View Full Version : Corel pattern or Mercury driver problem

Jerry Allen
01-29-2005, 9:53 PM
I just ran into a problem today with Corel 12 and my Mercury when using a pattern fill. Previously I had used pattern fills on the edges of bowls with great results.
They were all filled straight, or linear circular designs around the edge of the bowl.
Since it looked so good I decided to attempt engraving a rifle stock which was fortunately mine and a cheap old K-mart 22. I should have done a trial on some scrap stock first, but did not.

Two problems occured (see photo below):
1) When filling an irregular polygon with a stock bitmap Corel Draw pattern, The pattern failed to stay within the boundry of the object and formed a rectangular pattern. In the photo, the pattern should be inside of the boundry which is for the handle of a rifle stock.
2) After a couple of failures and fiddling with some test plots, I attempted to fill an object with one of the stock PostScript patterns. for the most part the pattern stayed within the object boundries, but the finer lines only printed occasionally and at times plotted outside the object's boundry, although not as bad as in problem 1). You have to look closely to see what I'm talking about.

When doing a preview before plotting, everything looks fine, so I initially figured it must be the GCC driver. But really I have no idea what is causing the problem.

Any info/help would be appreciated.

Rodne Gold
01-30-2005, 12:56 AM
Could be the driver , see if there are any new ones at laserprousa. Try converting the filled area to a bitmap and laser the bitmap.

Matty McQuilkin
01-30-2005, 12:56 AM
I also have a mercury and it has always been a pain with Corel all versions.

Tried upgrading firmware and drivers. I always do a test on scrap cardboard saves a lot of wasted stock.

If you convert all your Corel files to a Bitmap before sending to the laser you should not have a problem.

Vector lines in Corel 12 have been a pain also. using hair line wont work 90% of the time with the mercury driver. But if you physically change the hairline to 0.003 it works every time.


George M. Perzel
01-30-2005, 9:43 AM
Hi Jerry;
Weird- tried the same thing on my Mercury unit and got the same results- not that I doubted you but I'm never surprised what can happen.
Tried it with various objects and noticed that the width of the output is the max width of the object-seems to ignore the actual shape of the object.
I did a fill on a polygon (7 sides), saved it as a bitmap and reimported it-engraved fine.
I have driver 3.42 and firmware 2.20-02.
As a side note, my number one fault is a confidence, based on almost 2 years experience, that I have the proper settings and don't need to test on a scrap piece- do it all the time and suffer the consequences most often than not.
Would be interested to hear if someone using Corel 12 with a different laser has the same problem.

George M. Perzel
01-30-2005, 9:47 AM
Forgot to mention that Corel 12 seems to accept the "hairline" setting for a vector-never had a problem with it since someone mentioned that it works on 12. As you said, had to manually set the dimension to .003 or less for it to work on previous Corel versions.

Jerry Allen
01-30-2005, 10:52 AM
Thanks for the suggestions folks. Sounds reasonable. The only thing is that when I convert vector art to bitmap it looks noticably worse on screen. It may be that I'm looking too closely and that it will actually print as well as vector art. I'll give it a try.

I use a couple of different drafting programs. Some of them have settings for the printer and especially plotter drivers that enable/disable "hardware fill". I'm tending to think that there may be a hardware fill going on with no means to disable it. The graphics print and show correctly in the preview window in Corel, so I don't think it is a Corel output problem.
Regarding revs, my firmware is 2.24_01 and the driver is 3.42. I read somewhere that Pinnacles shouldn't use the Laserpro driver. Maybe that is no longer true. Perhaps Kevin could clarify that for us.

Regarding vector cutting, hairlines and Corel 12, I have never had a problem with the hairline setting either.

Jerry Allen
01-30-2005, 11:14 AM
I just found a couple of settings in Corel that do the trick:
1) in the Print dialog box, Misc tab, there is a checkbox for "Rasterize entire page" with an accompanying rez setting.
2) under the Tools menu, Options, Global, Printing/Driver Compatabilty, there is a setting "Use software clipping for fills". I can't find any description for this in Help, so I'll just have to give it a try.

I just ran again with the two settings above set exclusively in each of two runs.
All problems ceased on both runs.
The "rasterize entire page" seemed to work the best. The deepest grooves were slightly cleaner.
The "Use software clipping for fills" also worked but handled the Postscipt fills differently in that it cut the rasters and then went back and cut vector lines finishing off the fine lines in the pattern and re-cutting the edges of the squares between the weave. It therefore took longer on the Postscript fill objects and did not look any better. The clip for fills function worked the same as rasterizing on the irregular object with the bitmap fill. The clip setting becomes associated permanently with the specific printer driver and so if set would not have allowed my initial screwup. However, the rasterize function, even though it needs to be set each session, has the advantage of allowing the setting of the raster resolution which seems to be best if matched with the laser's resolution setting.
Both settings can be useful depending on the job.

Mike Mackenzie
01-31-2005, 2:05 PM
We have not had this problem with any version of corel however there is something you can do in corel they have something called powercliping where you can take an image and clip it into a shape.

you will find it in the effects menu Just select the pattern then choose place into container and select your shape it work give it a try.

Roy Brewer
01-31-2005, 10:24 PM

FWIW, no issues like this with any version of Corel to Epilog lasers. I use the PS fills (for effects exactly like yours) on a regular basis without issue.

I must say some great troubleshooting on your part to find a work around!

Jerry Allen
01-31-2005, 11:21 PM
Thanks Roy.
I just wish I had tested first, but I never had a problem before with linear rectangles and it didn't occur to me that circles or irregular objects would screw up.

I am familiar with Power Clip and have not had a problem with it, although once the center part of the design screwed up for no apparent reason. The problem is with the PS and bitmap fills. Power Clip is not intended for fills with the fill tool. As I mentioned before, some plotters have a hardware fill and hardware circles function and generally it is turned off. The print driver passes the pattern to the plotter driver. That's just my guess. I'm guessing that's the intent of the "software clip" function in the Corel printer options. In any case it works.

If you guys aren't having a problem then it very well may be the driver and I hope Kevin Huffman picks up on this thread. The fixes mentioned should at least be included in the manual.

Alan Young
02-25-2005, 11:42 PM
Has anyone here had any problems with power loss if using the ramp function when vector cutting? I am using driver 3.44 and firmware 2.24_01


George M. Perzel
02-26-2005, 9:32 AM
Hi Alan;
Need a little more info. What are you cutting and how does power loss show up? Is it on all parts of the table? What mode are you cutting in and what are your power, speed, dpi and ppi settings? Thanks
George M. Perzel

Alan Young
02-26-2005, 10:10 AM
The problem is on all parts of the table. It does not seem to matter what the settings are. I can be cutting a job and all of a sudden it looses power and will only score a line. I can reproduce the power loss by using the ramp function in the driver. I have reinstalled the driver, installed a new system board and had the laser tube checked out, but I still have the problem. I have had excellent support from the dealer and have no complaints with them but I feel that it has us both stumped. It also makes a squeaking noise when it goes into this mode, hard to describe, kind of like rubbing nylon swishy pants together.

GCC sent me the latest Firmware/driver to use. I tried a little experiment; I took a piece of Card stock paper and drew up a series of strait vector lines to cut. Then I set the power to 100% speed and 20% power. Normally this would cut the card stock. I set the line color to black and hairline line weight and turned on the ramp function. All I got was a very faint score line. I then ran the same job again this time increasing the power 10% each time all the way up to 100% power, still only score lines not even enough to cut through the paper going over the same lines. Ok I thought got some thing here at least I can reproduce it. So I decided to quit messing around and get some work done so I sent another real job this time with out the ramp function and it started out same way, no power, then about 15 seconds into the job, bam, the laser powers back to normal and it is cutting fine. I can live without the ramp function if it is not going to work. The frustrating problem is this suddenly happens in the middle of a job and usually I have to turn off and back on the machine to get it to return to normal. The other thing that tends to bother me is it should work. Can anyone else using the Mercury 30 watt laser reproduce this?

I have replaced the main circuit board, sent the tube in and it checkout fine. I have the current firmware and driver. It also did this with the previous driver version.
On another note the display panel does not change out of the ordinary. In other words it seems to recognize and display any power or speed setting changes sent to it.


George M. Perzel
02-26-2005, 1:24 PM
Hi Alan;
I have a Mercury 60 watt unit-should be the same as yours but higher power tube.
I tried your card stock experiment and settings and got no cutting at all when ramp function is enabled in driver and P=20, S=100. Saw a very very faint line at that setting. Increased power in steps up to 100 and still could not get cut thru until I decreased speed to 80 with P=100.
Ran the same test with ramp off and had cut thru at your original setting of P=20, S=100.
I'm running same driver as you but with 2.20-02 firmware. The test I ran was cutting a square, ellipse, and rounded corner rectangle-all in a row.
I was told by my LaserPro rep that the ramp function was used in vector cutting to slow the speed of the cut when going around curves.
I then ran test on wood veneer, something I do quite a bit of, and cut same patterns at P=100, S=70 with ramp ON (my normal setting for cutting this particular veneer)-all OK
I then turned Ramp OFF and ran the same test-WEIRD thing happened. The square did not cut at all and the ellipse and rd corner rectangle cut thru with obviously too much power!
I repeated the last cut and everything cut thru but with too much power.
I ran the two tests again and same thing happened, square would not cut with Ramp off after running test with Ramp on until I made a second pass!

I will continue fooling around but one thing is clear-power with ramp ON is significantly reduced from that with Ramp OFF and I can't explain the failure to cut the square .
I do not, however, see any random, internmittent activity such as what you described. I will update firmware and try tests again and advise. Really strange.

George M. Perzel
02-26-2005, 1:25 PM
Hi Alan;
By the way, email me your phone number and I will call-easier to discuss some of this stuff than try and write about it.
George M. Perzel

Jerry Allen
02-26-2005, 4:30 PM
My settings for card stock on my M25 are S=25%, P=100%. Card stock is about .012" thick (Bristol #146). For scoring I use S50, P100. If you are using anything thicker the speed would be a lot less; like .1" posterboard is very tough and I use speed and power levels similar to .25" thick poplar boards, S2.5, P100. At that low of a speed there is no ramp regarless of whether you turn it on or not.

In other words, Alan, you are using about 1/20th the power that I am (assuming you did not mistakenly transpose the "S" and "P" in your post). If what you said is true, try the settings I mentioned. You might be a little to high but not enough to make a big difference in a test.

The occasional return to burning is puzzling. Ramp should not be that drastic nor should it randomly go on or off. The only thing that comes to mind is some statements on this site about bad RF boards by Rodne Gold. I assume that the RF board is separate due to the voltages and frequencies, but I really don't know.

Ramp does cut the power as the X and Y directions are in movement simultaneously to prevent overburn on curves/corners. According to something I read, it only works for speeds in excess of 3%.

Hope that helps.

Alan Young
02-27-2005, 9:31 PM
<!--StartFragment -->I usually cut card stock on:

Black 100s 18p
Red 10s 30p
yellow 100s 10p

The reason for the different setting is I use black for inside lines , Red for out lines and yellow for fine detail. All this vary by design but I rarely us more than 30p. If I have a long strait line then I usually slow the speed way down other wise it zip across an does not cut all the way through.

The more I try to solve this power problem the more it points to the driver. I have not had any problem with corel draw with line wieghts. I am using corel 12 and xp pro.


Jerry Allen
02-27-2005, 9:59 PM
So, red is your cut line, the others are score/etch? That cut power is still pretty low for a cut to card stock. I do not know what thickness and type of paper you are using which is important. For this discussion I'll assume .012 thick Bristol card stock. You should specify.
10S, 30P still has a relative power factor of 3 (100S, 100P has a relative power of 1). For the material I'm assuming I use a power factor of 4, 33% more than you state in your last reply. Your previous message used a much lower cutting power factor, I think 100S, 30P. That is a power factor of .3.

Using 3 colors, are you setting "manual color fill" in the driver? Try your test all using all black hairlines so you don't confuse the issue, just to get your baseline. Try a couple of cuts at 25S, 100P (or 13S, 50P) and tell us what happens.

Alan Young
02-27-2005, 11:24 PM
[QUOTE=Jerry Allen]Alan,
>So, red is your cut line, the others are score/etch?

All are cut lines just with different power settings

> That cut power is still pretty low for a cut to card stock. I do not know what thickness and type of paper you are using which is important.

Mainly 67# and 80# stock

>For this discussion I'll assume .012 thick Bristol card stock. You should specify.
10S, 30P still has a relative power factor of 3 (100S, 100P has a relative power of 1). For the material I'm assuming I use a power factor of 4, 33% more than you state in your last reply.

Could be just the difference in lasers?

>Using 3 colors, are you setting "manual color fill" in the driver? Try your test all using all black hairlines

All are hairlines, no color fill


Jerry Allen
02-28-2005, 4:26 PM
If you are using more than one color you need to set manual color fill when printing or the driver will only receive black and white data from Corel. That could be affecting your settings. Run a print preview in Corel using the black and white, and manual color fill settings in the driver and note the difference in how Corel reacts.

Granted your stock is thinner than what I use, 146#, but I'd still figure you would need about 40-50 speed and 100% power for starters. That would be the same relative power as 20-25 speed and 50% power.

Alan Young
02-28-2005, 10:00 PM
<!--StartFragment -->I am a little confused. I did what you said with the print preview. I noticed that in black and white mode the print preview was in black and white and if I set it to manual color fill it was in color. So I cut the same drawing in both modes and got the same results. The laser adjusted the power according to the color of the lines in both cases and it took the same amount of time to cut in both modes.

I have attached the file I cut in case you would like to see it and give it a try.
It is cut out of a 12 x 12 67# card stock and it took 1 minute and 47 seconds

Jerry Allen
03-01-2005, 10:01 PM
I didn't notice this last post because we got switched to a new post.
Would you still like me to try it? What power settings do you want me to use?
Did you try the power settings I recommended, i.e., 25S 100P, or 13S 50P?
Anything with 100S is just going to score not cut on a 25 or 30W machine.

Alan Young
03-02-2005, 12:27 AM
<!--StartFragment --> I was a little confused on where to post but since we are talking about power setting I thought here. I have noticed others saying that they cannot cut at 100s and 30p. I have a 30 watt laser and can cut the 67# card stock at as low as 10p and 100s. Keep in mind it all has to do with line length between nodes. If you look in the example I up loaded I am using 4 colored lines. The purple line I always set to no vector on the check box. I use this so I can record what settings worked for that drawing. Something that has a long line I often slow down to 10s 30p. Look at the file and you will see what I mean. I used to cut my own tags for display and score a line so I could fold it. I used 100s and 8p to do this. I cut a lot of card stock :o


Jerry Allen
03-02-2005, 10:37 AM
I haven't done a lot of card stock, but I know there is no way I can cut card stock at 10P/100S (that's 0.10 relative power). 10S30P (30P/10S) will work depending on the stock thickness (that's 3.0 relative power). For a folding score on 146# I use 50P/100S (.50 relative power) but I could use less power. Our machines couldn't be different to any great magnitude. A 60W machine would be significant.