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Thread: Bitmap to Vectors?

  1. #1
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    Question Bitmap to Vectors?

    Several software options I've been working with provide bitmap tracing to create vectors needed for CNC toolpaths. However, the results so far are, at best, not quite where I want to be. I've even tried a couple of online graphic conversion sites and still no love! The issue is that the conversion process doesn't produce a clean, single line vector; it has width that gets interpreted as two lines when creating toolpaths. When trying to cut a fairly detailed graphic, the extra lines destroy facial features, etc. Does anyone have a suggestion or three?

    I was having a similar issue with fonts but Dan Noren clued me into the solution: single line fonts. Yep, it was that simple!!!

    Thanks in advance for your help!!!
    Bill Arnold
    Citizen of Texas residing in Georgia.
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  2. #2
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    Inkscape is another free vector tool you might give a shot. You may have to convert file formats a few times? I believe that Corel can do something similar but it's been a long time since I've used that.

    https://inkscape.org/en/doc/tracing/...l-tracing.html

    You can also just manually trace the edge of the bitmap but that requires a steady hand and practice
    Last edited by Ryan Mooney; 07-10-2015 at 03:25 PM.

  3. #3
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    Ryan, I used Inkscape quite a bit when I first set up my CNC machine. It's good for a lot of things, but yields double or broken lines on a bitmap trace - much like I see in other software.

    I've traced drawings in SketchUp but they were nowhere near the detail in some of the graphics I'm trying to use now.

    The bottom line might be that I have to re-think some of what I'm trying to accomplish.
    Bill Arnold
    Citizen of Texas residing in Georgia.
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  4. #4
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    Vectric Cut 2D desktop or any Vectric software about that would make that problem "go-away"

    You get total control on vectors.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leo Voisine View Post
    Vectric Cut 2D desktop or any Vectric software about that would make that problem "go-away"

    You get total control on vectors.
    I've been evaluating Cut 2D and VCarve Desktop and get similar results. They do marginally better than freebie products but they still read and plot both sides of the bitmap lines.
    Bill Arnold
    Citizen of Texas residing in Georgia.
    NRA Life Member and Member of Mensa
    My Weather Underground station

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Arnold View Post
    Ryan, I used Inkscape quite a bit when I first set up my CNC machine. It's good for a lot of things, but yields double or broken lines on a bitmap trace - much like I see in other software.
    Hmm, I see what you mean looking closely at the generated paths. This seems like it should be solveable... somehow... maybe..

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ryan Mooney View Post
    Hmm, I see what you mean looking closely at the generated paths. This seems like it should be solveable... somehow... maybe..
    The first time I used Inkscape to trace a bitmap, I thought it looked good and saved it as an SVG. Then, I loaded the SVG into MakerCAM, created toolpaths and thought I had screwed up something. Repeated and got the same. Then, I drilled in real close and found that what looked like solid lines were combinations of double lines and broken lines. I gave up on that combo after hearing about F-Engrave and trying it.

    F-Engrave handles a bitmap trace well enough I can use it - up to a point. If it's something I want for an etching, it's fine - mostly. It's a very situational thing.

    One of the images I've been working with is attached below. When trying a bitmap trace, the eyes and the stripes across the front of his shirt start running together because of the double trace.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by Bill Arnold; 07-10-2015 at 07:30 PM.
    Bill Arnold
    Citizen of Texas residing in Georgia.
    NRA Life Member and Member of Mensa
    My Weather Underground station

  8. #8
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    Tried the picture you posted in Corel. When converted to vector it has mostly the double lines.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pete Simmons View Post
    Tried the picture you posted in Corel. When converted to vector it has mostly the double lines.
    Thanks for checking it, Pete.

    It might be asking too much of any software to process a drawing like that with so many lines so close together. It's impossible to do a v-carve cut with the double lines; an etch looks better. The worst part is the eyes since there are so many lines around them.
    Bill Arnold
    Citizen of Texas residing in Georgia.
    NRA Life Member and Member of Mensa
    My Weather Underground station

  10. #10
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    Cut 2D --- V-Carve Pro --- Aspire are all exactly the same in that respect. One is not better than the other.

    Yes when you do a bitmap trace there will be a double line.

    Lots of people, pro and hobby alike will not do the bit map trace, but rather manually trace the image and adjust the vectors. That gives the best quality trace.

    To date - I have not heard of any bitmap trace that does it any other way.

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