you Douglas the ungroup worked for me and I was able to edit different paths from there easily. After getting the first few files delivered I will have time to read the articles you have provided. In essence this issue was more about my lack of experience with Illustrator than specifically vector files as I now realise these are relatively straightforward. One thing I was wondering about is why after expanding does the image trace settings revert to black and white? And from there if I make changes to the paths do I need to expand again? Anyway these are not urgent issues but any info on this would be appreciated too.
It seems Illustrator reverts to the default setting after each trace, which is black & white. I can't see an obvious document profile method of changing the default outside of the file mentioned in this thread:
...which is interesting but editing it doesn't seem to have an effect for me, nor does adding a new setting seem to write to that file.
When you first select image trace, Illustrator generates a live preview, effectively. Before you 'expand', you can change the trace settings and make adjustments. After you 'expand', the trace becomes normal paths. You can edit them as you would any other Illustrator path, but you can no longer adjust the trace settings. You won't have to expand again.
I failed to provide you with the outcome of this work which I was incredibly satisfied with. @Myra Ferguson @Doug A Roberts here is the final etched clear acrylic edge-lit from beneath by LEDs contained in an extrusion which also provides the base. This piece 'Pompeii Vessel' sold during its first showing. There were 6 large etched acrylic light sculptures (max 420 mm H/W x 297 mm W/H x 10 mm thick) and 8 small (210 mm W x 297 mm H x 6 mm thick). Thank you both for your help.
Very nice work!
Great work! 🙂
Just an FYI for anyone who's interested in doing laser cutting and etching -- different laser cutters may use other methods to differentiate between cutting and etching. The one I use requires different stroke widths.
Yes that's right for my laser cutter/etcher too - etching can be any size but cut path must be 0.001, almost invisible to the naked eye! Mine also requires cut lines be red and etch be black or blue, which in Australia seems to be the standard (I haven't come across any other format and have been getting dozens of quotes).