27 Replies Latest reply on May 15, 2014 7:56 PM by Justin Daniels

    Font for Laser Cutting, Stencil

    Dan Dangremond

      For those of you who have a laser, whatfont(s) are you using that work well with a laser?  All thestencil fonts I have found are not too appealing orprofessional.  I've been searching for awhile and usually justmodify the model in SW but that is not very efficient.  Justwondering what others do.

        • Font for Laser Cutting, Stencil
          Justin Bagley
          I don't have any specific fonts in mind, but we generally use 2Dprograms (Illustrator and Freehand) for our laser- it might befaster to make your adjustments there.

          You may even want to create and save your own custom stencilfont.
            • Font for Laser Cutting, Stencil
              Brooke Colley
              Like Justin said....I have always had to use one and modify it or just use a 2D cad package (cadkey) to draw it. It kind of depends on what letters are in the word you are trying to do on which font may work the best. Good luck if it has alot of A's or R's etc.!!!! I'm curious to hear if anyone has any suggestions on this.....I used to do it ALOT at my last employer. We don't have a laser where I work now though. We have some parts that we get made someplace else that I've had to do this for recently and boy is it a pain!!
              • Font for Laser Cutting, Stencil
                Dan Dangremond

                Yea, I know what you mean.  It's hard tospend a half hour on modifying text on a $20 part.  Not aproblem on the expensive stuff.  I just do it in SW thenmanually edit my dxf file for the laser.  My laser operatormanually did my last one but I about died when she said she spent 2hours on two words, ouch!  No profit there.  Laser guysmust do this everyday, how do you all do it!  I'm surprised Ican't find something.  I'm about to buy some font editingsoftware just so I have a quiver of laser ready fonts.  Ican't afford spending even a couple minutes changing a 'B' to laserfriendliness. Good thing I haven't had to laser 'baboon' orsomething.

              • Font for Laser Cutting, Stencil
                Steve Hutchison
                I have come up on this same problem. In my research I learned that the difficulty is related to the nature of true type fonts. Apparently each character must consist of a closed loop. It is this closed loop that plays havoc with lasers and engraving. One vendor I work with uses DesignCAD which has a function to convert a true type font to stroke characters. A DXF of that can directly feed his CAM software and produce the part.

                I have played with a demo of DesignCAD to experiment. I am close to purchasing a copy in an attempt to fix this problem. But of course it introduces another level of complexity in the documentation package for the part.
                  • Font for Laser Cutting, Stencil
                    John Angus
                    The software for our laser has built in fuctions for generating cutable text from any true type font. If we do have any trouble, it usually is the result of spline lines in the generated text. These must be cleaned up, as the machine will not pick up splines.
                    The fastest way we've found to clean these up is to use the convert splines to arcs function in KeyCreator (the latest incantation of CadKey, not a bad program in itself. I've used it extensively, and really like it. Just not as much as SolidWorks) This works extremely well for us.
                      • Font for Laser Cutting, Stencil
                        Tim Warris

                        We do a lot of laser cutting and to date we have been manually inserting the text into the 2D files using CorelDraw.

                        Attached are a few single line TrueType fonts that work well for this. They are single line, not closed loop fonts, so they cut fast and do not cut out anything.

                        Hope you find these useful. Unfortunately SW doesn't seem to be able to recognize these, but at least they are a single line font that is compatible with laser cutting.


                    • Font for Laser Cutting, Stencil
                      shawn wingate
                      Has anyone found a solution to this issue without using another program? We've run into this issue at my company as well and are currently using CadKey to get us by, but would like to know if a way to do this in Solidworks exists?
                        • Font for Laser Cutting, Stencil
                          Anna Wood
                          It would be a really good idea for all of us that need a nice single line font for laser work, etc to put in an Enhancement Request with SW.

                          We are more likely to get a new font added to SW that way.


                        • Font for Laser Cutting, Stencil
                          shawn wingate

                          I just submitted a request so hopefully others will as well.

                            • Font for Laser Cutting, Stencil
                              Dennis Pullin

                              I believe that if you create your text in sw then make your solidworks drawing, then save as dwg. use dwg editior and it can be done there. Just like in autocad, you take the characters that only come in as splines like s or g, and flatten those characters. the splines will become lwpolylines. then you explode them and they will become arcs. I know it is a liitle cumbersome but that is the technique we use to take splines to lines and arcs. More than text we use it when programming splines from cylinders that have an irregular cut. when they are flattened they always give you splines.

