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View Full Version : Learning Curve - CorelDraw to EzCad2



Tim Bateson
08-11-2017, 9:54 AM
New 50w Fiber arrived on Wednesday. Done a couple cool test runs. However the learning curve going from CorelDraw to Ezcad2 has been steep. Took me hours just to convert from mm to inches, even entering text and font selection is not very intuitive. For me anyway. I know it's like any other software, I'll get use to it. I just hope that's soon so I can make better use of the new equipment.

Scott Shepherd
08-11-2017, 11:34 AM
Best thing to do is create in Corel, convert everything to curves, then export as an .ai file, v8 (very important), and then import vector into EZCAD. That's the leanest workflow I have found.

Kev Williams
08-11-2017, 12:47 PM
I've always exported to dxf, I've never tried ai, guess I should :)

Here's some tips and observations for what they're worth ;)

1- If you haven't done so yet, get a screwdriver out and remove the F2 key button from whatever keyboard you're using. This will save you many gray hairs and possibly many dollars by NOT accidentally starting the machine when you meant to press F1 or type a #2 or 3 or whatever other button is close to the F2...

2- FIRST TWO THINGS TO DO WITH EVERY NEW JOB: check the MARK SELECTED box at the bottom, and TURN OFF THE ALL THE LASER PEN COLORS. You'll come to find yourself drawing boxes and circles as locating devices on the parts you're engraving, and putting WHAT you're going to engrave within them. Tip, change the colors of these circles and boxes... Mark Selected will red-light OR engrave only what you have selected. Otherwise, everything on the screen will red-light or engrave. Turning off the colors means you can't accidentally engrave anything, and with the MARK button next to the RED button, that's all too easy to do. I still have a stack of engraved parts that shouldn't have been engraved nearby to remind me :)

3- Text: Text in EZcad is totally ridiculous. The 50% char width number in the options is actually 100%, and some of the change options, like equal spacing between the CENTERLINE of characters might work okay with Chinese text, it doesn't work well with I's and W's and M's. And when you make changes to text and save the job, usually the changes become the default for the next time you use text. If WYSIWYG is okay for your jobs then it's not that bad to get used to. Just remember that all default char spacing and kerning built into any font doesn't exist in EZcad. Depending on the job it's easier to just build everything in Corel and import it in. One thing I DO like about EZcad's text is the variable text and auto-numbering features. There's a learning curve, but I like how it works. Like, when part A is finished, what will engrave on part B will be on-screen.

3- Settings: when you find settings you like, keep separate notes about them. This is because if you run something and work in 2 or more colors like I do most of the time, if you save the settings, all the settings will save, but there's no way to tell which colors you used for what unless your memory is WAY better than mine! I gave up saving settings after a few months, and just started adding notes on-screen right in the job. This goes for hatch routines AND power-speed-freq settings.

4- All-Calc- This feature can slow you down OR speed things up considerably. Where it works good is with logos or graphics with several separate closed sections within the whole Graphic, like a target for example. In normal use the laser sweep each full ring separately, so if you have 10 rings, 5 engraved 5 not, it will sweep all 5 rings separately. But All Calc will sweep the entire graphic as at once, which would cut down the engraving time by nearly 80%! But for text or single-entity graphics, do NOT use All Calc, as it will waste time sweeping the air space between everything. So when creating fill routines, find the multiple-part objects, then individually group and hatch them with All Calc. Afterward, you can group those that are done, and lock them (padlocks near the top) leaving you to easily group everything else to hatch differently...

That's for starters, my BIL is needing the GCC and I have a couple of SIC flasks to engrave before he can use it...

Gary Hair
08-11-2017, 12:56 PM
EZCad really is simple and basic but not very intuitive at all. Like Steve (Scott), I do all my design work in Corel and import in as an ai file. Text is really pretty easy and once you get past the 50% spacing actually being the 100% you want, it works fine for most purposes. If I don't have anything special to do with the layout of the text, I'll always use EZCad for text.

You can change the units to inch but there are several settings you'll have to change since it's not quite smart enough to do the calculations and changes for you. I left mine on mm and have pretty much gotten used to converting mm to inch and vice versa - but, this all is moot if you use Corel to design and just import in and laser.

Tim Bateson
08-11-2017, 1:21 PM
I am surprised no one has written a Corel print driver to work directly with these machines.

Kev Williams
08-11-2017, 2:09 PM
I'm actually amazed at how quickly EZcad accomplishes the computations needed for the hatch filling. But my frame of reference is when in 1992 I was watching CasMate hatch fill a graphic of a 6" tall tree silhouette in about 15 seconds on a newfangled Intel 486 computer! Use to take me 20 minutes to do that on a tablet. To fill a basic letter "M" with a .05mm spaced hatch would've taken CasMate back then at least a minute... EZcad fills the screen with all hatch fills in microseconds. It's almost as amazing as how fast those dinky mirrors move! (for fun, draw a 1/2mm square and turn on the red light and listen to the mirrors) ;)

I suppose a galvo driver could be made to work with Corel, but no one's bothered to make a driver to work with basic Chinese C02 laser programs...

Gary Hair
08-11-2017, 3:36 PM
I am surprised no one has written a Corel print driver to work directly with these machines.

Considering how many variables there are it would be almost impossible.

Tim Bateson
08-11-2017, 6:33 PM
Considering how many variables there are it would be almost impossible.

Epilog has done it with their G2 galvo Fiber laser. Back in my younger days, I would have grabbed a copy of that, reversed engineered it and found a solution. However, now in my.. more mature years, I tend to follow most of the laws. I don't think Epilog would be happy with someone stealing their code.

Julian Ashcroft
08-11-2017, 6:36 PM
I use the Text function in EZCad a fair bit, I engrave a lot of cutlery, three pieces at a time and it takes only seconds to change the text, it's alll aligned in a jig on the screen which is emulated on the laser bed, works really well. I also engrave small pieces of silver jewelry with text for a commercial customer and find that EZCad copes with that too even the text overlaps can be dealt with within the program.

Mike Lysov
08-11-2017, 7:58 PM
I have never used EzCad2 but I have quite a bad soft for sending artwork to my laser and I use CorelDraw to create artworks. Since CorelDraw has very bad dxf export(at least it is bad in X4) and all curves are just converted to lines and no arcs it is absolutely useless. What saves me is a CorelDraw macros that is called e-Cut. It has dxf export feature that allows me to save artwork as dxf file with lines and arcs. This is what I do with it.

1)Create an artwork in CorelDraw
2)reduce numbers of nodes used in the artwork with CorelDraw built in feature
3)use the macros DXF export feature to export artwork as DXF file
4)open it in my laser software and send it to the laser.

It all works pretty well. The step 2 is quite important as most of fonts I use have quite a crappy vector design where there are a significant number of nodes that is there for nothing. If I do not reduces nodes my laser will slow down on each node and nothing good will come from it.

Other great features of e-cut that I use

1)Nesting. Excellent feature that saves a lot of time and material. The only thing is missing is sorting. Nested pieces cannot be sorted in order.
2)Curve length. You can measure all curves length and based on a speed of cutting you know how long it will take to cut them all out. It helps to quote a job. You can even set it to show you a quote if you set a price in the macros. Not easy to use and probably needs some clarification on how to set it up properly. However Curve length feature itself is just a click and it tells you how long they are all are.
3) Artwork area. As easy as the curve length feature. Just select all curves and click a button in the macros. So if you know a density of the material you use you can tell how heavy the whole artwork will be after it is cut out. The e-cut macros won't show you the weight but it will show you the area so it is just as simple as using that number, material density and a calculator to get the actual weight.
4)There are a lot of features I do not use but some of them may be handy to automate their processes and help to create an artwork.

I do not know if I am allowed to post a link here to the macros website but if you just google for "e-cut" you will find it. It is just $60.

John Lifer
08-13-2017, 11:39 PM
One thing i did was turn on the function to prompt if I wanted to laser. It eliminates Kev's f2 or even footpedal issue as it makes me hit the enter key to lase. I do like putting notes on page and engrave only selected. I'm changing to that for sure. If you use dxf, use old export version such as version 4 of AutoCAD from Corel. Later versions don't work. The only think I dislike about using text along with graphics and exporting is it is one vector and I find I want to change something, so I usually add text at ezcad. And practice get a bunch of scrap and go to it!

Kev Williams
08-13-2017, 11:47 PM
my 2.5.3 version must be older than the 'enter key' version-- I have a 2.7.6 version but my dongle don't like it..

Tim Bateson
08-14-2017, 12:24 PM
My "dongle" is built into the laser. Is this common? Makes it a pain, because I like to work on my laptop while watching TV late at night. With this setup, I cannot use Ezcad2 in that fashion.

Gary Hair
08-14-2017, 1:17 PM
My "dongle" is built into the laser. Is this common? Makes it a pain, because I like to work on my laptop while watching TV late at night. With this setup, I cannot use Ezcad2 in that fashion.

Yep, it's how most of the Chinese machines work. The dongle is in the controller card I believe. You could use teamviewer, or something similar, to remote into your fiber machine and do whatever work you need to do.

Scott Shepherd
08-14-2017, 1:41 PM
You might be able to download EZCAD Lite and save files in that on your laptop. I don't believe EZCAD Lite uses any dongle.

Bill George
08-14-2017, 2:24 PM
My "dongle" is built into the laser. Is this common? Makes it a pain, because I like to work on my laptop while watching TV late at night. With this setup, I cannot use Ezcad2 in that fashion.

Same thing here on my Ray Fine, it would be nice like you say to design on one computer and send to the shop. Can not even do a Save As or Export.

Kev Williams
08-14-2017, 5:39 PM
My dongle looks like a flash drive, so I can take it anywhere- but I don't. You guys want to, but can't. Figures :D

If you have computers on the same home network, just use Remote Desktop. I can run any one of 8 computers FROM any of the same 8 computers. Saves me about a mile a day of stair walking! ;)

John Lifer
08-14-2017, 10:39 PM
My issue is you have to have the machine on to work with the software. Aught to be a way around that. I dont really need to design in excad, but I would be nice to set up jobs without having machine on.....?

Kev Williams
08-15-2017, 7:29 PM
If the program has 用户只需要把安装光盘中 all over the 'help' menu, then I don't bother trying to design in it :D

I'm also curious if all you EZcad users have used the 'enable show contour' setting-- is that cool or what?

Gary Hair
08-16-2017, 12:56 AM
If the program has 用户只需要把安装光盘中 all over the 'help' menu, then I don't bother trying to design in it :D

I'm also curious if all you EZcad users have used the 'enable show contour' setting-- is that cool or what?

Show contour is nice if you need to see exactly what you are engraving - and - the image isn't too complex. Sometimes, most times, it's ok just to have the outline.

Kev Williams
08-16-2017, 3:06 AM
Where it shines (ha ha) is on pocket knife blades or watches, etc, where you're fitting names & such around other wording or graphics...

Dave Sheldrake
08-16-2017, 5:54 AM
The leetro 6515 controller up to the 6565 have print drivers available for Illustrator, AutoCad and Corel Draw although you need to be running older versions of the software.

John Lifer
08-16-2017, 9:22 AM
Yes, the contour is a great thing. I check it on and off depending on the application. Had one yesterday that I was putting 9mm logo on a 10mm wide rim. Yes, box was good, but contour let me see real location. There ARE good features of this software

Scott Shepherd
08-16-2017, 9:31 AM
My issue is you have to have the machine on to work with the software. Aught to be a way around that. I dont really need to design in excad, but I would be nice to set up jobs without having machine on.....?

EZCAD Lite doesn't require that. I downloaded it and played with it for a while, with no laser attached.

John Lifer
08-16-2017, 8:19 PM
My version 2.7.6 has need for dongle. Which Is on board or at least internal to the machine. I have to turn key on and both buttons on. Fully powered up, before I open sw. If I don't, it defaults to demo mode and while I can play with it, none of my saved settings are correct, NONE.... From size to all setup info is demo. Wrong laser source, everything. And while I can p la y, it is worthless as it won't allow me to save file. So truly worthless than nothing unless machine is on.

Tim Bateson
08-16-2017, 11:03 PM
My version 2.7.6 has need for dongle. Which Is on board or at least internal to the machine. I have to turn key on and both buttons on. Fully powered up, before I open sw...

On mine, it's just the Main Board switch to use EzCad.

Tim Bateson
08-19-2017, 3:26 PM
OK, first image - a badge. I have a great vectored image in Corel. I exported to a .tiff file & in Photoshop flattened it. That solved one problem. Now back in Corel I just can't find a good export that when imported into EzCad2 will produce anything decent. I'm willing to email the Corel file to someone with experience that can take a look and see where I'm going wrong.

Bill George
08-19-2017, 5:12 PM
Tim did you try an older version of AutoCAD DXF format, that is all I use to vector into EZCad Then I Hatch (and there is another learning curve), if needed for solid fill.

Tim Bateson
08-19-2017, 6:00 PM
Tim did you try an older version of AutoCAD DXF format, that is all I use to vector into EZCad Then I Hatch (and there is another learning curve), if needed for solid fill.

Tried that & on import image is blank.

Bill George
08-19-2017, 6:13 PM
To be honest Tim and I know your much more experienced than I am, I have Imported BMP's and I think R14 DXF and that's it. Mine is Version 2.12.0.

John Lifer
08-19-2017, 7:34 PM
Email it to me jliferjr@yahoo.com. im not doing anything....

Kev Williams
08-19-2017, 8:07 PM
The only time I've had trouble is when I export to DXF from Gravostyle, everything comes in to EZcad with rounded straight lines. But Gravostyle has no output option, it just does it. But the same files imported into Corel from Gravo are perfect? DXF's from Gravo into Casmate are also sketchy. Best way to import into Casmate and Gravostyle is and EPS file. But EZcad doesn't have an EPS option? Always hoops to jump thru ;)

Anyway, other than a couple of photos, the ONLY way I export/import to EZcad is DXF from Corel.

I just did this cheezy step-by-step, and I used this graphic because it's fairly complex, the original is engraved on the guys motorcycle seat ;) --
Screenshot of the graphic as saved in corel, with my seat 'alignment aid' outlines. Graphic is about 8-1/2" wide-
366396

I've removed the color and seat lines, this is what I'm exporting-
366397

This is DXF export dialog box, I've always used these settings (at least since 2007 ;) )
for all my programs, even into my old Casmate, with no problems.
366398

Now I'm importing into EZcad, the thumbnail looks fine--
366399

-at 8-1/2" it's too big obviously, so I just randomly sized it down (not shown, 8 pic limit :) )
EZ cad says I got it to 66.56mm across (about 2-5/8").
366400

I did a 45-135 hatch @ .05, this is a closeup...
Couldn't ask for better detail.
366401

Ran it on a piece of black/brass lasersteel, 2500 speed, 20 power, 50 freq,
one hatch done, the second about half done...
366402

Finished-- looks pretty good, other than I should've used my negative version!
366403

I've had my fiber for 13 months now, and without fail whatever I see in Corel is what I get in EZcad. It's why I haven't messed with AI or other vector type files.

I'm using Corel x4, which may or may not matter. I do know that Corel x6 would never send a decent file to my old ULS laser, and we could never figure out why. The engraving produced from x6 files looked like a miniature version of a diamond-grip gunstock pattern. The same exact file sent from x4 produced 'normal' smooth engraving...

John Lifer
08-19-2017, 10:08 PM
Tim, sent you back some files. Was able to export to dxf and then import into ezcad as Vector. Some extraneous lines when I tried hatching. I did work on eliminating some layers that were duplicates and That did help some. Maybe someone has some tricks to help with that, I still struggle with getting some images correct.

Kev Williams
08-20-2017, 12:16 AM
feel free to send me a file or two- :) > kevin@engraver1.com <

-extraneous lines, sometimes EXcad produces them, I get them quite often when using the fully-connected 'fast' hatch, some of the lines stay connected from one point to another when they shouldn't...

John Lifer
08-20-2017, 11:49 AM
Seems I failed to help Tim determine his problem I could easily import but he still couldn't. I have no clue

Tim Bateson
08-20-2017, 11:57 AM
Seems I failed to help Tim determine his problem I could easily import but he still couldn't. I have no clue

Could be the version numbers I'm running. I may have to try upgrading. Corel x6 & EzCad is 2.9.4

Kev Williams
08-20-2017, 1:46 PM
With Corel you might want to downgrade--

My BIL has X6 on the computer he uses downstairs, I'll do some testing and see if it gives me any grief...

Meanwhile, if you haven't already Tim, email me the file in question :)

>edit< I opened up these sugar skulls in Corel x6, exported them DXF as I did in the above samples,
and they imported just fine in my EZcad- which is version 2.5.4-- so maybe no Corel downgrade needed! ;)
366436

this here > 366434 < is a Corel 10 file of these skull, minus the bottom one since all 4 put the filesize over the limit. Each one is combined so they can be moved easy

I'm curious to see what happens if you export/import these into your EZcad--
-if they work okay, your problem may be the file you're working with...
-if they don't work okay, could be an issue with your newer version of EZcad...

I did all 4 at once with no problem...

John Lifer
08-20-2017, 6:14 PM
Just to test, I opened with corel x7, exported to DXF, (I've been using bmp setting rather than jpg, seems to be no difference in outcome for me) and they opened fine in excad, 2.12.1
hatched fine.

Bill George
08-20-2017, 8:24 PM
I use X6 and 2.12.0 EZCad that's about all I use is DXF and a BMP for images to engrave.

Tim Bateson
08-20-2017, 10:04 PM
Thank you everyone for the effort. I learned a lot from my own trial & mostly error and other's as well. I did finally got a good image in EzCad!
1. I took the original vector image with it's zillion layers into Photoshop.
2. Saved as a .eps file.
3. Imported this as curves into Corel instead of the many layered .pdf.
4. Traced bitmap as line art.
5. Sized.
6. Failed 1st attempt -exported as .dxf. This failed as there was nothing to view in EzCad & when imported there was no image.
7. Success on 2nd try - exported as .ai (ver 8.0, Preserve appearance, Export Text as Text, Convert outlines to objects)
8. Import Vector .ai file. Hash as desired - tried several hashes, all worked. The now extremely small details were visible on the test piece. I tried to photograph, but it's just too damn small to see well with my phone.
9. SAVED the EzCad file.

Once I get my alignment perfect (red square), I'll engrave the officer's duty weapon - a 45cal S&W. Probably Monday night.

Thanks again for all of the help.

Scott Shepherd
08-21-2017, 8:53 AM
And that's why I keep repeating myself about using V8 .ai files!

Glad you got it worked out.

Kev Williams
08-22-2017, 1:12 PM
Old v New graphics technology...

I worked on Tims logo Saturday strictly in Corel, just to see if I could figure out how to weld/cut/trim/etc objects behind something in front of another object. There's simply no routine that does what I want, except maybe Powerclip, but I can only get it to keep objects INSIDE 'the container', and I wanted just opposite.

And just running the screenshot thru Corel's Trace routine is completely useless, so I didn't even bother trying.
--But Casmate's trace ('vectorize') is simply fantastic...

So, this morning while drinking my coffee, I blew up the screenshot to about 3x screensize, 'took a snapshot' then pasted it into Corel PhotoPaint. Then I changed it from CYMK to RGB, then split the channels to CYMK. One of those choices eliminated a bunch of useless (for this project) background and left everything else intact. I had to darken the result, easy enough. Then I exported it as a TIF, and then imported into my 24 year old Casmate Lite program, then clicked 'vectorize'. Took about 20 seconds (which is about 15 seconds more than usual, it's a busy graphic), and I got a near perfect useable as-is result. The whole process to this point took less than 5 minutes. The computer used is also ancient, an old HP pavillion running a 200mh Intel processor and 68 megs of ram, and win98. Yet both Casmate's ('lite', a win3.0 program and the DOS version) handle this graphic with ease, and will draw the entire graphic just as fast as Corel OR Gravostyle does on this 8-core 3.2 w/12g ram workstation, with no points-- but add points and Corel and GS take 3x as long to just draw it on the screen as Casmate. And funny thing, as fast as Casmate took it from photo to full useable vector, Corel won't even combine it because it's "too complex, exceeds 64k bytes"... that's just plain ROTF material. Reducing nodes in Corel didn't work, still too busy. Didn't work in GS either, and waiting for GS to draw 70,000 points is a go-get-coffee-and-wait deal, ech.. Back to old DOS Casmate, where I sized the logo down a ton, which will reduce points by default, then did an 'automatic cleanup', then re-exported as DXF and imported back into Corel. I still had to reduce nodes once in Corel, but finally got it to combine the entire graphic. And even after jumping thru hoops, the whole process took less than 15 minutes, thanks to Casmate. For some reason EZcad doesn't care for Casmate's (or Gravostyle's) DXF output, if it did I wouldn't even need Corel for this graphic.

it just stumps me why an old ancient vinyl-cutting program works as well as it does compared to a 14th version of Corel. Of course Corel is miles above when it comes to 'artistic' features, but where Casmate shines is in "basic" vector graphic creating and editing, and especially vectorizing black and white art into something useable. It doesn't mess around, is simply traces any black it sees, and it's done, fast and accurate. 15 minutes start to finish even with 'complex' issues, not bad. Maybe AI works better than Corel in this regard, if so maybe I should give it a look...

John Lifer
08-22-2017, 7:27 PM
I played around with it Sunday using Corel. What a joke! It just churned and churned. I opened up taskmanager and watched it eat up resources until it crashed. Never tried casemate. Old school might be better!

Bill George
08-22-2017, 8:36 PM
I used to keep a copy of the Plasma CAM software around. It worked good with DXF files and would automatically join lines and otherwise if needed. It was pretty darn good software and did not have all the bells and whistles but it worked.

Tim Bateson
08-23-2017, 10:34 PM
Update - the Police Captain loved the result. However the department Chief did not. So they are now simplifying the graphic. At 1 inch and above the original looks fantastic, but I have to admit at around 1/2 inch it was near impossible to see details without a magnifying glass. The details were all there, just not very visible to the human eye.

On another note - 50watts of fiber will eat metal like its tissue paper. I guess I could have saved myself a few bucks, but I'm sure there will be a projects that 100% power will come in handy.

Tim Bateson
09-22-2017, 5:06 PM
Running 1st paying job. Running three hashes 90/180/315 - the last with a higher Freq and Speed for cleanup. Any way to program these , so I don&#39;t have to make 3 changes & hit start 3 times for every piece?

Gary Hair
09-22-2017, 6:39 PM
Yep, use Hatch1, Hatch2, and Hatch3. You can also set them to be different colors which allows different settings as well.

John Lifer
09-22-2017, 10:16 PM
I normally run setting with same power with two different hatches and like my gun today, different power settings and hatch for cleanup passes. I could probably do all three at one time, but I like to be safe. One thing Tim, on the hatches, select and change hatch 1then press apply. Then hatch again and change hatch 2 and press apply again. Do same for the third if you want a third. I've found that if you don't apply after each in it usually doesn't change.

Tim Bateson
09-22-2017, 11:10 PM
Thank you. That will save me a lot of time on a big job like this one. On one-off's like NFA engraving, I agree that I will still do those one hatch at a time. I have found recievers to be very inconsistant. Some seem much softer than others. I've even had a couple that opened air pockets when engraved.

Kev Williams
09-23-2017, 2:08 AM
wanna have some fun?

set hatch one to black, 10 degrees, .03 space, set line reduction to .03mm, set auto rotate angle to 30 degrees, be sure to add the check mark-- :)

set hatch two to blue, 20 degrees, .03 space, line reduction .015mm, auto rotate 30-

set hatch three to red, 30 degrees, .03 space, NO line reduction, auto rotate 30--

keep all the power and speed settings the same for black, red and blue... BUT, whatever settings you like for your cleanup passes, put those in GREEN---

what will happen is, hatch, rotate 10, hatch, rotate 10, hatch, rotate 10, hatch rotate 10, hatch, rotate 10, hatch, rotate 10, hatch rotate 10 etc---
---as many times as you tell it to repeat-

-black hatch misses the edges by .03mm via line reduction-
-blue hatch misses the edges by .015mm, ditto
-red hatch runs right up to the edges--

this creates a slight draft angle, and less total burn around the perimeter, which results in less edge slag--

The 10 degree continuous change in angle seems to work great, I get a very smooth bottom...

Line spacing is optional of course, line reduction settings too-- I've found using line reduction REALLY helps with the slag-
"Follow edge once" is optional, I rarely use it if i'm at .04 or less spacing, but if I DO, only to 1 of the hatches, not all 3...

And when you're done with the deep cutting, click on your group, hit the GREEN color so everything is green, now it will run the same routine using your cleanup settings.. 2 or 3 passes should work!

When done, hit the undo button to change it back :)




,

John Lifer
09-23-2017, 10:31 AM
Dang Kev, this is the second or third time you've mentioned autorotation, and I keep forgetting to try it. So so many variables!!!!!

Kev Williams
09-24-2017, 1:00 AM
I think the first time or two I was trying to figure it out- finally did and I love it! What's funny is that the 'angle' display on the left keeps adding up the degrees rotated, and it doesn't roll-over at 360, it just keeps accumulating total degrees. First time I got it to work I was surprised to see 1170 listed.

I'm not sure I'd trust auto-rotate with the fast-hatch, especially on complicated designs, several times with busy graphics I've had the hatch connected at one or two places where it shouldn't be, drawing a line(s) clear thru the graphic, and those lines DO engrave...

Tim Bateson
09-25-2017, 6:04 PM
"fast-hatch"?

Kev Williams
09-25-2017, 8:48 PM
The 'fast hatch' is the 'bidirectional' hatch. Each hatch line is connected, so the laser doesn't have to shut off between hatch lines-- faster; optimized hatch is all disconnected lines...
Also, the fast hatch routine will follow a hatch area as you would draw it, whereas the 'optimized' hatch will follow a full raster path like a gantry machine. Example, the letter O, the optimized hatch will scan the entire letter, including the hole in the middle, but the fast hatch will scan only and exactly what's being hatched, no 'white space'.

It's a bit confusing as 'optimized' usually means 'faster', but here, the reference to "optimized" has to do with the engraving quality, not the speed-- this is because the optimized scans in one direction only per hatch routine, leaving a smooth finish no "visible" seams, fast hatch engraves whatever direction it sees fit.... The fast hatch will engrave half of the O one direction until the hatch disconnect, then run the other half, and not necessarily in the same direction, as in, the first half may engrave from the top/down and the second half may engrave from the bottom/up. It results in a MUCH faster hatch routine, but because the engraving was done in different directions, the lines will look different because of how they catch the light. If you're engraving something lightly with large expanses of engraved area, avoid the fast hatch! For deep engraving, the fast hatch can really save time, but it can connect hatch ends together where they shouldn't be connected, so beware...

Here's the list from the book (the icons on the left are screenshots from my program)
368583
--unidirectional, very slow but very smooth finish-
--bidirectional, the fast hatch
--ring-like (lol) , aka island fill- I haven't found this to be much use--
--optimized, the basic hatch
--optimized gong, what this is, it's a full-connected hatch like the fast hatch, but it follows the same path as the optimized...

A good way to test what each hatch does is to draw up and engrave a simple 5 ring target, 3 filled rings and 2 non filled rings. It also helps explain when "all calc" will come in handy, because the optimized hatch will full sweep each target ring separately. Very slow since this will bypass 2 rings while engraving 1 ring- this is when all calc comes in handy, as whatever's grouped as a whole will raster as a whole. It's usually a time waster on most 'separated' graphics, but whenever you have fills inside of fills inside of fills, just group the whole bunch and run all calc so it'll engrave ALL sections at once...

And the target test will also show you just how fast the fast hatch can be :)

Neville Stewart
09-29-2017, 2:30 PM
Kev - you are a total wealth of knowledge. Thank you for all you contribute. Ive learned a ton from your posts.

The 'fast hatch' is the 'bidirectional' hatch. Each hatch line is connected, so the laser doesn't have to shut off between hatch lines-- faster; optimized hatch is all disconnected lines...
Also, the fast hatch routine will follow a hatch area as you would draw it, whereas the 'optimized' hatch will follow a full raster path like a gantry machine. Example, the letter O, the optimized hatch will scan the entire letter, including the hole in the middle, but the fast hatch will scan only and exactly what's being hatched, no 'white space'.

It's a bit confusing as 'optimized' usually means 'faster', but here, the reference to "optimized" has to do with the engraving quality, not the speed-- this is because the optimized scans in one direction only per hatch routine, leaving a smooth finish no "visible" seams, fast hatch engraves whatever direction it sees fit.... The fast hatch will engrave half of the O one direction until the hatch disconnect, then run the other half, and not necessarily in the same direction, as in, the first half may engrave from the top/down and the second half may engrave from the bottom/up. It results in a MUCH faster hatch routine, but because the engraving was done in different directions, the lines will look different because of how they catch the light. If you're engraving something lightly with large expanses of engraved area, avoid the fast hatch! For deep engraving, the fast hatch can really save time, but it can connect hatch ends together where they shouldn't be connected, so beware...

Here's the list from the book (the icons on the left are screenshots from my program)
368583
--unidirectional, very slow but very smooth finish-
--bidirectional, the fast hatch
--ring-like (lol) , aka island fill- I haven't found this to be much use--
--optimized, the basic hatch
--optimized gong, what this is, it's a full-connected hatch like the fast hatch, but it follows the same path as the optimized...

A good way to test what each hatch does is to draw up and engrave a simple 5 ring target, 3 filled rings and 2 non filled rings. It also helps explain when "all calc" will come in handy, because the optimized hatch will full sweep each target ring separately. Very slow since this will bypass 2 rings while engraving 1 ring- this is when all calc comes in handy, as whatever's grouped as a whole will raster as a whole. It's usually a time waster on most 'separated' graphics, but whenever you have fills inside of fills inside of fills, just group the whole bunch and run all calc so it'll engrave ALL sections at once...

And the target test will also show you just how fast the fast hatch can be :)

Kev Williams
09-30-2017, 11:23 PM
**EDIT** ABOVE on my "optimization" description--

I stand corrected in that the "optimized" hatch IS THE FAST HATCH -- The 'bi-directional' hatch is the higher-quality/slower hatch...


Those 2 hatches per the onscreen pushbuttons are hard for my old eyes to tell apart, mostly, I can't see those red connector bars, which indicates the laser won't engrave them.
So the right button is the bi-directional hatch button. The button on the left is the 'fast hatch' aka optimized hatch button, the line is all blue, indicates the laser DOES engrave the connector bars...
http://www.engraver1.com/erase2/hatches.jpg
The way I normally tell them apart is the bi-directional icon is longer overall. That, and I'm getting used to where it is in the rotation ;)

My apologies for the goof... (at least I got the 'confusing' part right!) :D