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laser Text software
« on: October 13, 2013, 08:09:59 AM »
Hi I have built an 80 watt CO2 laser running off Mach3

I have a project to laser engrave 1000's of small name plates , the text data I have been given  is populated in an excel spread sheet.

Does any one know of a software that imports excel text to a raster based Gcode so I can run off Mach3, I could convert all to one raster  image but this would take hours to engrave .I noticed  Epilog software only converts the test to raster which reduces engraving time !

Any suggestions on what software is used with Mach 3 with a laser for small text only label engraving?
 
regards Peter  

Offline Tweakie.CNC

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Re: laser Text software
« Reply #1 on: October 13, 2013, 11:58:25 AM »
Hi Peter,

Welcome to the forum and my congratulations on constructing your own laser operating under Mach3 control.

Do you need to do just single line engraving or reproduce a particular typeface (font) ?

Tweakie.
KEEP SAFE !
Re: laser Text software
« Reply #2 on: October 13, 2013, 05:50:46 PM »
Hi Tweakie
thanks for the reply , the labels are very small and each have a one line unique ID number ,with a true type font. I am intending to do them on a full sheet 1200 x 600 in gravoply , rowmark , traffolyte etc.

as their are 1000's time is the issue

regards peter

Offline Tweakie.CNC

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Re: laser Text software
« Reply #3 on: October 14, 2013, 03:33:47 AM »
Hi Peter,

Unfortunately Excel is probably not the best data base to be starting from as it does not save or export text in a suitable or easy format for subsequent GCode creation.
I think your easiest option may be to use a software such as F-Engrave (free) http://www.scorchworks.com/Fengrave/fengrave.html which already contains some single line (stick) fonts as well as being able to import most Windows fonts (TTF) to create your GCode tool paths but, as you have said, it will take some time but ‘copy & paste’ may be of some benefit here.
The 1 line (stick) fonts will be the quickest to vector engrave but you may also want to consider the 2 or 3 line fonts for a better appearance (at the expense of machine run-time). The ‘outline and fill’ type of tool path is extremely slow by comparison but may be necessary if you ever consider large sized text.

Over the years I have tried many different methods of laser engraving text and to obtain a particular typeface or font raster engraving has proved to be the best and the quickest overall method but...
Mach3 (as opposed to DSP and similar motion controllers) has not been designed for raster engraving but by using the 'Impact Laser Engraving plugin' (thereby dispensing with the necessity to generate GCode) excellent results can be achieved.
There are two obstacles to be overcome here – firstly, converting your desired text into a .jpg (preferable) or .bmp format and secondly, learning to use the plugin with your laser.

If you are going to use engraving laminates then I think you need to use the ‘laser friendly’ types, which are basically coloured, laminated, acrylic. These are quick and easy to use, do not contain any PVC, but may only be available in smaller size sheets (unless you buy in bulk).

Hope this helps.

Tweakie.
KEEP SAFE !
Re: laser Text software
« Reply #4 on: October 14, 2013, 07:43:52 PM »
Hi Tweakie
Yep helpful response <the gantry I built works with servo motors and they have been fine PID tuned so I can get a very fast rapid feedrate with little over shoot , so Raster rather than vector would be the way to go , however , spending most of the day yesterday trying to find suitable software suitable hit a few dead ends , so I think the best option is to buy a chinese DSP like MPC6252 or AWC68 from China
regards peter