Basic Drawing with Lasercut 5.3
Lasercut 5.3 provides the user with a selection of basic drawing functions. These functions are very useful for creating quick drawings or to modify imported items. For more complicated drawings it is recommend that you use a 3rd party program like Inkscape and import the drawing as a dxf.
These functions draw new items on the canvas.
The line tool is the simplest of all the tools. The first click creates a node which starts the line, a second click creates another node which becomes the end of the line. When the line tool is placed near the nodes of an existing line Lasercut draws a small green square around the node, this means that the new line will start (or end) at exactly the same location as that node.
The first click with the rectangle tool places a node as the top left hand corner of a rectangle. The second click places a node in the bottom right hand corner. All four corners of the rectangle become nodes which Lasercut can snap to. Once placed the rectangle can be freely deformed by moving the corner nodes around. Holding down the ctrl key while the Ellipse is being drawn makes the height and width the same length so the shape ends as a square.
The polyline is very similar to the line tool. Each click places a new node and a line is drawn straight between the new node and the previous node. The polyline is ended by double clicking to place the final node.
The first click with the ellipse tool places a node as the top left hand corner of an ellipse. The second click places a node in the bottom right hand corner. An ellipse of the appropriate height and width is drawn within the specified rectangle. Holding down the ctrl key while the rectangle is being drawn makes the height and width the same length so the shape ends as a circle.
With the text tool, the user is expected to click and drag to draw a rectangle on the screen. Lasercut then presents the user with the text entry dialog box, the size of the drawn rectangle bears no resemblance to the size of the text created.
The numeric values on the form are given in millimetres. “Height” is the full height of a character should it reach to the top of the line and all the way under the line. “Space” is the amount of room to leave between each letter. The font is selected from the drop down box, but the user is not provided with a preview as to what the font will look like. The desired text goes in the very bottom text box. If the user has another object selected while creating new text, Lasercut will offer to align the new text to the selected object. This is how to make text follow curves and lines.
Simple Object Modification
These functions work by modify the currently selected item(s). Select the item first and then select the tool.
With the items you want to transform selected, click on the rotate button. Type the desired angle into the rotate angle box and the items will be rotated around the centre of all the selected items.
2. Mirror (Vertically)
With the items you want to transform selected, click on the Mirror (Vertically) button. The items will be mirrored along the vertical axis (like a normal mirror)
3. Mirror (Horizontally)
With the items you want to transform selected, click on the Mirror (Horizontally) button. The items will be mirrored along the horizontal axis, the items will look like they are upside down but they are also a mirror image of the originals.
4. Edit Node
With the items you want to transform selected, click on edit nodes. Lasercut will show you all the nodes within the current objects. When you hover the mouse over a node the cursor will change to show you it can be selected. A second click drops the node at it’s new location. While it is moving a node can be snapped to any of the other nodes within the item and a cyan copy of the item appears allowing you to return the node back to it’s original location.
The size dialog box shows you the current size of the item. Simply type in the new values for the height and width of the item and the item will be scaled appropriately. The two buttons with the ellipses return the measurements back to their original values, X and Y respectively.
Advanced Object Modification
These functions allow to create objects that change the shape and location of the initial item. All these function modify the currently selected item.
The copy function is a powerful way of creating multiple items at once. With the desired items selected click the copy button, the copy dialog will ask how many rows and columns you would like of the item and how much space you would like between each item in each direction. The original item will remain selected and will be the bottom left hand item of the new array.
2. Centre to Table
With the desired items selected, Centre to Table moves them all to the middle of the work area.
3. Invert Colors
Invert Colors works on raster images that have been imported into the work area. It does a simple calculation that converts the white pixels to black pixels and vice versa. Lasercut 5.3 does not handle greyscale image, instead it deals with grey colors using a dithering method. Closely spaced dots appear as darker greys and widely spaced dots make up lighter greys.
4. Offset Curve
Offset curves creates a new line around or inside of the selected item(or both). The Corner type setting determines if the new shape should have rounded corners or straight lines. The distance determines how much larger the new shape should be compared to the old one. The Inside/Outside settings determine which lines to draw and the Connect box indicates if the new object should be created as one single item or as a series of separated lines.
5. Smooth Curve
We are currently unsure what the purpose of this function is