Good sources for artwork I can cut?

Ideas and feedback for your ProtoMAX.
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I_Make_Stuff
Posts: 11
Joined: Thu Sep 14, 2017 3:35 pm

Fri Sep 15, 2017 2:39 pm

What are some good sources for artwork that I can cut on the machine? (AI, SVG, DXF, tool paths, etc.)

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Carl O
OMAX Employee
Posts: 26
Joined: Thu Sep 14, 2017 10:43 am
Location: OMAX Corporation
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Mon Sep 18, 2017 4:01 pm

Here are a bunch of ideas on how to make paths to run on the ProtoMAX:
  • Draw them yourself. This can be done in LAYOUT, the provided CAD/CAM system that comes with the ProtoMAX. You can also use nearly any 3rd party CAD or CAM system, or artistic vector based drawing tool. Corel Draw, Adobe Illustrator, and Inkscape are some options for the artistically inclined. LAYOUT will import AI and SVG files directly. Of course, nearly any 3rd party CAD system can be used as a starting point, if you have your favorite. For most CAD systems DXF is a good choice. (DXF is a bad choice for Adobe and Corel, though - I recommend AI or SVG for those products, as the DXF's they make tend to be quite dirty.)
  • Cut the included sample files. With the LAYOUT software comes a small handful of sample files, which we intend to grow over time.
  • Built in shape wizards. Within LAYOUT there are tools for generating gear, rack, and sprocket shapes, making these fairly easy to create. There is also a Tool Path Text tool for creating text that is pre-optimized for abrasivejet cutting, making it super easy to cut out someones name or similar. Find these by right clicking on the "Shapes" button in LAYOUT.
  • Take photos and trace them using LAYOUT's built in automatic and manual image tracing tools. High contrast black-and-white images are the easiest to automatically trace, though just about any image can be hand-traced, if you have the patience to do so.
  • Do a google image search for "silouette" with other key words for what you are looking for. For example This Google Search for "Lion Silhouette" ( :!: Link to external site). I recommend using the Google Search tools to narrow the search down to higher resolution images (say 2 megapixels or larger) in order to give the cleanest result, and then use LAYOUT's Intelli-TRACE tool to trace the image, and clean it up afterwards with a bit of hand tweaking before making it into a path.
  • Vector Art libraries. Searching for "Free vector clipart" and similar can often yield some fun results. Not all such results will be reasonable to cut, but a lot of it can be adapted. Look for Adobe Illustrator (*.ai) files, as well as SVG. 2D DXF files can also be good, though AI and SVG may give the better results when importing.
  • The VectorArt Mega Collection ( :!: link to external site). OMAX has tested a variety of different files from the collection and found them to be generally of high quality, though not all of the images in the collection are directly suitable for waterjet cutting. The files import well and are generally quite “clean”. Most images will require a small amount of editing to make them waterjet ready. For example, small features may need to be removed or reworked, or bridges may be needed to ensure the part comes out as a single solid piece, etc.
  • The ProtoMAX Discussion Group: Check out the "Share Your Work" section of these discussion groups, as we expect some work to be posted there.
  • True Type Fonts: There are quite a few True Type fonts that contain symbols and graphics suitable for cutting. Use the True Type Text tool in LAYOUT to import True Type Fonts, and then see if anything suits your fancy. Many True Type fonts can be downloaded for free or at cost on the Internet.
Caveats:
  • Be careful about trademarks and copyright when using images from the Web or similar sources - especially if you intend to use such images for commercial purposes.
  • Cleanup of the files is often required: When working with photos that are traced, files from the Internet, etc., please recognize that the initial artwork is unlikely to be usable immediately by just pressing "Auto Path". Instead some clean up may be required in order to ensure that the part comes out successfully. For example, the jet is thick, so cannot work its way into tiny corners - so eliminating such corners is often helpful. Or, some bits of the drawing may drop out, as in cutting the letter "i", where the dot on the top may need to be bridged with the base, so it does not fall off. So, it's certainly necessary to deal with such issues using the automatic cleaning tool in LAYOUT and similar tools, or "by hand" by redrawing things.

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