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Nov 25, 2020, 01:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tigereye109
I have bought a Cricut cutter about a year ago and it is still in the box because I am intimidated by cad and stuff like that. I don’t know where to start. It is the maker model. It’s supposed to be the best one made. I have bought all of the blades and matts for it as well. I was told you can take a picture and crop out an image from it and cut it out on this machine.
Do the card thingy included in the kit. Then yeah, do some vinyl stickers. Don't be intimidated by it. You don't even have to get super creative. Design Space lets you input any image. So go find some stickers you like, and right click save lol. You ingest it in DS, and then it will clean up and convert them. You will quickly get what it wants to see after a few tries, and be able to get results good enough to cut. Obviously don't sell stickers you make in this manner, but it is a quick way to get a hang off it.

I had to make differential gasket/shims for a WPL crawler. Instead of going through taking measurements then designing it in cad, I put the differential on my scanner bed. Took a couple tries and I got a good scan by backlighting it, but once I had it... Took me a little more time to clean it up. It was a complex shaped gasket though, and it fit on the first try.

My point is, I am also cad challenged. This machine is simple as it was originally designed for home crafters and scrapbookers. I have not only figured out how to utilize it for its original intended purposes, but I frequently come up with projects and odd chores for it. I am actually wearing a t-shirt I made using it right now.
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Dec 12, 2020, 09:37 PM
I'm a balsa butcher
I bought a 5w Eleksmaker laser last year. Not the fastest thing but it will cut 3mm ply with a few laps and will cut 3mm balsa in one pass. Directed air assist is the key. You need lots of it and finely directed. I use a blunt end long needle pointed directly at the beam spot on the material and a good quality air pump. On 3mm ply I run at about 500mm/min and one pass per mm of material + one extra pass. If it doesn’t cut through a exacto blade run on the back side will cut any strands. The kerf is less than the blade and I get very little charring. Balsa is a piece of cake and I can run up to 750mm/min on 1mm.
Dec 13, 2020, 05:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by udlman
I bought a 5w Eleksmaker laser last year. Not the fastest thing but it will cut 3mm ply with a few laps and will cut 3mm balsa in one pass. Directed air assist is the key. You need lots of it and finely directed. I use a blunt end long needle pointed directly at the beam spot on the material and a good quality air pump. On 3mm ply I run at about 500mm/min and one pass per mm of material + one extra pass. If it doesn’t cut through a exacto blade run on the back side will cut any strands. The kerf is less than the blade and I get very little charring. Balsa is a piece of cake and I can run up to 750mm/min on 1mm.
Sounds similar to the Ortur in terms of wattage and cutting ability. I've only been using my for engraving as i don't yet have air assist hooked up. Without the air you end up with a burnt mess. So i'm holding off on that until i get my air thing figured out. As to engraving it is doing a great job on wood, canvas, and leather. The smell of burnt leather is terrible but the results and very satisfying.
Glad your liking your machine. I chose diode over co2 due to complexities involved with a co2 setup. Endurance Lasers makes a 10 or 15 watt (true) diode laser that i want to upgrade to in the future. 6 or 700 bucks but the extra power makes cutting a lot easier. By the time i get ready for one, they will probably be down to 2 or 300 bucks, lol
Dec 16, 2020, 06:36 PM
Neophyte hacker
portablevcb's Avatar
For CAD challenged...

Don't think of it that way. All you need is a vector graphics program (for most of these) that will write to the proper format for your machine/CAM software (if you need Gcode). I used Corel Draw a lot, but, something like Inkscape works just fine (it exports dxf files).

If you can find plans that were done in CAD then it is pretty simple. Import the file and select an object (like a rib) that you want to cut. Save it to a separate file. Move it where you want it cut on the 'wood'. Send it to the laser.

Many pdf plans are images and won't cut as is. Still a simple (but more time consuming) process. Import a plan and trace over a simple part, like a rib. Then save it to a file. Position where you want it to cut on the wood. Send it to the laser or your laser software. Cut it.

