Lasering score lines + cuts - probably a dumb question!

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Everything I’ve made on the laser so far has been using simple cuts. I’m drawing DXF files in AutoCAD and manually setting line width to 0.025 and colour to pure blue 255 in Illustrator.

I’ve tried to add red lines to “score” or engrave, also set to 0.025 and pure red 255. However, even with my materials setting set with red as cut (and appropriate settings from sheet on wall), JobControl doesn’t seem to “see” the red lines, and adds a white background, as if I’d loaded a raster. When I cut, nothing happens with the red lines at all.

I’m sure I must be missing something obvious!

This may not be the problem, but to me this happens most frequently when trying to load a cut line with settings that use an engrave process for the same colour.

When printing, whatever colours are set to engrave in the printer driver are rastered before they are sent to jobcontrol, and you can’t get them back to being vector lines, even when you change the material settings for that colour to be “cut”. You can see that this is the problem by zooming in and seeing that your line are pixelated.

So if you haven’t tried this until now, try setting up the correct material in the printer settings, before job control. Let me know if that’s not it!

Feel free to send me your file if that’s not the problem and I’ll see if I can see anything wrong with it!

Thanks Rob - that’s exactly what was happening - when zoomed in I could see the pixelation of the red lines (not the blue). I didn’t have anything set to black\engrave in the file I was trying to cut though, although I think I did have a black engrave setting turned on in JobControl material settings.

I did set up the material in job control first (Petra/JustinC/Ply 3mm) before pressing “Print” in Illustrator, if that’s what you mean? Or is there a way to set materials from within printer setup before actually hitting Print in Illustrator?

One other thought - everything I’ve tried to score with red lines so far has been created using CAD arrays where the shapes are directly abutting. Would overlapping / overlaid lines confuse it? Simple example attached (wooden planks for a 2mm/1ft scale model).

2mm Planking.dxf (261.3 KB)

I did set up the material in job control first (Petra/JustinC/Ply 3mm) before pressing “Print” in Illustrator, if that’s what you mean? Or is there a way to set materials from within printer setup before actually hitting Print in Illustrator?

The material you set up in jobcontrol doesn’t actually matter for a new job - you always set the material settings in illustrator (or more accurately in the printer driver), but you can change them in jobcontrol.

For a case like this, it’s important to do it in illustrator, so that the vector lines don’t get rasterised. You do this by clicking print, then setup, then clicking preferences for the trotec printer driver. You’ll get the dialog you can see under “Operation Process” on the laser cutter page here: Laser Cutter - Trotec Speedy 300

In this you can set what kind of process you’re trying to do (standard, photo optimized, etc), and you can set the material you want to use. There’s also the same wrench button that you know from jobcontrol that lets you get to the material library to set up new materials, etc.

Whatever settings are set up here will override whatever is set up in jobcontrol for every new job. The only exception is if you already have a job on the print plate, in which case job control will ask whether you want to discard the settings in the file and use the plate parameters instead.

Would overlapping / overlaid lines confuse it? Simple example attached (wooden planks for a 2mm/1ft scale model).

For engraving processes, overlapping fills don’t matter, jobcontrol will just make a single region out of it. But for cut jobs, every single line is cut, no matter if it’s overlaying another line or not.

There’s a manual for jobcontrol as well by the way if you’d like to read more about this in detail: https://www.troteclaser.com/fileadmin/content/images/Contact_Support/Manuals/JobControl-Manual-EN.pdf

Thanks so much Rob - that’s clearly what I’ve been missing. I think I’d only remembered the JobControl side of material settings from the induction. Sounds like that was likely to be the issue here.

I’ll also make sure I explode all the arrays and blocks, and then join all geometries, to avoid overlapping lines getting multiple cuts.

Cheers for the help!
Justin