How to work with fonts (part 2)

How to work with fonts (part 2). Joined up thinking

Working with joined up script / hand writing fonts brings a couple of extra challenges. To ensure that you achieve your intended result it is worth noting a couple of things about the way CorelDRAW (and other program) deal with fonts.


They don’t understand joined up writing. What they actually give you is a series of fractionally overlapping letters in the same colour that you see as one long flowing word.
If you are printing something with this type of font you may never know as it doesn’t make any difference to the ink on the paper.
On the other hand a  laser cutter uses the (vector based) outline of shapes to tell the beam where to go and when to switch on and off. Because each letter is self contained what the machine will produce is a whole pile of disconnected letters. If you want individual letters this is fine, likewise if you only want a silhouette type cut-out. But if you expected a whole joined up word then this can be a problem.


Today we will make these signs as a proof of concept using Freehand521 BT as it has nice flowing lines.

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Create and check the text
 
In it’s native form it looks like this and you can see the little gaps between the letters.
Just as in working with fonts (part 1) use the F10 space tool to move the letters closer together and (apparently) eliminate the gaps.
 
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Even though the letters appear to be joined they are still individual. The best way to check what is actually going on is to use the wireframe view.

Menu > View > Wireframe

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Now you can see the actual outline of the letters and not the ‘enhanced’ print friendly view
 
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Each letter is still individual and (because we moved them) overlaps with it’s neighbour. The result would be a pile of individual letters, some with double cuts at the overlap which would potentially ruin the outline. 
 
 
 
Welding it together
 
The fastest way to join this all up is to weld them together. Weld is found in the shaping toolset (Menu > Window > Dockers > Shaping) and is very easy to use.
 
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1. Untick these boxes. Otherwise your original object(s) will stay hidden underneath and you’ll have double or triple lines which the laser will cut again (and again).
2. Use the pick tool.
3. Click on the word you want to weld.
4. Click the Weld button.
5. Click on the word again.
6. There is no step 6
 
As you can see all of the little overlapping lines have gone away. This is one step closer to being ready
 
 
 
 
Checking with smart fill
 
 
At this stage I tend to perform a test run using the smart fill tool as a sanity check as it will fill all connected areas with the same colour*. After putting a border around the word just go ahead and fill the area using the Smart Fill tool from the bottom of the lefthand toolbar
 
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Just as in part one you still have  to use the shaping tool to eliminate enclosed areas and counters plus, in this case,  joining the “I” and “n” of industries.
 
 
 
After doing those tasks a final check in software proves what it will look like before sending to the laser:
 
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* This colour was picked to match birch plywood, but on reflection I think it looks more like a ‘flesh’ coloured plaster.