cutting vertical lines on ULS M30 machine

Bug #1071219 reported by James Verniquet on 2012-10-25
This bug report is a duplicate of:  Bug #966244: Direct print to lasercutter. Edit Remove
This bug affects 1 person
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone

Bug Description

I am currently using Corel Draw X5 with the ULS M30 laser cutting machine. This works fine, however, personally, I would prefer to use something Opensource, like Inkscape.
The problem with Inkscape is a weird bug when cutting vertical lines. For some reason, when I try cutting a rectangle, it cuts the top horizontal line perfectly, but then goes stupid. Instead of cutting a vertical line the laser oscillates back and forth over the hoizontal line, cutting tiny <1mm cuts to start both the left and right vertical lines. Then it moves the laser down <1mm and again cuts tiny marks on both the left and right vertical lines.
Corel Draw works fine, which makes this even more annoying! Inkscape does eventually cut the rectangle, but it is so slow because of the way it handles vertical lines.

Inkscape V0.48.2 r9819
Windows XP Sp3

su_v (suv-lp) wrote :

Likely related to (or actually a duplicate of one of):
Bug #630639 “Printing to Laser cutter rasterizes images”
Bug #966244 “Direct print to lasercutter”

Please read the comments in both reports for a possibly solution.

tags: added: printing win32

I have already read both posts, and they weren't much help.
My problem is the same, regardless of whether I print directly from Inkscape or through Print2PDF.
The problem is only with vertical lines, not horizontal lines, and I do not have this problem with Corel Draw, so I suspect the fault is with Inkscape not ULS.

su_v (suv-lp) wrote :

> My problem is the same, regardless of whether I print directly from Inkscape or through Print2PDF.

Did you actually try the extension 'Win32 Vector Print' written by Alvin Penner, and attached to bug #966244?

Yes, I have tried the extension 'Win32 Vector Print' and it didn't make any difference at all. Also, could I point out that this extension will only print to your default printer, which isn't my M30. As it didn't work anyway, not a big problem, but I thought I ought to mention it ;)

Alvin Penner (apenner) wrote :

- did you specify a narrow line width, about 0.1 pixel or so?
- could you attach the svg file you are using?

I believe the stroke width is set to 0.001 inches.
Atached is the svg file

Alvin Penner (apenner) wrote :

I am not able to do an actual printout at this time, but I have a quick comment on the format of these lines. Attached is a typical line chosen at random from your file. There are a lot of line segments that are very short. Some of them are of length 0.0312 pixels, which is less than one-thousandths of an inch. I assume that this was not the intended result. Could you try drawing just a single rectangle, and confirm that it does not contain any short segments in it, and then try printing it?

m 25.15625,160.46875 0,0.0312 0.96875,167.125 0,0.0625 0.0625,0 12,0 0.03125,0 0,-0.0625 0,-153.34375 428.09375,0 0.46875,221.46875 -429.5,-0.53125 0.46875,-26.40625 0,-0.0625 -0.0625,0 -12.46875,0 -0.0625,0 0,0.0625 0,40.1875 0,0.0312 0.0625,0 452.1875,0 0.0312,0 0,-0.0312 0.96875,-248.5 0,-0.0312 -0.0625,0 -453.125,0 -0.0625,0 z m 0.125,0.0937 453.03125,0 -0.96875,248.375 -452.0625,0 0,-40.09375 12.375,0 -0.5,26.40625 0,0.0625 0.0625,0 429.625,0.5625 0.0312,0 0,-0.0625 -0.46875,-221.5625 0,-0.0625 -0.0625,0 -428.15625,0 -0.0625,0 0,0.0625 0,153.3125 -11.90625,0 -0.9375,-167 z

Alvin Penner (apenner) wrote :

actually, looking closer, I see that that is probably not the problem The short lines appear to be occurring at corners, not in the middle of the line. However, I still have a question. It appears that some of these lines are stroked twice, to produce an outline of a line. Was this done deliberately, or did you run an Inkscape procedure to do this?

Will take a closer look at the output tonight. In the meantime I would suggest trying to draw a single rectangle to see what happens.

Alvin Penner (apenner) wrote :

okay, this is my final comment. I see that these lines have a red fill. It is the fill that is causing the problem. Try removing the fill and see what happens.

