bench notes; how to make line work cut-able

One reason I wanted access to a lasercutter was to cut things that are fiddly and annoying to cut by hand, and even to cut multiples of them. Things like finely cut tree silhouettes, window muntins, and frames for things are easy to cut from a variety of materials, once you have the line work ready to cut. These things are easy enough to draw as simple line work, but is a process to turn the lines into a thing.

  • draw the thing in Inkscape, (a vector graphics program) in this case a tree, using lines of various weights
  • transform the stroke to path, giving you an outline of all the different lines you drew
  • from here, I create a single outline from all that mess, using a command called Union
  • The end result is an outline that goes around the outside of all the grouped line work. This can be used as a cutting line with the laser, or further manipulated (reversed, shrunk, enlarged, etc).

It works the same way for simpler shapes as well – below you can see a tree, a circle turned into small embroidery hoop, and a set of hexagons grouped into a honeycomb shape, already cut out.

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