16 – Cardboard Engineering Projects– Part 2 – Vectors and BMPs (22:46)

The Lightblade Learning Lab with Russ Sadler

The Lightblade Learning Lab is a series of videos that Russ did for Thinklaser Limited based on using the Lightblade 4060 Laser Cutting and Engraving Machine. Thinklasers Lightblade 4060 has a 400 x 600mm bed size and was supplied with a 60W EFR laser tube. In this session, Russ continues with his Cardboard Engineering Projects and examines the use of Vectors and BMPs.

Cardboard Engineering Projects laser Cutting Machine
Cardboard Engineering Projects with a Laser Cutting Machine

Contents

  • (Adding graphic patterns to the design of the gift box in the previous video.)
  • Looking at graphics – the two types are vectors and bitmaps (or pixels)
  • Pythagoras’s rule
  • Circles defined by radius and the location of its centre
  • Formula for a line (y=mx+c)
  • Example using Microsoft Paint (a bitmap program)
  • Zooming in on a bitmap to show the pixels
  • Example using a vector-based CAD program
    • Check out Inkscape if you are looking for a free vector based CAD package
  • Zooming in on a vector graphic
  • Bitmap/pixel graphics cannot be cut – only engraved or scanned
  • Vector graphics can be engraved or scanned but also cut
  • Using the CAD package to drawing a pattern on the side of the box made in Video 15
  • Making sure that parts of the graphic don’t fall out when the part is cut
  • Trying a cut and a scan with similar patterns
  • RDWorks doesn’t always deal with importing small detail very well so make the graphic 10 times bigger, import it and then shrink it back again.
  • Adding a bitmap
  • Layering and ordering the items
  • RDWorks ignoring requested processing order!
  • Carrying out the work on the laser
  • The smoke ‘halo’ on engraving paper
  • Summary

My thanks go out to Tom at Thinklaser for giving permission to embed these videos on this site. If you are looking for a new laser machine from a quality supplier, then I would suggest you check out their website: www.thinklaser.com.

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Transcript for Cardboard Engineering Projects – Vectors and BMPs

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00:10

Welcome to another Lightblade learning

00:17

lab, no this is not going to be a maths

00:21

lesson

00:22

although many of you guys will recognize this

00:24

from your high school days

00:26

my plan is to do some graphics work on

00:29

the little box that we manufactured last

00:31

time in our cardboard engineering

00:32

project but I realized that the audience

00:35

that I’ve got for these videos could

00:37

range dramatically from school kids

00:42

maybe 12~13 years old up to very mature

00:46

graphic artists and on my other video series

00:49

and I regularly get asked questions like

00:52

I’ve imported a picture and I want to

00:56

cut the outline but i can’t can you help

01:02

well I think that demonstrates a lack of

01:07

understanding of graphics i’m going to

01:11

start off by tackling the very basic

01:13

things about graphics there are two

01:17

types of graphics that we’re dealing

01:18

with one of them is called vector

01:21

graphics and the other one is pixels or

01:25

bitmap graphics now the reason I’ve

01:28

brought poor old Pythagoras into it

01:30

despite the fact that he’s been dead for

01:31

2600 years is that his work is still

01:35

very relevant today in all the computer

01:38

graphics programs that we use without

01:40

boring you too much i know that it was

01:42

bashed into me you know the square on

01:45

the hypotenuse is equal to the sum of

01:47

the square on the opposite two sides so

01:49

I still remember the metra even though I

01:51

didn’t actually grasp the concept at the

01:53

time I think it’s fairly obvious the way

01:56

that I’ve laid it out here look this

01:58

is a special set of gold numbers but it

Transcript of Cardboard Engineering Projects (Cont…)

