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Old Mon 18 February 2008, 21:02
Marc Shlaes
Just call me: Marc
Cleveland, OH
United States of America
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Engraving text - single line fonts vs. 3D carved

Gerald, speaking of engraving text... I am sure you will move this comment but... here goes.

I learned a bit about engraving text. It doesn't work well. I guess you need what are called stroke or single-line fonts to do it properly. I have googled to find these animals without too much success. I also talked to a long-time CNC'er who said basically: "Good luck!" Do you experts know where these fonts can be had?

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Old Mon 18 February 2008, 22:06
Gerald D
Just call me: Gerald (retired)
Cape Town
South Africa
Marc, 3 ways of approaching engraved CNC text:

A.-- There are very few true single-line or centerline fonts. They all look very basic. Cuts at a constant depth along the center of each letter. Cuts quite fast. Very few fonts available - all look "simple", like a kid learning to write the alphabet with a stick of chalk. Typically used in plastic moulds for the small "Made in South Africa" type writing.

B.-- Another approach is to lightly engrave the outline of each letter. With this approach you can simulate the fancier fonts. But you are still cutting at one constant depth only. Takes about twice as long as the single-stroke, centerline method. Any font can be done this way.

C.-- Then there is the real thing, 3D V-carving of the text. This is where the z axis moves constantly to vary the depth of the v-cutter in the wood. The deeper the cutter, the wider the stroke of the font. Very fine serifs are emulated by raising the cutter near the surface. A slowish cutting process. Any font can be cut in this way. You have to watch that your sign is thick enough to avoid going right through.

For methods A & B, you can get away with DeskEngrave. For method C the software processing needs a quantum leap, and then you look at VCarve Pro.

Looking at the animated graphic on the VCarve site, you can see that method C also cuts along the centerline. Some folks confuse methods A and C with each other because they are both along the centerlines.

If you had try to cut this letter T along centerlines (or as single-stroke) only, with cutter at constant depth, imagine what it would look like . . . . .

Hope this helps you understand why there are so few single-stroke fonts. They only work for kid's style writing.

(Will build a new section of the forum soon: Operating the MechMate . . . )
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Old Mon 18 February 2008, 22:34
Just call me: Leko
New Zealand
I would try the really old AutoCad fonts, they were designed to be plotted with pen plotters and are mostly single stroke. Romans and Romans2 are very legible at really small sizes (I used to have panel labels engraved with them)

Of course you need AutoCad to use the .shx font files. I don't know if any other programs can load them.
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Old Tue 19 February 2008, 07:03
Just call me: Craig
Hartland, MI
United States of America
I still havent experimented with mach3 or any of the software I plan to try for this machine. But If it is able to set 256 grayscale to a depth scale lettering can be done in corel draw and then imported I can post links to a site for tutorials that are based on doing it for the carvewright machine but if mach can interpret the grayscale it should be able to be used for this purpose as well. you would have to determine which part of the tutorials apply and which don't he had some for free and others for 10 and they are in wmv format.
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