CNC Software and True-Type Fonts

A discussion of compatibiity between font software encoding and CNC machinery characteristics. July 29, 2007

I am looking for true type engrave fonts and I am having trouble finding them. I was hoping for a suggestion as to where I can find one. I only need a couple of different styles of letters, so it doesn't have to be a big program. I draw in Enroute and also use it for toolpathing for my Multi Cam.

Forum Responses
(CNC Forum)
From contributor T:
You may be able to find what you're looking for at Another option maybe be to buy a CD. I bought 3500 fonts at OfficeDepot for $15, which was easier than opening all the of zip files I downloaded at 1001 Free Fonts. Either way, ArtCAM had no problem interpreting the files.

From contributor E:
Try At least you can locate the font and do a search and find out where it came from. Worse comes to worst, you could buy it.

From contributor G:
The biggest problem with "engrave fonts" is that you want a single line when engraving. This is fine if you are running a Dahlgren engraving machine or something similar. They make single line fonts for these machines and the programs that run them. With TrueType fonts there is no true single line font. The font has to be a loop to be a true type font. An "O" is not one line; it is two. An "L" is one line drawn as an outline. In Enroute you would have to have a sharp V tool and either do an engrave (follow the line) or Fill (remove all inside the line)

The problem comes up when the width of the cutter won't fit between the lines.

Solution 1 - Lie to the machine, tell it there is straight mill end with a CED of .020 and do a hatch fill. If the cutter is actually larger, your letter will just be a little fatter. This is for small letters of course.

Solution 2... Create your own single line True Type Font. I've used Corel 9 to draw a single line font. An "O" is a single line. An "L" starts at the top, goes down, turns right, doubles back on itself, turns up and connects to the starting point. You can export these as .ttf to create the font. Yes, it is time consuming.

From contributor B:
I purchased Flexi Letter because it had (according to Scanvec Amiable) single line fonts that would integrate with Enroute. Turns out I've never used it, though, and it is sitting on the shelf so I can't really give you any guidance. I did install and review it, though, and there do appear to be about a dozen single line fonts.

From contributor O:
If parts of the letter in your font are wider than the cutter diameter, EnRoute's 3D engrave feature will compensate by running a second (or more), slightly offset and deeper path to produce the correct "V" profile. The only limitation is that you'd better be sure your material is thick enough to take that additional depth.