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Engraving program help

I want to make some signs. What program do I use to make the files to engrave my signs.

That’s one of those “It depends” questions.

It depends:

  • on your source file,
    is it a photo or some other bitmap type of image? (so jpeg, png, gif, bmp)
    or is it a vector format image of some kind? (svg)
    or is it an actual CAD (or CAM) file?
    If it’s some kind of image file then you’ll likely need some image processing software, depending on what you need to do to the image (bitmap type - GIMP, Photoshop, Paint.NET, vector - Inkscape, etc.)
  • then on what processing you need to do to get that source to be usable GCode
    estlcam will take several different types of image file above and do path matching around them, so long as they’re basically black and white. And it works well with CAD files as well.
    And you’ll find lots of other suggestions for different options to get GCode output in this forum.

So your first step is figuring out where your source data is coming from, and then what processing that may require.

For art (signs go under that for me) i would use a vector graphic program for the design. Paid -> Illustrator, free -> Inkscape. Simple programs to make the g-code out of .SVG are Easel, Carbite Create or MakerCam (Flash, so not recommended, worth a try is KrabzCAM, generate g-code from svg). For precision works where parts have to fit together, CAD/CAM programs like F360 or FreeCad are recommended.

I’ve been using Estlcam. It takes a bit of testing to make sure it behaves the way I want it to but that seems to be just getting used to the program.