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Laser cutting question

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Old 01-08-2014, 08:53 AM
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oldbassard
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Hey Gang

I am working on drawing my Cessna T-50. I have questions about how to? I am redrawing my wing ribs after a little computer problem before. I do have questions about doing the ribs. I have never hand cut ribs before and don't think I posses the skills to do this right without using 30-40 pounds of balsa for less than a half pound of ribs. (Speaking of them like this is making me think of BBQ) So I know I should have them laser cut.

I do know there are some businesses out there who charge double the price to do this than others simply because they can and they have the opportunity because of their joint ventures. Does anyone know of a laser cutting company in the USA that does this at a fair rate that also does good reputable work?
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Old 01-08-2014, 01:40 PM
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Check with Joe Leach with Indiana Laser Cutting his email is: jleach@tds.net He has cut several projects for me and is very reasonable. I won't hesitate to use him again. Now he works full time in addition to doing Laser Cutting and that does affect ship dates at times. He's a one man job but that helps the consistency of the product. He is very reliable and does great work. You can tell him Mike in Oklahoma City (Infernalbirdman1) recommended him, he'll know who you are talking about.
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Old 01-08-2014, 02:27 PM
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Sky King!!!!!

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Old 01-08-2014, 02:51 PM
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Joe was able to help with converting and still be reasonable.
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Old 01-08-2014, 02:58 PM
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Vector format? Is that a format used in CAD? I would like to learn how to use CAD. I guess it's not as simple to just import a jpeg of your plans into a CAD program is it? I mean, do you have to actually re draw everything in the program?
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Old 01-08-2014, 03:57 PM
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Alan,

You do vocal? I play the Banjo and I have no idea why?

CAD, you have to draw it all. (But I'll get back to that.) Or someone sends you a file and you add to it or correct it. My drawing program isn't a CAD program. But I truly believe my program is as good as any 2D CAD program.

I can bring in a JPEG or a Tiff and do an automatic trace. You wind up with a vector file. However, only for pictoral art, can't do plans or three views this way. Well, I can't. There's to much "clean up." Might as well draw everything from scratch, as I do.

I draw all the models I design and the parts for them with my program.

Here's an example.

Chaz
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Old 01-08-2014, 04:21 PM
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Chaz,

If you're referring to my songs, I played everything and tried to sing. lol
I used to have a free download of Draftsite in which I messed around with but could never figure it out. It would be nice to be able to design, draw and build my own plane. One day..
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Old 01-08-2014, 04:59 PM
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Old ,
What program are you drawing them in? What size is it and how may ribs? What airfoil are you using?

Tim

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Old 01-08-2014, 05:09 PM
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Vector format isn't something you should have to use before sending your CAD drawings to a cutter. A cutter will have Pronest or a similar program to convert your DWG for his machine.to do the job. Any reputable cutter should have the ability to convert a DWG or DXF to any type of file they need for their machine. Some people with small shops may need them as a vector or other specific types of files before you send them.. I will email Joe Leach and see what type of file he requests.

I play a banjo too (I get so tired of people wanting to hear me play dueling Banjos, with no guitar to follow).

The Cessna T-50 I am doing is 64" wingspan. I am going to use a pair of 45 sized brushless motors. Chaz, Hmmm 80" wingspan sounds cool, what size of motors does yours take?

drube, vector isn't a program you find in autocad. It's primarily used in art and graphics and a really interesting program
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Old 01-08-2014, 05:12 PM
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Mike Thanks, I'll shoot him an email.
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Old 01-08-2014, 06:01 PM
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Laserworks now cuts a short kit for the RCM UC78 plans ( wish I knew before I cut mine). Check this page on their site under Cessna UC78 about midway down the page..

http://lazer-works.com/rcm.html
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Old 01-08-2014, 06:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oldbassard View Post
Vector format isn't something you should have to use before sending your CAD drawings to a cutter. A cutter will have Pronest or a similar program to convert your DWG for his machine.to do the job. Any reputable cutter should have the ability to convert a DWG or DXF to any type of file they need for their machine. Some people with small shops may need them as a vector or other specific types of files before you send them.. I will email Joe Leach and see what type of file he requests.