02:00

works for any set of numbers provided

02:03

you got a right angle in this corner

02:05

here

02:06

and that is if you draw a square on this

02:08

side and a square on this side which of

02:10

the two shorter sides of the triangle

02:12

and add the areas together the area that

02:15

you finish up with is exactly the same

02:17

area as the square you get on the

02:20

longest side

02:22

don’t forget Pythagoras now as I said to

02:24

you there are two types of graphics all

02:27

graphics are based on mathematical

02:29

equations now we’re not going to get

02:31

into any math so don’t get too concerned

02:33

but what I wanted to show you was that a

02:36

circle is basically defined by its

02:39

radius and the position that you put the

02:42

circle on the page so if we know we’re

02:46

just going to put the center of the

02:47

circle we know its radius mathematically

02:50

there is an equation which is as you can

02:53

see using this triangle here based on

02:56

Pythagoras which allows us to construct

02:58

a circle mathematically on the page and

03:02

there is a formula for a line. Y=MX + C or

03:05

Y=MX + B depending on which

03:07

part of the world your math teacher came

03:09

from, again i’m not going to go into any

03:11

details there other than to say that a

03:13

circle and a line are the only two things

03:17

that can occur in vector graphics all

03:20

other shapes that we see are combinations

03:22

of these two mathematical equations now

03:25

i can hear you say why do I need to know all

03:26

this well let’s quickly go to Microsoft

03:30

Paint if we go up here we select the

03:32

thinnest line possible

03:34

here we go we’ll choose a line now from

03:37

this little graphic tablet at the top

03:38

we’ve got all these shapes you see that

03:40

they’re all combinations of straight

03:43

lines

03:44

or curves or bits of circles so all of

03:48

these shapes can be generated

03:50

mathematically and when you use this

03:53

program the first thing you do is you

03:54

put hold your mouse down and you draw a

03:57

line now at the moment you can see

Transcript of Cardboard Engineering Projects (Cont…)

04:00

provided i don’t let the mouse go

04:03

this line goes wherever I want it to go

04:06

but what’s actually happening in the

04:08

background there we’ve got the first

04:11

point that I put down as the center

04:13

point or the fixed point and then

04:15

wherever I move my cursor the computer

04:19

is calculating where I want to finish up

04:23

and it then draws a straight line

04:25

between where I started from and where I

04:28

finished up it’s calculating that line

04:31

and the calculation bit is the vector

04:33

graphics now when I let go like that

04:38

I’ve no longer got vector graphics

04:41

because this is a paint program which is

04:44

basically a pixel-based or a bitmap

04:47

based program at the moment that looks

04:50

like a perfectly good straight line but

04:53

if we go up here to the magnifying glass

04:55

and we start zooming in on this line

04:59

we’re looking at pixels we’re not

05:02

looking at a straight line

05:04

ok we’re now in my cad program and i’m

05:06

going to try and illustrate to you a

05:07

little bit more detail exactly what’s

05:09

happening with that paint program we

05:12

draw a line and i’ll draw a line exactly

05:15

as it happened and you say I can move my

05:18

line around here exactly as we did in

05:20

the paint program and now i will stop in

05:24

this particular program as i zoom in

05:28

if we watch very carefully you can see

05:31

that the squares are getting bigger and

05:33

bigger and bigger

05:34

but hey the line that I’m zooming in on

05:38

still remaining absolutely a line I

05:43

just can’t I can never get rid of the

05:45

line and that’s because the line is

05:47

redefined every time I move the

05:50

resolution the line is redrawn to suit

05:54

the resolution of the screen these

05:57

squares in the background basically

05:58

pixels so what we did in paint was

Transcript of Cardboard Engineering Projects (Cont…)

