View Full Version : Illustrator to LaserCAD problems, Boss Laser

Trevor Crosta
02-08-2019, 4:36 PM

I have a new Boss 150 watt HP 36-55 with 2" lens.

I'm going from illustrator cc on my MacBook Pro to the Windows 10 PC that is connected to the laser.

I'm struggling to import illustrator files into LaserCAD without errors. For example the when importing anything with text, any lower case "i" and "j" will be floating 10 inches above the rest of the design. This is with saving as illustrator cc file type. If I try to save as illustrator 3 file type the letters are normal but the line colors are not matched up and there is this big spaghetti looking mess of vectors that gets put into the design out of nowhere? I'll attach a picture.

Anyone familiar with laserCAD what is your workflow to get the files from illustrator? I've tried to save as .SVG, the scale is way off, .DXF doesn't work? I've tried each with tons of settings like unchecking responsiveness, compression, etc... no luck.

There is obviously something going on with the illustrator file talking to laser cad and the fonts I'm using but when converting them all to outlines you wouldn't think it would matter.

I'm coming off a Glowforge that I used .SVG's on no problem but this is the 1st industrial style laser I've had. The cutting power is amazing but the engraving quality is worse then the GF. I can't really get a dark engraving without going too deep into the wood which makes smaller fonts looks less detailed. Anyone have any tips for darker engraving? I'm sure a 1.5 lens would improve this slightly...

I'm happy with the machine and know it will take some figuring out... Just glad to have this community of people! I'll get this figured out.


Kev Williams
02-08-2019, 5:35 PM
Do you have/use Corel? --one Graphic's programs Nightmare on Elm Street is another program's It's a Wonderful Life ;)

-- case in point" Gravostyle DXF or Corel DXF imported into EzCad: If I save as a DXF ANY graphic file generated in Gravostyle and import that file into EzCad, what I get is an un-usable mess. But that same Gravostyle file imported into Corel, opens up just fine... and if I turn around have Corel save it as a DXF, it will import perfectly in EzCad...

file from Gravostyle--

exported as DXF, opened in EzCad:

same file opens in Corel like this:

then exported as DXF and opened in EzCad-
I dont' get it I have no clue about it, but it's just part of the jumping-thru-hoops mad-fun of working with graphics files!

Could be you just need to add a hoop? ;)

Trevor Crosta
02-08-2019, 6:12 PM
Just got off the phone with Boss, Great tech support btw... Ended up exporting as a .DXF within illustrator. Had to makes sure everything was set to millimeters, 2004/2005/2005 is the only auto cad version laser cad will read correctly, maximum editability, and outline text needs to be checked... BUT after it works! Yes!

Also, they informed me that while the normal units ship with a 2" lens, the HP's ship with 2.5"... That could explain the slightly less then stellar fine engraving! Thank you Kev for the replay. I see that its all just... a game of formats... Que the game of thrones music.... haha

Mike Null
02-08-2019, 7:38 PM

I don't believe your engraving issue with wood is related to your lens. Various woods engrave differently with some being nearly impossible to darken. Focusing changes along with speed and power changes may find a solution for you.

Keith Downing
02-09-2019, 9:07 PM
Trevor, is laserCAD the default software they shipped with your Boss? I was under the impression they were still shipping those machines with RDWorks. I haven't had any problems going from Illustrator to RDWorks for my vector files. You can also import raster files of just about any useful type. Or is there some other reason you're wanting to use laserCAD?

Also, I have not made the jump since we mostly use our Boss for cutting now; but Lightburn seems to be gaining a lot of traction for the Rudia controlled machines. You might want to take a look at that as well.

EDIT: I think they're calling it LaserWorks instead of RDWorks on their website. Same thing though.

Trevor Crosta
02-10-2019, 12:21 PM
Thanks Mike, I'm already having better results by getting a few more settings dialed in through various tests. Boss even recommended going as small as a .04 scan gap. But .08 seems to be doing pretty well.

Keith, LaserCAD is what's being used on the HP machines because of the metal cutting head you can swap in from what I understand. LaserWorks is still used with the LS series. I'll look into Lightburn, thanks for the info!

Kev Williams
02-10-2019, 12:51 PM
Does your engraving software allow for 'backlash' tweaking? I'm assuming so, at least somewhere, and I'm also assuming most machines come off the boat fairly well ready to engrave because backlash issues are rarely brought up here... However, such was not the case with my Triumph-- my first stab at engraving I found myself with a mess of holes burnt clear thru Rowmark (so THAT'S what 80 watts can do!) -- Once I figured out 15% power was more than enough, next thing I noticed was that the left-sweep and right-sweep engravings didn't EVEN match up, they were off over 1/4"-!

The user manual (PHCad/LaserSoft)
led me to this menu:
in particular, 'carving backlash' within the 'crafts parameters' section. These are some of my actual values, which are negative numbers, which to this day I don't know why, I think it's a 'bug' in this version of the software, since any newer or older versions I've tried, these numbers produce garbage engraving! All other versions require POSITIVE numbers. I spent many days tweaking these numbers to match the various engraving speeds I'll use, and this machine, a big 1300x900 'cutting' machine produces engraving at least 98% equal to all my western machines. Just slower ;)

Best way I've found to check backlash is to mimic a test my Gravograph machines use, which is simply a row of .020" wide x 1/8" tall lines ( |||||||||||||||) < like that, for about 12". If there's any backlash error, you'll end up with 2 sets of lines; adjust backlash until they line up as close as possible. And the faster the machine runs, the more offset there is, so different speeds require different settings.

This may or may not be the root of your issue, but it's worth checking into--