8 Replies Latest reply on Feb 15, 2010 12:32 PM by 999dalyoyo

    Too many stroke lines & need engraving font.


      I've purchase a Roland GX24 vinyl cutter and using it to plot drawings (bought special pen). The problem is the areas that are solid black (especially the curves) are made of lines which are very close together, so when I go to plot they tear the paper and wear out the pen . I need to find a quick way of making this full of just little dots, I have created a live paint area of this group and trying to put little dots on them (anyone know a quick way of this as I choose 'effect', 'Pixelate', 'color halftone'. I think the dots are too big and will come across same problem with pen tearing, I want tiny dots spaced far away from each other or strokes far away from each other.

      This only solves half the problem as the original work is still below it and when I go to plot it will do both so still going to tear the paper; I know what you''re thinking; just remove the old one below; but it is made of tiny little curves and strokes so I can't just simply select it, what can I do here please?


      As if that's not the only problem , the text used is an outline and very small seeing as though they are blue-prints, the text blurs with the pen as the text is 'outlined', I need a quick way to turn this outlined text into single stroke text so it will be  clean enough to read.


      Any help is really appreciated, I have pain stakingly gone through and created my own symbols of text in a single stroke but this is no solution as have been here all day doing this and I have at least 20 of them to sort out. And there will be more comming.

      Below is a jpg of pic I am talking about, any input is greatly appreciated.


        • 1. Re: Too many stroke lines & need engraving font.
          JETalmage Level 6
          I've purchase a Roland GX24 vinyl cutter



          I'm taking you at your word and assuming the GX24 is simply a cutter/plotter, not a printer.


          The problem is the areas that are solid black...are made of lines which are very close together...they tear the paper and wear out the pen...I need...just little dots.


          With little dots, you might not shred the paper, but you're still going to then wear out the pen with all that pen-up, pen-down nonsense, just to draw a bunch of individual tiny dots. That is crazy use of a cutter/plotter.


          ...I choose 'effect', 'Pixelate', 'color halftone'...


          The Color Halftone Effect is a RASER effect. It generates a raster image (a color image consisting of pixels), not paths for your plotter to follow.


          Cutter/Plotters are driven by HPGL instructions that in simplifed terms go something like this:


          "Go to coordinates XY"

          "Pen/Knife down"

          "Go to coordinates XY"

          "Pen/Knife up"


          In other words, they are not printers; they are plotters. They scribe vector paths by using their stepper motors to move the paper and pen/knife carriage to cartesian coordinates. They don't see or paint pixels. They don't think of the page as one big bitmap to fill in with dots.


          There are cutter/plotters which incorporate raster printing (some of the best ones from Rowland). But they cost alot more than the GX24.


          In short, you are trying to make inappropriate use of your device. It really shouldn't be used to "color in" solid areas. If you must try to fill text paths, use a reasonably sparse VECTOR hatch or pattern fill.


          You can experiment with pattern fills, but be forewarned: The results will depend upon the translation capabilities of the software you are using to drive the device. Pattern fills in Illustrator don't really "stop" at the edges of the paths they fill. They are merely masked by the paths. So your plotter software would have to be smart enough to draw only the un-masked portions of the pattern paths. I'm not familiar with your particular device, or with Rowland's recent software, so you'll have to experiment if you want to use Pattern Fills.


          Generally speaking, what you want to send to a vinyl cutter (even one doubling as a pen plotter) is in principle very simple: Send it paths which describe EVERY mark/cut you want it to make and NOTHING more.


          One method in Illustrator with which you could quickly make marks to "scribble in" outlined text is the much overlooked Scribble Effect. Read about it in online Help. Set all variations and curviness to zero. Set stroke weight to zero (there is no weight to a cut), and control the density with the Spacing setting. Expand the results. That will generate zig-zag vector paths in shapes to "fill in" your large text. Being diagonal, it may not be exactly what you want, but it can yield a nice "architectural" sketch effect.




          ...the text used is an outline...I need a quick way to turn this outlined text into single stroke text...


