VisiCut - An Application Genre for Lasercutting in Personal Fabrication

A Bachelor thesis by Thomas Oster, supervised by René Bohne

For the VisiCut Software, visit this page.

Download Full Thesis in PDF format

Introduction

A laser-cutter is a central device in Personal Fabrication, especially in FabLabs. Currently working with a laser-cutter requires many unnecessary steps and much experience.

The goal of this bachelor thesis is to optimize this work-flow by removing unnecessary steps and make the most common jobs more easy.
It will be outlined, that the existing tools are not sufficient for most users and therefore a new tool named "Visicut" will be developed which will enable users to prepare their laser-jobs at home.

As a base for Visicut and eventually much more specialized applications a user-space driver for laser-cutters named "Liblasercut" will be build, which abstracts from the specific laser-cutter model.

CUPS-Epilog

The CUPS-Epilog driver is a CUPS backend, maintained by the AS220 Labs since 2008, which allows using the Epilog Legend laser-cutter as printer in CUPS compatible environments, like many Linux and Mac OS versions.

Epilogs Laser Dashboard Print Driver

Epilog provides a printer driver for Windows, which allows laser-cutting from generally every application. The settings specific to the laser-cutter are done in the printer dialogue. The driver can set parameters like power, speed and frequency per colour in vector mode, but only lines thinner than a DPI-dependant threshold are recognized to be cut. Everything else will be dithered by the selected Algorithm (Standard, Brighten, LowRes, Floyd Steinberg, Jarvis and Stucki) and added to the engraving Part.

ctrl-cut from Metalab

Ctrl-cut is another CUPS-Backend like the cups-epilog, but with special support for Mac OS.

Goals

LibLaserCut

• platform-independent
• no administrator privileges needed (application level)
• allows specialized laser-cutting applications and actions not reproducible with the current driver (eg. Changing power,speed,frequency and focus linearly in lines for calibration)

VisiCut

• Tool to import Illustrator/Inkscape/Autocad files and prepare them as laserjobs
• based on liblasercut => platform independent etc (Home users often Windows,
FabLabs often Mac OS and Linux)
• Single jar-file application makes it possible to be downloaded from the FabLab page, without installing, and prepare jobs at home before even having a FabLab appointment.
• removes “looking up parameters”, “focus” and “configure driver dialogue” from work-flow
• provides good preview for each material
• adds possibility to save => reproduce => publish laser-jobs (Thingiverse etc)
• Makes Lasercutting more WYSWYG by providing a camera picture of the material in the lasercutter for easy positioning of the graphic directly on the material.

Created by oster. Last Modification: Wednesday 02 of January, 2013 14:29:15 by oster.

Media Computing Group at RWTH Aachen

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