I play a banjo too (I get so tired of people wanting to hear me play dueling Banjos, with no guitar to follow).

The Cessna T-50 I am doing is 64" wingspan. I am going to use a pair of 45 sized brushless motors. Chaz, Hmmm 80" wingspan sounds cool, what size of motors does yours take?

drube, vector isn't a program you find in autocad. It's primarily used in art and graphics and a really interesting program


Wanna buy a banjo?

I believe you missed my point. You cannot send a bitmap or raster file to a laser person and expect that file to run his machine.

Either the program your working in, or somebody, has to create a vector format file for the cutter.

Tons of programs that create vector line drawings and art. Most with three innitials, except AI.

If the file ain't vector, the machine has no line to follow.

Yes, we all have the ability of opening files saved many ways. That's common.

Every model in the following photos, the graphics or lettering, was produced in my software program. Now get this. I cut vinyl with the vector file, however, If I sent these files to a CNC guy, he could cut the stuff in metal, same with a laser for balsa cutting. Vector is vector. Just a simple constant line.

Take a look!

http://www.rcuniverse.com/community/...ry&memid=11343
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Old 01-08-2014, 06:47 PM
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Zip, WOW, you just saved me a LOT of Cad time, thanks
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Old 01-09-2014, 04:47 AM
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http://a-mmodels.com/
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Old 07-05-2014, 06:25 PM
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if you save an image in jpeg format,you have created a vector based image,that most lazers can interpret.
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Old 07-06-2014, 06:21 AM
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alex5,

With all due respect. A Vector line and a JPEG are very different. The JPEG is bits, not a continous line.

You need a continous line for any cutting equipment.

I do this all the time.

Sometimes I have to create Vector lines over JPEG images because this is the only art that is supplied.

Research "Vector," and "Raster." I really hate using the word Raster. :-(.

Yes, there are programs that create vector lines from JPEG or bit map imagery. They are not that accurate and a "clean up" is necessary, plus, they trace "every" line!

I've had Streamliner for almost 17 years which does this. My sign and graphics program does this also. My graphics program costs $3,000.00.

The upgrade is $1,000.00. I won't spend the money for it. Won't help anything I'm already doing.

The Vector line is everything!

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Old 07-06-2014, 04:52 PM
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sorry for the mis-information.Autocad as such, accepts vector images,and yet...it accepts jpg's.from that I assumed it was a vector.
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Old 07-26-2014, 06:41 AM
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Have you looked in your local phone book or Googled your area?
I work in a metropolitan area of under 200k people.
I have talked to 2 I found by accident that can do it and plan on talking to a third I found.
Just because they don't advertise to the RC community doesn't mean they won't do it?

Good Luck,
KW_Counter
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Old 07-26-2014, 06:22 PM
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There seems to be some misunderstanding about graphic formats. There are two categories of computer graphics. One is vector, the other bit mapped/raster. Vector graphics are mathematical descriptions of the image elements. This includes file formats from CAD and Vector graphics applications such as DXF, DWG, STL CRW and many others. The other is raster, which is used by paint and photo editing software and includes formats such as tif, bmp, jpg, gif, and many others where the image is made up of pixel descriptions.

To cut parts with a laser cutter, the machine uses some vector format. Some cutters use Corel Draw files, others use Autocad files. Most places should be able to translate the image from one vector format to another, though they will most likely prefer a specific vector format.

If the image is a bitmap, it will need to be converted into a vector. There are trace programs that attempt to do this automatically, but as has been mentioned, the results usually require a lot of re-work to produce a vector good enough to be used for laser cutting. More often, a person will import the bitmap image into the vector application and use it as a guide for re-drawing the image as a vector. Some laser cutters can also etch images from bitmaps, but that is not useful for cutting parts.

