In this tutorial we’ll show you how to prepare your text for laser cutting in Inkscape.
SIs laser cut text tripping you up? No worries. We’re going to teach you how to convert type to vector shapes and create bridges for reversed text so your text will come off the laser looking as awesome as you imagined it.
Converting text to vector shapes
This part is easier than it sounds. You’re going to select all your text, go to the Path Menu, and click Object to Path or press CTRL+Shift+C. Now your text is a group of vector shapes. Easy! At this point, you should also see vector points or nodes around the edges of your letters.
Creating bridges for reversed laser cut text
If you were going to cut each letter individually, what you have here would be ready to go. However, if you want to reverse cut your type, you are going to lose the holes in your letters (O, P, B, A, etc.). You can remedy this by creating links or bridges to those areas.
There are a few ways to accomplish this. We’ll go over one method using the Boolean Operations in your Path menu. Before you start, make sure you Enable Snapping (%). This will snap your rectangle to the edges of your letters. Draw a rectangle using the Rectangle tool (F4) where you want your bridge to be. In this example with the SendCutSend logo, we’ll place them at the bottom of the Ds.
Something to keep in mind as you create bridges for your text is the minimum part size for laser cutting. You’ll want your bridges to be at least 50% as wide as the thickness of the material you are cutting from. If you’re cutting your type from .08″ Aluminum, for example, you’ll want your bridge and line sizes to be .04″.
Now using the Edit path by nodes tool (F2), select one of the letters you want a bridge in and the rectangle you just made. Go again to the Path menu. This time, select Division (CTRL + /). This will cut the bottom object by the path of the top object. In other words, it will cut the rectangle out of your letter.
Repeat this process for any additional bridges you need in your text.
Your next step is to create the shape you want your text reverse cut from. We’ll use a simple rectangle for this tutorial. Draw your rectangle around your text using the Rectangle tool (F4).
You are going to want your rectangle to be underneath the letters for the next step. Select your rectangle, go to the Object menu, and select Lower to Bottom (End).
Using the Edit path by nodes tool (F2), select each letter and your rectangle. Now go back into the Path menu. This time select Exclusion (CTRL + ^). This will cut the letters from the rectangle below.
You can see the letters as they’ll appear cut out of your rectangle/shape. And now you know how to prepare text for laser cutting in Inkscape!