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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 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/

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

    "The fantastic lxml wrapper for libxml2 is required by and therefore this extension. Please download and install the latest version from, 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.



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.

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Big Blue Saw
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Waterjet and Laser Cut Custom Parts.
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Atlanta, GA 30319
Phone: (678) WAY-SAW4 (678) 929-7294