Engraving vector lines?

I’m having a serious brain-cramp this afternoon… I’m trying to set up a vector engrave file with a simple projected cube:

Obviously, I could just export it as a PNG and engrave from that, but I’ve been trying to keep everything vector-based to allow for scaling.

I’ve collected all the lines and used the outline setting in AI’s Pathfinder, but when I try to set the SVG to engrave, It shows nothing in the UI (no inherent width in the vectors and not a closed path, I presume):

So… join everything together and I get this:

Am I asking too much from an SVG file in this case? I can always re-scale and export as a bitmap at the appropriate resolution, but I feel I’m missing something pretty basic.

Please be gentle. :innocent:


An SVG should be able to represent that but it isn’t a closed path. It could be two closed squares and four open lines.

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I had that in my original design and it rendered in the ui as two right triangles when set to engrave…

Shouldn’t you be setting it to score rather than engrave?


That’s what I ended up doing, was just wondering if there was another way to skin this particular cat.


IANAGFO but I think if you want the lines to be a single kerf wide score then you want score. If you want them to be engraved wider as a raster then you probably want either a png image or a vector drawing where each line is actually made by a closed path around the outside of it.

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Pretty sure you need to select all of the lines and then use Object > Expand > Appearance.

Give that a try and see if it doesn’t turn into fill for engraving. (And turn off the stroke color afterwards.)

It will leave an engravable filled shape that looks like a bunch of overlapping lines.


For clarity, this is what you are hoping the output would be? No shading, etc., right?

Agree with @palmercr that it should be a score; I don’t see the purpose of an engrave and sending the head back and forth a minute amount to accomplish this one?

Pathfinder can create some cattywampus results to the underlying structure of a vector depending on the function performed, was it grouped or not grouped beforehand, etc.

SVG also has some shortcomings when exporting and uploading here to the web as far as WYSIWIG - are the 2 black squares a function of those shortcomings or what the file is actually doing?

actually you need to not overlap the lines where they cross or it will double score those spots (which will look weird). They should join but not overlap, so you don’t want simply 2 squares with lines between the corners or your paths will double cut at the overlaps.

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If you wanted to keep the vector itself intact without exporting to a raster image to get an engrave rather than a hairline score from a vector file, one could use the Object > Path > Outline Stroke

This is a vector line with a .25" stroke applied: (it’s selected in the screenshot so you can see the blue selection line - representing that it’s just a line with a stroke applied)

This was a vector line with a .25" stroke applied that Outline Stroke was used on.


AI wouldn’t allow me to use the “Expand Appearance” option. Expand… itself didn’t give me any other options. :confounded:

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Oh, just use Object > Expand then…they’re interchangeable.


Second time’s the charm… don’t know why the Expand dialog didn’t show up the first time, but it worked this time. Perfect — just what I needed.

Thank you!!!


Great! (and my pleasure) :relaxed:

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That worked, too… Thanks!

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Agreed - and I don’t know the best way to do this for a 2D representation of a 3D object.

Careful use of the scissors to clip paths that overlap?

One of the worst or best things, depending upon your perspective, about Adobe products is there is usually a few different ways to skin a cat.

A proper closed path representation for lines that have significant thickness (i.e. what a CAD package would produce) would look like this:

The blue paths define the inside and the outside. Would the GFUI accept a vector file in this format and engrave it correctly?

That’s why I didn’t want to continue to use scoring. :+1:

Compound path. I do it on occasion.


It’s easy enough to create it as a compound path and was my first thought and then the “what’s” started in my head. How are compound paths treated as far as tool pathing? And a compound path wouldn’t alleviate the issue of duplicating those areas where paths cross and you get multiple hits by the laser, right?