K40 Laser - Entry 9: Successful Test of Art from Illustrator
Success! I found one of my existing Illustrator files to use as a test subject - what else but a salmon. The file is first exported from Illustrator as a .svg format. Next, I placed it onto a thumbdrive to import it to the "laser" computer, the one I have decided to keep offline and use only to drive the laser.
From there the .svg file is loaded into Inkscape, an open source vector graphics program to convert it to Laserdrw file. The file(s) is/are next loaded into Laserdraw, the software provided with the laser.
There are two files: one for a vector engraving of the details, like the fin rays and gills, and a second that is the vector cutting. I exported these as two separate files as I do not believe that Laserdrw supports layers. I was worried that the two files would not align, but they did! the above image is 3mm birch plywood. I don't recall the exact power and speed settings, but I'll post them as a progress. I have opted to stay with this software combination for now. I attempted to install Wood Whisperer, a free laser cutter software, but I could not get it to function properly. There would be advantages to this software, namely not having to do so many steps. I'll save a reinstall attempt for a moment when I am a little more daring.
Here is the final version cut and engraved from 3mm mdf. Perhaps a little too much burning, but a real solid first real try. Maybe an adjustment of the "Z" axis is in order. Now that I have a degree of confidence with the machine, I will begin some upgrades. I'll most likely begin with the exhaust system since that appears to be the weakest, and I don't want to continue to stink up the house.