Just finished assembling my XXL and I was wondering if there is a way to convert something like this http://4vector.com/i/free-vector-geometric-background-pattern-vector_017300_5.jpg into an .egc file. I want to completely cut through all the black areas. It seems like there would be a program that would do it automatically. I am using 1/4" plywood with an 1/8 inch bit.
Rather than .egc (which only Carbide Create and MeshCAM make) you can use pretty much any CAM app to make G-code — use a .gc or .tap extension — you might want to look at F-Engrave, which will limit depth when V-carving.
See: http://www.shapeoko.com/wiki/index.php/CAM#Images and the 2.5D section further down that page.
To answer the question directly… no there isn’t.
JPG doesn’t really define a vector shape, if you zoom in enough, there will be blurry pixels on the edge of the hexagons.
EGC generation requires toolpaths. As I’ve found out with my first few experiments using Carbide Create, doing some manual selection of the toolpaths can either greatly speed up, or greatly slow down the speed of cutting. (If you create a single toolpath for a single item, it is much faster than selecting a whole bunch of items and making that one toolpath) it’s more labor intensive on the front end, but will save a lot of time when cutting.
What you are looking for is a way to convert the raster image (JPG, BMP, etc.) to a vector. I know of some tools that can do that:
- Inkscape has a Trace Bitmap feature, and the software is free
- Vectric software also can trace a bitmap into vectors (VCarve, Aspire) - not free
- I am sure there are others, but I am not aware of them
Once your image is converted/saved in vector format, you can load it into your CAM software (Carbide Create) and create the pocket tool paths that you want.
When you get familiar with this process, it won’t take long at all.
Another option is MeshCAM, which has a facility for importing a pixel image and create a depth map.
I was able to create an .svg file by loading the file into Photoshop. Export > Paths to Illustrator. Opening it in Illustrator and then exporting to an .svg. Thanks for the help everyone.