Unwanted tabs when importing from Illustrator

I have a shape with .26" diameter holes that I want to be cut the entire way through my workpiece. For some reason easel thinks my holes need tabs, and I cannot drag and remove them in any way. I made the file in Illustrator and exported it as an .svg. I’ve tried numerous different path options, grouping/ungrouping, etc but still can’t get a file that is void of the pesky tabs in easel. Because the holes are located in specific spots within a workpiece that I am trying to cut out entirely, I can’t cheat the tab height for fear of my piece flying out. Any thoughts on what I might be doing wrong either in Illustrator, easel, or both? Happy to upload either file if it helps diagnose


Hi @BenPegram,

When you select the “holes” in Easel can you choose fill instead of outline?

If not, can you share a links to the project on here by going to the project in Easel and choosing share in the file menu?

I am unable to independently select the holes as descrete objects that are separate from the shape that contains them. When in “outline” mode, it cuts the shape free, as desired, but will not bore the full depth of the hole. In “fill” mode, Easel wants to carve away the entire piece, but only leaves me with little circular nubs of wood where the holes should be.

Here’s a link to the piece: test_piece
My guess right now is that I might need to do something differently when designing pieces in Illustrator. Will upload that too if needed. Thanks.

Thanks for the link. I’ll take a look at it after I get back to the house.

Post the AI or SVG if you like and I’ll look at it too.

I sometimes have issues like this with SVGs produced in Sketchup. My quick an lazy 10sec fix is to actually open the SVG in another cam - makercam (http://www.makercam.com/ ) . I just open it and save it again with the same name…voila the SVG is good to go in Easel :stuck_out_tongue:


Thanks sketch and Christian. I have not used makercam and am still acclimating to letting the computer do all of the work for me. I will check it out. I’m uploading the .ai and .svg file that I’ve been having trouble with. I hit “save-as” to regenerate my svg numerous times while doing my troubleshooting, so the .ai file may not be the exact file that this most current .svg was made from. Thanks.

End_Table_Final.ai (1.5 MB)

The .svg didn’t show up. Let me try again:

I think I see the problem. When you select the item in Illustrator, you can right click and choose to “Release Compound Path” then set everything to outline and “Save a copy…” as an SVG file.

I’ve done that and attached the SVG below. I’ve also tested that the SVG works in Easel. Should do the trick.

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Excellent! I will check it when I get home and confirm that it worked.
About a week or so ago I found a video that detailed setting up files like mine in illustrator and how to go about making these sorts of shapes, but sadly I cannot re-find this video for the life of me. It detailed the use of “Release Compound Path” and “outline” functions in .ai files for Easel and I will repost it if I can ever find it again.

-As far as illustrator is concerned, is filling the shape with black an unnecessary step?
-Is grouping the shape and the circles necessary, or just useful in visually helping me to know that the position of the circles won’t be lost when I try to drag and reorient the shape on the artboard?
-Also, for the sake of example, if I wanted to make this workpiece as it is now, but needed to add a logo or graphic that was only cut into the surface (maybe a few mm) how would I specify that in Illustrator so that Easel knows what to do? Thanks again Sketch.

Just opened your edited .svg from your last post. Now I have an independent shape as well as independent holes, for which i can select outline/fill and depth independently. The problem that arises now is that neither outline or fill will produce the hole I want. The hole needs to be .26" inch in diameter, which my illustrator file reflects. When selecting any of the 3 “Outline” modes in easel, the machine wants to traverse around my hole rather than just bore it out. When set to “Outline” on “Inside” it comes close. Easel does not tell me that my bit is too large, but will not create the toolpaths for the holes It only shows red dots on the right hand panel of the Easel window. When set to “Fill” easel tells me that my bit is too large, (even though I am using a 1/4 spiral upcut bit) and will not even create paths for the hole until I cheat the bit size to something smaller.

There must be some way to set the file up in illustrator so that when imported to easel it will know that I need my .26in holes bored out, that they are not in need of tabs, and that the bit is the proper size for the job.

Easel doesn’t have a “drill” operation like MakerCam does. In order to cut .26" holes with a .25" bit, Easel has to operate with .005" of tolerance, which I don’t think it can. Even a super-well-tuned machine can get at best ±.003" of tolerance. My suggestion would be to use a .125" bit for the holes.

