I wrote an email to Andrew @ QCAD asking if I could use QCAD to automate the creation of metal nametags (aluminum and brass) with a CNC machine and a small database. I should make the request public so Ribbonsoft and the community can benefit from any answers.
"The tags I have now were made with some pocketing on the letters (I think Times New Roman font) and a couple symbols. I want the font size to shrink when needed to fit in the predetermined text area. The idea I have overall is to have an Access database create a BMP with 16 nametags and then send the file over to some GCode generation software and have it cut the tags seamlessly without any further interaction. Maybe there is a better way to do it, but I'm looking for software to help me get from data to the actual carved tags. "
add virtually any kind of functionality to it as either GUI tool or command line
Your problem would break down into:
1. - Creating a document with the desired text (addText)
2. - 'Exploding' the text into polylines (Explode.explodeEntity)
3. - Offsetting these polylines to create the "pockets" (RPolygonOffset)
4. - Exporting the resulting polylines as G-Code, i.e. iterating through polylines
and writing G1/G2/G3 for each segment, G0 between segments, etc.
I'm at step #3, but having a hard time doing it manually in QCAD. If I select the outer polyline and create the pockets toward the inside, it completely fills in letters like "b" and "e." I would like it to stop at the boundary of the inner polyline so it's actually a letter. I've attached a picture showing what is going on. Can anyone help get the automatic pocketing to stop at the inner polyline?
I haven't yet solved the shrinking of the text as needed to fit the text on the tag. If anyone has ideas on that, it would be much appreciated.
Two other attachments help show what I'm looking for. Desire 1 & 2 show the letters tapering a little bit inward at certain points. I'd like the pockets to stay inside the the outer polyline so they can be very thin in certain spots.
The nametags are 1x3" in size, so the letters are about 4 mm tall. There probably wouldn't need to be much pocketing done on these, actually. I just want to make sure I can make the same tags.
Thanks for any help!