06:01

basically draw a vector line which

06:04

passed through all these pixels which

06:06

are these squares and then what we have

06:09

to do is follow a rule and the rule was

06:12

if the line pass through a pixel then

06:18

color it in

06:19

and so let’s just have a look you’ll see

06:21

we’ve covered that one in because the

06:23

line has passed through the pixel even

06:25

this one here look

06:26

the line is passed through a very small

06:28

part of the pixel but we’ve colored it

06:30

in if the line covers a pixel in any way

06:34

shape or form then make that pixel black

06:36

and so if we zoom out now you can see

06:39

that which what we’re actually doing is

06:41

producing a fairly crude copy of that

06:44

vector line that’s the difference

06:47

between vector graphics and bitmap

06:52

graphics bitmap graphics once the vector

06:55

has finished its work its frozen in time

06:59

it’s like painting by numbers whereas

07:01

here on a graphics program every time i

07:03

zoom in the maths in the background is

07:06

recalculating the line and all i’m

07:08

seeing as a line that is one picture

07:10

white now this was originally one pixel

07:12

wide and so as i zoom in, I zoom into the

07:16

pixels that I froze in time

07:18

now the reason I’m explaining this is

07:19

vector graphics you can cut

07:23

pixel graphics you cannot cut all you

07:26

can do with pixel graphics is to engrave

07:29

them or scan them in RDWorks now with

07:33

vector graphics you have the option to

07:37

both scan and cut but with pixels you

07:43

only have the option to scan now in my

07:45

engineering world

07:47

I only ever work in vector graphics with

07:49

this cad package just draw a pattern of

07:51

hexagons there and now we’re just got

07:54

about replicating that few times so now

Transcript of Cardboard Engineering Projects (Cont…)

08:00

what we got to do is to remove all the

08:02

ones that we don’t one

08:04

ok now we’ll go around will trim

08:09

everything that’s outside the circle

08:11

what we’ll do we’ll put an oval shape

08:14

and that’s better

08:18

we’ll put on the center of that line as

08:20

well

08:23

ok now we can remove all the stuff

08:27

inside their world hey so did little

08:32

left

08:34

and then we’ll trim everything else from

08:36

the inside here as well

08:38

okay so now we’ve got a nice intricate

08:42

pattern on the side of box we can put a

08:45

name inside and let’s choose a font

09:00

now what we’re going to do is to copy

09:02

all of that let’s just take the

09:03

centerline off as we don’t need that

09:08

anymore

09:11

and then we’ll copy all of that

09:17

I’m repeating that because i want to do

09:19

that in two different ways within

09:23

RDWorks at the moment

09:26

all of this is vector stuff so if i

09:30

save this as a DXF file previously we’re

09:33

cutting this box from the inside and the

09:36

other side was the hammer finish if we

09:40

want to do engraving and cutting then

09:43

we’re going to have to do it all from

09:44

the same side and so consequently we’re

09:48

going to have to work from the good side

09:51

okay at this point we’ve got to stop and

09:54

think because several issues arise from

Transcript of Cardboard Engineering Projects (Cont…)

10:00

this design the first issue is that if

10:04

we look around here we find that we are

10:07

going to have a circle which goes right

10:10

round the outside here and a circle that

10:13

goes right around the inside here now

10:16

that means that when we do a cut the

10:18

middle is going to fall out and all this

10:20

lot is going to fall out

10:21

no we’re going to be left with is a big

10:23

hole here so what we have to do and it’s

10:27

very easy to do in a CAD program and

10:29

it’s certainly not easy in fact that I

10:31

haven’t found a way of doing in RDWorks

10:34

so you’ve got to do all this preparation

10:36

work before you go into RDWorks in this

10:40

cad program is very easy because I’ve

10:41

gotta trim command up there and I can

10:44

just do this now it’s not instant and

10:48

it’s not simple but i can go around and

10:51

I can trim we made to make need to make

10:54

sure that these pieces don’t get

10:56

detached

10:58

you think you’ve got to really move the

11:01

right pieces as well as you can see this

11:06

is dead easy to trim these pieces off

11:09

it’s not easy in a lot of drawing

11:14

packages or vector packages

11:16

I’ve tried doing this in CorelDraw and it

11:19

seems like an absolute nightmare if I

11:24

have never succeeded

11:25

we’re gonna have the same problem with

11:29

these letters here and this e the middle

11:32

of the e is going to fall out and the

11:34

middle of the 0 is going to fall out as

11:36

well so what we have to do is change the

11:39

design of that slightly and the way that

11:43

I’m going to change that design is like

11:45

this

11:51

and then we just do a copy of that

Transcript of Cardboard Engineering Projects (Cont…)

