Good Easel alternative for Mac for g-code generation?

I’ve got someone that wants me to cut some items for them, but all of their artwork was hand drawn by a professional illustrator, and all of the files they’ve given me has been vectorized from that. Of course Illustrator doesn’t care how complicated they are, but Easel…not so much. The simplest of the 3 pieces comes into Easel as being 84 pieces and even when I stretch it to 12"+ wide, Easel says even a 1/16" bit is too large. Then anything I try do is ground to a halt and any command takes about 30 seconds to execute. At a certain point, Easel completely locked up on me and when I closed it and went back in, Easel acted like it had never even run on my laptop and was telling me to download Easel Local & do my machine setup. So I used Easel to generate my G-code, which I then took into UGS, and all that did was drive my 611’s collet straight down through 1/4" of MDF + another 1/4" of plywood while I watched in shock as it started to smoke and spark like crazy before I yanked the USB cable from my computer.

I should point out that earlier in the day I cut a big acrylic project through Easel with no problems - but the aft was pretty straight forward.

This art that’s causing me problems is actually for a company that could turn into a pretty good source for ongoing paid work, so I’d like to get this figured out.

If you have detail, then it’s probably best to do this as an engraving using a V-bit, the cut out a profile afterwards.

Two free cross-platform tools for this are Inkscape / gcodetools and F-Engrave:

That said, the problem may be in how the art is drawn. Most people using Illustrator don’t have good vector drawing habits, and despite AI having a specific menu entry for cleaning up and deleting single points and empty text blocks, many “finished” files are littered w/ them and require cleanup.

Can we see the artwork you’re working with? It could be that Easel is choking on the complexity because there are a lot of extra shapes there or overlapping things, stuff that can be simplified/combined, paths that should be outlined instead of stroked, etc. There is a lot of “pre-press” work that goes into getting a drawing ready to carve and some designers or illustrators don’t know what the machine’s needs are and can’t work with them in mind.

If Easel crashed to the point where it “lost” Easel Local, then your G Code wouldn’t have worked properly. There’s a config file somewhere that tells Easel what your machine’s specs are so that it can work within them. The G Code it generates is based on that. For instance, if Easel doesn’t know your machine has Automatic Spindle Control, it won’t generate G Code with an M3 command at the top to start it, or an M5 command at the end to stop it. It won’t know how big your work area is, so it won’t know to stop if you’ve accidentally created toolpaths outside of it.

I would re-load Easel Local, get the machine reconfigured, and generate some new G Code. Then look at it before you send it.

Yeah I think you’re onto something with the problem being in how the art is drawn. I’m attaching one of the pieces. When I saw it was done by an illustrator, I mean ink & paper illustrator. Each of the lines has a stroke & fill, so I’m guessing that’s what’s tripping up Easel. It’s only 84 elements, but it’s 84 elements with tons of data points. We’re checking with the person the files are from to see if they have them in any other form. I just saw the vector app last night - what file formats does that accept?

I’ve got Inkscape on my computer - I’ll look into F-Engrave.

An example image is below. I made them light gray for engraving purposes. For your entertainment, I’m including a screen shot with the entire image selected too…

Thanks for your thoughts. Tons of greatness here!

Always go into outline view when first opening up a vector file so as to get an idea of how it was drawn / created.

You can clean things up by: select by same file and stroke and unioning / removing overlap — note that you may need to copy / paste in front first and then subtract other elements if things exceed their desired bounds

Good to know. This will be my first cut using art done by someone other than myself, so it’s a learning curve on top of the general overall learning curve.