TTT: A TrueType tracer with DXF and G-Code output
Off and on for a while I've looked for a way to get vector-format outlines of TrueType fonts. Several people have written programs that render a string to a bitmap and then use edge detection to extract the (approximate) outlines. TrueType fonts are actually stored natively as vectors and spline curves (so they can be scaled). The bitmap approach works but cannot give us exactly what the font designer intended. What we really want is to read out the vectors and splines.
With this in mind, I've written a program using the FreeType library that takes as input any string and generates G-Code (tailored for LinuxCNC's Enhanced Machine Controller) or DXF. The DXF output is simply PolyLine entities which should be readable by any CAD software. So far it is tested only with AutoCAD R12.
AutoCAD can fill these polylines with any style of hatching using the HATCH command. I intend to use these hatched letters for engraving but I haven't tried it yet.
TTT 3.0 can use Unicode fonts such as Kanji and accepts Unicode strings as input.