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rlandrigan

Vector Cutting on Laser cutters

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I was very excited to try the Windows Beta of Designer - bought the Mac version and have been using that to create vector files to cut on an Epilog Mini Helix laser cutter.  Originally, those files were saved and cut via Corel Draw on the Windows only Helix, but I thought, hey! Let's give Designer a try...

 

But.

 

It seems that the printer code is rasterizing things before sending to the printer driver, a situation I found with Inkscape as well. This results in the Epilog not seeing any vector lines to cut - making it a raster only process. Queue sad panda. The Epilog uses a custom windows driver, so not sure if anyone has every had success, or if there's something I can change so i can use Designer directly.

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Hi rlandrigan

 

We do tend to rasterise for print so we can keep accuracy in the document especially with elements such as effects. We are not really set up for doing laser cutting work at this point. An alternative (which also works with Inkscape) is to export to PDF or SVG then print that from Acrobat.

 

With the rise of consumer laser cutters and other tech I would say it would definitely it's worth making a suggestion in our feature requests section so we can look at implementing something in the future  #

 

Cheers


Serif Europe Ltd - Check the latest news at www.affinity.serif.com

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Cutting machines should work - I don't know any reason why they wouldn't... Nothing should be getting rasterised to my knowledge unless there's a good reason (an effect, adjustment, transparency which is causing it). If you try with a trivial case of a document with a simple curve and nothing else, does it still fail? Would you be able to send us a file that shows the problem? (support@seriflabs.com)

 

Thanks,

Matt

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Cutting machines should work - I don't know any reason why they wouldn't... Nothing should be getting rasterised to my knowledge unless there's a good reason (an effect, adjustment, transparency which is causing it). If you try with a trivial case of a document with a simple curve and nothing else, does it still fail? Would you be able to send us a file that shows the problem? (support@seriflabs.com)

 

Thanks,

Matt

Matt,

I can reproduce this on my VM using the Epilog Fusion Driver and Job Manager. Sending a simple Ellipse with no fill to Epilog's Job Manager (Done using the Epilog Fusion 'Print' driver) as 'Vector' only complains there is no Vector Data. However when sent as 'Raster' it doesn't complain and can be seen in Job Manager. When inspected in there, only Raster Data is shown. I shall try it on my Mac and see the behaviour there.

 

EDIT:

It does appear on the Mac that Affinity is outputting vector data for that simple object, so there definitely looks to be a fault with Windows here. I shall get it reported :)

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Thanks, Sean - as I said, I'd expect it to work, so unless there is a specific problem with the Windows print path then I was surprised about the customer seeing a problem...

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If we print to, for example, Microsoft's PDF driver then vector figures are output when expected, so that points to a driver issue. It may take a bit of digging to work out why the driver doesn't like our output. I seem to remember with DrawPlus there was a problem with line widths and X8 was updated so that very narrow line widths could be specified, so perhaps your lines are too wide?

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If we print to, for example, Microsoft's PDF driver then vector figures are output when expected, so that points to a driver issue. It may take a bit of digging to work out why the driver doesn't like our output. I seem to remember with DrawPlus there was a problem with line widths and X8 was updated so that very narrow line widths could be specified, so perhaps your lines are too wide?

I've tried it both in CorelDraw and Affinity Designer.

In CorelDraw setting a line to Hairline or 0.1mm will output to Vector to the Epilog Job Manager. Anything higher than that will fail - as you say the line is probably too wide. However In Affinity setting the line to 0.1mm, 0.1pt and 0.01pt will always cause the output to fail.

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In CorelDraw setting a line to Hairline or 0.1mm will output to Vector to the Epilog Job Manager. Anything higher than that will fail...

 

 

For what it's worth, I don't think dependence upon a hairline stroke width is uncommon in cutting workflows, even with ordinary sign vinyl knife cutters. Rowland, for example, has provided AI Swatch libraries, which simply gave a name and color to a path stroke to identify it to their cutters as a path to cut rather than print. (Illustrator has never provided a proper Hairline stroke width to the user, as did FreeHand.)

 

It's just one reason why I wish Affinity would provide a Hairline stroke width (as does DrawPlus, as I recall).

 

JET

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Hey guys,

 

thanks for investigating this problem. I have exactly the same issue with our setup, consisting of:

  • Windows 10 Pro
  • Affinity Designer beta (newest version)
  • Laser: Epilog Mini 18 (with the Epilog Job Manager)

 

If there is anything I can help you with, like testing if your fix works, simply contact me. I would be glad to get this problem fixed as I really would like to replace CorelDraw with Affinity Designer.

 

Best regards

Tom

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Hey there,

 

I tried your new version of the beta today, but unfortunately the problem still consists. Do you already know when you'll fix the problem?

 

Best regards

Tom

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Hi guys,

 

I have positive news: Affinity Designer now works for us with our Epilog Mini Laser (I tested the most recent release candidate of Affinity Designer too). The reason it lasted me so long to get it figured out is that the Epilog Manager is, taking the cost of the laser into consideration, a heap of junk. It isn't very stable and it sometimes acts very weird.

 

In order to print from Affinity Designer you have to set the "piece size" (which you can find in the print settings of the Epilog Manager) to the exact same dimensions as the document of Affinity Designer. If it is even a little bit off, the Epilog Manager will absolutely butcher the file you want to laser. As I said, this is not a problem of Affinity Designer, but of the Epilog Manager so don't worry about this.

 

So thank you guys for investigating this problem and solving it. We are very happy to use Affinity Designer in the future and can't wait to purchase our copy of the final product.
 

Thanks again

Tom

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Hello, I'm getting in to laser cutting, using a Trotec Speedy 500. The job control software requires that stroke with be exactly .001pt in order for it to recognize as a cut.

 

I have tried to set the stroke width in Affinity, but it rounds the value to 0pt (no stroke).

 

Do I need to change any document settings in order to use stroke widths that are that narrow, or is that just not supported?

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Hello, I'm getting in to laser cutting, using a Trotec Speedy 500. The job control software requires that stroke with be exactly .001pt in order for it to recognize as a cut.

 

I have tried to set the stroke width in Affinity, but it rounds the value to 0pt (no stroke).

 

Do I need to change any document settings in order to use stroke widths that are that narrow, or is that just not supported?

Have you tried to actually output? It is possible change the visible decimal places for the 'points' unit type to 3 from Preferences > Unit Types. This should allow you to see the setting of your line size.

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I'm also trying to use Affinity Designer with and Epilog laser.  Even when I set the stroke with to 0.001 inches the Epilog driver still does not recognize this as a vector line that should be cut.  Instead it sees it as raster data that should be engraved.  I'm just trying to print a simple ellipse with no fill (the stroke width is set to 0.001 in).  Any suggestions?

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Affinity Design gives me double lines when I either draw a line or create an object with no fill and just a stroke. (The double lines are seen when I import file into illustrator or Inkscape(view outline).  Whereas, adobe illustrator or inkscape just creates one vector line.  Having a double line for objects or straight lines creates a problem for laser cutting.

 

What needs to be done in Affinity Design to solve this issue.  I would like to use Affinity Design for my laser cut design work, but unless this issue can be corrected, I am stuck using either inkscape or illustrator.

 

Any ideas?

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Hi,

 

well, first off you have to know that the Epilog-driver behaves like absolute garbage. Besides its quirks it crashes a lot because it is not really optimised to run under system environments newer than Windows XP. Nontheless we have it running under Windows 10 which works quite well, but you have to bear certain things in mind.

 

First off, every document must have the exact size of the laser bed. If its smaller than this, it is probable that rendering problems will happen.

 

Second, everything you want the laser to cut out must be in vector form with a stroke width of 0.01 pt (just type it in, it will show as 0 pt after you pressed "Enter" but it will work).

 

Furthermore, you must set all the laser settings in the Print--->Settings Menu in Affinity Designer. Changing options later in the Epilog Manager after you pressed "print" will cause a mess with a high probability.

 

This should hopefully help you quite a bit

Tom

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On 2/1/2017 at 4:32 PM, origami said:

Affinity Design gives me double lines when I either draw a line or create an object with no fill and just a stroke. (The double lines are seen when I import file into illustrator or Inkscape(view outline).  Whereas, adobe illustrator or inkscape just creates one vector line.  Having a double line for objects or straight lines creates a problem for laser cutting.

 

What needs to be done in Affinity Design to solve this issue.  I would like to use Affinity Design for my laser cut design work, but unless this issue can be corrected, I am stuck using either inkscape or illustrator.

 

Any ideas?

Did you figure this out?  I am having the same issues with my files that I print with Glowforge.  The option right now is to put them into inkscape and delete the extra lines, but I'd like to use affinity.  

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On 6/30/2018 at 10:11 AM, DMudek said:

Did you figure this out?  I am having the same issues with my files that I print with Glowforge.  The option right now is to put them into inkscape and delete the extra lines, but I'd like to use affinity.  

I use Affinity Designer (Windows) for printing to my GlowForge all the time, and have never seen these double lines...  I export to SVG and color the lines red, set them to 0.8 size and have no issues at all.

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