Engraving Text from Illustrator

What is the best/easiest way to make a text file in Illustrator to import into the GF to engrave? I have very little idea of what I’m doing and don’t know how to set .svg files just right for the GF. This is like the 3rd thing I’m trying to print/engrave.

The important SVG settings are to set Fonts/Type to “Convert to Outline”, Image Location to “Embed”, Decimal Places to 4, and turn off Responsive. I also suggest setting CSS Properties to “Presentation Attributes”.

Personally, for anything I’m going to engrave, I like to select it and choose Object > Rasterize, set the Resolution to 600 ppi and Background to Transparent. This will turn the vector into a raster. The reason for doing this is to not depend on the Glowforge app to properly interpret the SVG, since we’ve seen a few cases where it gets things wrong or at least different from what you’re seeing in Illustrator. Keep in mind that if you do this, the artwork is no longer editable, so you may want to save a copy. If you’re really fancy, you can apply a Rasterize effect instead and it will get rasterized on save, but remain editable.

5 Likes

If you choose to keep it as a vector rather than rasterizing it, you will need to select all the letters of Carters and use the Pathfinder… Unite command on it. Otherwise it will not engrave anywhere the letters overlap and your output will look wonky.

Also, a gentle word of advice (sorry, I just can’t help it): unless this is intentionally a possessive form, I suggest losing the apostrophe (I know, I know, grammar police and all, but if you’re doing this for hire you will thank me later).

6 Likes

Getting through the Tips and Tricks section is a challenge at times but the search function reveals a bunch of good tips.

https://community.glowforge.com/search?q=illustrator%20text%20category%3A16

Perhaps you need to understand the file saving process a bit since it can be troublesome. There have been some debates about the difference between export and save as SVG. Try not to get too bogged down in issues that might be most relevant to a small subset of designs. (Hence @chris1’s practice of saving as a raster avoid some sizing problems.)

2 Likes

@cynd11 I’m going to go ahead and thank you now: THANK YOU!! Good looking out! It’s not for hire but I’m about to print a bunch of gifts and that would have been embarrassing/unfortunate.

@chris1 Thank you so much. I couldn’t find/figure out a lot of your suggestions in the first paragraph…so I just did Type > Create Outlines, then skipped to Object > Rasterize and was able to find all the settings in your 2nd paragraph. I do not care about being able to edit later…It’s so easy to retype up a word or two. The image below is my test print/engrave before and after sanding. I don’t know if the edges would turn out a little less “pixel-y” if I were able to find the right settings or not. I also don’t know if it’s better to cover the board with painters tape and peel off instead of needing to sand after. I’m VERY new here. (I’m in AI 2020) :slight_smile:

@marmak3261 Thanks! I tried Googling/searching the forum but I was getting even more confused! Thanks for the svg file saving link.

7 Likes

The edges are likely a function of either high speed or low lines per inch. Was this maybe like 170 lines per inch, or a draft setting? You’ll notice it more on curves generally.

A couple of ways to improve it. One would be to increase the lines per inch, which will obviously take longer to engrave.

The second way would require engraving it as a vector (so no rasterizing), but, you would make a duplicate copy of your text once it’s all set up and ready directly on top of the original text (outlines made, and pathfinder > unite if it has elements that overlap), remove the fill color and give it a stroke color. In the Glowforge app, set that operation to score. This will basically create an outline of your text and really clean up the edges. The advantage of this method is that you can still use the lower LPI to save time, as long as you’re happy with how the engrave looks in overall quality.

3 Likes

It depends. If you have to sand anyway it is often easier to just engrave and then sand everything. If the board is already finished, then mask it before engraving. If your engraving will leave a lot of tiny islands, that may easily break, I’d finish the board first, mask and engrave.

If you are going to mask your own material a lot, I’d check out signwarehouse for masking materials. They sell masking tapes in wide widths. The paper-backed transfer tape is laser safe. The clear transfer tapes may or may NOT be laser safe. It depends on whether the clear backing contains chlorine or not.

3 Likes