Will you be able to use multiple files simultaneously?

qa

#1

Would you be able to upload multiple files, and then have them all cut/engraved in the same run? Like, say, I have a base vector file for cutting out the overall product, as well as an additional bitmap file to do custom engraving, would the Glowforge be able to do both files within the same run? If not, that would definitely be a nice feature, as you wouldn’t have to either change the base file or do multiple jobs to get to the same point.


#2

Good question. One of the old-school holdovers in Trotec’s job control software is job plates, which allow you to place multiple files on the same work-space and engrave them in one run. Based on what I’ve seen so far of how the GF software works, it would be pretty easy to support multiple files in the same run for a UX perspective: If you can drag and drop one file you might as well do more. (Oh hey GF! If you need a UX dude with a bunch of laser, hardware, and software design experience to beta test and evaluate your software give me a ring!)

I’ve been holding out on a laser purchase for a long time. I could have bought a Chinese laser a while ago and suffered through a miserable software experience on a dedicated PC, but I didn’t because that’s awful. I’m most excited for the software experience that GF has presented, it’s far above everything else out there, plus I don’t have build a whole windows PC just to run it.


#3

Since the software isn’t finalized yet, it’s hard to say, but most descriptions and demos to date suggest (to me) that each job will work from a single file.

My (non-GF) workflow has been to use a vector-editing application like Adobe Illustrator or Inkscape (free!) and bring in multiple vector and bitmap files as separate layers. If you make each layer in the combined file a different color, then the laser software will allow you to apply different settings to each one. For instance, cut black lines at X power and Y speed, but engrave all blue areas at Z power and Q dpi resolution, etc…

Everything I’ve seen so far seem to confirm that this will work for GF, too.


#4

@dwardio Cool! If layer colors could be used for engraving passes at different intensities I can already see the posibilities of creating almost soft blended engravings, by patiently creating the layers from 256 shades of gray images. Think “bump map” =D

Now, the Million Dollar Question is;
How can it cut a paper that has been previously printed with colors by a regular inkjet printer (i.e. how can it, for example, be told to precisely cut just the outlines of the unfolded dice on this paper?: http://screenshots.en.sftcdn.net/en/scrn/45000/45170/pepakura-designer-7.jpg )


#5

@johan – Again, from what I’ve seen in the demo and open-house videos, this should be simplicity itself! The overhead camera will take a picture of the material - in this case your die - and allow you to use a “magic wand/lasso” tool (in Photoshop/Illustrator terms) to select the the region around it. The tool automagically™ selects the outer border for the cut. Unless you tell it otherwise, it ignores the interior, so you color print would be untouched. Voila - custom printed/cut dice!

BTW, Dan has mentioned in many other threads that gray-scale engraving is on the to-do list! Perhaps noteworthy, the laser driver will supposedly use a 256-value setting for power, instead of the “traditional” X watts or Y percent settings used by Rabbit, Epilog, etc.


#6

This is awesome information!

And, if the 256 value settings can be implemented I can see the Glowforge do another revolutionary thing by poking it’s lil fingers into traditional CNC territory!

Thank you dwardio! =D