                            • Font for Laser Cutting, Stencil
                              Ben Heath
                              I have found a trick to this-Use whatever font you want. Insert it into your part and type your text. Once you have the text size and the placement of the entire text use the "Dissolve Sketch" feature. This will take the pre-defined "Sketch Text" sketch and convert it to a normal sketch that you can work with. Then you can add small lines to certain letters so it will be suitable for laser cutting.

                              • Re: Font for Laser Cutting, Stencil
                                Chetan Kumar


                                if you are working with trutops then go for this fonts

                                tc_laser script.ttf


                                  • Re: Font for Laser Cutting, Stencil
                                    Deepak Gupta

                                    With SW2014 you can use stick fonts when applying sketch text to parts or assemblies for laser engraving, water jet, and for Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machining.

                                      • Re: Font for Laser Cutting, Stencil
                                        Justin Daniels

                                        That's right. With SolidWorks 2014 single line fonts can now be used for engraving, milling, laser cutting, etc. One font called 'OLF SimpleSansOC Regular' is included with SW2014. The OLF stands for OneLineFonts.com where additional OLF typefaces that work in SolidWorks can be found.


                                        I hope everyone enjoys & appreciates this new capability. Any feedback or requests regarding the typefaces I provide on my website is appreciated.

                                        • Re: Font for Laser Cutting, Stencil
                                          Christiaan Vigneault

                                          The new stick font "olf simple sans oc" does not export as sketch entities or curves in iges and step format.  This is a problem in cases where engraving was performed on a 3d or curved surface.  Modelling stick font on a .sldprt model poses additional difficulty even on 2d surfaces.  Simply exporting a 3d model in iges or step for your cam software does not work.  The iges and step export loses the "olf simple sans oc"  stick text.   You have to take the additional step of bringing the model into a .slddrw and exporting as a .dxf file.  The solidworks .dxf export exhibits an error as well.  If you have multiple text sketches in the same part file, the dxf export will export both hidden and resolved sketches.  If you needed to engrave sequential serial numbers on multiple physical parts, guess what, you will need a different part model for each serial number, otherwise your .dxf export will contain the overlapping serial numbers.  I have requested a SW enhancement that actually exports the text in iges and step format.  This would save you the time of making a drawing to export 2d data for milling purposes, and hopefully will support engraving using stick font on 3d surfaces.  Please check out my enhancement request on the solidworks portal.  SW will only correct the program glitch if a significant number of users search for the subject exporting stick font in iges and step format.

                                            • Re: Font for Laser Cutting, Stencil
                                              Justin Daniels

                                              I'll admit that most of what you posted is Greek to me since I am not a SW expert. I'm going to assume your export settings are all correct. When helping Solidworks set up their software to recognize the OC font format, they did inform me that they would only be setting up SW2014 to recognize the single line font in Sketch mode. I'm not sure how limiting that is, but maybe that is what is coming into play here?


                                              They may already be working on expanding it, but I am not sure. I would also encourage individuals to add to the enhancement request so this may be remedied if there is not already another efficient solution available.

                                        • Re: Font for Laser Cutting, Stencil
                                          Christopher Estelow

                                          When I did laser engraving at my previous place of employment I created the alphabet using the Roman S font (single line) in AutoCAD, traced each letter capital and lower case and saved a file with it.  I then could then copy the letters from that file to make up whatever I needed.  It took a little time to do initially but it was worth it in the long run.



                                            • Re: Font for Laser Cutting, Stencil
                                              Justin Daniels

                                              I don't doubt that numerous people have done exactly that to solve this particular dilemna. I even considered creating font sets where people could do just that, take the polyline letters created in a DWG or similar file and copy and paste them to form the text needed.


                                              I have managed to create text 3 different ways as TTF files so that 1 of the 3 formats should work in most programs. The optimal format that I developed, that SolidWorks has adjusted their software to recognize & properly render, uses single curved polylines that will be traced once and lift minimally during the production process.

                                            • Re: Font for Laser Cutting, Stencil
                                              Simon Hayward

                                              I do quite a few jobs with lettering in on our CNC plasma and I use TC Laser font for the majority of this, it may not be the best font but it is acceptable for most of my requirements.

                                              • Re: Font for Laser Cutting, Stencil
                                                Roger Pullen

                                                I use a font from the internet "Stencil Gothic JL" which suits our needs for laser cut stencils. Search for "Stnclgot.ttf".  It's worth downloading and trying out and is free.

                                                Stencil Gothic JL.jpg


                                                I came across this font "Stencil Round Ends" today while looking for a "millable" stencil font.  It may be of use to someone.


                                                  Stencil round ends.jpg