Proofgrade Material: Maple Veneer Inlay Letter on Walnut Plywood

Gorgeous! I would like to try that as well.


Wow, what a beautiful concept!

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Every darn day, more projects get added to my list! I’m gonna need to retire to find the time to do everything …


My mother is 96, and she continues to say, “I’m too busy to retire.” :older_woman: - Rich


OpenSCAD wins! It took longer for me to update my old Ubuntu 12.04 and get everything ready than it took to install OpenSCAD, write the script and export it.

In this case a GUI/WYSIWYG interface is just too much icing and sprinkles. I can write a script that will do the whole alphabet in one render in OpenSCAD. Thanks so much @palmercr. I had done a little work with OpenSCAD before and it is so efficient and quick. It’s like LaTeX for document formatting or Lilypond for music engraving or vim or emacs. Keyboard entry can be so fast.

Here is an upper case M in the font Museo.
I do want to learn the CAD programs and have been working with OnShape, but for this use case, I can get the whole alphabet done very quickly in any font.


Thanks for that great tutorial - which program were you using to create it?

My experience with CNC mills taught me the importance of designing for “tool radius” but it really hadn’t sunk in that the laser has a radius when designing for fitted parts.

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Something weird about images in Discourse viewed with Cyberfox. As I scroll up and down the M changes in width. Sometimes it gets stretched right across the white canvas of the post, other times is is just a little wider than the A.

Don’t know if this is helpful at all.

Re: Image Corruption (Sometimes) With Latest Cyberfox

Postby Toady » Sun Mar 15, 2015 11:37 pm

Hakker wrote:
Beta 5 seems to resolve the issue at this time, but not tested it really long yet so I will keep using it to see if it returns, but so far it looks that the fix is working.

In terms of drivers I use the latest Nvidia drivers, but in general acceleration seems to behave better now than with 36.x as I found it produced slight scrolling sync issues as well which is gone in 37 beta as well.

Yeah x64bit hardware acceleration can have issues with some updates or change in the browser, Glad it appears to be resolved in the next update. :smiley:

From here:

purely out of curiosity, why do you use a variant instead of the official firefox (or chrome)?

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Just a caution to anyone reading this and wondering would OpenSCAD be right for me? OpenSCAD is a programming language for creating 3D and 2D shapes. You write lines of code, render and see what happens. It is great for me and for others, but if you aren’t comfortable with writing code you may be better off starting with one of the other 3D modeling software packages discussed on the forums.


How true. I only know enough to use @palmercr’s sketch and tweak the inputs. Since I’m just doing simple shapes and not making double helix screws to be milled on some CNC machine, it has some great potential and that’s why I’d like it. Since my compass rose parts are all geometric shapes that are repeatable, I like the idea of making the darts this way for exactness. I was not happy the way Inkscape worked. There are some parametric aspects to Inkscape that I should be using, but I tend to use it as a drawing program.

One thing is that OpenSCAD is open source, so that is a big plus. And through OnShape and Fusion 360 are available with non-cost options, their overhead for learning has been steep for me. In the end doing a full CAD will be the best for me to learn for all the different things I want to accomplish. But OpenSCAD has a simplicity for simple items that sure helps.


I use it on 64 bit machines because it has a 64 bit distribution and seems a bit faster than Firefox or Chrome.

Makes sense.
I just realized that I didn’t look close enough at the support ticket that I posted above… I saw March 15th and thought “wow, that’s today, a recent post will be helpful”.
Shouldn’t have read so fast. was march 15, 2015.

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That is Autocad. If you have CNC mill experience it does help to think of the laser beam as a tiny round end mill. You don’t have to worry about climb cutting though or wood grain direction.


Thanks. So much. You did a some fine detective work there figuring out I to do this. It isn’t quite clear at first to me.

Edit: even though node edit is clearly pointed out in the illustration. I guess I am not a visual learner.:grin:

I worked through the tutorial. After a few failures I thought about what you mean for “edit mode”. That language you used may be clear to some but it does not reflect the operation as it is named in the Inkscape UI.

Since I have been used to being able to get the two paths of ellipses and rectangles just by having the object selected, I assumed that’s what you meant when in fact you meant “node edit mode”. Since you do not need to be in “node edit mode” to turn an object to a path or a stroke to path normally. And you can actually do it without being in node edit for text, but it takes a few extra clicks.

There is no feature called “edit mode” in Inkscape. There is however the tool “edit paths by nodes (F2 shortcut)”.

This works best when the nodes are visible. You can do it with only the selection tool, but it takes a couple more stroke to paths and break apart commands.

That is a fascinating difference. You might tweak the tutorial to clarify that it the path nodes should be visible for editing. Here is a screen shot: right before converting stroke to path.

And here is one after breaking them apart.

I’ll think through this a bit more to talk about just how to do the path widths to reflect the reality of the laser kerf. So if you begin by making that stroke 014" and then do the conversion to path and break apart and then window select the whole letter and change the path width to .007", then you should have a workable letter.

I’ll test that out in real life with some Proofgrade ply and veneer to double check those measurements

Thanks so much!


@Jules is one of the bestest , Neh

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Just shot you a PM with a couple of explanations @marmak3261. It would confuse the kaka out of anyone who hadn’t read the earlier tutorials, so I’m taking it off the main boards for now. If you have further questions, I’ll be happy to answer them off board.

Ehhhh…not so sure about that… :wink:


I am still blown away at how this community just jumps to help each other! So much so that you’ve inspired someone outside of the forum to write up a guide to help with this inkscape inlay challenge. While we usually don’t do this, we thought that it would be immensely helpful and the solution was so elegantly written that we couldn’t keep this great nugget for ourselves! This could be a great tutorial piece too :wink: A big thank you to Kristen!

Here it is:

Paths in Inkscape

You can edit text in Outline Mode if the text has been converted to a path. There are two methods I am familiar with that allow you to generate these paths.

Path > Object to Path (creates path along the stroke)

  1. Create text.
  2. With the text selected, go to Path > Object to Path.
  3. Visually, the text might look the same, but if you view it in Outline Mode, you will be able to see the paths. If you’d like to see paths in Normal Mode, add stroke and remove the fill. If necessary, adjust the stroke width.

Path > Stroke to Path (creates path around the stroke)

  1. Create text.
  2. Add stroke.
  3. Remove fill.
  4. If you’d like, change the width of the stroke.
  5. Path > Stroke to path.
  6. Visually, the text might look the same, but if you view it in Outline Mode, you will be able to see the paths. If you’d like to see the paths in Normal Mode, add stroke and remove the fill. If necessary, adjust the stroke width so you can see the paths.
  7. If you’d like, you can break it apart (Path > Break Apart) to delete parts, or select specific parts and combine (Path > Combine) those.

You can combine these methods to create your own outset (one that isn’t rounded out like you would get if you used the Offset or Outset tools)

  1. Create text; make it the size you want.
  2. Convert that text to path (Path > Object to Path).
  3. Duplicate (Ctrl+D) the object you just created.
  4. The duplicate copy should be selected. Add stroke and change it to another color (like red) so you can see it.
  5. Remove fill.
  6. Change the width of the stroke to a value that is double your desired outset; since you want an outset of .005, change the stroke width to .01
  7. Convert stroke to path (Path > Stroke to path). Note: If it doesn’t work, reselect the object with the Node Tool (skinny arrow) and try again. Remember to change back to the Selector Tool (normal arrow) when finished.
  8. Break the piece apart (Path > Break Apart). You will be able to see the paths in Outline Mode. To see the paths in Normal Mode, add stroke and remove the fill; if necessary, adjust the stroke width and color so you can see the paths.
  9. Select the pieces that make up the outset and Combine (Path > Combine).
  10. Delete pieces you no longer need.
  11. You should end up with two objects: one that is the path of your original text, and one that is the outset of that path.


This pool of creative intellect really is impressive. Throw your problem on the table, and either a solution is at hand or the forum will conspire to hammer one out!

Thanks for the tut! :sunglasses: