Any interest in vector classes?

I want to gauge current interest on software classes because I hear from experienced members that they’re not well attended, but other less experienced members I’ve spoken to seem like they would appreciate having them on the calendar.

Everyone has different skill levels, so I’m interested in hearing what our membership wants from a vector class.

  • Is there more demand for fundamentals and novice level instruction?
  • Do people want to learn more advanced techniques and time saving techniques?
  • Need help getting the art you bought online to a cut-ready state?
  • Just want to learn how to unlock the pen tool so you can clean up those janky blobs from your auto-trace and create the perfect curve?

What vector programs are people using to create/alter their vector art, and what software do you want to see classes offered in?

Do you prefer just finding youtube tutorials to get your results or do you find value in a class where you can interact with the teacher?

Thanks for sharing your feedback!


I’d be interested. I don’t have any prior experience in it but it’s been on my radar to learn about for a while now. I’ll be interested to hear if you develop a class, thanks for putting this out there.

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Hi Dan,
Would you please elaborate on what and why vector software is used? I use Sketchup to design my woodworking projects and I’m guessing this is the same principle but is then used in conjunction with lasers and CNCs?

I’m an old school hand tool woodworker, but I’m interested in experimenting with both lasers & CNCs.
Thank you,

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all of the above.
I’ve been able to learn a few shortcuts and utilize the trace function in Lightburn , but I would like to learn some simple hacks and shortcuts to finish out simple drawings .

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It would also be valuable to know if people prefer online or in person classes!

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I’d be more inclined to get involved in an in-person class.

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Sorry for the late reply, needed to take an internet break for a couple of days!

@Glory2God - Vector is a generic term for a shape that can be scaled without distortion.
SVG files like are used on the Shaper Origin are one example of vector graphics, but any machine that cuts a 2D medium is converting vectors to G-Code or something like it.

  • I think that a Lightburn class would be highly appreciated based on the Laser SIG feedback.

  • I don’t know how people feel about Illustrator, or if there’s any demand for Corel classes?

  • I could do an Affinity Designer crash course, but I’m no expert yet and adoption seems low.

  • I don’t want to talk about Inkscapesweat_smile

I’m hand painting this unfinished piece below that I made in Illustrator using the pen tool and a template I created for making symmetrical radial art. I only had to draw one, and the template rotates and duplicates your art live (between 2 and 16 axis), so you can see how each slice fits together and design on the fly. (DM me if anyone wants the template file I made. Discorse doesn’t allow uploading .AI files)

I’ve also used Illustrator to create some flat pack stands for my synthesizers because I’m not ready for Fusion360!

There are a lot more creative ways to apply these techniques, and tons of time saving methods for creating repeating, morphing patterns that follow a line, or repeat in the X-Y dimensions.

That stuff is more exciting than the fundamentals of how each tool works IMO, but knowing the basics makes the more advanced features easier to use. I imagine there’s a few people on both sides, but was hoping to hear what other folks are using or feeling confused by.


I love this thread! We actually have an Illustrator & Design Basics class already, it just hasn’t had enough demand to stay on the schedule as a regular class. I can sync up with you and share the syllabus.

Very interested in people’s feedback in this thread on what they’d want to learn about!


Thanks @DanHawn. One more question: Can any of these programs also be used to design things too? Things like benches, tables, boxes of all sorts…essentially, Will one of these software programs replace Sketchup?

That would be a huge benefit, but either way, I’m keen to take a class and learn—expanding skill sets is one of the reasons I love it here at Asmbly!

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Nope! I don’t know much about Sketchup, but the kinds of programs I’m talking about are geared towards 2D only.

So designing for the vinyl cutter, lasers, the Shaper Origin or anything that only needs 2D data. (potentially a plasma cutter, pen plotter, Cricut, and I’m sure other stuff I’m forgetting)

There are countless ways to create vector art, almost as many programs each with their own file format, strengths, niches and quirks.

I developed a technique for designing slotted stands and racks that uses stroke width as a stand-in for material thickness, but it’s far from “parametric design” and mostly manual unfortunately.

Ok, thanks Dan. I’m still keen to take a class.

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When I taught AI before the hardest thing was making a course that appealed to everyone without leaving anyone behind. Covering the rudiments in the same class as the more fun advanced stuff is a little bit of overload, but the fun stuff is much easier if you know the basics.

I’m thinking that a Lightburn class might be the most useful to the most people, but I have to get a copy and familiarize myself with it at home before I could come up with a class.

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Very much so! I have been wanting to take a vector class for ages. I will be gone for three weeks starting June 25, so it would be awesome if it were before or after that period.

I am interested in learning to make shapes to integrate into one of the layered wood art panels. For example, you can buy a file on Etsy that has 7,9,11 layers and has various shapes in them. You stack them on top of each other after cutting them out on the laser.

What is eluding me is, I want to make my own design, but, how do you make a swirl, ellipse, circle that are perfect and then arrange and weld them together inside a rectangle to make a layer!

Just an adoption data point that I use AD for producing/editing designs for the vinyl cutter. But I am not likely to take a course.

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Thanks for the input, that’s really helpful actually!
That seems to be a very popular style of project, and I’ve always been a sucker for the look…

Maybe instead of teaching the boring stuff: “here’s the selection tool, here’s the direct selection tool, here’s how they work…” :yawning_face: :yawning_face: :yawning_face:

A class focused more on replicating that layered laser technique and the practical/logistic considerations that go into constructing a finished product on the lasers?

That could be done in a way that’s accessible to all skill levels, software agnostic (mostly), and project oriented. :grin:

I think technique/project oriented classes are more appealing than learning the mechanics of a specific program. (Way more fun to teach too!)

I’m thinking…

  • Q&A to get an idea of where everyone is coming from and what they want to make.

  • 20-40+ minutes on theory, depending on the specific classes needs.

  • Then the rest of the class we work on creating a mandala (default idea) or whatever idea you’ve got cooking in your creative noggin, and I help people when they get stuck or have software specific questions. In between helping people I will make a design on the fly and explain my thought process, shortcuts and time-savers.

I have tomorrow off and I need to relax/make my aunt a birthday gift, so I think I’m going to design one of these kinds of signs and take notes on what I would want to put in the class.

Thanks again for the feedback/inspiration @Zings I think it will take at least 3 weeks to put together an outline and potentially get the class approved, but I’ll definitely post about it on the forum if we get that far.


AD crew for life!
I bought the full suite on version 1 and upgraded to 2.0 recently so I can use it on my mac and Linux systems.

I don’t use it all that often, but I wanted to vote with my wallet, because I’m not a fan of Adobe’s business practices.

Thanks Dan! Your post gives me hope!:joy:. I have both Illustrator and Infinity Jackie of all trades, mistress of few.

Having a project focused class would be way more interesting than as you say “here is the cursor” etc. plus I suspect there are so many things to learn within the project and it will be easier to remember when it’s a fun thing.

Look at Philip Roberts Art for inspiration. On his instagram he had a video that shows the illustrator screen as he is working.We could use one of the layered files I have purchased and go through the steps to create something similar, ie reverse engineer it.

Thank you for considering it,! It would be awesome!

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And yes, applies to all skill levels because some of us could make super simple ones at the same time others are doing complex designs. I have one made and not glued that you could use to get people thinking layer by layer why do you make a few holes on the bottom layer and what to think about as you make each successive layer. I would be happy to let you use the piece for the class

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I did some quick research on Etsy and luckily most vendors show you the silhouettes, so I get some of the basic principles. (Top levels use thinner cuts and less material than lower levels, but that much seemed obvious, but there are shortcuts to make the design process easier)

I looked up Philip Roberts and those are some gorgeous designs!
Those geometric designs aren’t hard to create, but making them as balanced and tasteful as Mr. Roberts does takes a great deal of thought and practice!

One challenge I can foresee in designing for these kinds of shapes comes down to knowing your material’s flexibility. If you’re making really intricate cuts you have to make sure your layers are sturdy enough to survive the gluing process.

I’ve heard lots of different approaches to gluing from the Laser SIG, and I’d like to hear what method other members prefer if you’re these designs currently! :grin: