Make Any Font Laser Cutter Friendly With Stencilfy

Anyone that has tried to use fonts in their laser cut projects has likely found that certain fonts just don't look as expected on the finished piece. This is due to the internal paths on enclosed letters (known as counters). Stencil fonts, on the other hand, correct this problem because they create bridges that connect the counters to the space external to the character.

top: Word as it should appear. Middle: How it looks when laser cut. Bottom: a stencil font when laser cut.
top: Word as it should appear. Middle: How it looks when laser cut. Bottom: a stencil font when laser cut.

 

The trouble with stencil fonts is that there's a fairly limited selection, so if you can't find one that you like you can be a bit stuck. The general workaround for non-stencil fonts is to convert the text to a path and manually add bridges, which can be a bit tedious. To streamline this process, Tiffany Tseng has created a tool that will turn any font into a stencil and export the paths as an SVG to use in your projects.

Stencilfied Font

 After analysing the 20 English characters that contain counters, Tiffany found that by bisecting them straight down the middle, she was able to turn any text into a usable stencil. Tiffany then created an app that would allow her to upload any font and stencilfy it. It's not 100% perfect - using Goudy Bookletter 1911, you can see that the counter in the ampersand isn't central to the character, so it has been missed. On the whole, though, this is a fantastic tool!

To read more about how Tiffany designed and created this app, head over to the writeup on Medium. You can find the app on Glitch to get started with your own custom stencil text.

Tiffany Tseng is a designer & engineer who designs tools for making. You can follow her on Twitter and Medium.

 

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