12:00

and then we should do a trim come on

12:02

again

12:07

and trim these pieces back like this

12:18

just make sure that we trim it back

12:19

neatly

12:30

and there we go and now we need to do

12:32

something with this anyway

12:36

okay so that wasn’t for lack now the

12:39

middle of the 044 act in the middle of

12:41

the a4 out that these two pieces will

12:43

fall out and the center of the oval for

12:48

out so we’ve got quite a lot of work to

12:52

do on this drawing if we’re going to cut

12:54

these pieces that should allow me to do

12:56

all sorts of things like put a filter on

12:58

their 40

13:04

delete this place

13:07

and this piece and that’s all sorted so

13:13

that was a bit of a pain wasn’t it to

13:15

get all that sorted out now why am I not

13:18

going to do the same thing with this one

13:20

that’s because i’m going to scan it so

13:24

this one we’re going to cut and this one

13:26

we’re going to scan

13:27

ok so let’s say this to a file going to

13:31

act with this is a CAD file except for

13:34

Matt got some funny little things going

13:36

on here as well

13:37

yeah I know what’s causing those that

13:42

it’s another problem that I’m glad we’ve

13:45

seen so we need to go back to here and

13:52

we need to do the same streaming process

13:55

on this that we did because the system

13:59

has become confused true

Transcript of Cardboard Engineering Projects (Cont…)

14:02

so we’ve got to take all these little

14:04

links away so as you can see that takes

14:10

quite a lot of preparation work to get

14:15

this graphic sorted out

14:19

normally I only show you the end result

14:21

right so what was wrong with these items

14:25

down here

14:26

nothing as you can see so why did they

14:30

fail

14:31

well the answer is actually very simple

14:33

there is a problem with rd works when

14:37

you get two very fine detail like the

14:39

sharp corners are these funny little

14:40

pieces down here and Body Works is not

14:45

very happy with some of this detail so

14:48

what we normally do this will choose to

14:52

scale this up i put this in a box and we

14:55

will scale this out by a factor of 10 so

14:58

i’ll make it ten times bigger than it

14:59

should be there we go it’s huge will now

15:03

save it to a DXF file now we go to rd

15:08

works and will delete this version

15:09

because it’s no good to us will import

15:12

box graphics

15:15

and there it is you can see and wow

15:20

isn’t that big

15:22

so what we need to do got to the guard

15:24

to the padlock at the top here and

15:27

decided we’ve got a hundred percent will

15:30

change that to ten percent and all of a

15:33

sudden is back to normal size

15:35

now let’s have a look at these letters

15:37

to see what’s happened to these letters

15:39

now

15:42

mmm little curly pieces have gone rd

15:45

works is unable to deal with some of

15:46

this detail when you import is a dxf and

15:49

so that’s the simple solution ten times

15:51

bigger and then divide it by 10 when you

15:53

get back in because i know we’ve got to

15:55

start again and what we’re now going to

15:57

do is to bring in some additional

Transcript of Cardboard Engineering Projects (Cont…)

