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Managing line thickness regardless of pt size or font style

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  • Managing line thickness regardless of pt size or font style

    I'm a jeweler, self taught in as far as graphic design goes, I do CAD/CAM with Rhino3d. When I come across a job that needs text I am usually stuck widening the lines by hand because there are physical limits to what will print/mill and cast (generally greater than .2mm). This process is far too time consuming.
    I am wondering if there is a program that does this. I don't want a general dilation of the entire font, just to widen the narrow parts to a minimum width, but maintain the style, spacing, size etc.

  • #2
    Hi CADJewelerPDX and welcome to GDF.

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    • #3
      By widening the lines, are you referring to thickening up the strokes in the individual glyphs? If so, can't you just use bold versions of the typefaces while avoiding those typefaces with thin strokes?

      Since that's the obvious answer to your question, I suspect you've already considered it. This leaves me thinking I've misunderstood your question.

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      • #4
        That would be handy....
        This modern trend of using skinny fonts is driving me {more} insane with that little issue.

        I know we're going to get responses like using Illustrators stroke width tool or outline the font but only use parts of the outline....
        It would be easier to make the adjustments in AutoCAD....But just as tedious.

        I coulda sworn, at least with the milling, that you could set the tool path to plow through areas that are too narrow. I'll have to check with the tech who sets up the cut files if that is still true. might only be endmill, not engraving point.
        Last edited by PrintDriver; 12-18-2017, 12:59 PM.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by B View Post
          By widening the lines, are you referring to thickening up the strokes in the individual glyphs? If so, can't you just use bold versions of the typefaces while avoiding those typefaces with thin strokes?

          Since that's the obvious answer to your question, I suspect you've already considered it. This leaves me thinking I've misunderstood your question.
          Yes, thickening the stroke, but only where it is too thin for a given pt size. Bold works for some fonts, but it thickens the whole stroke so it doesn't always preserve the spacing and style. Also, most of the more decorative fonts, the most common to be used on jewelry, have serifs or calligraphy that taper, often approaching points.

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          • #6
            I design, build and sell type fonts as sort of an after-hours thing, so I'm familiar with altering letterforms.

            I'm not especially familiar with Rhino, however. But there are lots of ways in various applications to thicken up glyphs in existing fonts. Unfortunately, they all come with various problems related to various kinds of less-than-ideal glyph distortions.

            I know nothing about designing jewelry, but I still suspect the best answer simply involves choosing the right weights of the right typefaces. There are thousands of typefaces (both expensive, low-cost and free) that come in many different weights and styles. There are even typefaces available that beef up those delicate parts of the glyphs that suffer when reproduced at small sizes in low resolutions or when used in ways, like yours, that require less contrast between thicks and thins.

            For example, you might use, say, Palatino Regular for larger sizes and Palatino Bold for those smaller sizes where the getting the serif to hold up becomes a problem. If, however, you're looking for a way to selectively beef up, for example, the serifs in an existing typeface without changing anything else, well, there is no easy way to do that without modifying the individual glyphs in the typeface, either by converting to outlines and going from there or opening up the font itself in a font editing application, reconfiguring the outlines and recompiling the font for future use.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by CADJewelerPDX View Post
              Bold works for some fonts, but it thickens the whole stroke so it doesn't always preserve the spacing and style.
              Are you referring to artificially bolding a typeface? If so, yes, that will just thicken up everything.

              When I mention a bold face, however, I'm referring to font families that come in various fonts in which the designer has created the light, regular, bold, condensed, expanded, extra bold, etc., weights separately and, then, compiled them into separate fonts. Weights produced in this way avoid the problems associated with artificially bolding glyphs in aesthetically unpleasing ways.

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              • CADJewelerPDX
                CADJewelerPDX commented
                Editing a comment
                Artificially bolding a typeface is what I was referring to. My current selection of commercial fonts in small.
                If a font family is the solution I'm looking for, is there a way to quickly search and filter my font library? I seem to remember seeing something like this, but I'm not sure what it was or how to find it.

              • B
                B commented
                Editing a comment
                If you look in your fonts folder, each weight in the typeface family will be in a separate font file and be named accordingly. The naming convention will differ a bit depending on which font formats you have, but will have names like, Times Roman Regular or Times Roman Italic or Times Roman Bold, etc.

                In the type menus of various applications, these separate fonts will be grouped together under one family name, but they're all separate weights and styles of the same typeface design and not artificially bolded versions of just the regular. They've each been drawn separately to be bold or italic or whatever.

                If you go to MyFonts.com, for example, you'll see lots of fonts for sale. Some will only come in one weight, but others come in multiple weights, italics and styles. Some type families extend out into dozens of weights and variations.

                If you don't have a pile of cash sitting around to buy new fonts, there are free ones out there. Don't download from any of the free font sites, however, since these fonts are typically very poor quality and often cause problems of various sorts.

                Google Fonts, however ( https://fonts.google.com ), are free and most are reasonably well-made. Like MyFonts.com, you'll be able to see what typefaces come in multiple weights and styles. All are downloadable and installable on your computer, but if you go this direction, be sure to read the licensing requirements to make sure you're not violating the end user license agreement when using them.

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