Regarding setting up files from Illustrator, something I’ve found is that Illustrator will add or subtract dimensions based on the stroke width of objects. For instance, if I make a box that’s 2" square, with a .125" stroke, it will actually make a box that’s 1.75" square so that the added stroke width makes the box the right size. This changes depending on whether you have your stroke set to inside, outside or along path. You may want to double check the size of your holes after you create them, and after you import them, just to be sure they’re still accurate.

The way I get around that is to ALWAYS work in Outline mode when I’m setting up files for Easel. That way I’m not tempted to mess with compound paths or fills or strokes. I just draw everything with a null fill and null stroke in outline mode and it works just fine for me.

Ok, I took your illustrator file, converted it to an .svg file (likely with the same results @sketch42 had) and put it in Easel. Other than the fact that it was way too big for the artboard (you probably have the 1m machine right?) it seems to work just fine for me.

I set everything to Fill, then selected the L shapes and set those to Outline. It seems to render toolpaths for the holes just fine (although again, unless your machine is tuned REALLY well I don’t know if I would trust those holes to be so accurate).

Ah, I was just tackling the problem of the items in the file not being separated.

Yes, you should be able to accomplish all of the things you are talking about with the Illustrator/Easel workflow. Below are some points that I think you are looking to have answered (let me know if I miss any).

  • Q. Are the vectors that Illustrator creates accurate
  • A. Yes. if a square in Illustrator is 5mm by 5mm then it’s vectors will be exactly that no matter the fill or stroke inside, on, or outside the line. If there is a shift in actual vector dimensions because there is a stroke then there is definitely something wrong with Illustrators installation.
  • Q. Is it possible to set a specific depth in Illustrator and have it be correct in Easel when it imports the SVG?
  • A. Yes. If, you know the exact thickness of your material and use that number in Easel for your material thickness then you can calculate a specific depth of cut. There are other threads on this forum that go into it with more detail, but basically if a shape has a fill or outline set to 50% grey and it will be imported into an Easel project with a 12mm thick material then the imported depth will be 6mm.
  • Tip: Illustrator will use rich black as a default. If you want to set a precise depth then you will need to make sure that for the example above in the color picker in Illustrator Hue = 0%, Saturation = 0%, Brightness = 50% Also, make sure your document color mode in Illustrator is set to RGB and not CMYK.
  • Q. Can an Illustrator file have fills and outlines set up so that at import holes will be fills and other shapes will be outlines?
  • A. Sort of. For fills yes, but for outlines no matter whether you have chosen to use outside or inside or on the line, Easel seems to disregard this upon import and so the outline type will need to be set in Easel.
  • Q. Will Easel cut holes that I create in Illustrator to the right size that Illustrator says?
  • A. Yes, with disclaimers. As @Mike said, unless your machine is tuned properly (I wouldn’t say “super”) then the holes will have some variation. But as you can see below in the pictures, I laid out holes in Illustrator imported them into Easel and carved them just fine. My X-Carve is properly tuned, but is is stock. Illustrator+Easel+X-Carve can do what you are wanting to do.
  • Tip: Also, as Mike said, you may want to use a smaller bit to cut the holes so that tolerances are a little better. Also, I can’t post this to enough threads… measure your bit. The package may say .25" or .125" but actual bit size can vary by .02" or more.

I’ve also attached an SVG file with a few examples that you will be able to look at based on your file. I’ve imported it into Easel and the hols are correctly set to fill and they are all .26".

Good question.

I guess the simplest thing to do is to measure the bit with calipers. Personally, I place the calipers on a flat and level surface (usually the an area on the waste board) and then lower the bit in the collet ensuring that it is perpendicular to that surface into the caliper’s jaws. Measuring the tip, twisting the bit slowly I find the minimum distance that can be read (usually the trough of a flute). After that I start to turn the bit away from its cut direction and record the maximum diameter that the bit pushed the caliper jaws out to.

If you do that and then measure the width of a slot that the same bit makes in a certain material, then you will be able to see if there is a lot of runout for said material for that set of feeds and speeds. This will change depending on material and feed/speed, so I usually stick with measuring the bit and minimize as much runout as I can. So the measurements I get from the paragraph above are the ones I put into Easel.

Example: I have a bit that is 1/8" (3.175mm) on the package. I measured it with the calipers and found that the cutting tip actually travels a diameter of 2.88mm and so I use that 2.88mm as my bit size under the Machine menu in Easel as well as any custom tool libraries that I have in other programs like MeshCAM or Aspire.

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That’s such a great way to measure the bits, so as to account for runout in the spindle and in the bit! I hadn’t thought to do it like that before. I’d been measuring my bits just hand-held.

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