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Vectoring a Butterfly Found in a Scroll Saw Book

I had a customer who bought a laser to create a number of scroll saw patterns on their laser machine. The problem is the images are in a book. This article will show you how to take the scanned image and vector it so that we can cut it out with our laser

Scanned Image


Here is the scanned image of the butterfly. I have imported the file into CorelDraw.

Select Line Art


Select Trace Bitmap (1) Outline Trace (2) and than Line Art (3)

Reduce Bitmap


Because the file size of some logos are to large for CorelTrace you will need to reduce the bitmap to increase the efficiency of the trace. Click on Reduce Bitmap (1)

Trace Command is Open


The Trace command is open. I like to use the Wireframe Overlay (1). When the Trace is done the object becomes red. The red line is the trace. The quality of the trace is reflected in the red line.

Our Image is Traced


Here is our traced image in CorelDraw. I know it is traced as the status bar (1) indicated that there are 544 objects. The fact that there are objects means the logo is traced.

Ungroup All Objects


We need to be able to work on our individual objects. This requires that we Ungroup all the objects in our diagram. Go to Arrange (1) Ungroup All (2).

Delete All the Unwanted Vectors


I have deleted the unwanted lines that were in the object. However, you will notice that our butterfly has what is referred to as a double line. This means that there is an inside and an outside line. This is not good for us to cut out with the laser. If you were going to rotary engrave this logo you would have an issue also. Thus we need to get rid of the double line.

Zoomed in On the Double Line


This zoomed view shows the double line that you will get. You could theoretically laser this, but it would take too long because it would be a double pass. So we need to get rid of the double line that is on each object. This can be done, but it is a little tedious.

Select the Object


When you select one object and you get a multiple of selected objects this group of objects can be held together either as a group or a combined group. A group is basically multiple objects that are held together, but there is no relationship between them. To remove the group requires us to select the group go to the ARRANGE command and UNGROUP the objects. We can then select individual groups. In this case you will select the object and notice that the Ungroup command is not selected. This is because there is a relationship between the objects. Thus we need to “Break Them Apart”. If you go under the ARRANGE menu, you will see that this command is active. Once you have broken the objects apart you can now select the objects individually.

Break Apart


To break the objects apart go to ARRANGE (1) BREAK APART (2)

Now We Can Select Individual Objects


You can now select individual objects. Now start selecting each group individually and break the objects apart. Than select with the inside or the outside object and delete them.

Here We Go Some Objects Have Been Deleted


This can be a bit tedious, but it is the only way I have found to do it.

Broken LInes


In the case of one object we have a broken line so I cannot break the lines apart. Thus, I need to weld the line back together so that I can break the objects apart

Select the Shape Tool


Go to the tool box and hold done your mouse and the tool will fly out. Select the Shape tool (1).

Here is a Close Up of the Break


Here is a close up of the break. I need to weld this break back together. I will need to drag the one end of the line onto the other end.

Drag A Node


Drag the first line on top of the other line. I can do this with the shape tool selected. Just grab the node and hold your left mouse button down and drag. Try to keep the node fairly close so the lines match up.

Drag the Other Node


Now we need to drag the other node up so that we close off the open ends. Note: If you do not have a node to grab double click on the line and a node will be created. Once it is created you can drag ti around.

Select the Weld Command


To join the two ends requires us to weld the two ends

Activate the Pick Tool


Once the weld is done, select the line by going back to the pick tool (1)

The Ends Are Welded Together


You can see that the two ends of the line are now one. Now we can break apart the lines from each other

The Inside is Complete


I have completed the inside and now each one of the vectors is its own object. All that is left is to now delete the outside line.

Join The Line


As I am inspecting the outside line I notice that there is a break in this line. I need to go through the same procedure as we did earlier of welding the two ends together

Double Click to Add A Node


First open up the shape tool. In this case I had to add an node so I double clicked on the line and created a new node (1)

Overlap the Two Ends


Pull the nodes so that the two ends overlap.

Select the Outside Line


Once the weld is done select the line by going back to the pick tool (1)

The Two Ends Are Joined


The Two Ends Are Joined

Select Break Apart


We need to break the two lines apart. Select ARRANGE(1) | BREAK APART (2). Now we can delete one of the lines

The Inside Line is Deleted


I have deleted the inside line so we now have a single line so that we can cut out the image of the butterfly

Outside Line Deleted


Deleting the outside line gives me more detail on the inside of the wing, but I loose my antenna.

Our Image is Ready to Cut Out


You can see that if I keep the outside vector line, then all I need to do is to delete the small circles in the antenna of the butterfly. Now we are done and we can cut this image out of whatever material that we want.

I Dragged In the Nodes


I selected the node edit tool and dragged in a node so that it highlighted the separation of the wings.

Here is the Butterfly


Here is the finished product. Notice the antenna is broken because it needs to be thickened up to support the thin lines.

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