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Adding nicks in Inkscape

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FrankM
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Joined: 01/27/2017
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Laser-cut items generally need "ties" or "nicks" to keep the final piece attached to the original slug until punched out by the player. You add these by leaving tiny gaps in the cutline of your SVG file.

There are paid tools like The Game Crafter's Component Studio that can add "nicks" easily. However, if you'd like to accomplish this for free with a little extra work, here are the steps for doing it in Inkscape.

Step 1: Make a rectangle exactly as wide as the intended nick. For 6mm acrylic, that's 0.005". Make it long enough that you can grab it easily. The rectangle must have a solid fill and NO stroke/border.

Step 2: Put copies of your rectangle everywhere you want nicks to appear. It has to be normal/perpendicular to the piece's contour, so it's easiest to do on vertical or horizontal areas.

Step 3: After ensuring that the rectangles are in front of your piece, use the Path -> Union menu command. Your little rectangles turn into studs on the original piece.

Step 4: Zoom in. A lot. Here I'm using 4000%. That's not a typo.

Step 5: Select the two vertices at the tip of the stud.

Step 6: Click on the "-" icon indicated by the arrow.

Step 7: The vertices vanish, leaving a single curved segment.

Step 8: Select the curved segment, then click the "remove segment" icon indicated by the arrow.

Step 9: A glorious little nick. The laser will skip over this while cutting.

Step 10: Repeat for the other studs.

questccg
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Joined: 04/16/2011
Glad you found a solution to your particular problem... BUT

I think I already offered you a LINK to a FREE "online" tool which is designed to create "nicks" easily without too much trouble. Here's the Link/URL:

http://svg.zovu.co

I know it requires you to upload a SVG file (which any vector-based software can export or Save As...) and then manipulate the SVG to produce the nicks that are required.

Perhaps you had not seen this tool. It was recommended to me by CoLink over at The Game Crafter (TGC). He works with JT and Tavis... And is sometimes available to discuss support or help with regards to TGC and using the service. If he offered me this Link/URL it is because it is simple to use too... And something that anyone can easily use to make the "nicks" that you need for your cardstock, chipboard or acrylic shapes.

Anyways I haven't done anything not "out-of-the-box" ... But if you do use it ... Please let us know if it is EASIER than your solution... This seems to be UNIVERSAL because of the "resolutions" for Illustrator, Inkscape or other Vector-Based software.

BTW if (and more like when) I use it... I will report back to it's usefulness ... You can be certain of that. Cheers!

FrankM
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Joined: 01/27/2017
That’s probably easier :)

I actually saw that tool for optimizing the cut path, completely missed that it could add nicks as well! Very useful, and you can see all the work it’s saving you :)

Edit: So the command is "Split at point" and lets you give a nick size in inches (or whatever you choose). However, it splits it at some point that you click with the mouse. The method I showed above lets you be precise with the location by aligning the rectangle with other stuff in the file.

If precision isn't important, the "Split at point" is the way to go.

questccg
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Can't you just add some points to your PATH?

FrankM wrote:
...If precision isn't important, the "Split at point" is the way to go...

Hmm... Can't you just ADD a point to your PATH where you WANT the "nicks" and then "Split at Point" at those "additional" points in your path? I'm just asking because that's what I would do: add points in Illustrator to the path that I am working on.

Is this not the same outcome???

FrankM
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Joined: 01/27/2017
Mostly

Yes, it's mostly the same. I've run into a couple situations where I'd like the nick to be somewhere that would be awkward to set a point because it's not the middle (or quarter-mark, etc.) of a segment. I wouldn't be surprised if Illustrator gives better point-placement options than Inkscape does.

I'm going to see how well I can make this Zovu tool work tomorrow. The process I showed above works, but it's tedious.

questccg
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Joined: 04/16/2011
Hmm... Maybe Illustrator is easier...

Basically in Illustrator, along ANY Path, you can Add (+) a vertex. That becomes an additional point that can be placed ANYWHERE you like. Then my guess is that you use the TOOL (Link/URL) and remove the vertex and place the "nick" at that location.

It has nothing to do with Middle/Quarter/etc. YOU decide where along the path another Vertex is to be placed (and exists).

Maybe you're using Inkspace incorrectly. IDK, I use Illustrator. But I should think that ADD a Vertex to a Path should be a fairly easy thing to do even in Inkscape:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8v_7KxhxIjc

Take a look at this VIDEO. And you should be able to ADD Vertices along a path at any location you like (by Double-Clicking) in Inkscape. Best.

FrankM
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Joined: 01/27/2017
Thanks for the link. I know

Thanks for the link. I know I'm not an expert at Inkscape :)

When I meant precision in placement, I meant something more accurate than I can point to with the mouse (only to satisfy my own near-OCD level of control). I haven't been able to find something that says "place a new node every 0.35 inches along this path" or similar. I can however make ancillary shapes and align them, then use union and difference tools to create new nodes at precise locations.

It's probably because I'm much more engineer than artist, while Inkscape and Illustrator are aimed squarely at artists. I'm sure there's some CAD software on the market that does exactly what I wanted... and costs a bloody fortune :)

One of the things I was trying to accomplish was making the nicks on adjacent pieces line up to minimize travel length in the resulting cut file. It's probably making all of about $0.50 difference :)

questccg
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I understand what you mean...

Yeah those vector-based tools are not at all precise. Unless you organize the shapes (Paths) along the rulers (mm or inches) and then ZOOM-IN 1000%+ it's not very accurate. It's nothing like CAD Drawings (or 3D Rendering).

And so you are correct ... There is a LACK of "precision" and achieving symmetry is difficult (and having 100% accuracy is not possible).

But like you said, these are mostly "Artistic" tools and usually designers are not concerned with 1000%+ magnification. If it looks good at 100% well then that is GOOD ENOUGH.

So, yes I agree with you ... But I'm sure the online tool is easier to use than your method (as per your own admission).

FrankM
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Joined: 01/27/2017
It’s just frustrating

It’s just frustrating because I know how to do this stuff with hand drafting tools (divide a line into N equal parts, form an N-sided polygon, etc.), but can’t do these things in an SVG program. Things I have figured out (make a perpendicular, make a parallel, etc.) are easier to do in software.

FrankM
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Joined: 01/27/2017
Minor update

So I went ahead and used Zovu's split=path tool instead. It was frustrating that I couldn't pick an existing vertex to be the cutpoint, limited to the accuracy of my mousing.

I did try to use Inkscape's "break path" tool at the precise spots I wanted a cut, then told Zuvo to cut at those endpoints, but the results were not consistent.

Picking spots via the mouse is the way to go.

If you have duplicates of something, you only need to cut it up once. Then bring that back into Inkscape, group the separated paths, and copy/paste on top of the other duplicates (ensuring that you delete the thing you're pasting on top of).

Zuvo also has a habit of making the SVG file a lot longer. Crack it open in a text editor and you'll see things like 181.7 turned into 181.699999999964. If this happens enough, it grow larger than The Game Crafter's 200KB limit. I was doing a lot of regular expression search-and-replace for one of my files. Assuming the file is under 200KB, the ludicrous precision doesn't bother The Game Crafter... only fix if necessary.

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