True single line fonts - possible?

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True single line fonts - possible?

Postby TimW » Wed Aug 06, 2008 6:26 pm

Hi,

Let me start by stating I know very little about fonts.

I found my way here searching for a type of font to use with some of our laser cutters. We produce parts that require part numbers to be laser cut onto them. Typical TT fonts are all outlines and are very time consuming to cut.

I have downloaded several "single line" fonts only to find they really aren't single lines, more of a work around that look like a single line. For example, the number 1 is actually two lines on top of each other to form a closed loop. These type of fonts actually take longer to cut on our equipment than a traditional TT font.

Is it even possible to create a font that is recognizable by Windows applications that consists of only single straight lines? Arcs are also slow to cut on our laser.

In a perfect world I need a font that would consist of only single straight attached lines. Possible? Should I spend any more time searching for this?

Thanks in advance!

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Single Line Fonts?

Postby Dave Crosby » Wed Aug 06, 2008 7:22 pm

It is possible to make "Single Line TT Fonts," but they are useless for most people because TTF fonts describe areas in closed contours.

Enclosed Pixels (and printing points) are turned on by clockwise closed contours and turned off by counterclockwise closed contours.

Check out the following discussion:

http://forum.high-logic.com/viewtopic.p ... ight=#8824
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Postby Erwin Denissen » Wed Aug 06, 2008 7:49 pm

It is not possible to make single stroke TrueType or OpenType fonts, because the glyph shapes consist of a series of closed contours and (most of the time) you need open contours to make a single line font.

When TrueType fonts are advertised as single line fonts, be sure they really are. So ask the font vendor to actually confirm the fonts are real single line engraving fonts, and that they only require the engraver to put one line instead of two. An honest vendor will tell you it uses two...

However there seem to be engraving-specific software that (mis)uses TrueType font technology to draw open contours. Here is a recent discussion about that:
http://forum.high-logic.com/viewtopic.php?t=1648

Is it even possible to create a font that is recognizable by Windows applications that consists of only single straight lines? Arcs are also slow to cut on our laser.

Your laser software converts your arc into a series of short lines, so their is no benefit of using a font with lines only.

In a perfect world I need a font that would consist of only single straight attached lines. Possible? Should I spend any more time searching for this?

No, although most people who asked similar questions before usually continue to search for a solution...
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Postby William » Thu Aug 07, 2008 8:08 am

Many years ago I experimented in drawing a font using straight lines on a computer graph plotter. When, years later, I learned of TrueType fonts and the way they are constructed, I decided to try to produce the effect of that font drawn with straight lines on a computer graph plotter using a TrueType font. The result uses closed loop contours.

The story is in the following thread.

http://forum.high-logic.com/viewtopic.php?t=1335

The story starts about half-way through the third post in the thread. A straightforward way to find it is to go to the web page and search for the word "However".

In use in present-day computer applications, the font looks as if it has been drawn using straight lines. Yet that is not the case as some of the lines are from being between two parts of the same contour and some of the lines are from being between two contours.

I hope that this helps.

William Overington

7 August 2008
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Postby William » Fri Aug 08, 2008 7:20 am

Somewhat off-topic, though as this is the Discussion forum rather than the Support forum, perhaps I may mention the following.

I got to thinking about the problem of engraving and am thinking that rather than using open contours, perhaps a better overall solution would be to make TrueType fonts with closed contours yet have the rendering system engrave only the first line of each contour and do nothing for each of the other lines in the contour. This might need some rather unusual glyph designs and the fonts might well look strange in a conventional on-screen display, yet that approach would mean that people could design new fonts for such an engraving machine using ordinary TrueType fontmaking software.

Yet I realize that an end user of an existing engraving machine cannot change the rendering software of the engraving machine.

However, if it is computer-driven, maybe the manufacturer might be interested in producing an alternative choice of software to run in the engraving machine?

William Overington

8 August 2008
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