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Text/Font design in CAD/CAM

Fal Grunt

Aug 5, 2010
Medina OH
I have occasionally had the need to be able to do text/font work in a CAD/CAM work space and have just never been able to figure out a system/process/workflow whatever you want to call it.

In this case, I have a styled font, that is, the font follows two radii, one on top, one on the bottom, almost like it is getting stamped or forged, whatever analogy you want to use.

Does anyone have a good recommendation for program "X" that you can do some basic.... art work? and then move it into a program like Solid works, fusion, etc?
Great suggestion, but that is way too in the weeds for what I want to do. Reading through the instructions I don't even understand the language they are speaking. That looks like an application that you can create/modify your own font to the nth detail.

I am looking for something more.... macro?
I didn't mean macro like a macro program, should have chosen my words better. I meant macro as in, a large scale.

Attached is a poor picture of what I mean. I am certainly no artist! I want to be able to change the font design to match the radius on top and bottom.

I did this years ago in a engineering class and we used a program, but I cannot think of which one? Then we put it in one of those useless toy desktop mills that cuts plastic.IMG_9327.jpeg
Oh heck, practically any 2D vector drawing program (CorelDRAW, Adobe Illustrator, (Serif) Affinity Designer, probably even LibreOffice Draw) can give you the plan view for something like that. Plus, it will have access to all the fonts on your system, so you don't have to mess with designing each individual letter. The drawing program can also export in DXF or other vector format so you can bring the result into a 3D CAD program to complete the job.
Second sfriedberg, Corel and illustrator have tools just for manipulating text.
Warning about the cheapest tier Corel- it does not export to anything.
Just draw them in CAD and then machine to the line with no offset. I do it all the time it's pretty basic. You can project the lines onto a curved surface also if need be.IMG_20231203_124759_MP.jpgIMG_20231203_124938_MP.jpg
Already posted that somewhere else. Great little piece of software for 2D.
Here's a quick version done with Affinity Designer 2.3. The top is text as typed. The bottom is a copy of the text with an envelope warp (Layer > Warp Group) applied. I used a couple of ellipses as guidelines to adjust the envelope. (Font is besley* Bold, if anyone cares.)


  • envelope warp.png
    envelope warp.png
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Your a far better artist and designer than me if you consider that basic. I'd have 4 or 5 hours trying to get that M and sword drawn and it probably wouldn't look half as good.
Send me the dimensions in mm's not inches I was born in 1963 not 1863 and I only work in the modern system :stirthepot: I'll give you a dxf file in 5 minutes.
I use Adobe Illustrator for most graphic and font stuff so I can pull it into mastercam or solidworks/camworks.

But I picked up lightburn for my fibre laser and for quick font stuff and graphic work I really like it. Will export dxf’s as well.
Fal Grunt, I'd suggest you start playing with a Vector Graphics program, that can export in any of the likely MANY formats your own CAM system will understand, and you will, I am pretty sure, find yourself with ideas popping off like firecrackers in yer head!

Even a Freeware program like Inkscape, can take a Raster Image and do a "Trace" around the features, to come up with a Vector File that can be scaled up or down for engraving, either with or without a lot of clean up (less cleanup gets you some obscene long run times and file sizes, you will see why when you zoom in close on the Vector Image! Usually a LOT of rough edges. There are selections in the Software that can smooth those though, or you can hand edit the drawing).

Seriously, download Inkscape, or find an old copy of Corel-Draw (or register and use Adobe Illustrator for free for a week) and grab a few vector images online, and play a bit. It'll open a lot of options up, as far as engraving goes.

You honestly, do not have to be much of an artist, to make this stuff work well. Loads of free to use graphics are available online, like as not, your computer already has a library of hundreds of different fonts available, and all you have to do is play at it a bit to make the image look about what you want it to.

Use a search engine and plug in the words "Vector Art", plus whatever is interesting, and you can scroll though a LOT of choices that can be opened in your Vector Graphics software, and incorporated into the design you want to make up. Eg: https://www.google.com/search?client=firefox-b-d&q=vector+art+FN+FAL
Wow, thank you all for the replies!

??? That is what I am looking for, but I don't have any dimensions really as of yet, something I kinda have to make on the fly and work into the design. I appreciate your offer!

I tried LibreOffice, and couldn't make heads or tails of what to do!

BugRotbotics, thanks a TON for the video, there is no way I would have figured that out on my own! I downloaded inkscape, and as I have time this week, will give it a try to see if I can get something made up.