CAD Model to useable File to Laser Etch Image

I have been trying to find a way to get our Model exported to a format that can be used to Laser Etch the image to a plaque. I have tried to Export an ISO view of the model from a drawing as a PDF and DXF.

Importing the PDF into Inkscape results in a file with WAY TO MANY vectors for the app to generate the GCODE. It seems that every edge and rivet creates a vector. What I’m looking for is a process to take the model and create a good enough but simple vector image to etch the model onto the Board. What tricks might you know?

My Laser is an OpenBuilds WorkBee running GBRL on the OB Black Box.

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For context, can we see the PDF you’re trying to import?
(Both to help and become we want to see your robot :slight_smile: )

Does it have to be a vector? If your laser can do a raster engraving that would be ideal and that’s how we do ours.

If vector is the only option you can try to find a simplified output from your CAD software in the typically in the view tab. If you plan to vector cut every detail it will also take quite a while I’d think.

ETA:. This is what we do with ours typically. Both Onshape and Inventor offer the ability to download an image of your file and with a plain background engraving is incredibly simple.

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That looks really good. What material is that?

It is the 2 layer acrylic from Inventables for engraving. We use the 1/16 panel and have loved it for five it six years now

2017 Robot.pdf (169.9 KB) 2018 Robot.pdf (296.1 KB) 2019 Robot.pdf (231.5 KB) 2020 Robot.pdf (91.3 KB) 2021 Plaque.pdf (1.0 MB) 2021 Robot.pdf (350.6 KB)

Sure These are the Robots I wish to bring in. They have never been complete models but to a member of the team they will see the Robot in the image. Usually the CAD on our team get the concepts fit on the Base but rarely can be sent to a machine shop for manufacturing.

I’ll Look into this

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For inventor: Choose “Save as > Save Copy As > BMP (Save as BMP, PNG or TIFF)”, click the “Options” button and enter the desired resolution - at least 2000 pixels in both directions for high resolution (maximum is 10000 pixels for width and height). The resulting high resolution raster image file will have many megabytes, but it can be compressed well, or converted to other raster formats.

In Onshape I just use the “Print > Download Image” option and it seems to work just fine as long as you remember to turn off your planes and origin first.

Our Files are in Fusion 360 and Older are in Inventor. I look at this solution closer.

We draw our stuff in corel draw. Usually convert to bitmap and out to our epilog laser. I think if you can get it to a bit map it should be fine. Not sure about your particular laser or its software.

Software I found was LightBurn.
Free 30day trial > has my $40

The attached is the laser @ 20% 15% and 10% on cardboard. I can easily delete vectors in Lightburn where I feel there it too much detail.


Does converting to a bitmap make a noticeable change in quality? We often engrave using the raster setting in the print driver for our Epilog and haven’t had issues, but I am always curious about better methods to use.

It depends on the image. Converting to a bit map is an easy way to make sure the background is transparent. If the background isn’t transparent sometimes you can get an unwanted very light burn in places.

Do you use a PNG then? BMP doesn’t support transparency for backgrounds to my knowledge.

@cpapplefamily, those look great if they are all vector cut images. How long does that file take to run?

Sorry for the delayed response. I ended up using the free trial then eventually buying LightBurn. LB can import a pdf witch in this case was the simplest. Only thing the resulting vector has MANY extra paths I ended up manually deleting these extra paths result in darker areas. Since the final image is so small I had to artistically remove details.

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