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Good Morning,

I am wanting to make a LED sign that uses a 6mm wide led strip with the text "Mi Frijolito", that looks like this, which is 1.5m long and 0.5m wide. Led Sign. enter image description here

So the main issue I am having is I don't no how to make the cutout of the LED strip match the text design but also have equal spacing while the cut being 6mm. (I hope that makes scene) I hope this explains what I'm referring too. Example

I have access to solidworks and inkscape, which I have attempted both but had no luck.

If anyone can help me that would be amazing and maybe I can do a sign that says "StackExchange GOAT"...hahaha.

Cheers, Ryan

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  • Your question is a bit unclear to me. I think we need more details. Am I right that you are actually building a physical sign? And you have already designed the lettering? How does the lettering look right now? Is it just some font or does it consist of lines with equal width and gaps between like in the image? Do you just need help to make the shape of the plate where the LED is mounted? Or is the LED placed behind a plate with holes for the light? (Sorry, but I have no experience making signs like this. I could make an image of it though.)
    – Wolff
    Apr 6 at 19:39
  • @Wolff yeah sorry about that. So yes you are correct, I am building a physical sign with layered 3mm MDF with a addressable flexible LED strip with dimensions of 1.2cm High & 0.6cm Wide. No I have not designed the lettering as that is what I am having trouble with. I would like the "andallan" font (fontget.com/font/andallan-demo) but that is tricky as the letter is not a constant width all the way round. I will edit description to provide a a basic side view of what I am trying to do.
    – Newbie
    Apr 6 at 21:36
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    Newbie may not be a good handle. I mean do you aspire to be a newbie forever?
    – joojaa
    Apr 6 at 21:49
  • OK, then you have several issues actually. Probably should be split up into separate posts. 1. The font doesn't have constant width. Can't be fixed automatically. You have to find a font that has constant width, trace the font you like line by line, find a font with constant line width or design the typography from scratch. 2. If you try to cut out the letters the inner shapes will fall out. Can't be fixed automatically either. The font has to be designed with gaps, like a stencil font. So either you design these gaps or find a font that already has gaps.
    – Wolff
    Apr 6 at 21:55
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    I don't know anything about DXF sorry. Isn't that a CAD format? Not sure what you are asking TBH. Vector software can rasterize objects, but then they're no longer vector after that. You can add an offset effect in Inkscape though. Maybe that's what you want?
    – Billy Kerr
    Apr 7 at 22:57

3 Answers 3

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You can try to capture a part of the exact wanted writing style by drawing manually with the Bezier tool in Inkscape along the text. Use the absolute minimum number of nodes to keep the job in hands. Most path segments have only 2 nodes.

The next example is in Illustrator, but Inkscape's node tool is more flexible than Illustrators white arrow for bending the curves. You can use at first more nodes than needed. Deleting them keeps the path as well as possible making it only smoother. That doesn't happen in Illustrator.

enter image description here

A copy with wider stroke is the outer shape. Convert the strokes to paths and make an union to get a connected outer shape.

The final edit needs manual tinkering. Insert some hole patches if needed before making the union.

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Caveats:

  • I don't know if this will help or not
  • This is with Illustrator, not Inkscape (but I'm certain it would be possible in Inkscape)
  • I may not fully understand your vision

If I set the type in the font you mention, and scale it or roughly 3mm widths for the thicker strokes (red squares are 3mm x 3mm). I can then offset a path by 3mm....

enter image description here

Or by 6mm....

enter image description here

Giving a shape for the the external offset. This could be printed at size and used as a guide, at least that's my thinking.

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    You can do the same in Inkscape - it has an Offset live path effect.
    – Billy Kerr
    Apr 7 at 22:55
  • I figured as much @BillyKerr .. just no clue how to explain that.. :) I didn't really explain how to create the offset anyway. ;)
    – Scott
    Apr 7 at 22:57
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    In Inkscape it's accessed in the path effects panel - a bit like adding effects in the appearance panel in Illy.
    – Billy Kerr
    Apr 7 at 23:01
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I'm not convinced these are made using a font, since the "a" and "s" are different each time they appear. I think the letters may have been drawn manually.

I'm just going to do one letter here for the sake of an example.I'm sure you'll get the general idea though. This is for Inkscape.

  1. Start with a simple path drawn with the Bézier tool, and in the Fill and Stroke panel, add 6mm stroke. If you have a bunch of letters to do, then select them all and make them a combined path at this stage.

enter image description here

  1. Do Path > Stroke to Path to turn the stroke to outlines with a fill

enter image description here

  1. Duplicate it using Ctrl+D then send to the bottom of the image stack using End (or Object > Lower to bottom), and set the fill to a contrasting colour. You won't see anything happen yet.

  2. Do Paths > Path Effects, and hit the Plus button in the Path Effects panel and choose the Offset Path effect. Set the offset to 8mm

enter image description here

  1. Select everything and do Path > Object to Path again. This will convert the offset effect into a real path

  2. Do Path > Difference. This is a boolean operation which will cut the inner letter out from the offset, leaving outlines you should be able to use for cutting.

enter image description here

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