AI Help

So I took a look at your file and have a few thoughts. First of all, this figure would be much easier and less work to just create it from scratch in Illustrator. But I’m guessing this is just an example of something more complicated that you would have trouble doing in Illustrator, so, moving on.

The figure “5” consists of a number of closed and stroked, filled paths as well as open paths, that are arranged to form the letter. If your goal is to fill the letter 5 with a color and have a consistent one-piece stroke on either side then you have a lot of work to do.

First, there were at least two copies of the figure 5, which you can see in Outline view. Select the top one and move it aside and you will see another. Delete the top one.

What remains is a collection of closed and open paths.

The open paths can be linked to each other with the Join command, but you can’t link them to the closed paths. I guess what I would do is, using the Direct Selection tool (open arrow), select the end paths of each of the closed paths and delete them, then join the remaining pieces to the other open paths. Below I did that, then filled the inner path with a blue color:

But it’s a lot of work for something that still looks a bit choppy (all the curves are straight line segments for instance). If I were you I’d use a different workflow. Have you tried opening the DXF directly in Illustrator? It might give you better results.


Thank you @cynd11 !

The file was given to me by a firend to try something that he does on his CNC, which accounts for the dxf. I’d recreate it, but that would mean I’d need to have the same font he used, and I was trying to work with what he provided.

I will try importing the dxf into AI directly and see what it does.

Thanks again!

I imported the dxf via AI directly and it did make it somewhat easier. I am able to select and fill the letters and numbers.

The final problem I see is that letters with holes in them are not filling properly (o,a,p,e etc)…

For example I tried selecting the anchors in this “P” and then join them, however I cannot seem to get the center not to fill. I tried not selecting the inner hole in the P but then it fills the entire shape…Any ideas on how I can open those areas? Thanks again!

I am by no means an Illustrator expert, being completely self taught, but I think what I would do is first, delete that extra path that crosses the top of the P, then try the various Pathfinder options (like Delete Front or Delete Back) until you get what you want. The end result should be a compound path that has the inner figure punched out from the outer figure.

This was going to be my recommendation. In the long run though, I believe that the GF will interpret both paths to be filled. The GFUI reads a closed path as something to engrave within. So, even if you suibtract the center of the P, the GF will fill it. What I would do is a closed continuous path with a very small gap. See attached svg and screenshot of the GFUI interpretation. (543 Bytes)

@rpratt Won’t the engrave show that gap?

@rpratt If they were 2 seperate paths, I could likely color them differently and tell GF to ignore the inner circle path…Wouldn’t that work?

What I sent was for illustration purposes. I would narrow the gap to 1/100th of an inch or so and see what happens.

Then it would engrave the whole P, and not care about the hole in the P. You could cut out the hole if that’s an option.

@scampa123 here are two more images. In AI, I dragged the gap to 0", then uploaded into GFUI again.


@rpratt That’s an interesting nuance I’ll need to play with when my GF arrives.

I did get the workflow down for punching out the center hole:

Here is what seems to work for me:

  • Lasso select the center opening ->Join
  • Standard arrow select entire object
  • Shift select center opening to deselect ->Join
  • Select both the object and the center opening (send to back if needed)
  • Use Pathfinder use minus front Shape Mode

But based on what you’ve said I may not get the results I’m looking for in GF…

@scampa123 you may have taught me something today for non GF uses. I’m an architect by day and sometimes need to color, in Illustrator. The looping back is what I do for things like driveways or parking lots that have grass islands. Next time I’ll have to try the steps that you’ve listed.

Actually, the GFUI interprets a Filled path as something to be engraved, even if the fill color is white.

If you have a null-fill inside a closed shape, the GFUI will not engrave it. That’s why surrounded empty shapes have to be part of a Compound Path, with null fill in the center area, in order for the GFUI to interpret it correctly.

Subtracting the shape out to make an empty fill area is the correct way to do it. :slightly_smiling_face:

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@Jules, I stand corrected. I don’t understand it, but only because I haven’t tried it. I have saved the steps @scampa123 lists for the time I do.

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Oh, no worries…that’s how I tripped over everything with this machine! :smile:

I know the tutorials are kind of basic for folks who already have significant AI chops, but there’s one for designing for this machine that might save you some discovery time if you’re interested…you can just blow past the raster and vector descriptions to the specifics at the end of the tut… it’s good for a quick read-through just to know what the GFUI expects to see.


@rpratt I’m glad to have helped! I hope it works for the GF!

The easiest way to understand it, I think, would be to just type a letter - anything with a counter or a bowl (a, b, d, p, g, etc.), expand that letter (convert to outlines), and then take a look in the layers palette as to how it is constructed. You can release the compound path it creates to further see how it’s constructed.

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Jules, thanks to you, I did it. I can’t seem to find the emoji for patting myself on the back though.


I’ll pat you a bit…that looks sharp as a tack! :sunglasses::+1: