Now that I have a Tooli, I would like to have a small collection of “engraving” fonts. These are fonts that consist of strokes to create the letters rather than fills. (A good explanation of this is here.) The filled fonts don’t work very well with the CNC style tools, and are also less efficient when using lasers if you engrave the font rather than stroke the outline.
I found a few single line fonts from links in the above reference, but they don’t seem to work very well in Illustrator (they execute a stroke where the “pen” should be lifting). I’m aware that Inkscape has the Hershey Text extension which accomplishes this goal, but I’m really hoping I don’t have to download Inkscape just for that one function when I’m so used to using Illustrator.
I ran across a site of one-line fonts for sale, and they have a script font for $12.50. I have not ordered from them, and I can’t say whether their fonts are actually any good… or if they even work. I am under the impression that the TTF/OTF standards specifically do not allow unclosed paths (which is what a one-line engraver’s font would be if I understand correctly), so I’m a bit curious. I might try them out once my GF arrives, although I already own a fair number of fonts that include interior decoration which should work great for stroke-score.
I was going to suggest looking up some of the old monotypes that were included in early CAD systems before inkjet tech moved in and replaced the ol’ pen plotters, but they were not particularly artistic.
Although, “City Blueprint” was one that I always liked… hmm now I have to look that up… rabbit hole!!
unfortunately, while these all look like one line fonts, they don’t really work as such because of how TTF/OTF fonts work in AI and Inkscape. To use them as true one-line laser-scoring fonts, you will have to break them up and do a fair bit of node editing (or use a program that is able to break fonts / use broken fonts, such as certain CNC-engraving softwares).
*if you figure out a way to easily use these as one line fonts, please update the thread!
As I mentioned elsewhere, the CNC software VCarve Pro (vectric.com) has a collection of true 1-line fonts. I don’t know for sure, but their lower-functionality software (Cut2D Desktop) probably has the same functions and costs $149 (vs. $699 for VCarve Pro) and has a free trial available as well. If nothing else, you can probably download the trial of any of the Vectric software options, create some one-line text, export as SVG, and give it a try.
Flexi Sign&Print ($3,295) and Flexi Designer ($999) also handle one-line fonts, as do some other plotter-control softwares (might be called plotter-pen fonts, engraver’s fonts, technical lettering fonts). Not sure about the software that comes with the craft-cutters, but those might have some options too.
I found a fairly reliable script for AI that produces a one-line font. It only has one style (Ann), it’s missing certain non-letter glyphs, and has no real control over layout (it reads line breaks from the return key, but that’s about it). But it does work for some stuff, and is free.
The script is here, and still mostly works with the current AI CC release (there are occasional bugs).
Here is what I get from scrolling through the available one-line fonts in VCarve.
Nothing too fancy - and not sure why the Connecting Script does not really connect, but maybe this is a suitable set for some purposes? And not sure whether you can add any others to the collection.
I bought the Simple Sans Family typeface from onelinefonts and the first attempt worked like a charm. I’m using AI, I just positioned the text, hit Create Outline, and made sure that the “fill” was set to clear. I thought the font was broken at first, but that fill setting was just wrong for a single line. The GF didn’t have any issues. I used the proofgrade “score” setting. I’ll probably decrease the strength as the melting acrylic muddies the letters a bit at such a small size.
AI is still closing the shapes so that they aren’t actually one-line fonts anymore, even if they still look that way.
The laser spends about twice as much time on each letter as it would if AI didn’t close those shapes, which is at least part of the reason for the meltyness, and also why you are getting such wide lines from a focused score)
I don’t see why that’s much of an issue though, really. Knocking the power down a bit and having the lettering all scored twice is still a ton faster than an engrave would be, plus it would help the score be more visible. I’d much rather have the text just score twice than have to trace something and open it in multiple programs and then have it no longer editable as text, etc.