LaserCAD line bug or feature?

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LaserCAD line bug or feature?

Postby iGull » Sat Jun 30, 2012 8:15 pm

The more I use lasercad, the more I find 'wrong' :-)))

It was driving me nuts today, I would import dxf as normal (constantly checking off the long list of things that the importer can't handle), but it wasn't bringing line colours in, so I was having to redo them manually in lasercad - really time consuming.

I went back to illustrator and tried a few things (thinking it was maybe in cmyk mode) - turns out it was line thickness - anything below 0.1mm imports as a black line! In illustrator, it tends to scale line thickness, so I didn't really notice.
Just yet another thing to check before exporting - the list gets longer.

Any word on importing ai or dxf cleanly yet? I thought the new dsp software would be getting upgraded regularly - seems like it's really much the same (or worse) as the other stuff on the market - all the hype about fancy network and hardware features is a bit pointless if the interface software sucks. Everything just seems to have come to a grinding halt /rant :lol:

I'm really not sure which way to go, a lot of the other dsp boards have similar softwre - one actually works quite well, the shenhui laserworks - at least it imports correctly - it may lack network features, but it has everything else and I've been quoted a better price.

My apologies for the negative post, I'm getting frustrated with the wait .

Cheers

Neil
EMOs are a sign of weakness ...
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Re: LaserCAD line bug or feature?

Postby Nick Brawne » Sun Jul 01, 2012 7:02 am

Sounds like a big part of your problem is Illustrator. A great tool for vector artwork and manipulating type, but a crappy tool for CAD. You would be much better of investing in a low cost or free 2D CAD program for creating DXF's

The cheepest usable 2D CAD I know of is ViaCAD 2D, for years the program that it is based on Vellum was the CAD program for Industrial Designers.
http://punchcad.com/p-7-viacad-2d-v7.aspx

Another alternative to look at is DraftSight (free) from Dessault - the people who make SolidWorks.
http://www.3ds.com/products/draftsight/overview/

Both of these products are cross platform OS X / Windows. There are also a number of open source solutions, but I dont know about how good they are, or ease of use as I spend most of my days behind a commercial package.
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Re: LaserCAD line bug or feature?

Postby iGull » Sun Jul 01, 2012 9:09 am

Hi Nick

Nick Brawne wrote:Sounds like a big part of your problem is Illustrator. A great tool for vector artwork and manipulating type, but a crappy tool for CAD. You would be much better of investing in a low cost or free 2D CAD program for creating DXF's

The cheepest usable 2D CAD I know of is ViaCAD 2D, for years the program that it is based on Vellum was the CAD program for Industrial Designers.
http://punchcad.com/p-7-viacad-2d-v7.aspx

Another alternative to look at is DraftSight (free) from Dessault - the people who make SolidWorks.
http://www.3ds.com/products/draftsight/overview/

Both of these products are cross platform OS X / Windows. There are also a number of open source solutions, but I dont know about how good they are, or ease of use as I spend most of my days behind a commercial package.


LOL, If you only knew how many 'CAD' applications I actually possess :-))) I have all of the above and more, but my main one for the last 30 years or so has been Vectorworks (nee MiniCAD) - I even bought the latest AutoCAD in the search for a human useable tool - and failed :D .
Most are extremely over featured and very over-priced for what they accomplish - regarding export facilities (generally DXF), they all fail in one form or another - even the dreaded autocad can't read some of it's previous versions ! The learning curve for most is horrendous - a lot of them even throw away OS standard key combinations!

I have to completely disagree with you regarding Illustrator - the issue with the line problem is LaserCAD, not illustrator - I fail to see why the line thickness should have any bearing on it's vector - /rant (no pun intended :-))

You would think that Illustrator wouldn't be very great as a 'CAD' application, but that is essentially what it is - a 2D CAD app (with an artistic bent) - there is a plugin for 'cad' which offers dimensioning etc etc, but you don't need dimensioning to cut bits of timber and plastic - we're not producing working drawings. As long as you can easily produce accurate vectors, that is really all that is needed. I use a load of cad apps, and some of their major failings are their abilities to accurately handle simple freehand splines and 'offset' paths - used generally for toolpath generation - illustrator's offset algorithm is perhaps the best I have ever seen (other than in high end CAM apps) - I have yet to see it fail - something I can't say about the 'cad' apps. 2D binary operations are another area that work practically 100% in illustrator - again, unlike some of the CAD apps.
It's also easily programmable (something a lot of the cad apps fail to support - exceptions of vectorworks and autocad perhaps).

There is one app that I have to mention - SketchUp - it is an outstanding piece of cad software (even using it in 2D) - the snapping algorithm is superb. Once you get your head around the rather unusual interface, you would find it difficult to change back. Even better, it's free :D :D I've written quite a few CNC plugins for sketchup (have a look across on the sketchuCAM forum - or the phlatboyz cnc website). Programming in ruby can be a challenge, but not impossible.

I'll mention one great use for illustrator - converting old model aircraft plans into cuttable parts - it is superb (I have tried loads of those 'auto-scan' type apps but you spend more time re-adjusting the data it produces than doing it from scratch). Both illustrator and sketchup are great for this.

Anyway, my sincere apologies for ranting on about my pet love/hate relationship with CAD apps - no malice intended I assure you :D

Cheers

Neil
EMOs are a sign of weakness ...
iGull
 
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Re: LaserCAD line bug or feature?

Postby sports.racer » Mon Jul 02, 2012 12:52 pm

Agree on the Illustrator thing. I've had no problems at all with using AI as the starting point for my Illustrator (Mac OS) -> CamBam (Windows) -> LinuxCNC (Ubuntu) work flow. Yes, I'm an equal opportunity OS employer.
Currently using this for a CNC router and am starting to build a laser.
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Re: LaserCAD line bug or feature?

Postby Nick Brawne » Tue Jul 03, 2012 6:11 am

I guess its each to their own.

I spend so much time in the CAD program that I use (Shark FX) that I find it faster for sketching than Illustrator, but then I have been using Shark and its predecessors almost daily for 20 years. Whenever I try and do anything that requires accuracy in Illustrator I am constantly annoyed at the constraints that it puts on me.

Typographers always say that the font that is easiest to read is the one that you read most. I would have to agree and say the same is true for drawing and sketching programs.
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