16:00

graphics everything we’ve got on here at

16:03

the moment is vector graphics we’re just

16:06

gonna have a look see if i can find

16:07

something convenient to import as a

16:09

bitmap and there’s a convenient

16:11

something as you can see it’s pretty am

16:14

blocky but it’s not far off the right

16:17

sort of sighs so what we can do is just

16:19

check what size is it says 65 x 65 let’s

16:26

take that down to 50 now the one thing

16:30

you will notice as I brought this in

16:33

it’s automatically created a bitmap for

16:36

it so i can do nothing except scan it

16:40

which is fine because that’s what i want

16:44

to do and then we’ll put that one into a

16:47

group on its own and we’ll put that into

16:50

a red layer there we go that’s on a red

16:52

line now so this one is going to be on a

16:55

a black layer all the perforations which

16:59

will push our shift key down and we’ll

17:02

get rid of the outside will get rid of

17:05

that layer will get rid of that will get

17:08

rid of that and hopefully that should

17:11

leave just the perforations

17:14

and then obviously we’ve got the outside

17:16

so we should finish up with one two

17:17

three four five layers here are 5 items

17:21

to sort order into want to do 45 now

17:28

which order should we do to me normally

17:31

by default anything that is a scan layer

17:34

is done first

17:35

but in this particular instance i’m

17:38

going to ask for that Cutler to be done

17:41

first and then we’ll do this scan and

17:47

then we do this scanned

17:51

then we do the slots

17:54

then we do the outside now we can check

17:57

whether or not our request has been

17:59

satisfied by coming up here these white

Transcript of Cardboard Engineering Projects (Cont…)

18:01

items here are scanned and the reason

18:07

why this has to be scanned this because

18:11

of these dot graphics

18:15

you can see how there’s no way that the

18:19

computer can actually scan round the

18:21

outside or find the middle of these

18:23

lines so the only way that it can

18:25

generate this graphic as if it scans

18:28

across stops starts stops starts stops

18:32

and it goes backwards and forwards and

18:34

backwards and forwards in scanning mode

18:36

so because these scans are on different

18:38

layers they are done separately if

18:44

they’re on the same layer then both of

18:47

those scans would take place

18:48

simultaneously in one single scan line

18:51

and now it should move on to go there so

18:56

it’s not done what I asked it to do I

18:58

wanted it to do the cuts first if you

19:00

remember you see that was the first

19:04

element in the list but it’s got ignored

19:06

it hasn’t even done that one so it’s

19:10

selected a bitmap in preference to a

19:13

scan in preference to get a cut

19:19

very interesting just make a note of

19:22

that for yourself so we’ll say this to a

19:25

you file and now back to the machine

19:27

okay well here we are over the change of

19:29

color scheme this time

19:56

changing the color of the car changes to

19:59

look at the product that you’re making

Transcript of Cardboard Engineering Projects (Cont…)

20:01

you could make that very slightly darker

20:04

but i think it gives quite a nice look

20:08

for being sort of this style brown bit

20:10

like an ICP

20:42

when you try to scorch paper one of the

20:47

problems that you always have you got

20:49

this smoke effect this smoke halo round

20:51

here now I haven’t found a way of

20:54

removing that moment except when you’re

20:58

doing would you can put some masking

21:01

tape over and it will come out

21:02

beautifully clean because the smoke and

21:04

come up with the masking tape but when

21:07

you’re doing stuff on paper like this

21:09

you will get this halo is that you need

21:12

to be careful which paper you choose

21:13

because you can see from this red paper

21:17

that I’ve used you get a completely

21:18

different and much cleaner result

21:27

well here we have a finished box as you

21:29

can see the colors that you choose can

21:32

make a big difference but the key thing

21:35

that this demonstration was all about

21:37

was the fact that if you choose to use

21:40

bitmap the only thing you can do with a

21:44

bitmap is engrave it whereas if here

21:48

vector graphics you have the choice of

21:50

being able to cut things with the same

21:53

file you can select different parameters

21:57

and you can engrave or you can mix the

Transcript of Cardboard Engineering Projects (Cont…)

22:00

two if you want to do cutting on that

22:03

bitmap you have to convert into vector

22:06

files and that’s a completely separate

22:09

exercise

22:10

well it is a little gift box it’s not

22:13

big enough for handbag it’s certainly

22:16

not big enough for a parachute for your

22:18

loved one chocolates possibility so if

22:21

you’re thinking of a pair of diamond

22:23

earrings or maybe even a little diamond

22:25

ring in a box now whether that gift is

22:27

for your girlfriend your wife may be a

22:31

mistress i’m sure she’ll appreciate it

22:34

because you personally would have

22:35

manufactured it so let’s wait till the

22:39

next session and we’ll see what’s in

22:41

store

22:42

thank you very much indeed

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