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Big Blue Saw's DXF Export For Inkscape

Big Blue Saw's DXF Export For Inkscape

At Big Blue Saw, we get files from our customers in a variety or formats: from AI to ZIP. Our online quoting system and waterjet cutting machines really work best with DXF format files, though. Inkscape, the open source vector graphics editor has proven extremely useful in dealing with a variety of file types.

This Big Blue Saw DXF Export for Inkscape is based on Better DXF Export and Better Better DXF Export.

It has the following additional features:

  • Fixed Python version incompatibility crash on Linux.
  • Inches supported as the measurement units.
  • Curves are converted to smaller, more accurate line segments. This improves the final part quality.
  • Color output was supported.
  • Layer names have spaces converted to underscore for improved compatibility.
  • It has been tested on Linux as well as Windows.

 

To install:

On Linux or Windows:

  1. Close all open Inkscape windows.
  2. Download the ZIP file containing Big Blue Saw's DXF Export For Inkscape using the link at the bottom of this article.
  3. Unpack the ZIP file into your Inkscape extensions directory: typically C:\Program Files\Inkscape\share\extensions on Windows or /usr/share/inkscape/extensions on Linux. You will need to overwrite the file simpletransformations.py with the version included in the ZIP archive.
  4. Restart Inkscape.

  5. Hints for the Macintosh platform, courtesy of John Markham:

    The extensions folder is: /Applications/Inkscape.app/Contents/Resources/extensions

    A dependency will be noted when attempting to save as DXF the first time:

    "The fantastic lxml wrapper for libxml2 is required by inkex.py and therefore this extension. Please download and install the latest version from http://cheeseshop.python.org/pypi/lxml/, or install it through your package manager by a command like: sudo apt-get install python-lxml"

    Which can be installed with pip.

To use after you've installed Blue Saw's DXF Export For Inkscape:

  1. Create your drawing as normal.
  2. Ungroup all items by selecting everything (Ctrl-A or Edit | Select All from the menu) and then ungrouping repeatedly (Shift-Ctrl-G or Object | Ungroup) until all groups are broken apart.
  3. Convert all objects to paths. You can do this items by selecting everything (Ctrl-A or Edit | Select All from the menu) and then pressing Shift-Ctrl-C or choosing Path | Object to Path from the menu.
  4. Choose File | Save As from the menu. In the dialog box that appears, choose "Big Blue Saw DXF Output" and click the Save button.

    Image

Image

One more thing, for those reading this far. Most of the time when I, personally, want to get a DXF from a file loaded in Inkscape, I save it as an EPS, and convert to DXF using the pstoedit package. This preserves splines and curves, which is nice, but requires the use of a command-line tool, which isn't for everyone.

More information on using Inkscape with Big Blue Saw for laser or waterjet cutting. Turn your Inkscape drawings into real metal or plastic parts.



Ready to turn your Inkscape designs into real parts made of metal, plastic, or other materials? Sign up for our FREE e-mail course.

Learn about:

  • The easiest way to order parts based on your Inkscape designs
  • What kinds of metals and plastics to use in your project
  • Getting the best prices on waterjet and laser cutting
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Update 0.2: Bug fix based upon report from commenter blackfox. Download the new version of Big Blue Saw's DXF Export For Inkscape Here.

Learn more about how Big Blue Saw can turn Inkscape designs into real parts.

Move to New Server Complete

If you're reading this, our move to the new server is complete. Let us know if there's anything that's not working.

Reminder: Down Time This Weekend

Big Blue Saw will be moving to a new server this weekend. There will be some downtime between 10 PM and 2 AM on Friday, August 20, and Saturday, August 21.

Testing Big Blue Saw's New Server

The data center where Big Blue Saw's main web server is hosted is soon to be no more. I'm in the process of moving everything to a new and better server at a new location. The final cutover is scheduled for this weekend, August 21.

I'm in the process of bringing up the new server:

http://chainsaw.bigbluesaw.com/

Please let me know if you find any problems on the new machine. Please note that anything you do on the new server is likely to be wiped out when the changeover happens: comments, user accounts, uploaded files, and the like will all be deleted.

Robot Master Ray Russell Interviewed

I recently conducted an interview with Ray Russell, founder of RoPro Design, a robotics engineering firm. Ray talked about his robotics and prototyping work with RoPro, as well as the tools and techniques he uses to turn his customers' ideas into reality.

In this interview, Ray talks about how his production schedule doesn't match with a traditional machine shop's ordering process. This eventually led him to order from Big Blue Saw.

The typical waterjet companies around here have the traditional quoting system. where you send them a paper drawing, you wait 3 weeks, the guy contacts you with a formal quote and it's just way too slow. In 3 weeks we usually have robots designed and built.

He mentions some of the advantages to making parts using waterjet cutting.

With waterjetting, you can get arcs and things that you can't get in a billet piece.

Ray is a big fan of rapid manufacturing techniques and believes that it will help US manufacturing competitiveness.

The only we're going to compete with foreign manufacturing is through this high tech arena. There's no way we're going to be able to do it on the old style of intensive labor.

Download the whole interview in MP3 format.

Here's the interview with some images of RoPro Design's and Ray's work.

Skip ahead to 8:15 in the video to see video of the hexapod robot he built in conjunction with Carnegie Mellon University.

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