Students completed a build permit for their ornament designs. They were instructed to use two different colors in their drawings. Black would be the color of what got raster engraved. Red is the color of what would get cut to create the ornament. (Really any colors could be used, but these are the most common colors used when students are designing directly in Inkscape in the later grades. This is really a first lap for the Kinders with designing for the laser cutter. So as they get older, this experience can be referred to.)
**The linked build permit above is actually the second one that students completed. They first did a brainstorming build permit to help me determine which fabrication tool would be best based on their anticipated designs.
Documents should be scanned to create digital versions of the permits.
Use Jing, or Snipping Tool, to capture the section of the permit that contains the ornament. If using Jing, you can save them as .png files of the images. I used Snipping Tool for this project, and didn’t bother to save the individual images. I just copied the images and pasted them. (See next step.)
“Editing – Black”
Bring the image into Inkscape.
Make sure the image is selected, and then Trace Bitmap using the PATH menu – use the Brightness mode with one scan.
“Image Clean-up – Round 1”
Drag the traced image to some clean workspace.
Remove the unwanted black portions of the drawing by encircling them using the Bezier tool. Select the traced image, and the newly created path from the Bezier tool, then “difference” them away with the command in the PATH menu.
“Editing – Red”
Select the original image again and return to the Trace Bitmap command. This time you’ll use the Multiple Scan mode using colors.
Bring the traced black image on top of the colored trace, and align them.
Send the black image to the bottom. You want to be able to click on the original image so you can delete it. It has served its purpose :-)
“Image Clean-up – Round 2”
Ungroup all of the colored paths created during the multiple scans. Delete all of scans except the outer most reddish layer.
Fill in any gaps in this layer by using the Bezier tool to draw in the shapes needed to close in those areas. Union them with the command from the PATH menu to make them part of the shape. You may also have to use the Difference command to remove any extraneous parts of the shape, like was done for the black trace in the earlier steps.
“Create the Outline”
Use the Break Apart command in the PATH menu to disassemble the figure into its component parts. Making sure that no parts get deselected, head back into the PATH menu to create a single filled-in object using the Union command.
Turn off the fill, and then turn on the stroke for the object. Make sure that stroke is colored red, and its width is 1px.
“Creating a Ring”
The ornaments will hang from a tree using a piece of yarn, or something similar, that is looped through the ring on the ornament itself. The students didn’t drawn in a ring… which is probably a good thing :-)
…so one will have to be added digitally to the ornaments.
Create two concentric circles
- Circle #1 –
- 0.5″ in diameter
- cyan stroke
- width 1px
- Circle #2 –
- 0.9″ in diameter
- red stroke
- width 1px
The two different colors will be used to control the order that the laser cutter does its work in. The cyan should be cut out first, and then the red to make sure that if there is any shifting while the outside is being cut, the interior cuts will have already been completed with the assurance that they are in the correct locations.
NOTE: This last picture was captured using a different ornament example. Creating the cyan ring to make the cutting process more effective was a step that was not added until after the ornament from the other pictures had already been completed.
Position the ring so that it overlaps the red outline of the ornament – eyeball a spot that looks like it will balance the ornament properly. The cyan circle can be overlapped if needed, as well.
Select the red circle of the ring and the red outline of the ornament, and union them together.
Select the entire ornament and group into one object. This will let you position the ornament on the digital workpiece so that you can make a “materially efficient arrangement” of multiple ornaments :-)
Print the ornament(s) from Inkscape to the laser.
Make the following settings for raster engraving and vector cutting layers:
- Raster Properties
- Power: 25%
- Speed: 100%
- B/W Threshold: 55
- This may need to be customized based on what shade of red was used to indicate the outline of the ornament.
- Vector Layers:
- Order: 1
- Speed: 30
- Power: 30
- Passes: 1
- Order: 2
- Speed: 30
- Power: 30
- Passes: 1
- Passes: 0
Select “Raster then Vector” from the job menu, and then start the job. Sit back and watch it work! :-)
Images in this post, but not shown in the Image Credits section, are my own.