There is another option other than laser cutting. You can also cut parts with a CNC router. I cut parts on a small CNC router from Rockler called the CNC Shark. Using a 1/16" or 1/32" router bit, I can cut very accurate parts from balsa, lite ply, aircraft ply, fiberglass sheet and even some limited cutting of aluminum. Again, the file type used is vector. The CNC machine requires a file to be in G-code (used by all types of CNC machines, routers, lathes, mills, plasma...). You use software that imports a vector file, defines the bits being used, the depth and type of cut, and it produces the G-code for the specific CNC machine. The CNC Shark includes Vectric VCarve Pro for this purpose. The CNC router with additional software can also use bitmapped images to create 3d relief cuts of images, but again, not useable for cutting parts. CNC routers can use 3D graphic files for creating 3D cuts too. Advanced CNC routers can extend that capability quite far.


Here is an example of some CNC cut parts from 1/4" thick balsa.

Scott
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Old 07-28-2014, 06:43 AM
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I did a little research in my area and the stores like Office Depot and Stables tell me they scan to a pdf format only, but Kinko's is telling me they can do pdf or dwg for $1.99 a page. I think I will have Kinko's scan a set of plans I am considering having laser cut. One thing I should add Staples and Office Depot were considerably cheaper than Kinko's in the cost of copying the plans. All three charge by the square foot.
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Old 07-28-2014, 12:38 PM
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My lazer cutting guy took my dxf file,and cut it.Funny,dwg wasn't useful to him
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Old 07-29-2014, 05:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alex5 View Post
My lazer cutting guy took my dxf file,and cut it.Funny,dwg wasn't useful to him
It depends on what software he is using.
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Old 07-29-2014, 06:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FlyerInOKC View Post
...but Kinko's is telling me they can do pdf or dwg for $1.99 a page.
I think either you misunderstood them or they misunderstood you as it is not possible to scan something into .dwg format. At least not one that is useable for laser cutting.


Quote:
Originally Posted by alex5 View Post
My lazer cutting guy took my dxf file,and cut it.Funny,dwg wasn't useful to him
In simple terms the .dwg format is native to AutoCAD while .dxf is a generic CAD file format which is readable by almost any type of CAD software. Apparently your laser guy is using a software other than AutoCAD to operate his machine which is not uncommon.
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Old 10-19-2014, 07:06 AM
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Hello,

I apologize if this question is deemed off topic but I have been trying to find some information about using CAD to trace drawings and cam across this thread and am hopeful that someone could assist. I am new to this facet of the hobby and have found it a bit difficult to find threads that specifically address the information I am looking for.

I want to trace some parts so that I can have them laser cut down the road. I have AutoCAD and have already imported an image into the program, set it up on Layer - 0 and started my trace on Layer 1 upon which I will be tracing the formers. I have already traced two of the formers and then started to think about the work I was doing and how it may affect the accuracy of the end product. My questions have to do with the specific considerations one would need to account for when tracing a part to make sure that it is accurately traced in size and dimensions for the final laser cutting?

I have the following concerns:

1. When tracing a part, do I keep to the inside, outside, or middle of the drawn line (on the image) to ensure the part I am tracing is as exact as I can make it?

2. What line weight should I use?

3. Does the width of the line make a difference to the laser cutter and the final size of the part? By this I mean that if I sick to the outside line on the drawing for my trace, and I use a fairly thick line to facilitate viewing, will the thick line have an effect on the overall dimensions of final cut part?

4. Does the laser cutter use the inside, outside, or middle of the line as a reference point when it performs it cutting function?

5. Do I need to make any allowances for the Kerf of the cut when tracing such as adding or subtracting a minute measurement to the overall size of the piece?

6. Are there any other special consideration I should be taking into account when tracing my parts to ensure an accurate end product?
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Old 10-19-2014, 07:43 AM
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I gotta tell ya, I'm glad my drawing progran isn't CAD.

When I trace a line drawing, for the benefit of having a vector line for a laser cutting file, I go to the outside.

You can always sand a bit away to fine tune when building.

I only have one line thickness and I'm glad.

Been doing vector art for modeler's parts for over 10 years with my drawing program which isn't really CAD.

Well, if you look at Computer Added Drawing for what it is, my program does this. It's also 3 grand.

With all this said, I wish I could answer all of your questions.

You'll ned a CAD expert possibly.

What are you building?

Charles
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