Preparing Text for Laser Cutting in InkScape

Table of Contents

In this tutorial we’ll show you how to turn your text into vector shapes and create bridges for reversed text.

Select your type. Go to your Path Menu and click Object to Path or CTRL + Shift + C. Now your text is a group of vector shapes. You should see vector points or nodes around the edges of your letters.

If you were going to cut each letter individually, what you have here would be ready to go. If you want to reverse your type however, you are going to lose the holes in your letters (O, P, B, A etc.). We can remedy this by creating links or bridges to those areas.

There’s 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. I’m placing mine at the bottom of the Ds.

Something to keep in mind is the minimum part size. You’ll want your bridges to be at least 1.5x wide as the thickness of the material you are cutting from. If you’re cutting your type from .04″ Aluminum for example, you’ll want your bridge and line sizes to be .06″.

Using your Edit path by nodes tool (F2) select one of the Ds and the rectangle. 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.

Your next step is to create the shape you want your text reversed from. Let’s use a simple rectangle. Draw your rectangle around your text.

We are going to want our rectangle to be underneath the letters for the next step. Select your rectangle. Now, go to your Object menu and select Lower to Bottom (End).

Using the Edit path by nodes tool (f2), select each letter and your rectangle. We’ll go back into the Path menu. This time let’s select Exclusion (CTRL + ^). This will cut the letters from the rectangle below.

Now you can see the letters cut out of your rectangle.

Your design is now ready for the laser. Before you export your file to send to us, be sure to go through the pre-flight checklist.

File is a two-dimensional vector format file. If you're designing in Adobe Illustrator, please send us your original .ai file.

File is built at a 1:1 scale, preferably in inch-units

All text has been converted to outlines or paths

Cut-out text (reversed text) has bridges or has been stencilized

All stray points, duplicate lines, empty objects and text areas have been removed

No shapes have open contours

All shapes have been united, combined or merged

All objects are on the same layer

All holes and cutouts are at least 60% material thickness

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