Wow! I had no idea. I can't remember how I drew the rectangle. The first time was definitely using the Rectangle Tool. However, subsequent trials I probably used the pen tool to draw the corner points. Therefore, I have no idea why there would be so many tiny vectors. I didn't use any procedures or automated tools. However, I did convert the path. Could this have caused this?
I shall try cutting a (definitely) normal rectangle, using the Rectangle Tool tomorrow morning :)

Exciting news - I can now cut rectangles :)
However, text is still an issue, and it's a bit weird...
For braille, if I use Convert Stroke to Path, it works fine :)
For standard text, using Ariel, using Convert Stroke to Path, it kind of works, but not well. :(
For starters, the convert stroke to path is far from impressive - it doesn't really look like text, with missing parts.
Secondly, when cutting the ordinary text, it has the same old problem I used to have with rectangles - I'm going to coin the term 'strobing effect' - the laser moves left to right, back and forth, meaning it does eventually cut the shape, but takes a heck of a long time :P
Also, regarding the Win32 Vector Print extension, it would be peachy if you could specify which printer to use - my laser is not the default printer, otherwise I end up lasering documents I wanted to print! :P

Alvin Penner (apenner) wrote :

- for text, I think you will need to use "Object to Path", not "Stroke to Path"
- secondly, for text, if you do not want it to be filled then you will need to go into the Fill and Stroke editor and delete the fill, and replace it with Stroke instead. This is probably the cause of the excessive sideways movement.

I tried both Object to Path and Stroke to Path.
Object to Path didn't work at all, hence I used Stroke to Path, which did work
Also, the text was stroke only, no fill.

Alvin Penner (apenner) wrote :

attached is a demo file that you could try, just to see if it works. This was produced as follows.

- Windows 7, Inkscape
- create text using font Hobo BT, size 64
- set fill to none
- set stroke to red
- set stroke width to 0.05px
- use Path->Object to Path to convert to Path
- select the group of paths and choose the menu option Object->UnGroup
- save

the last step, using Object->Ungroup is unfortunately necessary for text so that the individual letters will have the correct style, otherwise they would have the default style, which is not what you want.

Can you try printing this and see how it works?

It works like a dream :)
Would you like to come and work here X)

Alvin Penner (apenner) wrote :

good to hear. unfortunately I am in Canada, so there is a bit of a relocation problem. Also these days I am spending more time dreaming of retiring, rather than working...

su_v (suv-lp) wrote :

> It works like a dream :)

Can we close this report? AFAIU the reported problem seems more a question about usage than about an actual bug in Inkscape itself which needs to be fixed?

Changed in inkscape:
status: New → Incomplete

Well, there's still the issue of the Win32 Vector Print extension which only uses the default printer. Could this be sorted out?
Also, I haven't tested this out with my own system. I have only tried Alvin's file, which worked fine.
Tomorrow morning I can try it out from scratch, using my own computer.

Alvin Penner (apenner) wrote :

with respect to choosing the printer, I will put this onto my list of things to think about. It is possible that one could have a display show up which would default to the default printer, but which would allow one to choose a different printer if desired. This is what is normally done in programs like Word. However, it would not be possible to remember which printer was used, I think that would be outside the scope of this project.

su_v (suv-lp) wrote :

For the sake of those who try to keep this bug tracker in somewhat usable state: _Please_ file a separate report for the feature request to enhance the Windows-only print extension "Win32 Vector Print" to allow selecting among available printers. It is not directly related to the original problem reported here, and any progress should be tracked separately.

I would also highly appreciate if the two of you could somehow decide on the state of this report: we already have two existing reports which basically track the same issue with printing to laser cutters on Windows, with the same extension (at different stages of development AFAICT) attached to both of them, which makes it difficult to track and to triage newer reports about the same underlying issue. It would be great if there's not yet another one in an 'undefined' state for which the same solution applies (a custom extension to bypass deficiencies of the current cairo win32 printing surface which is used by the GTK+ print API).

Alvin Penner (apenner) wrote :

yes, I'll mark this as a duplicate if James is able to print from his computer

Dear Alvin

It worked like a treat! You've made my weekend :)
Just a couple of comments - making every line 0.05px makes it impossible to see anything whilst you are working :P Is it possible to write a script to convert all lines to 0.05px at the end? Also, it would be nice to ungroup everything via a script too.

I can't express what a joy it is to be free of Corel Draw. I can now enjoy using the laser machine =)

Alvin Penner (apenner) wrote :

- good to hear, marking this as a duplicate of Bug 966244.
- with respect to line width, you might find it convenient to use the view called "Outline". This is available on the menu at View->Display mode->Outline. It will display everything as an outline with no style attribute so that narrow lines are visible.
- with respect to ungrouping, it is on my list of things to think about, I agree that it would be a nice feature to have.
- with respect to usage questions, you might also find it helpful to join some of the specialized discussion groups that are available, for example:

if there are any other unresolved issues, feel free to raise a new bug report to address them.

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