PDF printing

@Dan, quick question, I note that you can use PDF as a source. One question is whether this is possible: In an academic lab we sometimes (if we are really lucky, and my lab has been) publish a really seminal paper, and currently we send it off to be shellacked onto a wood frame to be hung in the conference rooms. Will it be possible to take a piece of wood (say proof grade maple) and send the first page of the paper directly onto the wood to engrave it? I realize picking the covering paper off will be painful, but that would make really cool internal gifts when someone got a big paper published.


Obviously not Dan but from a technical perspective, there’s no reason why this couldn’t be done.

A couple of caveats, however: PDF is an extremely versatile format, and sometimes text gets saved as “proper” text - that is, essentially vector-based, and sometimes it gets saved as a bitmap. The laser shouldn’t have any problem with either case, but I suspect the vector-based text would result in a cleaner, quicker engraving (just based on lasers I’ve used in the past).

Additionally, just based on how the laser works, you might need to make it slightly bigger than say an actual 8.5 x 11 inch sheet, just to guarantee legibility.


Yes the PDF from journals are embedded text not bitmap (I painfully know how PDFs work internally as I wrote the PDF generation code for our electronic health record…). There can of course be bitmaps inside of the PDF.

As an example here was a quick case report I published (it’s published in the Tunisian Medical Society journal [long story - but it’s the only journal I can post due to copyright], hence the french and english - and there is even an arabic version of the abstract too, but luckily that’s a separate PDF, since arabic in PDFs is so screwy due to the ligature management). This is certainly not a seminal paper, and given it is Tunisian the usual copyright does not apply like a US/EU based journal, so I can post, but it is a good example of the kind of thing…

Cannonball through the chest.pdf (181.6 KB)


In other threads they have had tremendous luck using Gaffers tape to pick up all those annoying little pieces of paper you mentioned. I’m sure some of the medical tape you have access to might work just as well.


Great thought. I have rolls of gaffers tape (ex-roadie and legendary halloween parties).


Okay, with a title like that you just know we have to follow the link :slightly_smiling_face:

Tuberculosis and its impact on the aortic arch, not so much.


While we await Dans reply,
I enjoyed reading the paper. :nerd_face: Deal with TB cases way more than I care. There have been several times when I’ve seen the dreaded email from employee health informing me that one of our previous pts. was found to have TB. Once, it was a Resident. Every one was wondering why he disappeared before the end of his rotation then we got the email telling us we had to have TB titer done due to exposure…

I hate when that happens…:neutral_face:


The general public (of which I am a member), have a difficult time grasping the amazing and comprehensive work that goes into public health and keeping an eye out for the public good. Lots of heroes who are protecting us each and every day from all that is lurking. Too bad the public doesn’t cooperate as much as it should! To all the health care workers, thanks so much for what you do!


While it has since been updated, my old plotter software did not see embedded text, so for a PDF file with text like this I would pop it into AI and convert the text to outlines.

Your posted PDF did not like that operation: it gave me placeholder text objects.
I then opened it in Preview (i’m on a mac) and hit ‘export as PDF’.
AI liked that one, so I selected all & converted to outlines.

Note, I do not get lines or blocks of text, each letter seems to be it’s own, separate, text object (both the original and the exported version).

The second one would be usable by my plotter, so i think it would be useable by the glowforge as well.


You know, the vagaries of PDF formats has not really seen much discussion on the forum. It is probably one that many users will be most familiar with who haven’t done any vector or raster art. Something I’ve book marked.

There is a lot of good advice here. TL;DR: should work, if it doesn’t, it’s a bug. Importing and re-saving would likely work around such a problem.


Actually try placing the PDF in a blank page in illustrator making sure it is linked. Then go to Object/Flatten 100% vector and outline text. I haven’t tried it with this particular PDF but this has worked for me in the past. Just a tip that might help in the future :hugs:


A tip for outlining type in acrobat. Find the watermark tool and add a “watermark” with 0% opacity. It doesn’t matter what it says. I usually just use the letter “r” and make it 1pt in size. Then find the “flattener preview” and check “convert all text to outlines”, apply and ok. Now your fonts have been converted to outline.
Make sure and do this to a copy of your file since the live text can’t be gotten back.
I hope this might help someone in the future.


One of my mentors told me if you can get away with it, use bolder titles than the usual boring paper titles. So I did. Although for the arabic translation of this paper, there was a 5 way argument of the appropriate word for cannonball in the office…


I trained at Bellevue where we had an entire TB floor. At bellevue the assumption is your patient has TB, so nobody converted in the 10 years I worked there (we also walked around with N95 masks in our white coats)

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