Pretty soon you will be doing block saves, rotations, efficient nesting, etc.

charlie
Dec 16, 2020, 06:52 PM
Entropy is happening!
Jim.Thompson's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by portablevcb
For CAD challenged................
There is a choice here; stay "challenged", or learn one of the many open source free CAD programs available.
I must have been close to 70 years of age when I first started learning LibreCad, which I discarded a bit later.
I now use, and very much value, QCad 2D. I have Linux Mint on my computer, but I expect that there are Microsoft versions of Qcad.
I have yet to find an application in my designing building for 3D CAD, but if I ever do, I will start to learn one such as FreeCad.

Quote:
............................ All you need is a vector graphics program .................................
charlie
What is this please Charlie?
Dec 16, 2020, 07:42 PM
If it flies, I can crash it.
rocketsled666's Avatar
Image drawings come in two basic formats - bitmap (like a BMP or JPG), and vector. In a bitmap, a picture of a circle would be composed of pixels that approximate the shape (try drawing a circle by filling in the squares of a sheet of graph paper). The vector version is an "object", the circle is represented by a data structure that describes the center and diameter.

When a laser cutter tries to cut a bitmap, the edges are jaggy because the bitmap is an approximation of the shape. When a laser cutter tries to cut a vector, the edges are smooth without jagginess because the path of the laser is calculated to follow the path of the actual circle.
Dec 16, 2020, 07:57 PM
Entropy is happening!
Jim.Thompson's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by rocketsled666
Image drawings come in two basic formats - bitmap (like a BMP or JPG), and vector..................
Ok. So, just completing your sentence, then a .dxf file would be a "vector drawing", is this correct?
Dec 16, 2020, 09:22 PM
If it flies, I can crash it.
rocketsled666's Avatar
Correct. And the advantage of a vector format is that the lines are all parametric, so when you feed the drawing to a CAM program so you can laser cut it or machine it or print it, the resolution of the print is limited by the machine and not by the drawing. If you had something in bitmap format that looked good and you zoomed it way up, it wouldn't look good anymore.

The letter A on the left is vector and will scale to any size and still look the same. The letter A on the right is bitmap and it already looks crappy even though it hasn't been scaled very much at all.

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Dec 16, 2020, 11:17 PM
Neophyte hacker
portablevcb's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim.Thompson
Ok. So, just completing your sentence, then a .dxf file would be a "vector drawing", is this correct?
Yes. Where it gets confusing is the pdf format (and other similar file types). Pdf files can contain vector graphics as well as bitmapped pictures. Other vector formats include dwg (Autocad native 2D) and the various 3d formats. There are also several bitmapped formats.

A laser will use the raster mode (back and forth) when you sent it a bitmapped image. Takes a long time and the cutting is not as efficient as following a vector path.

A vector graphics program is something like Inkscape, Corel Draw or Adobe Illustrator when used to do line art (vs using the 'paint brush' tools). You can even use something like Microsoft Powerpoint to make vector drawings. A graphics program that is not vector is something like Paint, which produces bitmapped graphics (also called raster graphics).

And, yes, you can overcome any challenge if you want. I've learned how to use a couple dozen different CAD programs over the past 35 years. Some are a lot more friendly than others. There is definitely a different 'path' to creating a computer drawing than when putting pencil to paper.

charlie
Dec 16, 2020, 11:30 PM
Entropy is happening!
Jim.Thompson's Avatar
Thanks Rocket and Charlie.
Dec 16, 2020, 11:46 PM
Registered User
Lightburn is the software for laser engraving/burning and it only cost 40 bucks. With it you can import pdf, jpeg, dxf......a whole herd of stuff and burn any of those formats. The trace command works really good at turning rastor images into vector files, then your good to go.
S3D for 3d printing was also a good investment even at 150 bucks. Version 5 should be coming out soon......hopefully.


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