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dastoymaker

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Reply with quote  #1 

This document contains a workflow that I have adopted based on plans I purchased from ToyMakingPlans.com. This is just one of many ways to use a CNC for toy making but so far it works for me. This isn’t for a person that isn’t computer savvy, which you will see later in the posts. This will be the first in a series but since my time is limited, it may happen quickly. A few notes before I get started:

 

Before I purchased my CNC, I did some research and found out some of the software to run the CNC allowed you to import Adobe Illustrator files. I decided to try importing a PDF plan into Adobe Illustrator to see what it looked like. To my surprise, the file loaded and I was able to edit the file. I was able to get the file down to just the basic outlines and then tried to import the file into a trial version of Vectric software – Vcarve Desktop.

 

Here is how I prepped the file -

 

I find the file and choose open with Abobe (figure 1). Next I choose the page to be opened (figure 2 and 3). I let it default to CMYK during opening of the file (figure 4). Once the file is open, it has many layers and additional items that need to be removed (figure 5). This is a long and tedious process since these plans were designed to be printed out and not used on a CNC. Many of the layers need to be removed, some need to be joined with other layers, and there are a few of the lines that need to be joined. The CNC needs a continuous path to make the cut.

 

Once all the clean-up is done, there should only be an outline of what needs to be cut out by the CNC (figure 6). Now the file should be saved as Illustrator and is now ready for the CNC software.

 

That’s all for now, my next installment will go over the CNC software part of the process.

 

Russ

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john lewman

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Reply with quote  #2 
Thanks so much for this tutorial. Very helpful.
ctowne

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Reply with quote  #3 
Very informative.  Quick question.  If you scan that page after to a pdf does that eliminate all those layers and give you a "picture" and hopefully then a continuous path,  then you only have to erase all the tips, wording.....  
Thank you for documenting this, I have been very curious and do not know ANYBODY that has used one. 
dastoymaker

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Cindy,

I will try to explain how the different files are structured. Adobe Illustrator and similar vector type programs use vectors for the drawings. These are actually mathematical formulas that tell the computer where to place the lines on the output. The advantage of this format gives the ability to size your image at any scale and maintain a clean image (no pixilation). There are other advantages but for our discussion I will stop there. When the PDF is saved from Adobe Illustrator, the vector is preserved as are the layers. Note this is applicable for Adobe, which is what I use. It may or may not work in other vector applications. The CNC uses vectors to carve out the image but it also adds the third dimension for depth.

 

When you scan an image into a computer, you will lose all the layers and vectors since it saves the image as a bitmap (no vectors). Adobe Illustrator does have a tool to trace to convert a bitmap into vectors but I have had limited luck using this tool.

 

I hope that helps and maybe someone else can chime in if this isn’t very clear.

 

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ctowne

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Reply with quote  #5 
That really helps and makes perfect sense.  Very good description to think of these as math equations rather than pictures.  Thanks   Awww, my eyes opened.
gscott40

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Reply with quote  #6 
I also use a CNC now and then. Have found that if I break the file (John's plans) into it's individual pages I can Import them directly into Vectric's Aspire (3D version of VCarve Pro). I use a small program called PDF Toolkit + to disassemble the PDF file. It is fast, efficient, and leaves the original file. The individual pages then import as vector drawings and can be cleaned up and manipulated as desired. Resize, duplicate, flip, copy and paste, etc. John's plans are very well done and work well with a CNC.

By the way I am using a Mac...PDF Toolkit+ is OS X software and sells for about $2. I also use run Windows 8 on my Mac under VMWare Fusion.
My CNC is 5 axis LegacyCNC Arty that does turnings as well as the traditional 3 axis projects. 
hooked

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Reply with quote  #7 
Hi I have just stumbled across this forum.  You can also import the whole PDF into Vectric software and then delete the layers (pages) that are not required.  The pages show up as layers and are named as the original page numbers.  The plan pages then can be edited as required in the software.
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