Single Stroke font ( like font for CNC / engraving )

I just uploaded a first version of a AutoCAD Shape Font Plugin.

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Hi timknapen,
How did you manage to make it work on Ai? Does it also show as open path font?

Yeah, resurrecting this thread because I want to know too. I can’t get open-ended OTF to be visible in Ai, but TTF is visible though.

I don’t understand? OTF and TTF can’t have “open” contours. That the fonts do not show up probably has a different problem.

I mean leaving paths open in Glyphs while unchecking “autohint” and “remove overlap” options. Of course, under the hood paths are still interpreted as closed but…

If you have open paths and you choose not to remove overlaps or autohint when you export the OTF, the paths stay open in the final OTF.

I tried doing this and the resulting OTF font was invisible in Ai, while TTF was visible. Left side has only stroke and right side has only fill.

Possible that open paths are automatically deleted these days. What do you need the open paths for?

The same reason as the original poster – to “write” the font using a plotter holding a pen. The regular OTF is already done, but I’m currently making an alternate version where all the glyphs are open, monoline paths.

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Simply close all paths, perhaps with a script. The software you use it with needs to be able to ignore the final closepath PostScript instruction.

Hint: Illustrator is not that software. But you can write an AI script that converts to outlines and removes the last segment in every path.

Eames, it looks like the paths in your example aren’t really open. I see a continuous loop without any endpoint. I never got a real font working in any common software (MacOS, Adobe…) because even if you leave open ends the type rendering part of the software always interprets it as a closed shape.

So if you draw the character ‘V’ as a single line going down and up again it would become something resembling a solid triangle V >> ▼

I did manage to get your example results with OTF fonts using Glyphs mini.

Simply close all paths, perhaps with a script.

I don’t follow.

Yes, but what does the plotter do? Does it draw alongside these automatically closed paths or ignores them?

For the project with the plotter I ended up not using OTF / Glyphs at all but writing my own font editor, font format and renderer. Typography was quite limited because of this. The font format I created was based on SVG and I didn’t implement kerning, ligatures and other nice typography features because I just didn’t have the time.
But I could use my open single stroke paths…

But you wrote that you had OTF showing up in Ai and even plotter working as intended. I can’t get OTF to show up for some reason.

Single Stroke font ( like font for CNC / engraving )

Ah yes, you need to export the OTF WITHOUT “Autohint all glyphs” or “Remove Overlap” enabled.

But I did uncheck that and it still doesn’t work.

  1. How do you test your font?
  2. What do you mean by ‘it does not work’? Does the font not show up in the font menu?

It exports and shows up in the menu but letters are invisible in both Font Book and Illustrator. Unless it’s TTF, then it’s visible because open paths are still interpreted as closed. The downside is that spacing between letters gets messed up.

The export to OTF ignores open paths.

So what do I do?

This may be a font cache problem. Read this please:

Only use the Adobe Fonts folder:

Have you tried my suggestion from above?

Run this script in Macro window to close all paths:

for g in Font.glyphs:
	for l in g.layers:
		for p in l.paths:
			p.closed = True
  • Export without overlap removal, without hinting.
  • Export into the Adobe fonts folder (see above).
  • In AI, type your text, covert to outlines, and open the paths again by removing the closing segment, probably best with a script again, if you need to do it often.

When I said that OTF is “invisible” in Ai, I meant that shapes themselves are invisible due to open paths.

With paths closed, OTF is visible in Ai but pats are obviously closed, so that no good since I basically need to somehow make an engraving (non-looping path) font for the plotter. They want to pull tons of name data from the website, put it into Indesign, select the font, convert into PDF and “write” using a plotter. Manually opening paths would be impossible task. Worst case scenario – write everything in Glyphs, export to PDF and use that…