          CAD programs are still (largely) stuck in the foregone decades of pen plotters. That's why they still use proprietary single-stroke text. (Many now support normal outline fonts, but many Engineering departments have never changed their habits, so they needlessly cause downstream users to devise workarounds.) Programs like Illustrator don't understand fonts that are not outlines. There are no open paths in the fonts that you use in Illustrator. Even text set at tiny sizes are outline paths. And there is no feature in Illustrator to reliably and neatly render text as open path centerlines. (Experiments with rasterizing text and auto-tracing it can yield legible results, but nothing I would call presentable results.)


          I have often thought it would not be too difficult to write a Javascript for Illustrator that would effectively replace ordinary type set in a monospaced font with Symbols containing glyphs drawn as open centerlines, "drafter" style. But I haven't got around to actually doing it yet. (The same script could be used for fun stuff, like automatically coding messages in colored nautical signal flags.)


          The general assumption, when using a pen plotter, is that the input is coming from a CAD program, and that small text will, therefore, already be open path centerlines.



          • 2. Re: Too many stroke lines & need engraving font.
            Wade_Zimmerman Level 6

            Outline the letters


            give it a stroke


            align it to center inside or outside


            while still select it choose dash for the stroke option and chose round caps


            give it a dash of zero


            and a spacing for how close together you want the dots to be (the weight of the stroke for the gap will give you dots that touch)

            • 3. Re: Too many stroke lines & need engraving font.
              999dalyoyo Level 1

              Thanks for your input buddy, big effort there appreciated:

              Filling in the section with the sribble effect will be a good idea, I have not created the image with solid colour, it has been sent to me as a pdf of a construction I need to build. I need to work with this to generate something to plot. The plotter is working well with the drawings so far apart from the problems with the text as it's creating two outlines (as you would expect with normal text as it must be created to outlines to send it to the plotter in vector format).

              I need a way to convert the text to the single stroke, I can painstaking'ly use the lasso tool to select all these mini lines; if anyone has a quicker solution please tell me about this.

              • 4. Re: Too many stroke lines & need engraving font.
                999dalyoyo Level 1

                When you say align to centre buddy I take it you don't mean the actual align window as this just throws it into a little bunch. I did not create the text or outlines it has been sent to me via pdf format.

                Thanks for your help so far chaps.

                I couldn't use the scribble for the text as it's so tiny is why I'm having this problem, can only be a single stroke text and even that's hard enough to see and not sure if it's even going to work; should think so though.

                Cheers peeps.

                • 5. Re: Too many stroke lines & need engraving font.
                  Wade_Zimmerman Level 6

                  Align center refers to how you align the stroke to he path.


                  In the Stroke Panel in the center of the panel are three icons, first one is align stroke with the path at the center of the stroke, middle with the path at the inside of the stroke and the last with the path at the outside of the stroke.


                  like such.




                  Screen shot 2010-02-14 at 5.07.03 PM.png


                  Stroke inside the path


                  Screen shot 2010-02-14 at 5.07.30 PM.png


                  Stroke outside the path




                  The path remains where it is and only the stroke that changes position, relative to the path.

                  • 6. Re: Too many stroke lines & need engraving font.
                    999dalyoyo Level 1

                    Thanks so much for your input here, very close to sorting it now, the origninal still come

                    s around the outside (not drawing neat single line) looks ok on screen but when I plot it has edges around text, any ideas?

                    Thanks again

                    • 7. Re: Too many stroke lines & need engraving font.
                      Wade_Zimmerman Level 6

                      try smaller or larger gaps and or an inside alignment of the stroke as well as  very thin stroke weight

                      • 8. Re: Too many stroke lines & need engraving font.
                        999dalyoyo Level 1

                        Thanks I'm getting weird scribbles on some of the numbers; it's such a shame as so close to not having to buy a printer. If I can get rid of these squiggles I'd be sorted.

                        Thanks for your help you've been great. Anyone else got any suggestions?

                        Plotter is still going over it a few times still so it can be simplified further with less movements. How can I achieve this?