Tips on designing/Estlcam

I’ve been working on a project with text in a speech bubble. The first time I cut it I didn’t notice that the bit had cut off some of the letters as there wasn’t enough clearance between them for the bit to pass through.

To fix that issue, I cut the original piece’s letters down to 2mm, so I had a relief to line new letters I planned on glueing down. I then rearranged the letters with lots of spacing, planning on cutting them out individually with holding tabs. But I really don’t like this approach as it would be a ton of extra work.

Finally, using a combination of Illustrator, Fusion 360 and Estlcam I got the letters spaces just wide enough that the bit passes through without losing any detail in the letters. I think I’d be faster the next time, but it seems there should be a better way. Are there any tools out there for arranging lettering or any other “island” type design so the clearance is the exact width of the cutting bit?


Long post, thanks for taking the time to read.

Cad Is easy enough to make this work but When I use inkscape I use a ton of reference lines. You can specify the locations. I use that as a guide to space things like letters.


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Character spacing in Illustrator is different depending on how the font designer set the typeface up but if you have just a few key fonts you use you could probably do a quick little kerning/tracking (letterspacing) test with a to-scale circle representing your bit diameter. Once you’ve determined the required kerning for each given type size you’ll have that as a reference going forward. This will also help you determine suitable fonts to use for the interior cuts like in a’s, b’s, d’s etc as some of these will not work well with any significant bit diameter.

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Great info. Thanks.